FORT HOOD, Texas (June 7, 2016) -- An Army captain with the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade is making strides in the world of competitive running, and has completed several physically and mentally-exhausting races nationwide. Pushing through his limits and accepting challenges, the 504th officer constantly proves his mettle to his family and unit.
Capt. Leslie McCampbell, the 504th MI Brigade's assistant signal officer, believes in pushing his body beyond what he thought possible. He participates in endurance events like the world-renowned Boston Marathon, and also in local marathons in central Texas.
McCampbell's most recently completed the infamous Bataan Memorial Death March, an annual event at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico last March. Participants march 26.2 miles in desert terrain with elevations reaching up to 5,300 feet while carrying a ruck sack weighing approximately 35 pounds.
The march is held to honor U.S. service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II. McCampbell placed second overall at the event, with a time of 04:52:31.6, and first within his age-group. The event featured over 6,600 marchers from across the United States and nine countries.
The Army captain used to be into weight training, but became more intrigued with running from a ROTC cadre member while a cadet at the University of San Francisco. Since then, McCampbell has stuck to a simple, but demanding exercise routine of endurance running, marathons and some CrossFit. Initially, he set a goal to run 45 - 50 miles a week, which increased o completing up to 70 miles a week or 10 miles a day.
With his rigorous training regiment, one of Capt. McCampbell's biggest takeaways is maintaining and taking care of his body, not only through appropriate nutrition, but rest and recuperation, especially for his feet.
"Ensure your feet are in good condition for these events," said McCampbell. "If they are not, it makes finishing the event that much more difficult."
McCampbell's wife, 1st Lt. Alexandria McCampbell, is a staff nurse at Fort Hood's Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, and also competed in the Bataan Memorial Death March with her husband. She said her husband's physical training is the drive that prepares him for marathons and other demanding races.
"It's his own personal dedication to fitness and being an overall more effective and useful human being," said Alexandria. "It prepares him for everything he does."
She complimented her husband's work ethic, expounding on the fact that military physical training helps with maintaining fitness, but to truly improve, takes will and drive.
"I can't say 'military training' prepares him (for marathoning and competitive running)," said Alexandria. "It's more what he does before he goes to work, during lunch, and after, on his personal time."
Alexandria McCampbell said the Bataan Memorial Death March is harder than one would realize. The terrain is challenging, the weather is warmer than what most could run in, and the mere length of the march can be rough, all of which her husband's perseverance makes look easy, she said.
2nd Lt. Chelsea McCampbell, sister of Leslie McCampbell, is an Army engineer officer training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and said her brother's participation "continues to show upmost respect for those who have not only served, but continue to serve."
She also added that Leslie hones the hardship that survivors experienced by putting himself through the physical and mental demands of the march. The military training he endures, contributes to his continued success and growing determination for self-improvement, she said.
"I believe his military training has helped him prepare for physical and mental obstacles," said 2nd Lt. McCampbell. "His priority is physical fitness (day in and day out) and his performance at Bataan has reflected just that - rucking fast with heavy weight, managing the terrain, and staying focused."
Chelsea praised her brother's success saying, "As his little sister, I am so proud of his accomplishments, his ability to challenge himself, his reflection on experiences, and developing those around him. He has not only been an inspiration to me but his Soldiers and peers as well."
McCampbell continues to strive for the ultimate fitness level his body will endure. From his early weight-lifting stage to finding himself in the spotlight as a Top 3 finisher at competitive running events, Capt. McCampbell said the best way to summarize his physical abilities is through believing, " .
"The body is an amazing machine that can do incredible things."