Dem Chops! Running in a bombsuit


We all face challenges to varying degrees in our daily lives. Some people face more unique challenges than others. Two people in particular, both having served in our U.S. Military as EOD Techs, were injured in combat and sustained life changing injuries. Mary Dague lost her arms. Brad Lang lost his legs. They both face some very unique challenges every day.

The EOD Warrior Foundation (EODWF) is an organization that focuses on "Disarming Challenges." Both Mary and Brad have benefited from the EOD Warrior Foundation. Both of these EOD Techs are willing to do whatever they can to help raise awareness of EODWF. Mary was on hand to show her support of the AUSA/EOD Warrior 5K. Way to go Mary! Thank you for your continuing example of perseverance!

On Oct 25th the AUSA/EOD Warrior 5K was held in Olympia, Washington at Heritage Park. The 5K would be a total of two laps around Lake Olympia.

David Rhoden, 5.11 Tactical‘s Guy – who is responsible for maintaining Brand Image – accepted the Challenge of wearing a Bombsuit for the Warrior 5K. Rhoden had never worn a bombsuit before, let alone run a 5K wearing one. But, this didn’t even faze him. He showed up to the challenge with a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. And with this in mind, he was ready.

Wearing a bombsuit while running a 5K is a challenge most of us wouldn’t even consider. Yet there were Twelve hardcore individuals, including David Rhoden, ready to take on the challenge of wearing bombsuits and running in the 1st Annual AUSA/EOD Warrior 5K.

The word had been out for a while that David Rhoden was planning on running the Warrior 5K in a bombsuit and there were many people close to David anxiously waiting to learn his fate. Did he have "chops" to run and finish the Warrior 5K while wearing a bombsuit?

During the past year, David has embarked on a path of physical fitness and endurance participating in a number of events across the country, which require strength, resilience and tenacity. His goal: to show everyone his "chops." On Oct 25th, David, while wearing a bombsuit, would demonstrate once again that he has the "chops!"

Twelve personnel lined up at the base of the state capitol for a 15-minute head-start. The weather was definitely on their side. It was a beautiful day for all the runners and a nice day for family as well.

5K Q & A

David, were your initial preconceived concerns… weight distribution, chaffing, heat, etc? Can you give me some insight into any of this?

Absolutely. Honestly, my biggest concerns going into it were chaffing, which really wasn’t an issue at all. I mistakenly thought running in a bomb suit was going to be easier than the way I had been training because I assumed that with even weight distribution, I wouldn’t have any one muscle group overworked. Big mistake! I’d rather have all the weight on my shoulders and back any day! With regards to heat, that was probably the worst part. The heat in the suit builds and builds, and there’s just no way to get ventilation in there. Overheating was probably the biggest reason I’d have to stop running and walk. The day after my hamstrings and hips are sore, but far less than what I thought they’d be.

When you arrived and saw how many others were wearing Bombsuits for the run, did it make you feel like "Hey, it can’t be that hard?"

Nope, it actually added to the stress. If you’re the only one running then there’s no real pressure to finish at an uncomfortable pace. But, with 12 guys running I knew the bar to perform had been raised and I always feel that I have to be first. First to put out to the best of my ability to honor those that have and continue to serve our awesome country and second, because I represent a brand image. I feel I need to be as tough as how we’re hopefully perceived. Whenever I do a hero WOD (workout of the day) I try to adhere to the rule of no complaining. I have my health, my family, all of my limbs and for the most part, get to come home each night. What these guys do is highly risky and selfless, and it was a privilege to participate. How could you look at Mary and the challenges she faces daily and even think about complaining?

Once you did start to suit up, and Joey was there to assist… what did you think of the overall process of suiting up?

Teamwork makes the dream work! I’m glad HE knew how that thing went together! And he was awesome support during the run, telling me stories, giving me water when I needed it, and helping me push through the pain. Great dude! Thank you Joey!

At halfway thru the run, what were you thinking and how were you feeling?

I kept apologizing to Joey every time I had to stop and walk, and felt like I kept letting him and the EOD community down. I just couldn’t believe how hot I was getting and how the suit just didn’t breathe. The weight of the suit really strained my quads, hammies and calves far more than I had anticipated.

You got out of the bombsuit pretty quick at the end of the run. How did you feel when it was finally removed?

Ventilated! My body just needed air! The weight of the suit when walking isn’t that unbearable, but combined with exertion becomes extremely suffocating. I can’t imagine how terrible it would be to wear the suit for real in the Middle East or hotter climates.

Would you do it again?

Of course! Pushing ourselves physically and mentally builds confidence, extends our limits and broadens our capabilities. If I never try it again, how will I know if I can beat my time?

What advice do you have for anybody currently thinking of doing this? Wearing a Bombsuit in a 5K or similar physical evolution?

If at all possible, train in a bomb suit. There’s just nothing else that compares. I only allowed myself about four weeks to train up for this with weighted runs, but I think six weeks would have been about right.

Anything you’d like to say about why you did it? And anything in particular about EODWF, the EOD community in general, the camaraderie you observed or anything at all you’d like me to close with?

It was a privilege. I regretfully didn’t serve in the armed forces, but feel we all owe a huge debt to those that do. I’m blessed to participate in the tactical community and support our warriors. Thank you so much for inviting me!

David Rhoden, Sir. Great job on completing the AUSA/EOD Warrior 5K in a bombsuit and winning 3rd (of 12). I am extremely proud to know you and appreciate your continued support of our military and tactical community. I look forward to seeing you around the block!

Stay tuned for the 2nd Annual AUSA/EOD Warrior 5K in 2015. We hope to see you there!

Take the challenge! Checkout the EOD Warrior Foundation website at to help us raise awareness of this exceptional foundation dedicated to Disarming Challenges!

The staff at Guns & Tactics Magazine would like to express a very special “thank you” to Chief Bronson for providing this article and photos. Chief Bronson is the Ambassador for EOD Warrior Foundation, PACNORWEST region.

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