Marines

Mud Run tests willingness to get ‘down and dirty’

28 Jun 2007 | Mr. Jamie Cameron

If your idea of road racing is a shade-covered route through suburbia, you might be ready for a change.

As part of the 2007 Marine Corps Grand Prix Series, the annual Lejeune 8K Mud Run will be July 21. The five-mile course will test experienced runners with new challenges, including mud (pending any rain) and a small creek that must be traversed. Novices may also enjoy the opportunity to participate in a fun race over what amounts to a natural obstacle course.

“It’s a very popular event,” said Mike Marion, Grand Prix Series coordinator. “You have to gauge where you’re going to try to pass people because parts of the course are only wide enough for single file racing. There will also be surprises.”

In year’s past, surprises have included low crawls under logs and plenty of jumping. For many participants, finishing the race will be an accomplishment in and of itself. Marion reassured the course design will accommodate runners of all levels.

“It’s for everybody,” he said. “You can go out and walk it if you want to. We’ll be there when you get done.”

The course will incorporate much of the mountain bike trails behind the Camp Lejeune Correctional Facility. The trails are open to anyone and Marion advised runners to scout the location before race day. “If you run the mountain bike trails, you’ll have a really good idea of what to expect,” he said.

The Marine Corps Grand Prix Series, sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services, has been held annually since 1993 as a unique opportunity for athletes of all abilities and backgrounds to test their fitness, mental preparedness and skill levels.

This year’s series includes events at Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Marine Corps Air Station New River and various other locations in the surrounding communities.

Participants compete for point totals in addition to single-event glory. Awards are presented to the top-three finishers in each of 10 age and gender divisions after each race and competitors accumulate points for each event they successfully complete.

Though higher points go to division winners, end-of-the-year honors often go to dedicated runners who enter all of the events in the series.

“One misconception is people think they have to win races to receive an award,” said Marion. “Every year, a lot of the runners at the top of the final standings are folks who just went out and collected their five points at every race just for finishing. Those people often beat out the elite runners who come in just for one or two races.”

Registration for the Mud Run is $20 up to July 19. After that, runners can pay a $25 fee right up until the start of the race. All participants will receive a T-shirt and refreshments before and after the Mud Run.

Registration forms can be picked up at any of the fitness centers on base or online at www.active.com. Completed forms, along with registration fees, should be handed in to Marion at the French Creek Fitness Center.

For more information, Call Marion at 451-0092 or E-mail him at marionmj@usmc-mccs.org.