The 5K Jailbreak Challenge hosted by the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department resulted in a great opportunity for the Steam to participate in community outreach, while increasing awareness of these empowering women as proud gridiron humanitarians. Known as “The Toughest Obstacle Course Run the Law Allows”, it is part of a fundraising event where monies raised benefit the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Charities Fund while helping to finance the operations of its Teen Mentoring Programs.
Competing in the 10:30am wave, which featured the Team Competition, were Steam competitors Keyon Harrison, Leanne Hardin (one of the club’s defensive captains) and Jodie Nettles, who were joined by Michael Price, a male competitor.
Criteria for the team competition were that each member of the team needed to complete all the obstacles, and then finish together. Although everyone who crossed the finish line earned a Finisher’s Medal, the top three entries in all team categories (male, female, and co-ed) were presented with an award.
The 2015 Jail Break Challenge Course was not for the meek as it began with a mixed terrain run which was followed by a Sandbag Carry consisting of 50 yards. Afterwards, a length trail included the first of many obstacles, such as narrow trail sections, creek jumps, fences and numerous kinds of surface terrains.
Approaching the halfway point was a one mile hard-surface run that culminated at the jail’s Perimeter Road. Strategically, this was considered the most ideal time to recover strength and recuperate from the grueling first half of the course. Rapid elevation changes would proceed over a stretch of five kilometers, in which competitors would come across military-style Obstacle Courses, testing the mettle of many. Taking into account that Hardin is among the brave and proud members of the United States Armed Forces, she helped set the tone for her teammates.
Elements such as 45-degree rope climb over a 2-story tall structure, an attic jump, tube crawls and agility challenges, plus a cargo net climb, there was also a rope climb. Once competitors reached the top of the 16’ rope, they had to ring a bell. Mercifully, the course reaches its end with agility Bars, a military rope crossing, and a vertical 8’ wall.
Of note, the co-ed group composed of three Steam players successfully completed. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that said group finished in second place, testament to the remarkable athleticism of the empowering women of the Atlanta Steam.
Numerous members of the Steam graciously volunteered their time, including head coach Dane Robinson. Players such as Brooke Barnhill, quarterback Dakota Hughes (the winner of the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award), Jessie Locklear, Heather Urbank and
Carolyn Wright were on-hand for moral support. Afterwards, all Steam players in attendance remained for autographs and photographs with fans, enriching the experience. In addition, John Hendricks also donated his time, taking some remarkable photographs of the Steam’s gridiron heroes in action.
Photo credit: John Hendricks