By Mrs. Michelle Kennedy (Drum)September 19, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- There was dirt, grime and plenty of mud to go around during the post's first Mountain Mudder event Thursday.
From low crawling through dirt and sand, to scaling a rope line hanging over Remington Pond, to jumping into a mud pit, more than 600 "mudders" braved the dreary weather and proved their mettle as they followed a slippery 4.5-mile trail. The distance and slick terrain were only two hurdles, as runners were forced to brave the 13 large obstacles and four smaller challenges that stood between them and the finish line.
Participants were all smiles as they completed the run. While some were proud to have accomplished such a demanding task, others were pumped that their teammates pushed each other to the end.
Jamie Douglas, a military spouse, said she convinced her husband, Sgt. Ryan Douglas, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, to participate in the Mountain Mudder.
"I made him do it because he would keep me motivated," she said. "We've done a bunch of 5Ks, but this is our first one that's (more than) a 5K and our first mud race.
"It was a lot of fun. We stayed together, and it was a good workout," Jamie Douglas said.
The Douglases were not the only team participating in the mudder. The 7th Engineer Battalion had a team of more than 40 Soldiers. The unit schedules officer physical training every other Thursday, and the Mountain Mudder was a good opportunity for team building and fun, according to Lt. Col. Michael Clancy, 7th Engineer Battalion commander.
Several Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, also saw the event as a perfect opportunity to change up their morning fitness routine.
One participant with a clear love for mud was 1st Lt. Taylor Kilmer, 2-15 FA.
"As long as we could get dirty, I was in!" he exclaimed.
First Lt. Michael Bertha, 2-15 FA, said he "jumped" at the chance to participate in the event. He said he had seen events like this, but they are usually too far away for him to compete in.
Many of the obstacles were challenging, but Bertha said the most challenging was the climbing wall and the trail conditions.
"The road was muddy, and I lost my shoe. I had to go back for it," he said laughing.
"It's nice to get everyone out and do it together," Bertha said. "The climbing wall was the hardest obstacle."
This is the first time this event has been offered on the installation, according to Michelle Roden, Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers senior program adviser. BOSS and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation decided to organize the Mountain Mudder because of the number of single Soldiers showing interest in the event.
BOSS representatives researched similar events to come up with the various obstacles, Roden added.
"We had great feedback," she said. "(The Soldiers) loved doing this rather than regular PT.
"Overall, we had a great turnout, and both the staff and runners had a good time," Roden added. "Everyone was asking when the next one is going to be!"