Story and Photos by
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay — Can’t catch good footing. Mud and water waist deep. The ground claiming shoes. Obstacles impeding every move.
… And those were just the easy parts!
Welcome to Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s 18th annual Swamp Romp, where a normal five-mile run turns into the dirtiest slip and slide that anyone has ever seen.
This year, the run attracted more than 2,400 participants, including many military service men and women. That’s 414 six-person teams running minutes apart from each other.
Although distinguishing one person from another was not easy, by the end of the race, due to everyone being covered in black and brown sludge, many tried by showing their creativity at the start of the race.
There was a team of mimes, a team of dress-casual professionals, a team of superheroes, a team from the “Wizard of Oz” and a team of hillbillies.
There was even a team of kids all under the age of 13.
“Team 8” was made up of senior noncommissioned officers from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, led by Sgt. Maj. Victor Rodriguez, senior enlisted leader of the 8th TSC supply section. Team 8 finished fourth in the men’s masters category.
“We all had a great time today,” said Rodriguez. “The course this year was a lot tougher than last year’s because there was a lot more mud to deal with.”
Sgt. Maj. Brad McDonald, senior retention NCO, 8th TSC, also a member of Team 8, said that he was lucky to have finished at all.
“There was a lot of mud,” said McDonald. “I watched people get stuck, some couldn’t move, some fell flat on their faces, but it was a lot of fun.”
When asked if he fell down at all, McDonald said, “Just look at me! It’s hard to believe I was ever on my feet! I fell twice, but I was able to get back up on my feet and keep moving, where as some of the people I saw go down would get stuck and just couldn’t get back up.”
Another team comprised of 8th TSC Soldiers finished third in the women’s open category.
“We had a great time,” said Staff Sgt. Dara Palmer, NCO in charge of the secretary to the general’s staff, 8th TSC. “It was very muddy, but we had a very cohesive team that wouldn’t let anyone quit or slow down. We worked together to finish together, and it paid off.”
Win or lose, all participants had one thought in common: “When can we do this again?” “The only thing that would keep me from doing this again next year is having to deploy,” McDonald said.