Fort Leonard Wood Marines host 23rd Volkslauf 10k Mud Run

By Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs OfficeJune 11, 2024

Nearly 400 runners start the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run June 8 at what’s called Car Wash Hill, near the Auto Skills Center. The 6.2-mile course included paved roads and wooded trails, obstacles and water crossings, with the finish line at Happy Hollow recreation area.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Nearly 400 runners start the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run June 8 at what’s called Car Wash Hill, near the Auto Skills Center. The 6.2-mile course included paved roads and wooded trails, obstacles and water crossings, with the finish line at Happy Hollow recreation area. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
Karen Foster starts the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run June 8 at what’s called Car Wash Hill, near the Auto Skills Center. Foster, who has participated in multiple Volkslauf events, said she returns each year, “for the camaraderie, for fun, and just for the challenge.”
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Karen Foster starts the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run June 8 at what’s called Car Wash Hill, near the Auto Skills Center. Foster, who has participated in multiple Volkslauf events, said she returns each year, “for the camaraderie, for fun, and just for the challenge.” (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
Participants traverse one of the multitude of course obstacles June 8 during the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Participants traverse one of the multitude of course obstacles June 8 during the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
Volkslauf participants cross the Big Piney River June 8 near the finish line at Happy Hollow recreation area.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Volkslauf participants cross the Big Piney River June 8 near the finish line at Happy Hollow recreation area. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Nearly 400 runners took to the streets and trails of Fort Leonard Wood June 8 for the 23rd Marine Corps Volkslauf 10k Mud Run.

Beginning at what’s called Car Wash Hill, near the Auto Skills Center, runners traversed paved roads and wooded trails along the 6.2-mile course, that ended with a waist-high water crossing to get to the finish line at Happy Hollow recreation area.

According to Marine Capt. Steven Brown, Military Police Instruction Company executive officer and one of the Volkslauf planners this year, the intent is to create a shared experience for the entire Fort Leonard Wood community.

“The main goal for the Volkslauf race every year is to create an event that the local members of the community, surrounding areas and the service members on the installation can have as a way to interact with each other and experience some of the types of events that the Marines do,” Brown said. “Often, these different communities get isolated or glancing exposures to each other, and this race is a perfect way for us all to interact.”

Brown said the Marines incorporated some new elements into the event this year, including new start and finish signs.

“We brought in a DJ for the event, who did great,” Brown said. “We adjusted the race route to have more trail running from the start point, as well as an extra mud-hole obstacle.”

Waiting among the costumed groups and stretching competitors at the starting line was Karen Foster, who said she has participated in multiple Volkslaufs over the years.

“I do it for the camaraderie, for fun, and just for the challenge,” Foster said, her selfie stick protruding out of her backpack to record a video of the experience. “It was a challenge in the beginning for me because it was something I’ve never done, but then, when I saw how fun it was, I wanted to continue.”

Foster said, for her, it’s all about the mud pits.

“You can get stuck if you’re not careful,” she said. “You’ve gotta go through it fast.”

Before the kickoff, Col. Scottie Redden, Fort Leonard Wood Marine Corps Detachment commanding officer, welcomed and thanked the participants.

“All I ask of the folks here that have contributed their time, is No. 1, if you want to give maximum effort, do so. No. 2, if you want to have fun, by all means, have fun. But ultimately, No. 3, most importantly, be safe out there; take care of each other,” Redden said.

This year’s overall winner, with a time of 55 minutes, 33 seconds, was Peter Fowers, who was competing in his third Volkslauf.

“When I was in eighth grade, I won it, but I was in the youth category, so I didn’t get recognized,” Fowers said. “And then, last year, I showed up late. I started 10 minutes after my heat, so I said, ‘This is the year that I have to get it.’”

Fowers said he enjoys the Volkslauf because it’s different every year.

“I think it’s fun,” he said. “They change the course every year, and the obstacles.”

Less than a minute behind Fowers was Matthew Andrews, who finished with a time of 56 minutes, 10 seconds. This was Andrews’ first Volkslauf, but probably not his last, he said.

“We just moved here last fall,” he said. “I like the simplicity. My wife and I did a Tough Mudder up in St. Louis maybe a month and a half ago. There’s so much overhead to those things. Some of the obstacles, you had to wait in line. With this, we’ve got the hills, we’ve got the woods, we’ve got the rivers — you can just knock yourself out. I appreciate the Marines putting it on, and I hope they keep doing it every year — and getting more and more creative with how to torture us.”

More photos from this year’s Volkslauf are available to view and download on the Fort Leonard Wood Flickr page.