Faces of misery – Summer Death Race 2014

There are few better indicators of mental strength during long endurance events than the ability to smile when everything around you is terrible.

During Summer Death Race 2014 I conducted an experiment. I intercepted racers either during or immediately after completing slow, arduous tasks – and shoved my stupid grin and a camera in their face. If they cracked a smile (or better) they had a better than average short at completing the event.

There are many, many photos of people giving me poopy faces. Most of those folks did not cross the finish line. Even those shown below who did not complete the entire event, on average, tended to have a far better personal finish than those whose minds couldn’t snap out of the miserable task at hand and mug for the camera.

Here are some of the happy fools:

Hey @ozwebb, I know that's heavy, and I need to check on you while you lug that boulder up this hill...but first, let me take a selfie. #peakdr #deathrace
Hey Tim, I know you gotta make a buckskin skirt and whittle a hole through a log, but first, selfie. #peakdr #deathrace
You can smile now @ekociuba, the hurting is over. Many asses were kicked. Shall we #selfie to celebrate? #peakdr #deathrace
Nothing witty/punny to say. Just the last #peakdr #deathrace #selfie - nearly 70hrs on the trail and these fools are still all smiles. Incredible performances all around. Well done, now go to bed.
What do you mean you 'lost' your racer? He's one of like 4 Asian people in the state of Vermont - how do you misplace that? Well, while we wait, selfie? #peakdr #deathrace
Sorry that you took a wrong turn Melody, ended up miles off course, and vw'd so you didn't blow up your knee. I get that all you want to do right now is drown the sorrows in cheap red wine and potato chips, but first, let me take a selfie #peakdr #deathrace
Hiya Bones! Totally understand that I'm interrupting your stagger/stroll down this screechingly hot dirt road, but here, chug some sweet tea, and lemme take this selfie. #peakdr #deathrace
Dion, you're effectively a Viking. I assume you're able to make an ax out of sticks and rocks with ease, right? This race is in your blood, get moving, but first ... selfies. #peakdr #deathrace
Trench foot? Really John? No problem, we'll get that cleared up, but first, let's take one of those selfies. #peakdr #deathrace
Of course you can steal my piss warm beer @ajmatesi! You're the athlete here after all. Before you go limp up that mountain, may we take a selfie? #peakdr #deathrace
@mylistlessheart, your smile needs work. Sure, you just got lost in the woods for hours, couldn't find a stupid hole punch tied to a tree, and almost missed your time hack - but it ain't so bad. Say cheese, let's take a selfie. #peakdr #deathrace
David Kim, you've been racing for 30+ hours. I'd ask you to take a selfie, but honestly, I'm not sure you even notice that I'm here. Enjoy the spirit world! #peakdr #deathrace
Looking good Patrick. I know we're busy cutting chunks off of feet, and getting sanitary with a garden hose, but look sharp - time for selfies. #peakdr #deathrace
Ankle blowing up? Need to sit down and have someone wrap/ice it? No problem, but there is a price to pay. You know the drill. #selfie #peakdr #deathrace
Dan! Somehow you make sleep deprivation, tyvek suits, and adult diapers look darn handsome. Mind if I collect a self portrait? #peakdr #deathrace
Louis why'd you quit? It looks like so much fun out there. Oh, your teammate went down and you bowed out to support? Your selfless act deserves a #selfie my good man. #peakdr #deathrace
Dammit girl, this is a serious race. You literally -just- finished running up a mountain with a bag of concrete on your shoulders. Why are you smiling? No matter. Selfie? #peakdr #deathrace

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