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  • Friday, September 11, 2015

    Hundreds at Patriot Highlander Challenge Aid Wounded Vets

    About 800 community members, military personnel and veterans convened in Cobleskill, N.Y, on Aug. 29 to participate in the second-annual Patriot Highlander Challenge – a Legion-sponsored event that pits participants against each other in a six- or three-mile race through 18 different obstacles.

    Named for the Revolutionary War Patriots who fought in Schoharie County, N.Y., the event sends its participants over hills, across balance beams, through mud puddles and ponds, up ropes, and around and through various kinds of other obstacles in a timed competition. The event benefits wounded warriors.

    The event was founded and organized by local Legionnaires, including Gary Schacher, the Department of New York’s membership chairman.

    “We’ve run a few Spartan Races, and we decided to do a similar event locally to help our fellow Iraq-Afghanistan veterans,” Schacher said.

    Participants, who organized according to teams, could choose to run either a six- or three-mile course, both of which featured the same 18 obstacles. Times were taken for each participant, and a winner of each course was crowned at the end.

    In its second year, the Challenge increased the mileage of each course and also added a few new obstacles. Additionally, organizers added a 1.5-mile children’s obstacle course to make it a family friendly event.

    Schacher says “a good mixture” of participants joined in, hailing from military and civilian backgrounds.

    “We had military personnel, both active duty and reserve and Guard, as well as people from the local community show up,” Schacher said. “We had a good mixture, everything from veterans to law enforcement to librarians and bank tellers.”

    Next year’s event is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 27 at the same location. The goal next year, Schacher says, is to sign up 1,000 participants and raise even more money for wounded warriors.

    “We are showing that the Legion is out there supporting our broken veterans,” he says. “That’s what this is for: to help raise money for our wounded.”

    — Reported on, Sept 10, 2015