Marines, civilians run Grand Prix 2010 series

20 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. Victor A. Barrera

Ready, set, go! More than 110 Marines, sailors, civilians and children participated in the first race of the Grand Prix 2010 series.

The 5k challenge on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Camp Devil Dog was the kick-off event for more than 15 running and cycling challenges ranging in distance from five kilometers to half a marathon spread though out the course of the year. Grand Prix events are held on both military installations and civilian communities.

“This is a way for service members and civilians to get together and get to know each other and build good relationships between the military and civilian communities,” said Mike Marion, the race director, and French Creek Fitness Center manager.

Runners like 11-year-old Makoto Kewish, already a seasoned cross country and track and field veteran, to beginners who are using the event to get back into shape.

The race was ideal for runners of all abilities; however, this 5k challenge had a twist. Along with the distance, racers were faced with a few obstacles. One of the most formidable was dubbed ‘the elevator’ by some.

The elevator was a steep hill, which forced runners to use several means to overcome the obstacle. Some runners climbed up and over the hill  using their hands and exposed roots. Others were forced to slow down and use a guide rope on one side of the trail.

In addition to the hill there was another challenge, this one; however, was not part of the terrain. The day before the race there had been a controlled burn, which caused smoke to linger over Camp Devil Dog.

Even though the smoke floated lazily through the camp this did not stop runners from participating.

“This is my third year running the Grand Prix, I do about 90 percent of them,” said Maria Kirk, a webmaster with Camp Johnson’s communications shop. “I also ran the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s satisfying to know that you met your goal.”

After all the runners passed the finish line the awards were handed out.

Rod Brewster took first place with a time of 18 minutes and 27 seconds. Along with his medal and bragging rights, Brewster received 18 points toward the Grand Prix series.

“At every challenge we give points based on things like run time and age,” said Marion. “The points go toward the whole series. The more events someone goes to the more points they get. At the end we have a Grand Prix awards ceremony for the people with the most points.”

Along with individual awards and points, the event allowed runners to compete on an individual or team level. The team to come in first was the Marine Combat Training racing team. The group consisted of combat instructors and company officers.

The next Grand Prix 2010 event is scheduled for March 6, at the United Services Organization aboard Fort Bragg and is slated to be a 10k run.

For more information contact 451-0092 or visit the website