More than 100 servicemembers and civilians braved unseasonably high heat and humidity to put their strength, coordination and endurance to the test in Fort Belvoir's first ever Krazy Krieger 5K Challenge Run Saturday, starting at Fremont Field.
The grueling obstacle-course race, sponsored by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation during the 2013 Oktoberfest celebration, presented contestants with 12 physical challenges to negotiate at various points along the 3.1 mile course on the North Post area of the installation.
With the mercury approaching the 90 degree mark and humidity levels correspondingly high, runners left the starting gate on Fremont Field and met the first obstacle at North Post Field, a potato sack race that left participants winded and drenched in sweat scarcely 200 yards into the event.
The second challenge proved to be one of the more taxing (and entertaining) for everyone involved -- the mud crawl event which required runners to take a prone position and slog through nearly a foot of wet mud beneath a crosshatch of ropes strung two feet off the ground. Contestants emerged caked and dripping with dirt as they continued on towards the third obstacle, the bridge crossing, which required tight roping across narrow boards perched atop hay bales.
With the finish line still kilometers away and nine more exhausting hazards -- including a rock wall, a cargo net maze, pumpkin smashing station, and many others -- lying in wait, the runners willed themselves down North Post's streets and pathways not only aiming to cross the finish line first but simply to survive the journey.
Each competitor managed to go the distance, returning to the start point in turn where DFMWR fitness officials provided refreshments and a place to hose off and cool down.
The Krazy Krieger proved to be a serious challenge for even the most experienced runners.
"This race was tough -- the heat today was really hard to deal with," said Matt Jardine. "But it was still a lot of fun."
"(Matt and) I have been doing 5-mile runs two or three times a week but this was horrific," added Jardine's running partner, Ken Eyer.
For other contestants the Krazy Krieger provided a welcome opportunity to get active again and rebuild confidence after a period of inactivity.
"This was a tough course, but finishing it two months after major surgery was a major accomplishment for me," said Alejandra Malanowski. "I was thinking that after two months I was ready to challenge myself. Plus running is my passion and I'm hoping to get faster."
The Krazy Krieger is one of several DFMWR run/walks conducted throughout the year. For more information regarding upcoming events, visit regularly or call Sheila Edwards, Fort Belvoir sports director, at (703) 805-4382 or email