Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 8, 2013

I’m fresh back from Rocksprings, where I communed with spiders, centipedes, lizards, cactus plants and a bunch of tough athletes who apparently have rhino hide for skin.

The humans were racing in the Survival Run: Hunter Gatherer at Camp Eagle. I was just watching (and enjoying some time in a tent.)

I’ve never seen anything like it.

People voluntarily covered 50K or 100K, tackling obstacles based on the Native American culture along the way. The course wound up hills, through a river, into dry creek beds and over rugged, rock and cactus-studded terrain.

The sun was three hours from rising when the race started at 4:30 a.m. The first thing the competitors did was make a pair of sandals that they had to wear for the duration of the race. Over the next day or so, they waded neck deep down the Nueces River, towing logs. They harvested cactus pads and fashioned them into drinking vessels. They started fires using only sticks and a length of cord. They hauled 90- to 100-pound loads of rock miles through the woods.

And they filtered their own water along the way.

Look for a story soon…