FORT LEWIS, Wash - On what was an unseasonably warm morning, nearly 300 runners showed up at Soldiers Field House last Saturday for the Armed Forces Day 5.2K Down and Dirty Mud Run.

Runners faced several obstacles as they ran through the woods and up Semper Fi hill, which was especially tough Saturday because of the heat.

Competitors, however, received a break from the heat as they encountered a long mud pit on the home stretch that they had to crawl through.

"It wasn't so much the crawling part that was hard," said Emerald Ridge High School senior J.P. Strozewski, who was the first across the finish line with a time of 24 minutes, 37 seconds, "it's just that (the mud) was really cold. I was just drained after that."

Strozewski's team, "D-Crew," finished in a tie for first place with the "Mudruckers," which consisted of Lauren Hertling, Evan Broderick and Jeremy Richmond, who all finished with times of 30:06. Strozewski's team also consisted of Emerald Ridge juniors Ryan Kaheenel and Kevin Fleishman who finished with times of 25:11 and 27:56, respectively.

"HHC 2-1 Inf. Lieutenants," which consisted of Jeff Givens (27:35), Michael Carter (29:13) and Patrick Yun (29:25), finished in third.

Strozewski participated in last year's mud run and said he felt this year's version of the run was much better.

"It seemed like there were more obstacles," he said. "It was nice and was really well marked so you didn't get lost. It's a lot of fun because it's totally different. It's not like cross country or track because they're aren't any obstacles (in those races)."

Kaheenel's time was good for third overall and James Moullet, who is an Airman with the 1st Weather Squadron, finished right behind Strozewski at 24:38 for second overall.

On the grand scheme of things, Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports Programmer Dale Eichhorst said he felt the race was a success.

"I think the race went well. People enjoyed it," he said. "I got e-mails from people saying it was the best run they've ever ran. We had a lot of smiles coming through the finish line."

The next mud run is scheduled for July 4. It will be a bit longer than the Armed Forces Day mud run at 7K. The course will remain similar in regards to the number of obstacles and mud pits. Racers can register with FMWR until June 25 without incurring a $10 late penalty, which kicks in on June 26.

Matt Smith si a reporter with the Fort Lewis Northwest Guardian

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16