(1 hour, 12 minutes)

mud-runThis cross country 10k race is a laugh and a joy….and very grueling. No one should attempt it unless they have an attitude that they will be laughing happily at the end of the race !

One minute after you leave the staring line you run right into fire hoses, manned by smiling Marines, spraying you with cold water. Both you and your shoes are suddenly totally soaked.

One minute later you run through your first river crossing. The water is muddy and fills your shoes again as it comes up to your mid-calf. Mud splashes everywhere on your body. This crossing is a short 20 yards but helps you understand the principal of the race to come.

The first four miles are basically uphill with various level spots. During mile two, you hit the tire obstacle course and have to run through the tires. Marines make sure you hit the tires and do not go around them! A short time later you must jump over the hay bales. You then cross another muddy river, just to make sure your shoes have not dried out too much! The tunnel crawl shows up and you must crawl on your hands and knees through the tunnel and then start running again. To help you get your balance back, another long river crossing occurs—this time with five foot obstacle walls in the middle of the river. You must climb over them and then continue running through the river and mud to dry ground. All of a sudden, you realize you have climbed to the highest point in Camp Pendleton and should have a great downhill run for the rest of the race. This is an illusion. One way to tell that it is an illusion is to see the smiles on the Marine faces. They know this is a hoax and they, too, have fallen prey to this trick.

You do get a downhill run during mile five. It leads to the lake. You then have to run into the lake for a 300 yard crossing. The lake has a mud bottom. Each step is an effort. Your shoes fill with mud, water and pebbles. You push yourself forward, one step at a time until once again you are on dry land. The land is dry, you are not. Your feet feel big, very heavy and uncomfortable from the pebbles. You have no time to stop and take them out. They hurt.
At the end of mile five you get a very big surprise. You come around the corner and look up. It is not pleasant. At this point, the Marines are laughing out loud and yelling at you to “move it”. This is something they learn from their drill instructors and it makes them very happy to use it on you. When you look up you see a 300 foot climb with mud everywhere. It is very straight UP and all of a sudden you think you have changed to a climbing event rather than a running event. On top of the hill are marines with their friendly fire hoses. They are spraying the mud so hard it comes down the hill like a mud river on steroids. You must climb UP this hill as the mud comes DOWN this hill. It is slippery, wet, funny, hard, hilarious and nasty. The marines call this fun—mainly because YOU are doing it today and they don’t have to.

At the top of MUD HILL, you know that you have survived and that the hardest part of the race is behind you. This is a good attitude and the Marines encourage you with the proper Marine slogans, sayings and statements. “Don’t stop now. Get your lazy butt going. You are almost at the end.” This is mostly true.
After a very fast downhill run you turn the corner and can see the end of the race. All that is between you and the finish is the famous 30 foot mud pits. You must dive or crawl into the mud pits and pull yourself along with your elbows while you are completely submersed in mud. The Marines and the spectators love this part. At the end, you get out of the mud, fall in the trail, get up again and sprint the final 100 yards to the finish. You have survived. You are not a Marine but you ARE a winner. Like life, FINISHING what you start is the road to success.

You can be a participant in life or a spectator…..
I’ve never been much of a spectator.

You can be an active liver or a casual liver….
I’ve never been casual about life.

Life is a serious thing….
to be lived joyfully as well as respectfully.

Live life or lose the joy of life.
Lose the joy of life and you might as well lose life itself.