Three years ago eight PAX gathered in the gloom in Chapel Hill at the behest of Rodeo, at the time a third-year student at the UNC School of Law. He knew of a nice little venue known as the Outdoor Education Center located close to the Law School tucked into the woods east of campus—complete with a parking lot, field, steep slopes, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and a picnic area with plenty of benches. Ideal, he thought, for an F3 venue. The workout would be christened Rameses, and it’s continued every Wednesday morning since.

“I was doing F3 regularly during the summer in Charlotte and the guys suggested, in a kind of offhand comment, that I should try to get one started in Chapel Hill when I went back to school,” says Rodeo, today an attorney in Charlotte. “The expansion efforts are usually very targeted, focused and somewhat regulated by F3, so our expansion was kind of a rogue one-off. Thanks to the strength and commitment of the guys in Raleigh and our core group in Chapel Hill, it just took root and took off.”

F3 had been active in Durham since November 2012 on Saturday mornings on Duke’s East Campus, and Adolphus and Shooter had become regulars there and thought it made sense to expand the F3 movement into Chapel Hill. When they heard of Rodeo’s plans for a Chapel Hill workout, they jumped on board.

Those three plus two F3 veterans from Raleigh, Chong Li and Cinderella, joined three FNGs at 0545 on Sept. 19, 2013. The highlight (lowlight?) of the original posting was an absolutely stupid Bent Jacob’s Ladder. The PAX gathered at the BFH (Big Effing Hill), ran down to the first landing and did one squat, then ran back to the top and did one burpee. Then a lap down and up with two of each, then three, then so on up to ten. The coup de grace was a partner carry up the BFH.

In planning the three-year anniversary workout for Sept. 19, co-Qs Adolphus and Shooter considered replicating that first workout but knew the staggering numbers to which the Chapel Hill F3 nation had grown would prohibit that much traffic on that narrow BFH. So Adolphus suggested enlisting fellow site Qs from some of the other seven Chapel Hill workouts, giving everyone a few minutes and a different area of the OEC and having at it.

Thus forty-three PAX gathered in a steady rain Monday at Fetzer, conjuring up the old Bob Marley line: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” It felt quite glorious indeed on a warm morning with nearly four dozen mates along for the ride.

The Thang:

After a welcome and introduction from Adolphus, the PAX ran one-half mile (mostly uphill) to the church parking lot at the top of the Outdoor Education Center. There D.O.I. led a warm-up of 43 SSH (one for each PAX in attendance) followed by mountain climbers, merkins and arm circles.

Shooter led the group down to the main parking lot of OEC, where we did a knocked-down version of an exercise performed at the second Rameses workout back in 2013—bear crawl halfway up the parking lot, sprint to the top, sprint back to the bottom and knock out burpees in ascending order from one to five over five laps.

Subprime took the baton and led the PAX to the tennis courts, where we split into two lines at the side of the first court. Half the PAX lunge-walked across four tennis courts, knocked out 15 merkins and returned. The second group held a People’s Chair for a minute to give the first group a head start and then followed with the same routine. We repeated one more lap with bear crawls across four courts and 15 burpees.

Assisi and Spooky double-teamed the group at its last stop, the picnic area at the bottom of the OEC. We partnered up with each twosome knocking out 150 merkins and a like number of dips combined.

From there it was a long haul uphill out of the depths of the OEC and then a half mile back to Fetzer. We had time for just a few core exercises but were nearly 10 minutes over so we circled up for COT.

Among the many testimonials from the PAX over the influence F3 Nation has had on their lives were these:

“Thanks to the PAX for changing my life and encouraging me when I needed it most. You ALL inspire me—the site Qs and original PAX especially. I can’t imagine where I’d be without you guys,” said Ricky Bobby.

“What a great turnout in the soggy gloom. F3 has changed my life for the better and I know it has for others as well. Thanks Adolphus and all who make this happen every day,” offered Yanni.

“There is a lot to be said about the impact we have on one another each day, and equally important—the impact we have on those around us and our communities. It’s been life-changing in more ways than I can count,” added Coco.

“I am sincerely grateful to those who brought F3 to us through their sweat, vision, and goodwill (Shooter and Adolphus), who make our cyber-chatter possible (DOI), who provide the social glue (Coco), who think up stupid, glorious challenges (KJS), push the Q window with a bag of tricks including things like ‘bring two bricks to F3’ days (Walt), bring it to every exercise, every day (Subprime), and so many others. Lots of great leaders in the group.” said Assisi.

Prancing Horse took special note of the contributions of Adolphus, the “Godfather” of F3 Chapel Hill who soon after the Rameses debut initiated workouts on Fridays (Bastille) and then Mondays (Fetzer). There was not a man living in the Triangle who avoided a head-lock from Adolphus that first year. In line at McDonald’s? Adolphus with the head-lock.

“Thank you Adolphus for bringing F3 into all of our lives,” Prancing Horse said. “Thank you for keeping it going in the worst of times, even posting by yourself, rain or shine, heat or cold, snow and ice.”

As PH quoted from Lao Tsu: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: ‘We did it ourselves.’”