HomeNewsArticle Display

DFASt Wilderness Challenge team takes 1st in AF

Dick Fulton and Mike Sonderman, members of the Defense Finance Accounting Service and 460th Comptroller Squadron Wilderness Challenge team, DFASt, paddle in after completing the two-person kayak event. The team competed against 50 military teams in six events that totaled 53 miles Oct. 6 and 7 and won first out of five Air Force teams and 16th out of 51 total teams.

Dick Fulton and Mike Sonderman, members of the Defense Finance Accounting Service and 460th Comptroller Squadron Wilderness Challenge team, DFASt, paddle in after completing the two-person kayak event. The team competed against 50 military teams in six events that totaled 53 miles Oct. 6 and 7 and won first out of five Air Force teams and 16th out of 51 total teams. (Courtesy photo)

Mike Sonderman and Gene Vesey, members of the Defense Finance Accounting Service and 460th Comptroller Squadron Wilderness Challenge team, DFASt, run the last 200 yards of the 53-mile, six-event military adventure race Oct. 7. DFASt came in first out of five Air Force teams and 16th out of all 51 teams.

Mike Sonderman and Gene Vesey, members of the Defense Finance Accounting Service and 460th Comptroller Squadron Wilderness Challenge team, DFASt, run the last 200 yards of the 53-mile, six-event military adventure race Oct. 7. DFASt came in first out of five Air Force teams and 16th out of all 51 teams. (Courtesy photo)

Gene Vesey, Dick Fulton, Mike Sonderman and Randi Miles, members of the DFASt Wilderness Challenge team, pose at the finish line Oct. 7 after the two-day, 53-mile 6-event military adventure race. Vesey, Fulton and Sonderman are part of the Defense Finance Accounting Service crew, while Miles is a member of the 460th Comptroller Squadron. They placed first out of the five Air Force teams and 16th out of the 51 teams that competed.

Gene Vesey, Dick Fulton, Mike Sonderman and Randi Miles, members of the DFASt Wilderness Challenge team, pose at the finish line Oct. 7 after the two-day, 53-mile 6-event military adventure race. Vesey, Fulton and Sonderman are part of the Defense Finance Accounting Service crew, while Miles is a member of the 460th Comptroller Squadron. They placed first out of the five Air Force teams and 16th out of the 51 teams that competed. (Courtesy photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Four Denver Air Force members that made up the DFASt team took first place out of five Air Force teams in the Wilderness Challenge Oct. 6 and 7 in Fayetteville, W.V.

Dick Fulton, Mike Sonderman and Gene Vesey, from the Defense Finance Accounting Service, and Randi Miles, from the 460th Comptroller Squadron, covered 53 miles of ground and water in the 6th annual two-day, six-event military adventure race in 9 hours, 4 minutes and 10 seconds to place 16th overall out of 51 teams.

Their alternate, Broc Richardson, from DFAS, motivated them through it all.

"I had a major sense of accomplishment finishing that race," said Fulton, author of the team name and slogan "Can't win if you're DSLOw".

The race started off with an 8-kilometer mountain run that, according to C. Mark Brinkley from the Navy Times, was more up than down.

"The mountains in West Virginia are more like hills compared to the Rockies," Fulton said. "But those are some big hills."

DFASt finished the run in 43:36, faster than 35 of the competing teams despite the fact the competition run was the first time the four had run together, he said.

They ranked 27th in the half-mile swim and whitewater rafting, which were combined. Miles swam through a Class 1 rapid and climbed in a boat with the rest of the team to battle 35 Class 3 to 5 or higher rapids through the Gauley and New rivers and finish the first day's events. The team finished in 1:48:07.

In the fourth event on Oct. 7, which was a treacherous 14-mile mountain bike race, the team pedaled through flat terrain, intense hills and tons of mud puddles in 1:40:30, the sixth fastest time. Then, the team split into pairs to paddle the seven-mile duckie race through Class 1 through 3 rapids. A duckie is a combination of a raft, a canoe and a kayak powered by double-edge paddles.

The final event was a 14-mile endurance hike through some of the most rugged terrain in the Appalachians.

"It seemed the last two and a half miles were all uphill," Fulton said.

The team finished in 3:17:30, a time that put them above 33 other teams.

They began training for the event in April, Vesey said.

The team ran a 7-mile loop through Dakota Ridge, biked a 20-mile loop up Mount Falcon, ran the 12-mile loop around the Cherry Creek Reservoir and one 15-mile run by Denver International Airport, among other treks, bikes and hikes, to prepare, he said.

Fulton said at least three of them trained together in one of these about once a month. They also ran in the Cherry Creek Sneak, a local endurance race. Miles ran, swam or biked an hour a day as part of her usual workout routine. She is also a marathon runner.

The training paid off, however. Their goal for the event was to finish in the top three of Air Force teams and top 15 overall. They didn't meet the mark for the second goal, but they blasted the first out of the water, Vesey said.

Fulton said next year, they have to save face and take first in Air Force again. They are also shooting for a higher overall placement.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.