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Marines Get Down and Really Dirty

by Keith Taylor

Camp Pendleton, CA: The Marines are a rough, tough outfit. They may be all spit and polish on the parade ground, but they spend their time training for combat in the dirt. A typical day of training --- or combat --- will find those rough, tough guys wallowing in the dust and mud. So what do the Marines at Camp Pendleton do just for fun? A couple of times a year they hold a race through dirt, dust and mud. The last one came on June 22.

It isn't a short sprint either. Folks in this race have to run, slosh, walk, crawl and slither their way through a 10-kilometer course, or 6.2 miles. That's a long way, but not overwhelming. Except at the Camp Pendleton run because the Marines make it so. Everybody is invited, for an entrance fee of course. And it seems almost everybody shows up. It's a festive occasion with a party atmosphere. For example, one car sported a sign reading “UltraLadies”. The UltraLadies are a group of fun runners from Agoura, Calif. They love the difficult runs; one or two have run the Marine Corps Marathon. Their coach, Nancy Shura said before the race that her team's best time was “about 1:40. And that was good enough for third place, but we're gonna do a lot better this year”. And they did. The women finished together --- that's a requirement in the race --- in a combined one hour, 32 minutes, and they'll be back in October for the next mud run.

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