Wintergreen, Va. --
Eight Marines from Marine Barracks Washington completed "the toughest event on the planet" at Wintergreen, Va., Oct. 22, 2011.
Tough Mudder, a commercialized endurance course, was incorporated as the most recent installment of the Barracks’ 2011 Commander’s Cup competition.
The course comprised 27 obstacles spread across more than 10 miles of mountainous Virginia woodlands.
Capt. Nick Schroback, Company B 3rd Platoon commander, and Capt. Eric Dwyer, commander of Company A, completed the course together, tying for the win among the four Barracks participants.
"I felt relieved and happy after I crossed the finish line," said Lance Cpl. Logan Sierra, a ceremonial marcher from Co. A. "I felt like I accomplished something."
The course’s many obstacles included a log carry, barbed wire crawl, running up a quarter pipe and advancing through hundreds of dangling, exposed live wires. Several other obstacles involved frigid water, adding wind chill to the event’s many challenges.
"The hardest part for me was overcoming the cold and physical exhaustion, the mental discipline," said Lance Cpl. Malcolm Elzie, Co. A ceremonial marcher. "It was miserable but fun at the same time."
As an added bonus, some of Tough Mudder’s proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that raises money for severely wounded veterans. Participants can also opt to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and receive a discount on their registration fees for the donation.
"The difficulty of the course made me feel more like a grunt," said Elzie. "But the fact that Tough Mudder contributes to the Wounded Warrior Project also made me feel like I could actually do something to help my brothers overseas since I can’t actually be there."
All four Marines completed the course, skipping no obstacles and passing hundreds of participants from groups that started 20-120 minutes earlier.
The Barracks’ 2011 Commander’s Cup is composed of 17 competitions from mid-March to mid-November, ranging from obstacle courses to kayaking. Marines are awarded points for their performance in each event. The overall male and female point leaders will each be awarded an iPad.
"I really like that the events are so varied and that most of them are external to the Barracks," said Schroback, who has competed in every event to date. "It’s a refreshing change to how commander’s cups are usually done around the Corps, focusing on intramural sports."
Schroback is the current overall points leader.
To finish the series, Marines will compete in either the Marine Corps 10k or the Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 30 followed by the final two events, the Ammo-can Decathlon Nov. 8 and the Annapolis Challenge Nov. 16.
Dates and locations for upcoming Tough Mudders can be found at the event’s website, www.toughmudder.com.
For more information about the Commander’s Cup, visit www.marines.mil/unit/barracks/Pages/CommandersCup.