Six Hours in Hell was an event I think most Rebels were talking about, and even instructors were looking forward to. Initially meant to be on 5 May 2013, the dates had to be changed due to the 13th General Elections in Malaysia. So 11 May it was! Most of us went down the night before, mainly because heading down those dark back roads to Sepang Gold Coast in the early A.M.s on an unfamiliar route wasn’t advisable. Even then, we nearly ran over a herd of cows trying to cross an unlit road!
Instructors had to be on the beach by 0330, setting up the gear for the three stations. So that was two 80kg tyres, three battling ropes, two inflatable boats and four heavy-ass logs! If dragging tyres and ropes on a normal field is tough, imagine doing that in sand while wearing shoes! Pumping up those boats was quite a task as well. Karen and I were all shiny with sweat by 0430.
Rebels were up by around that time, I think (not sure as I was on the beach). But in any case, when I went back to the room for a quick towel down and change, most of them were up, eating bananas and chatting. Some looked nervous but many were pretty relaxed. laughing and I think wondering what was in store for them.
By 0500, everyone was on the beach. Basic briefing was underway, things like sorting them into their teams (Boat Teams 1, 2 and 3), telling them to sound the horn if they want to give up (and repercussions of giving up), just the basic stuff. By 0530, ‘warm up’ took place – Wet & Sandy. Not gonna give too much away on that, but I suspect that the Rebels enjoyed this section a bit too much for it to be called hell…
By 0600, they split into their respective sections and were sent to us. Three of us with a section each – Karen’s with the tyres and ropes, Omid’s with the logs and mine with the boats. It’s hard to tell which is the hardest, but I was guessing that Karen’s was the toughest. Feedback seemed to indicate the same. Mine might have been the most fun (since they were in the water a lot). In fact, Karen and I were instructed to wear swimming gear underneath.
A lot of mental strength was required from the Rebels. It was definitely one of the toughest sessions I witnessed (or participated) as an instructor. Inside, I was really feeling it for the participants but our briefing was “today, you are not their friends”. This was fine, but by 0900, I had to really suppress my sympathy. The sun was blistering, everyone was red like a lobster and they were really really feeling it!
By 1030, the last group with me were pushing hard, and by then, four guys (literally, men – not one single female dropped out!) had sounded the horn – indicating that they were giving up on the 6 hours! This last bunch might have had it the easiest with me – tide was going out, water was ankle deep, boat was near the shoreline – so I had to amp it up for them. Still, these ladies – for they were all ladies – were a strong team, working together, fighting off the mental negativity together, really working it!
I think one of the most memorable experiences for me ever was the reactions of the Rebels when the horn sounded three times – 6 hours done! They made it through hell! I cannot describe the joy and triumph I saw before me – all of them wet, sandy, muddy and burnt, hugging each other, congratulating each other – amazing! Of course, I got my fair share of hot sandy hugs too!
We’re still talking about it and I’m still thinking about it. Definitely an experience worth having!
Good one, Rebels!!