MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The sun peaked over the top of a heavily wooded area where Marines eagerly waited to receive the number that would identify them as contenders in the grueling challenges that awaited them. A cool breeze, combined with a ripple of excitement, stirred around the competitors gathered at the starting line, zealously waiting for the blast of an M155 howitzer that would signal the start of the event.
“We compete to see who’s the best,” said Sgt. Haley Jimenez, a competitor with Headquarters and Service Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations-West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
“I think we’ll do great,” she said eagerly. “I’ve ran these hills and this isn’t my first race. Myself and my team will kill this game!”
The 2018 Mud Run Commanding General’s Cup Team Competition is a race that stretches around Lake O’Neill on Camp Pendleton. Over 2,000 Marines from numerous bases in southern California and Yuma, Arizona, attended the event to challenge themselves in an event that is designed to push their athletic caliber to the limits.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge, and to compete with other Marines,” said Jimenez.
5…4…3…2.BOOM! The M155 howitzer goes off signaling the start of the event. Competitors cheer as they run as fast as their legs can take them as they make the first turn of the competition desperately trying to create as much distance from their opposition. It’s not long before Jimenez’s team, team 79, crushes through the waves of competition that had started long before them.
“My legs are so sore, this competition definitely tests your endurance more than anything else,” said Jimenez.
After several checkpoints, team 79 finally reached the frozen waters of the Chosin Reservoir.
“We kept together, and never left a Marine behind” said Jimenez, as the team ran off to the next challenge with grins on their face as they anticipated the challenges that were up ahead.
After conquering the “slippery hill”, team 79 rushed past the remaining challenges and crossed the finish line with newfound vitality. The team had worked hard to keep each other motivated and pushed past all obstacles in their way.
“We all helped each other motivate, when someone was slowing down, we would slow down, catch our breath and keep moving, ” said Jimenez.
The motivation and commitment displayed by team 79 is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Mud Run. Numerous Marines coming out to compete against one another while representing their own units from across the region shows the esprit de corps each Marine holds that helps bring a family together.
“I was tired, my legs were giving out, my back was hurting, but my team was pushing me to the end,” said Cpl Giovany Noyola, supply admin chief with Headquarters and Service Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations – West. “I feel the connection between myself and the other Marines I ran with became stronger.”