A Marine public affairs officer tested her grit in front of a national television audience on a recent episode of "American Ninja Warrior," making it to so far as one of the show's toughest most challenging obstacles before ut ultimately taking a plunge.
Capt. Kristin Dalton, a Camp Lejeune, North Carolina-based reservist, competed on an all-military edition of the show, which pits athletes against grueling timed obstacle courses and the clock. During the July 7 airing on NBC, active-duty and retired troops service members scrambled through a new course in erected on the San Pedro, California, waterfront next to the historic battleship Iowa.
While Dalton failed to earn the title of American Ninja Warrior, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program black belt instructor-trainer said she has no regrets and plans on qualifying for another shot next year.
"It was honestly the most incredible experience — something I will never forget," she told Marine Corps Times Dalton said. "The excitement, the adrenaline rush, the nerves coming together at once was a unique experience."
Dalton said she first had the idea to compete following a discussion with The idea to compete first came from family members while on leave during a holiday break last fall.
"I was watching [the marathon around Thanksgiving] last year, the marathon around Thanksgiving, and my mom said, 'I think you could do that,' " Dalton said. "I thought, 'I am 30 with three kids. You are crazy.' "
But she decided to put together a three-minute submission video. The video highlighted ing everything from her three children andher athletic talentsto her eight years of military active-duty service and her time as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, where among other things she led the cheerleading squad and minored in Chinese. Then, she waited hopefully for a reply.
In April she got a call from the producers of a Los Angeles area-code, but didn't answer thinking she didn't know anyone from there. Fortunately,"American Ninja Warrior" producers left a message letting her know she was selected for the show. At first, said she couldn't tell many people — only close friends and family which she described as torture. She o, she set her sights on winning and started training.
"My biggest concern was upper body strength," she said. "I had been a gymnast and pole vaulter, so I always had upper body strength, but I started a lot of pullups and wall climbing." she said.
She used a quick but tough killer regiment to kick off her daily workout that involved alternating between max sets of chin-ups and 10 pushups with as little rest between sets as possible.
By the time she arrived in California for the June 5 and 6 filming, she said there were many unknowns, but she felt ready as ever.
"When I got out there and saw the course, at first I was looking at these things wondering what on earth is that and what are they expecting us to do on that," she said.
The course incorporated "two never-before-seen obstacles: – the log runner and the challenging I-Bbeam Ccross," according to the show's American Ninja Warrior website.
Dalton's first hiccup came on the log runner obstacle, "Log Runner" which was a series of four rolling logs oriented across the course. Dalton nearly fell and touched the logs with her hands, which later resulted in a penalty. But she but managed to make it to the "I-Bbeam" cross, which requires competitors to use mostly upper body strength to maneuver the beams from below. That beam proved challenging for many of Dalton's competitors, and several were sent packing when they couldn't make it acrossa contorted I-beam that was the course's most challenging and proved the end of the run for many competitors
But the beam, which knocked several of her competitors out of the running, proved challenging for Dalton, too. While trying to pull herself up the vertical portion of the beam, she lost her grip and was sent splashing into a pool below. transition from a horizontal portion of the I-beam to a vertical one, she struggled for the better part of a minute to make the corner and pull herself up. But, after losing her grip, she slammed into the water below with a big splash, ending her run.
Even though she lost, Dalton said she's thankful to have been given the opportunity to compete.
"Some people walk away from it with regrets or upset, but I look at it as a positive experience," she said. "I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. The best part about 'American Ninja Warrior' is the competitors, the athletes you are there with," she said. "They are such a supportive community. It is you competing against the course, not against each other, cheering each other on."
If she makes the cut again next year, Dalton said she has Now she has her sights set on next year with every intention to try out again and make it to advanced rounds.