Survival Run Interview with Josue Stephens

When I first heard of the Survival Run, I was instantly intrigued.  I checked out the website,,  and was hooked.  I sent an email to Josue that same day and told him I wanted in.  He told me to check out the websites and let him know if I still wanted in.  Little did he know that I had already read every word and thirsted for more.  He then invited me in and, although I will not be able to make the 2013 race, 2014 is mine and I hope to give it hell!  Please read about why this may just be the most difficult and dangerous Obstacle Course Race in the world.  



Explain what this race is about?


  • The Survival Run is an ultra distance volcanic jungle obstacle course race with extremely physically and mentally challenging obstacles set up as Pass or Fail. The race theme is tied into primal survival within the indigenous culture and will challenge the racers beyond anything they have ever experienced.  Set up as a championship event with prize money, we are accepting entries by application only. The field will be limited to no more than 50. Think Ultra Beast meets Death Race meets Birdman Race (Rapa Nui) meets Ninja Warrior

Where does this race take place?


  • On Isla Ometepe, an island on Lake Nicaragua. Located about 25 miles north of the Costa Rican border. Isla Ometepe is the second largest freshwater island in the world.  The race takes place on February 16th, 2013 alongside the 50km and 100km ultra marathons.


What is the significance of this location?


  • The island is unique in that it is composed of two volcanoes with an isthmus joining the two. One volcano is active, the other has a lagoon inside of it. Hence the name, Fuego y Agua, Fire and Water. The volcanoes are steep and rugged with jungle and cloud forest covered slopes. The course is already very challenging without even adding any obstacles.


What gave you the idea of putting this kind of race together?


  • I have been directing the Fuego y Agua Ultras on Ometepe since 2008. My original intent for these races was to create something extreme as the ultimate challenge. Something to take people beyond a standard “running only” ultramarathon. With the Ultra Beast, Death Races and longer obstacle course events coming into play, the world is ready for this. I finished the Ultra Beast this year and knew it was time.


What kind of obstacles will there be?

  • Part of the mystique of this race is that the obstacles will not be fully revealed until the day of the race. Memorization will be an obstacle throughout the entire course. The type of obstacles will be tied into the “natural” environment and require the runners to complete them to continue successfully in the race. Some obstacles will have something necessary (in or on them) to complete the following obstacle. The race medal is comprised of 4 puzzle pieces that come together to say I DID NOT FAIL. If a runner finishes with a partial medal of one, two or three pieces, their medal will say “FAIL,” “I FAIL,” or “I DID FAIL.”No burpees, the penalty of not completing an obstacle is failure to finish with all pieces of the medal. Those who finish without their complete medal do not qualify for the cash prize or a complete finish.

What training recommendations can be shared to better prepare for this?


  • Climb, Swim, Run, Carry, Throw, Survive. Check out MovNat’s video “The Workout The World Forgot” (minus the grappling) to get a better idea on the kind of training required for this race


I know there is a 15 hour time limit, will people be allowed to finish after that time?


  • The 15 hour cutoff is strict, this is a challenging race. People can finish after 15 hours, but will be in the same category as those who did not collect all of their medal.


Where can people go to find out more?



Is there anything I am leaving out?

  • In addition to an incredible experience on a course you will never forget, the weekend will be special for many more reasons. Runners from all over the world attend the ultras and the island will be full of great people, good beer, good swimming, gorgeous views, great weather and one of the best times of your life.


 This link was included in the email interview Josue sent me with the answers to my questions.  It is a very interesting and, in my opinion, very true workout we as humans did hundreds if not thousands of years ago.  I believe the Survival Run that Josue is bringing to our attentions is going to get us back there……

 The Workout The World Forgot


About the author


This group is in full support of Obstacle Course Racers everywhere. To getting people off the couch and helping beat the obesity crisis in this country. No more excuses it’s time to get up and get involved. No more can’t, won’t, or don’t know hows. It is our goal to motivate and support our families, friends, and neighbors into a healthy lifestyle. Come join the Corn Fed Spartans and it will change your life!!

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