SEASIDE, Calif. - More than 2,000 thrill seekers braved scattered rain showers and chilly weather to get down-and-dirty at the sixth annual presentation of the Big Sur Mud Run near Ord Military Community March 26.

The more-than-five-mile course was filled with obstacles, four mud pits and screaming Marines, and wound through the scenic California State University Monterey Bay campus in Seaside. This race is a Big Sur Marathon event that is sponsored in part by the Presidio of Monterey Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate and included many military service members both as volunteers and competitors.

Reactions from the race

Capt. Jessy Sodam, military volunteer coordinator. "We have four mud pits each manned with some military service members to make it fun. They are there to get 'em good and dirty, make sure they go through right and don't skip out. It's a great opportunity to get visibility for what we do. We are a small installation and there are a lot of people in the area that do not know what we do on a day to day basis, and this gets the Army image out there in a positive way."

Ben Ballister, competitor from Monterey. "At the start there were some lean, mean looking guys in the field, and I was a little intimidated by the other runners. The mud pits slow you down quite a bit, and the military guys were really pushing us out there. I was thinking 'When do I stop'' ... I felt like they would have us doing jumping jacks all day. It's a different kind of fitness and a step out of the normal road races, the people that come here are out for fun and willing to get muddy and dirty."

Megan Enochs, competitor from Salinas. "We brought a group of people out here from the Two Steps Ahead Gym in Salinas, we have about 60 competitors split between the individual and teams. The toughest part about the race is just to keep going, so it's nice to have teammates to encourage you, and there were other people on the course cheering you on as well. When you get up to do a mud run, you have to think the rain can only make it better. It's muddier, it's wetter. .... So, yes, it's cold and it's wet, but that's what we all came out here for."

Pfc. Carlos Ventura, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion (first place finisher Individual Military Division, ninth place overall). "This is my first time, and I ran for fun. I really just wanted to run the event. I wasn't thinking about finishing in first place, I was just trying to catch some of the civilian guys. When I'm running, I try to forget my body and pretend like I don't feel the pain. The first pit was the toughest, I hit the second barrier while rolling over and it gave me dry heaves for the whole race. It's good to see the military volunteers giving out warm blankets and food; I think it shows the pride we have as part of the community."

Lance Cpl. Riko Cole, Marine Corps Detachment (second place finisher Individual Military Division, 10th place overall). "Normally I would be volunteering in these events, but I decided to run this one. There are a lot of Marines along the course providing good motivation. They recognized me, so they gave me a hard time - a little 'extra special' treatment. It feels great to finish in second, I didn't come out here with any intention of placing, so the fact that I did just makes it that much better. I just kept going and going and was not wanting to disappoint the Marines. The weather was awesome. I was acclimated by the time I got to the first pit so there was no hesitation to hit the water and jump in the mud. The military people that are helping out are really organized and doing the best job I've seen. This is a great event for everybody, no matter what their fitness level."

Elizabeth Thiel, military spouse and competitor with the group Mud, Sweat and Tears. "We have 15 people out here - all military spouses from the Naval Postgraduate School. A few of us did it last year and it was so fun that we had to recruit more. We came up with the name mainly through a lot of ideas going back and forth on Facebook. ... You might not see the 'sweat' today because it's a little chilly, but definitely the 'mud' and 'tears.' We think it is fantastic when the military community comes together for events like these because we are so transient and have to move so quickly that it forces you to make friends fast, and events like these help everyone come together and do fun things."

Tom Barrera, competitor in the group Easy Money (first place finishers Male Teams Division). "We were training everyday and owe our win to dedication and teamwork. The road to success is always under construction. Conditions for the race were great, although it could be rainier. It was a good run with a lot of volunteers and very organized. It's good to see the military working with the city and the Big Sur Marathon, putting in the hard work to make a good race."

Page last updated Thu March 31st, 2011 at 17:32