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Friday, August 2, 2013

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT BOOTCAMP CHALLENGE

                                 

      I see the Bootcamp Challenge is coming up again.  I ran this a few years ago, and it was an interesting experience.  The goal of this 5k obstacle course is to give civilians a taste of what Marine Recruits experience on a daily basis during basic training.   If you haven't had a chance to run this one, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.  It won't be the most challenging race you ever run, but it has some decent obstacles and it's really a lot of fun.  You will get to climb over horizontal logs, run up over stacks of straw bales, crawl through some sand pits, and hit the deck on several occasions for push-ups,.......oh, all the while being screamed at by a group of very motivated USMC Drill Instructors.

     The whole atmosphere is pretty festive, and when I ran it, at least, there was even an opportunity for you to complete the experience by getting a "3rd Phase" haircut, commonly referred to as a "high and tight".

     When you begin to line up at the start line, a scarlet faced Drill Instructor prowls through the ranks, singling out individuals and treating them to an up close and personal scream fest, veins popping out of his neck as he "motivates" them.

     I must disclose that I experienced the REAL DEAL from January to April of 1972, when I arrived on the bus and scrambled onto those yellow footprints that are painted in rows outside of the recruit barbershop awaiting new batches of incoming recruits.

     It was kind of like a homecoming as I approached the course.  It was laid out in the same place I had gone through it as a 19 year old.   Pretty nostalgic.  The "O Course", as it's known, is toned down considerably from the one to which the real recruits are subjected.  The rope climb, walking the logs, and a few other tasks are eliminated for this 5k.  The Drill Instructors get in your face and yell, demanding push-ups, etc., but they lack the sheer meanness of how they interacted with us as recruits.  I was kind of disappointed that the profanity, the derision, the family lineage insults were gone.  No punching, kicking, or stepping on your head now, either!  I think they toned it down on purpose.  Probably can't get too many civilians to come back an pay an entry fee again if you've actually punched them or stepped on their head.  The fact that it lasts 30 minutes rather than 12 weeks makes it much nicer, too.  It really was fun, and had I never been through the real thing, I'd probably do it again.

If you're up for it, and are in the San Diego area, give it a go! It's worth the $39.00 entry fee.  (Probably don't want to tackle this one totally barefoot.)  http://bootcampchallenge2013.eventbrite.com/

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