VMI ‘Rat Challenge’ tests mental and physical fortitude

The 10 week program leads up to the Rat Olympics

The VMI 'Rat Challenge' is underway where freshman participate in outdoor obstacles that culminate to the 'Rat Olympics' in November

LEXINGTON, Va. – At VMI, strength comes in the form of mental and physical fortitude. The Rat Challenge is a program designed to test both.

“Not even physical obstacles, it’s the mental obstacles. You know, some things you look at it and you don’t know how to complete it and that’s why you work together,” said Adrian Cox, VMI class of 2024, who’s serving as a mentor in the challenge.

Upperclassmen exercise their leadership skills while serving as mentors. The ten-week program is administered by the physical education department.

The program’s goal is to have participants overcome personal limits and fears, all while stepping outside their comfort zones.

“I’m naturally a shy person so coming out here and cheering people on and yelling a lot has helped me come out of my comfort zone a little bit,” said Paul Doty, one of this year’s rats.

From obstacle courses to rappelling down a cliff, there were many hurdles to conquer in the Rat Challenge.

And the freshman participants were taking all of the obstacles on as one.

“It just gets us that brother rat spirit, during hell week we had time to do that, but this really we have a good time to bring us together. It’s not as strict and it’s fun,” said fellow rat Dylan Staples.

It’s a journey the rats travel together with pride and unity.

“They’ll be flying their flag, they’ll be singing jodies, they’ll be encouraging on, some will run down there, some will march down there.

The Rat Challenge leads up to its epic conclusion, the Rat Olympics in November.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.