Thunder Challenge tests grit of Coloradans, raises money for returning soldiers

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Navy seal training is back-breaking, heart-pounding, sweat-pouring work. But some brave Coloradans just got the chance to train like the military's elite, while raising money for soldiers who are coming back from the battlefield.

They took part in something called the “Thunder Challenge” Saturday morning in Larkspur. Organizers call it one of the most physically and emotionally exhausting obstacle races anywhere.

It's the closest most of us will ever get to being a Navy seal.  Participants lug sandbags on their shoulders or beer kegs on their backs, tromping through mud on a course designed by members of the U.S. Special Forces.

“In the Seals when we did our obstacle course, especially in seal training, we were wet all the time, so we want to show them a little bit about that, and essentially make it more difficult.  It`s easier to run dry than it is wet, isn`t it?” said Brian Nicholson, an organizer and former Navy Seal.

It's fitting that at this superhuman challenge, FOX 31 Denver found someone dressed as Superman.  It was a woman named Michelle Briggs, and she’s a challenger with a purpose.

She was competing in honor of her husband, Robert Briggs, who was wounded in rocket propelled grenade attack back in 2005.  The injuries took his life back in June 2011.

“I didn`t just lose my husband a year ago.  I lost my husband seven years ago when he was injured,” Michelle Briggs said.

She drove 15 hours from Iowa to join the 200 people competing in the Thunder Challenge, testing their grit... and raising money for Project Sanctuary, a charity that helps military members reconnect and reintegrate, once they come home from war.

“Can`t expect any body to understand it until you`ve lived through it, but there are some awesome people out there who are trying,” Briggs said.

And speaking of trying, that's easier said than done on this course.  For more than six miles and 20 + obstacles, they’re trying to see if they can do what Navy Seals do.  Seeing if they've got what it takes to overcome the obstacles.

Something Michelle Briggs proved she could do long before she ever set foot on this course.

To learn more about the Thunder Challenge, click here:

To learn more about Project Sanctuary, click here: