Veterans compete in obstacle course to raise awareness for veteran suicide

Veteran and Spartan course designer Dylan Forsyth competes in a race.

Veteran and Spartan course designer Dylan Forsyth competes in a race.

Spartan’s Atlanta Super and Sprint Weekend will challenge the stamina of residents and raise money for more than 40 charities this weekend over two days.

A local veteran is among a group that is participating to raise awareness for veteran suicide.

Jimmy Sanders said he was inspired to raise awareness for the organization 22Kill after losing several friends to suicide. The name of the organization comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ statistic that about 22 veterans die from suicide every day.

As a Georgia representative for the organization, Sanders speaks to veterans who are struggling with adjusting to life after deployment.

“If someone is having difficulty adjusting or just needing someone to talk to that’s when I jump in to try to help get them out of that dark place, or point them in the right direction [towards resources],” he said.

The Tucker resident will complete the strenuous Super obstacle course alongside five other veterans. The intense eight-to-ten-mile sprint features about 25 obstacles.

Sanders said he’s completed grueling courses before.

This one will offer new challenges, however.

This time, Sanders is confined to a wheelchair. He said his new physical limitations never discouraged him from participating, however.

One of the men who will be participating with Sanders is Dylan Forsyth, a Spartan course designer.

The two men served in the Marine Corp together and Sanders said when he heard Forsyth was involved with Spartan he knew he wanted to get involved, too.

“[Sanders]” asked ‘can someone like me finish one of those races?’ I said ‘Absolutely. We can get you from the start to the finish line, no problem,” Forsyth said.

Like, Sanders, Forsyth has used being physically active as a way to readjust to life after deployment.

“I had a rough time when I came home,” he said. “Doing these races kind of helped me find my way back into this lifestyle.”

Spartan’s Atlanta Super and Sprint Weekend will take place on Dec. 3 and 4 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. Participants can register for races up until 5:30 a.m. on the day of the race.

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