An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Edwards lieutenant proves he is one 'tough guy'

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes
  • 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
An Edwards Airman has proved he is the 762nd toughest guy in the world after running through a series of obstacles with fire, mud, water as well as barbed wires, electrically charged ropes and more mud. 

With a time of 1 hour, 38 minutes and 55 seconds, 2nd Lt. Jordan Kahn was one of 2,869 people from around the world who finished the Tough Guy's Year of the Bended Arm at Wolverhampton, England, on Jan. 27. 

"It is an ultimate survival ordeal," Lieutenant Kahn said. "The race really is a test of mental and physical endurance."

Held on 150 acres of farm land, the annual race started with a six mile cross-country run through woodland trails and open gazelle leg sections. 

"You go up and down the hills, through the forest, then the 'killing fields,'" Lieutenant Kahn said. 

The "killing fields" consisted of 25 obstacles such as the Tiger, Colditz, Behemoth, Firey Holes, Vietcong Tunnels, Berlin Wall and Stalag Escape. A series of ditches interspersed with fire, tunnels created from tires, electrical cables and knee-deep mud were just some of the types of obstacles participants went through.

"It was a challenge," Lieutenant Kahn said. "It is something I want to look back and say 'I did that.'" 

Challenging him the most was the underwater tunnel, where the approach was wading through chest-deep water, he said. Participants were dropped in a river that had a series of dunks and their routes blocked by telephone poles. 

The Anaheim, Calif., native said he finished the course at the same time with his fellow Air Force Academy graduate, 2nd Lt. Thomas Smith, a maintenance officer with the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. 

"We wore matching outfits resembling the American red, white and blue," Lieutenant Kahn said. "We took some old, blue rugby shorts, red tank tops, and red knee-length socks. We also painted our bodies half blue and half white. It was just part of the fun." 

Lieutenant Smith said he and Lieutenant Kahn would not have been able to finish the race without their teamwork. 

"We pushed each other on the runs," Lieutenant Smith said. "We dragged each other over the walls, nets and muddy bogs, and kept each other moving." 

For Lieutenant Kahn, he said he needed to finish the Tough Guy race because he said he felt he couldn't go all the way to England and then not finish it. 

"I couldn't let myself quit," the former Air Force Zoomies Rugby team player said. "It took me a lot of time and energy, how can I quit?"

Prior to flying to England, Lieutenant Kahn prepared himself with a 10-week work-out plan. He ran for four to five times a week, as well as lifted weights three times a week. 

Arriving at the "Death Pit" to register for the race, Lieutenant Kahn said he thought to himself, "what the hell am I doing here?"

"I thought this might not be a good idea," he said. But still he continued. 

The rugby fanatic said he could have opted for mainstream extreme sports, such as marathons and triathlons, "But it takes a different kind of person to run a Tough Guy." 

"(Marathons and triathlons) are impressive, but it is the challenge of Tough Guy that got me into it," Lieutenant Kahn said.

It was a challenge that gave him bruises and scratches on his legs, arms and body. 

Before participating in the race, Lieutenant Kahn and all the participants had to sign a medical disclaimer, accepting the risk of running the course and the risk of injury. Hypothermia was one of those risks. 

"My body would get numb whenever I get out of an obstacle with water in it," he said. "I just had to keep moving and just push through it." 

So who is a tough guy? 

"Tough guy is how you think of it," Lieutenant Kahn said. "Consider yourself one if you can push yourself as far as you can go. And I guess, I am too because I finished the race." 

At the end of the race, Lieutenant Kahn said he felt a big relief. 

"I felt great finishing the competition," Lieutenant Kahn said. "It was nice to sit down and relax. I cleaned myself up as best as I could and tried to get all the mud off me."