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Texas Commando Challenge Reviews - March 17th - 2018
Behind Enemy Lines Reviews - June 30th - 2017

Bottom line up front; Behind Enemy Lines was f**king awesome.

Disclosures: I am an Officer, and by proclamation, a gentleman. Protocol demands that my tone be a certain way. The problem with all that is I am prior enlisted. This means that I tend to be more blunt than the rest of the Officer Corps. I should hope you are glad for it. The Ward Room is full of insufferable blow hards that are far too important for their own good. Annoying, really.

On to what is important – your course. I do a lot of these things. Every weekend, actually. I am on a PTSD / Suicide Awareness Campaign (of my own design and funding) and I use the OCR style events as a vehicle to deliver my message. I covet the endurance events most of all. I do run the gamut of all of them; Spartan; Tough Mudder; Savage; Rugged Maniac; Marathon’s, Tris, etc. I make veterans aware of the events, train with them and pay the entry fee (much to my wife’s delight . . . ). This only occurs after I attend the event for myself to make sure it is something that I would endorse, for what that’s worth. Let’s use the Spartan Agoge as example. I have graduated 004 and 005 and would not recommend it. For anyone. It is a shit show, full of professional assholes of dubious military background. A refuge for wannabes and never-beens.

But what about GBC?

I can say, and have said, without hesitation, that Behind Enemy Lines is the best endurance event I have ever attended (Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12, Hurricane Heat 24, Winter Agoge, Summer Agoge, Ultra Marathons – you get the picture). It was excellently run from jump. Even the attendees were top shelf. Everyone wanted to be there. Why?

Your business model is phenomenal and the Cadre is even better. If they had a beard, ball cap or an abundance of tattoos, they were consistently excellent, except for the only unbeared man, and ring leader known as Ballas. Apparently this was a known fact to previous attendees as they had patches made declaring their love for the guy. I eagerly await for my F*CK BALLAS patch to arrive. I will display that with pride.

Let’s get back to your Cadre and Course. It really was excellent and I enjoyed myself immensely. I learned a lot. to own the truth. Things that I will use during my time in command and beyond. One of the things that sticks out the most was the attitude and demeanor of the Cadre. Attitude reflects leadership and the student body was in excellent spirits and did not complain once. Let that sink in; not one ill word uttered. Everyone looked forward to the next challenge. Trust was absolute, which is no small feat considering the things we did.

I am registered for the TX Team Challenge. I cannot attend the 22Jul event as I am previously committed. This makes me sad as I want to take part in everything that you have to offer. I believe in you, your Cadre and your product. I find myself wanting to advocate for others to take part in what you have. I do so, actively, and hope to discover ways to do so with greater frequency. I will happily sponsor anyone that wishes to attend but lacks the means to do so. This is the indelible impression you have left on me.

So thank you for what you did/do. I lack the vocabulary to fully express how I feel about the entirety of what I experienced; words cannot explain. So let numbers serve as substitute. 10/10 – would do again.

The only thing that I did not have the chance to obtain is some sweet ass swag. I don’t have a t-shirt, patch, hat, coin, etc. If you would kindly explain how I can give you some more money, that would be aces.

Thank you again, Mark. And please thank your Cadre. All of them. Please let them know that some Squid Officer thinks the world of their effort and retains a deep respect for their previous life departed and the new one they have embarked upon. You have made all of us better. For that, I thank you.

With respect,



You hear about it from your most extreme friends. You have done a few spartan races with 6000 people you don’t know in the past but this is a “Green Beret Challenge” It must be too hard for me you think. You hear about how bad it sucked. you see the pictures of the heavy carries and endurance loops. You see people in flooded villages and on top of substantially built obstacles. You hear “The pain is legendary” and you hear “Its not for everyone” and then you realize… Im going to be late for my spartan sprint or my tough mudder or my warrior dash!! so you jump into your car and you drive to your race… you know the race.. the same one you have done 25 of at the same and different venues … the one that never changes …. has the same old tired ass obstacles that you mastered 2 years ago but its familiar and you like surprises …. you know .. the surprises like expecting a finisher pic or a fit aid and not getting shit or you like the color blue on that coveted finisher shirt to find out that your blue is different than the blue on the 4 people before you and the 3 behind you. All sun faded and shit fresh out of the box. You ask them for another one and they tell you to STFU and that yours was “vintage” so you should be happy.

