News 12 at 11 o'clock / Saturday, May 12, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Do you have what it takes to be a soldier? That's a question many found an answer to Saturday at the Marine Mud Challenge on Fort Gordon. For many, the answer was no.
It is a 5 and a half mile course through mud, water and Marine obstacles and it really gives people a firsthand look at the training soldiers go through everyday.
"We have a new appreciation for them and to see some of the competitive teams in their fatigues going out there," said competitor Stacey Lewis. "It's a lot of work that they do, and they're a great encouragement on the course, too. It's a lot of fun."
The course has 19 different obstacles and was organized by Gunnery Sgt. Richard Groves, Staff Sgt. Christopher Margoupis and Staff Sgt. Jose Gomez.
"These obstacles are exactly the same as what you would see on a Marine Corps base and what a Marine goes through," said Cpt. Clinton Armstrong.
Throughout the course, the participants get sprayed with hoses, crawl through the mud and run through the sand.
They do it all as a team.
"It's really a team sport so when one of us was lagging the other one is going, 'You can do it, come on,' and then you turn the corner and there's a Marine telling you to pick it up, so just lots of points you get to get motivated," Lewis said.
Over 2,300 people, all teamed up in groups of four, took the challenge. We followed one team from start to finish.
"[We're expecting a] lot of misery and pain. Um, a little suffering, but it's all fun, though," they said at the beginning.
A mile into the course, they weren't so sure how fun it was anymore.
"I need a medevac stat, just look for the helicopter, it's coming," joked another.
But by the time they reached the finish line, they were ready to do it again -- just not today.
"We'll do it again next year. We're gonna definitely beat our time -- that's our goal. Maybe train, yeah we may actually practice, run a little bit beforehand," they said.
News 12's Tim Strong made it through the run as well.
As the teams crossed the finish line there was a feeling of accomplishment, and that's something Armstrong hopes the community will take with them.
"That's another reason why we do this is to kinda instill those ethos we learn in the Marine Corps, and we pass it on the community. A little bit of hard work and endurance, anything is possible," he said.
This is the fifth year of the mud run and they say it has grown drastically. It started with just 500 and on Saturday over 2,000 showed up.