The FBI National Academy’s Yellow Brick Road — 40th Anniversary

A photo of a group of National Academy students participating in the Yellow Brick Road.

FBI National Academy (NA) graduates fondly recall their experience on the “Yellow Brick Road.” The final test of the fitness challenge, the Yellow Brick Road is a grueling 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the U.S. Marines. Along the way, participants must climb over walls, run through creeks, jump through simulated windows, scale rock faces with ropes, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver across a cargo net, and more. Students who complete this difficult test receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize their achievement.

The course became known as the Yellow Brick Road years ago, after the Marines placed yellow bricks at various locations to show runners the way through the wooded trail. The overall fitness challenge began at the NA in 1981 and has evolved over the years; the FBI started awarding yellow bricks in 1988.

Delayed until 2021 because of COVID restrictions, NA Session 280 was the only class participating in the 40th anniversary of this landmark event. Students faced the challenge on December 13, 2021.

A photo of a National Academy student climbing a hill by using a rope.
A photo of a student climbing a netted challenge.
A photo of female National Academy students.
A photo of a National Academy student completing a challenge on the Yellow Brick Road.