Grizzlies make a splash at Mud Run

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- Teams of completely soaked and muddy Grizzlies crossed a finish line the morning of June 13 during the 2009 Camp Pendleton Mud Run. 

The 163rd Reconnaissance Wing has made this world famous annual race a tradition and in true Grizzly spirit had four teams that placed and swept one entire category. 

People come from around the world to compete in this 6.2 mile race. It isn't just a regular 10k competition; the course boasts various challenges which brings more than 4,500 runners per race, four times a year. Some of the challenges included tire obstacles, a river crossing, two 5-foot walls with mud on both sides, a tunnel crawl, slippery hill climb and the final 30-foot mud pit. 

The course has a completion time limit of 2 hours and 45 minutes and the wing's seven teams all finished with more than 45 minutes to spare. Times ranged from 1 hour and 29 minutes to 1 hour and 51 minutes. 

In order to compete in the team categories, runners had to create a five member team with one member acting as a team captain. 

Scoring the fastest time of the day for the Grizzlies was team "Bear Paws" with a smoking 1 hour and 29 minutes. Leading the team was Master Sgt. Cynthia Sartin. Other members included Staff Sgt. Hannah Reed, Tech. Sgt. Steven Hanes, Staff Sgt. Giovanni Sanchez and Senior Airman William Barlett. 

Sweeping the female teams in boots and utilities were the "Gnomads" taking first, "Bearly There" in second and "Dirty Bears" in third. 

The teams fielded by the wing had varying skill levels, as well as civilian friends and family members running. 

"I think our team did well, especially considering it was all our first time, with the exception of [Sergeant Sartin]," said mud run newcomer Sergeant Reed, "But it's hard to prepare yourself for the extra 15 pounds of mud and water you collect in your BDUs and boots. It was definitely an unforgettable experience! Next year game on! Good job Bear Paws!" 

Also a first time runner and "Dirty H2O" team member Staff Sgt. Megan Lombard said, "The run was a delightfully unexpected challenge for me. There was a steep hill which seemingly never ended and a lake crossing, and who knows what was in the water." 

Sergeant Lombard continued, "I liked what the race promotes. Even if you're blissfully unaware of it, it forces you to work as a team. You had to cross the finish line as a team which meant you were only as strong as your weakest person, which in the end made it more fun. My team worked as a well oiled unit and we all had so much fun. A finish line never looked so good in my life after this race." 

Captain Amanda Herrington, three time mud run veteran, led the "Gnomads" to first place in the females boots and utilities category, boosting a time of 1 hour and 41 minutes. 

"This is a great annual event that gets strong participation from our wing and promotes a lot of camaraderie among wing members," said Captain Herrington. "Every year I have competed, I've seen everyone have a lot of fun. And I hope it continues to be an event with high Grizzly attendance." 

Other teams that competed but didn't place were "Boondock Gnomes", "March Tropics" and "Dirty H20". 

The mud run proves the wing doesn't just get dirty while working hard, but they play even harder, in the mud.