post by Jonathan
After some Advil, TWO showers to remove the red Carolina clay, and a lot of water, I’m happy to say I survived the 4th Annual Marine Mud Run at Belmont Abbey College. I’ve been working up to this event for a few months after being talked into it by some gym friends, and now that I’m on the other side, I’m glad I did it. Most importantly, this event raised over $22,000 for children of Marines who were killed while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The course consisted of 4.25 miles of trail running in addition to a variety of obstacles/challenges. Teams of four competed in heats of 10 (40 runners per group), and all obstacles had to be completed as a team (“No Marine Left Behind!”). There were a total of 117 teams in the competitive division, at least four of which came from the Ballantyne YMCA. The obstacles included push-ups (with a nice Marine’s boot in the middle of my back), duck walks, climbing through tunnels, scaling 8-foot walls, carrying 20 lb sand bags, and a crawl through a pit with 49,000 cubic feet of mud (according to their website). That’s about knee-deep muck for 50 yards or so. All of this was done while Marines “motivated” us (a.k.a. called us names, screamed that we were not fast enough, etc.). Nothing like an angry Marine drill sergeant about 2 inches from the tip of your nose to get you going!
Since we all met in a class called Athletic Conditioning at the gym, we named our team AC Power. AC Power did well—we finished first in our heat of 40 racers. There was a fair amount of confusion over the exact course to run, so about half of the teams lengthened the run by ½ mile and repeated several of the obstacles. Fortunately, our entire heat followed AC Power, so we were able to tell how we did compared to our heat. Unfortunately, we were misdirected and were one of the heats that ran too far and repeated some of the events. The Marines took full advantage of another opportunity to “motivate” us during our second pass. At the finish line, the judges put it all together, decided it was too tough to figure out each team’s time based on the course they may have run, and scrapped the awards. Fine with me—I don’t think AC Power was in any danger of winning anything. We found out later in the day that we placed 14th overall out of 117 competitive teams (not certain how they sorted it all out). Bottom line—we all had fun, got a little dirty, helped some children of fallen Marines, and probably made a few spectators laugh along the way. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.
Due to the very early start and the too tempting pit of mud, Trish opted to keep Ella and Jack away—a smart move on her part. But since she’s our family photographer and historian, I don’t have pictures to post. Some friends were there taking pictures, so I’ll see about tracking a few of those down over the next few days.