When you get home and you log back on Facebook you start seeing your friends posting the pictures… the ones where everyone is smiling and hugging … and you see different teams that bicker about stupid stuff like big teams at other branded events all hanging out and smiling together at GBC… you think … am I missing something? yeah.. you are.

Does it suck?. hell yeah it sucks. Why wouldn’t it? It was hot as hell. The yoke carry is of the devil himself. I am sure Mark gave him a few free entries to come up with that one. The farmers carry? It was ugly as hell. Ex Girlfriend ugly. For just surviving it you should get a medal.

Wet Rope climbs so high you might get a nose bleed. ( if you can climb it. I couldn’t and I always nail the rope… )

Climbing through windows. Down Fire Escapes, over obstacles. Under barbwire neck deep in mud from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Over the school busses , and through the mud , to Marks flooded Katrina village we go. ( just getting past Terry without him talking shit at the last obstacle is damn near a obstacle in itself but thats why we love him)

So the race is hard…. but it is for everybody… the pain is real the challenge is hard. You can expect that in your 1st GBC.

What you don’t expect is the camaraderie of people you don’t know and the coolest vibe in OCR at this event. I went not really wanting to do the event because I have been focues on my Ironman training for this year.  I have done 3 OCR when I normally have done 25 by this time. I came to the event to see my family. I came to see my friends before and after the event. I came to be inspired. However, I ended up doing the event. It sucked.. I smiled the whole time. I got my medal and small shirt that will be sent to someone special. Once the suck was out of the way I enjoyed the conversations, the hugs, the smiles, the meeting of new friends ( many) the reunion of old friends that I never see unless I show up to GBC (and other events but I get to see many more friends I am close with when attending a GBC vs. other brands )

So here is the deal:

Not giving a shit about Big Team because we are all on the same team is GBC for me.

Seeing my friends so happy and doing well in their relationships , many that forged from the events we all do, is GBC for me.

Playing with Lance & Ginna Burns Johnson’s sweet kids in the festival is GBC for me .

Seeing my brother from another mother, Shaun Sickle who I never see who came to the event for some of the same reasons is GBC for me.

Supporting and hanging out and being inspired with my OEW people is GBC for me.

Hearing a 4 wheeler coming up behind us on the course knowing its Mark Ballas the Owner, is about to ride by laughing at us as we suffer… and we smile because… he’s right is GBC for me.

The fist bumps, the motivation, the volunteers who are so awesome the pre race dinners the post races lunches…. the facebook trash talk up to the events just to provoke more pain on Raceday….. Thats all GBC for me.

I am always sad to leave this venue because I know it will be a while before I can have this much fun again with these people and already planning for the next one..

GBC is OCR for me.. GBC is Family for me.


– Jason Clayton, Team Southern Spartans

The Tenneessee XII - September 30th - 2017

As I am sitting here looking back at this weekend, I can truly first off thank Mark Ballas and Matt for pouring their hearts out into delivering such an amazing 12 hours of hard core endurance challenge not just a physical one, but a mental one. You can tell when even the strongest people drop out. Yes, this is not for everyone. We had such an amazing group of hard core athletes. Brad Beckham III, Danny Garcia, And of course, I have to give this to the beautiful women who pulled together and showed their strength by never giving up and always pulling through strongly – Rachel Watters, Rosie Archuleta, Sanchez Erickas Page, Suzanne Zemke, Graciela Garcia, Nancy Nelson, and Melissa Garcia. Beautiful venue, beautiful weather, on such a beautiful night. The moon and stars were smiling down on us. It will be impossible to describe this event. One thing I would add is that every time I complete one of Mr. Ballas’ great events, I become a better person. Did I mention the part where you can get lost quickly by assuming directions??? Hahahaha love you all. your CL. #skulls #f**kballas #GBC

Miguel Carranza

The Tennessee XII - September 30th - 2017

Hard to express my feelings of this epic event. 12 hour event from 7 pm to 7 am with a lot of suckfest in between. Unending hills of bucket carries and yoke carries and crawls through the worm pits but unbelievable beautiful starry and moonlit night with The support and encouragement from the GBC team is beyond phenomenal- Rosie Archuleta Sanchez and the new friends I have met are beyond the best. I went in with doubts and came out feeling blessed. Did I wonder my sanity a few times? Yes. Did I want to quit? Never! Thanks Mark Ballas for pushing our limits!
Nancy Nelson

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