Robstown native Hermilo Del Angel lives for challenge. Both physically and mentally, Del Angel lives to test himself to the limits.
Following graduation from Robstown High School in 2001, SSgt Del Angel headed the call to service, and his own internal need for challenge by joining the U.S. Marine Corps. In the last 10 years, he's done numerous deployments overseas, and served as a Drill Instructor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Training in Parris Island, S.C. Now, he is preparing for his biggest challenge yet, signing up to enter “The Spartan Death Race”, considered one of the hardest races on Earth.
The 2012 Spartan Death Race is an Elite level of obstacle races. It is designed to be totally unexpected. This endurance race is comprised of mud runs, obstacle racing, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all over more than 48 consecutive hours. More than 90 percent of participants quit before finishing.
“I was deployed in Afghanistan when I first heard about the race. A friend of mine was looking at some videos on the internet when he came upon a site called youmaydie.com. I watched the video of the event, and as a big challenge junkie, I was interested right from the start. I was like, 'I'm going to go for it.'”
Del Angel finished his tour in August 2011, and immediately began a heavy training regiment, which included long runs in excess of 20 to 30 miles, and bicycle rides of more than 140 miles at a time, all to improve his stamina.
Along with CrossFit workouts for endurance and strength, Del Angel hikes where he is currently stationed in Japan, with 40 pounds on his back and pounds thousands of times a day with a sledge hammer on large tractor tires.
“Most of my weekend workouts last from 12-18 hours. I've always liked to challenge myself, obviously, since I'm a Marine, and this race looks like it won't disappoint,” Del Angel said.
Del Angel does not train alone though. His fellow Marines have pulled together behind his effort, and five friends workout with him around the clock, in two hour shifts, as Del Angel trains throughout the day.
“Right now it's 5 a.m. At six I got the guys coming in, and they'll each do one section of my workout with me, Today I won't stop until 6 p.m. They do like one or two hours and I do the rest,” Del Angel said.
The race begins on June 15, and with less than 10 days, Del Angel said he feels positive about his performance in the race.
“I'm a very positive guy. Only one in three finish the race, but I'm pretty confident in myself, and I'm hard headed. I will give it the best I can,” Del Angel said. “I'm not hoping to win, I'm hoping to finish. Even if I am hurt, I will continue to go. I would have to die to not finish this race.”