Swamp Romp competitors weather downpours, mud

| February 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Participants helped each other navigate the muddy terrain during the 2017 Swamp Romp on Saturday.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Participants helped each other navigate the muddy terrain during the 2017 Swamp Romp on Saturday.


Story and photos by

Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay — What could make Hawaii’s longest-running mud race, a 3.5-mile slog through knee-deep marsh water, more challenging? Try a torrential rainstorm that caused an island-wide flash flood warning.

Add to that the early morning closure of the Kaneohe-bound lanes of the H-3 for routine maintenance, and many of the estimated 700 registered participants of the 2017 Swamp Romp at K-Bay on Saturday had already wrangled through their first set of obstacles before they even reached the course.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII Ñ A row of hurdles greeted participants in the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — A row of hurdles greeted participants in the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11.

Course management
As in previous years, the Marines’ Combat Logistics Battalion 3 designed the course, and individual runners and teams of up to six gathered at Boondocker Training Area at 7 a.m.

From there, they took off down dirt paths that led them through the Nu‘upia Ponds, where the mud sucked off shoes and sent participants slipping and sliding over slick inclines. Then it was over a stretch of hurdles that tested already tired legs, and then back into the swamps.

Participants navigated the marshy landscape of the Nuupia Ponds while being doused with rain during the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11.

Participants navigated the marshy landscape of the Nuupia Ponds while being doused with rain during the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11.

For a team to officially finish, at least five members had to make it to the finish line. Individuals only had to look out for themselves, but this also meant they couldn’t necessarily count on help from others along the way.

This year was the 23rd anniversary of the muddy endurance test.

David Crooke of 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, who was competing in the Swamp Romp for the first time, said the downpour made the race more fun for him even as the churning mud increased the challenge.

During some parts of the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11, participants found themselves up to their knees in muddy water.

During some parts of the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11, participants found themselves up to their knees in muddy water.

“Train your legs,” he said, when asked what advice he’d give to others. “It’s not really upper body strength. It’s all lower body strength.”

He ran with several fellow Soldiers, including Katelyn Ventura, who said she also had fun despite – or perhaps because of – the weather.

“I thought it was awesome,” she said. “It was really well put together. I gotta give kudos to the Marines for putting this on.”
It was the second year in a row that Luis Berrios, an Army employee at U.S. Pacific Command, who is retiring in May, completed the course.

“This year was more competition,” he said. “More people seemed to be pushing themselves to the limits.”

Participants churned through mud at the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11.

Participants churned through mud at the 2017 Swamp Romp on Feb. 11.

Upcoming Schofield Spartan Race
Those who enjoy pushing themselves physically through dirty race courses that present challenging obstacles can sign up now for the 2018 Spartan Race on Schofield Barracks.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation needs to secure 2,500 registrations by April 30, 2017, to guarantee that the race will happen. Those who sign up before that date won’t be charged if FMWR fails to meet the 2,500 registration minimum.

A participant waits for the rest of his team to catch up during the 2017 Swamp Romp.

A participant waits for the rest of his team to catch up during the 2017 Swamp Romp.

This 3-5-mile Spartan Race will take place on Jan. 27, 2018, and offers options for athletes of all levels. First-timers and less seasoned athletes can sign up for the shorter version, while seasoned athletes and obstacle course veterans can opt for the longer version.

The course will feature 20-30 obstacles that will have competitors running through muddy water, jumping over fire, climbing hills and mountains, and crawling under barbed wire.

Spartan Race Registration
For more information and to register online, visit https://www.hawaii.armymwr.com or https://www.spartan.com/en/race/detail/3004/overview.

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