Nothing short of a broken leg will stop this guy from competing in the Death Race

In June, the 2011 Death Race will bring together athletes from across the world for a long, absolutely brutal test of endurance, strength and willpower. Participants will climb hills, carry weights, crawl through mud, dive into frigid mountain streams and solve puzzles. Columbus resident Andy Bush will be there - and vows to finish.

I caught an article in Outside magazine. I saw this guy bloodied and tangled up in barbed wire. It just caught my attention, and I had to keep reading. By the time I was done with that article, I got on the race website, youmaydie.com. I said, "Guys, I'm doing this. I'm gonna do it."

There's a lot of m ystery involved with the Death Race . They really don't give you a whole lot of information about how to prepare or what tasks are going to be part of this. They give you little information on what you can bring, where you can stay. I don't even know how I'm going to go to the bathroom at this thing.

This year they expect 200 people. Their finish rate, they predict, will be 15 to 20 percent. And just about everybody that's signed up for this is an ultra-marathoner, a marathoner, a Marine, a physical trainer, a personal trainer.

Then there's me: I've never, ever done a race in my life . I consider myself to be in great shape and a good athlete, but I've never pushed myself. I've always been intrigued by the idea of a marathon or triathlon, but I don't like to run. Working out in gyms doesn't get me that excited.

I wa nt to be outside getting dirty. My training's been carrying heavy weights, carrying logs - basically hill-climbing with heavy weights. I've been doing a lot of swimming. I have started running. It's playing through pain. It's putting my body in awkward, uncomfortable positions.

This is the reason I'm doing this: I've got to see where my limits are. I truly believe that every human being on this planet is capable of so much more - we just don't push ourselves. I've committed to this, and there's no way I'm turning back.

My weak area currently would be endurance. But I offset that with my strength: pure desire and determination. I'm going to have to have a broken leg to get me off that mountain.

Three things I can't live without are beer, music and family adventure.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.