Video: Want to train like a Navy Seal?

Thursday - 5/8/2014, 2:25pm EDT

Don Mann, Battlefrog chief operating officer

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Imagine testing yourself against some of the same obstacles America's toughest service members face. That's what you can experience this summer when the Battlefrog Obstacle Race Series comes to 12 East Coast communities.

"Some people think because it's designed and inspired by Navy Seals, it's going to be too difficult for them," Don Mann, former Seal Team Six member and Battlefrog chief operating officer told Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp Thursday.

Battlefrog events aren't just for the toughest of the tough, though. Each event features three different courses targeted at different skill levels.

"One's called the Tadpole," Mann said. "It's only a half-a-mile long, 1 kilometer, and you can be 4-years-older or older to do the Tadpole. The Bullfrog is the second race and that's 5 kilometers, 3 miles or so in length, and there's 15 or so obstacles people will have to encounter, go over, under or around. The big race, the Battlefrog, is probably 25 to 30 obstacles, depending on the city it's in, and it's about 9 miles long."

For those living in the Washington, D.C. area, who are interested in participating in one of these races, a Battlefrog event is coming to Tomahawk MX Park in Hedgesville, West Virginia, on Saturday, July 19.

The first thing participants will see when they come to sign in at an event is a helicopter hovering above and Navy Seals rappelling rapidly to the ground.

"They're going to do a Seal demonstration for the audience," Mann said. "They're going to show the audience one of the capabilities a Seal team has in taking down a terrorist and capturing a terrorist. That's going to be a fascinating show. The helicopter will fly off and then, the Battlefrog race will start."

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All of the races are designed by former or current members of the Navy Seals and are similar to the obstacles they encounter during their field training.

"We have obstacles that are smaller and easier, and some that are a little different than we have at field training, what we call 'BUDS.,' basic underwater demolition Seals training," Mann said. "But it is very realistic. The only difference is in field training you have Seal instructors yelling and pushing you. Here, we have Seal instructors motivating and inspiring people, not so much like they're in a boot camp or a BUDS training scenario."

Much of the work Navy Seals perform is classified. Events like the Battlefrog obstacle races offer the public a glimpse into that world.

"A lot of the missions and a lot of the training cannot be discussed, but this facet of training, using the obstacle courses, it encourages teamwork. It encourages people to have some strength and it encourages people to help one another," Mann said. "Everything that was instilled in us in field training through the obstacle courses, we can take those same values and we can instill them in our competitors."

The Battlefrog Obstacle Race Series raises money for four charities: the Foundation for Navy Seal Veterans, the Navy Seal Foundation, the Navy Seal Memorial and Navy Seals: The Trident House.