News: Brave joggers battle ‘The Beast’: 3rd Marine Regiment hosts 8th annual 10K run
Story by Cpl. Reece Lodder
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii - Golden rays of sunlight painted the boisterous sea of anxious competitors as they lined up for 3rd Marine Regiment’s 8th annual “The Beast” 10K run outside Pop Warner Field on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, March 12.
On the signal to begin, the horde of military and civilian competitors bolted forward, their arms pumping furiously and their thundering heels striking the pavement in a noisy barrage. In a flash, the speed demons broke from the pack, dashing across Mokapu Boulevard and disappearing down Lawrence Road.
“Since we live so close to Kailua, a very fit community, this race is the best opportunity for us to promote health and fitness while showcasing our talent and combat fitness among runners in the community,” said Alex Elizalde, Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Marine Regiment.
The 10-kilometer race, hosted by the regiment and Marine Corps Community Services, was the third in a series of 10 races in the 2011 Commanding Officer’s Fitness Series. The race’s total of 335 competitors was the highest in three years, and nearly doubled last year’s number of 170 participants, said Tina Lui, varsity sports coordinator, MCCS.
“This is the best race on base,” said Elizalde, a Houston native. “Completing this course is like running two physical fitness tests, and since we’re in PFT season, it gets Marines ready and motivated to do well on their scores.”
Moving along the Klipper Golf Course and up the hill past the Officer’s Club at Koa Malina, the runners weaved through the heart of the base past the base headquarters and Dewey Square. As they neared the Mokapu gate, the discomfort of the sticky humidity faded to the annoyance of plodding through gooey mud.
“The route was a little sloppy near the Nuupia Ponds trail,” said competitor Tyler Hubbard, with Headquarters Battalion here. “On the back side of the race, it felt like I added half of a pound of mud on my shoes.”
After finishing second among military personnel and eighth overall in the recent Great Aloha Run in Honolulu, Feb. 21, the All-Marine Running Team member defeated “The Beast” by placing first overall with a time of 35 minutes, 50 seconds.
Shortly after, other competitors began pouring across the finish line on the heels of the hasty Hubbard, sweat seeping through their shirts and fresh mud caked on their legs. Some took a moment to catch their breath, while others headed straight to a table stocked with juice and fruit.
When their sweating ceased and breathing returned to normal, the winners were announced. Behind the table of refreshments, racers scoured a placement chart to find out how they fared in the competition, though not all of them were concerned with how they placed.
“Participating in races in the Commanding Officer’s Fitness Series is a fun opportunity to get outside, run some new trails and mix it up with runners from the public,” said Hubbard, from Grass Valley, Ore. “These races can help you break out of a routine, and give you a chance to see what running routes the base has to offer beside what you see on a formation run.”
On the near horizon, participants have the opportunity to explore more of the base during the MCCS Single Marine and Sailor Program “Surf and Turf” 5K run April 9.
Nonetheless, “The Beast” — with its hills, heat and gooey mud — will be remembered by its participants as one of the more difficult races in the series.
“The race lived up to its name,” said competitor Levi Minissale. “It was challenging, especially in the area around the ponds. I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was.”