DALLAS—The 100-degree heat didn't keep the Ellis County Camp Gladiator Contenders from trying to qualify for a spot in the CG Games last Saturday in Dallas. They took part in the CG Games preliminary round in hopes of making it into the top 50, and a chance to compete for cash and other prizes at the CG Games in Austin, Saturday, Sept. 7.

The event featured a timed 400-meter run with a sandbag, a timed one-mile run with a sandbag, a timed 120-yard sandbell toss, a timed 120-yard sandbag bear crawl, a timed sprint and agility cones.

Each contender expressed how challenging the competition would be, but said they were up for the challenge, despite concern for the distance runs.

Josh Jabour of Waxahachie said he trained pretty hard in preparation of the preliminaries and he was looking forward to competing against some of CG's finest contenders, but he wasn't looking forward to the one-mile run.

“My goal is to at least make the top 50 and kill this competition,” Jabour said. “I'm not looking forward to the one-mile run for time. I'm gonna gas myself pretty good on that one.”

Jabour said he considers himself a “beast” when it comes to weights, but is not considered a distance runner or speedster by any means. He said when it comes to the other fitness challenges, he's got it all in the bag.

Zach Lewis of Corsicana said one of his personal goals of the day was to finish the mile within six minutes and make it into the top 50. Lewis finished a little over six minutes, but he was very satisfied with his overall performance.

Jack Burns of Waxahachie set his expectations on finishing in the top 25. He said he always sets his standards extremely high, and this competition wasn't going to cause him to alter that.

One of his personal goals was to complete the mile run within seven minutes, which he accomplished.

He said he was expecting the bear crawl and the sandbell toss to give him problems, but he wasn't really worried about it.

“I know some of the things are going to be difficult, but they have to be done so I'm going to give it my best,” Burns said.

Jennifer Harisis of Waxahachie has been training with Renee Byrd for the past four months and feels that Byrd has whipped her in enough shape to perform well at the event.

Although she was nervous, Harisis said she was ready for the task.

“I just want to make everyone proud of me,” she said. “Hopefully I'll place, but if I don't it's OK. I'm just out here to give it my all.”

Nick White of Ennis said he didn't care where he finished as long as it wasn't in last place. He said he feared the bear crawls would get the best of him, but his trainer, Shane Wigley wouldn't allow that to happen. As White pushed himself the length of a football field, Wigley was there every step of the way encouraging him to not quit.

Brian Clark of Ennis also trains with Wigley. He said that was the only reason he was at the competition.

He said his goal was to make it through the mile run and the 400-meter weighted run, which he wasn't looking forward to.

Clark's wife was also taking part in the preliminary event. She said she was there for one reason, to make herself proud.

“I'm doing this for myself,” she said. “I want to prove to myself that I can do this. Running will be my worst event along with the bear crawl, but I know I'll make it through it.”

Trainer Renee Byrd said this past weekend was undeniably the most amazing experience ever.

“To see those contenders give their best was absolutely amazing,” Byrd said. “It takes a lot of courage, discipline and effort to do what they did. It was just absolutely the most amazing thing ever.”

She said what made it the most rewarding experience of her life was the fact they endured all the challenges the event threw at them.

“It wasn't about them making it into the top 50, but the fact that they went and competed,” she said. “They all commented on the fact that it was one of the hardest things they've ever done, but they're already looking forward to next year.”

Byrd said getting them to step out of the box and their comfort zones to challenge themselves is what it's all about. She said she wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.

As of Aug. 6 the updated results had not been posted on the CG Games website. Times from the preliminary round testing are being updated this week. Final times will be posted Thursday at noon.

To sign up for Camp Gladiator or if you have questions, contact Renee Byrd at 972-741-1271 or email her at renee@campgladiator.com.

Melissa Cade is a journalist for Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. Follow her on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.