MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- More than 400 adventure seekers trudged through waist-deep mud, scaled cargo nets and climbed over large walls as they journeyed through Marine Corps Community Services’ Extreme Endurance Challenge 10K at Camp Devil Dog, a satellite installation aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Feb. 9.
“There was record participation (compared to previous events),” said Mike Marion, the race coordinator and a fitness center manager aboard MCB Camp Lejeune. “This proves the popularity of endurance and mud runs. Everybody enjoyed the obstacles and the mud. There was a lot of positive feedback through our Facebook page. It was a good day over all.”
This event was the first in a year-long string of challenges for 2013. The Grand Prix Series is a monthly test of mental and physical strength hosted aboard MCB Camp Lejeune since the early 90s.
The course consisted of a trail run with obstacles and exercises set throughout. Hardened athletes and amateurs alike gathered to challenge themselves, and competed in categories based on age and gender.
Marion said its variety makes it a good alternative to the usual workout.
Participants earn points from competitions throughout the year. The overall champion is awarded prizes at the end of the year. Up to 18 points can be gained by placing in the competition, and those who finish a race earn five points.
Another treat came in the location, Camp Devil Dog, a place where east coast Marines conduct some of their initial training.
“I hadn’t been to Camp Devil Dog since Marine Combat Training,” said Sgt. Thomas Kunish, a contracting specialist, with Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Headquarters and Support Battalion, who won first place overall for males.
“I had flashbacks,” he added with a laugh.
The Grand Prix began a new chapter in Kunish’s racing career. A member of the All-Marine Racing Team, Kunish took some time off from competitive running and used the race as a fun introduction back to the sport.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Kunish, who won with a time of 41 minutes, 47 seconds. “I haven’t raced in so long; it’s good to know I’m still in shape.”
Although he decided to run the 10K for fun, he was still there to compete.
“I race for fun,” said Kunish. “I can relax, and it keeps me engaged and active.”
The race was a small step towards Kunish’s aspirations. He aspires to build a winning streak throughout the year that he hopes does not finish with the 2013 Grand Prix Series.
“I want to win the Marine Corps Marathon and qualify to go to the Olympic trials,” said Kunish
Meanwhile Kunish is having a blast with the Grand Prix Series.
“MCCS is so good at organizing these events,” said Kunish. “It was phenomenal.”
For those desiring a challenge the Grand Prix Series’ next event is the Saint Paddy’s Day Engineer Challenge All-Terrain 5-Mile at Courthouse Bay aboard MCB Camp Lejeune March 16. Those who register before noon Feb. 15 pay a discounted fee and are guaranteed a T-shirt in the participant’s size.
For more information visit www.mccslejeune.com/grandprix.