FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - The 10th annual Marine Mess Volkslauf 10-kilometer Extreme Cross Country Run saw it's biggest crowd of runners yet, with approximately 750 runners taking on the challenge, Saturday. The flock of fleet-footed fun seekers beat last year's crew by 300 people.
Starting on South Demolition Road, the race chugged up a 30-degree grade hill, wound down to Water Intake Road, across the Big Piney River, around the golf course and up to Ramsey Cemetery. Then it was through the woods, into a slightly ripe-smelling mud pit, and across the Big Piney again before the finish line at Happy Hollow.
The Marine Det. uses the event to raise money for the annual Marine Corps Ball, in November. Runners competed in categories based on uniform for five-person teams and individuals.
First place for male military uniform went to the team Dead Last, which finished in one hour, five minutes and 58 seconds.
The Lady Spartans finished first in female military uniform in 1:35:09.
For the mixed military uniform category, the Spartans finished first in 1:12:48.
In the male non-military uniform category, the Swamp Stompers finished first in 53:43.
In the female non-military uniform group, the Fantastic Force finished first in 1:20:02.
The Cannucks finished first in the mixed non-military uniform class in 59:16.
The Air Force Team took first in the Youth category with a time of 1:14:08.
Andrew Berreth was the fastest individual male, completing
the course in 45:30 and Maija Hitchings finished first in the individual female category in 52:59.
The things that set the race apart are the water crossings and the mud hole, said Marine Capt. Phillip Morales, Volkslauf
It started with just a hole as an obstacle but then it started getting deeper and deeper. Racers said it was a lot of fun.
"We have run the St. Louis St. Patrick's Day 5-K and the St. Louis half-marathon - the Volkslauf is by far the best run we have done so far," said Capt. Kristina Carney, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment.
"It was challenging - the first hill and the first river crossing were the hardest parts," Carney said.
Carney's team of five runners worked hard to finish the race together.
"We motivated each other throughout; we had good teamwork," Carney said.
Runners gave credit to the Marines for organizing the event.
"It was an awesome run with great support; the Marines do a great job," said Sgt. 1st Class George Westphal, Army Reserve Careers Division Marauders.
Things were a bit different than last year, Westphal said.
"The weather was a little better this year and the water is a little higher. It was a good challenge and a lot of fun," Westphal said.
The Volkslauf is a break from routine running, said Sgt. 1st Class Chris Buchanan, Marauders.
"I love this run for the camaraderie and that you can run it in your boots and uniform; you don't do that every day," Buchanan said.
Due to the large number of runners, T-shirts were not available to everyone after the race. Those who did not receive T-shirts or medals can send e-mail to volkslauf with their Volkslauf registration number in subject line along with their message.