MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – --
Various participants aboard the Combat Center hit the ground running at the physical fitness test track with the annual 8-4-6 Race series Sept. 25, 2013.
The race, organized by Semper Fit and Marine Corps Community Services, is now entering its third year of hosting friendly running competitions.
“This race opens our ‘cross-country season’ as we like to call it,” said Danielle McKeever, athletic director, Semper Fit, MCCS. “We originally had one race but decided to increase it to three, that way more people can participate and have a better variety with the different length races.”
The PFT track was littered with Combat Center Marines making their way through the course with the intent of competition amongst each other and getting a lengthy physical training session.
“Today was our day off. We decided to come out here and race,” said Lance Cpl. Riley McIntosh, rear crewman, 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion. “It was a good run.”
Civilians and spouses were also present to complete the trek across flat, sandy terrain.
“I joined my friend in this run because she decided to run to honor one of her friends that passed away,” said Marlow Besey, wife of Pfc. Austin Besey, infantryman, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “I found this race to be intense.”
Cold water and cheering spectators awaited the runners as they sprinted the last stretch through the finish line.
For most, it was a fun race, while others found it as rewarding as it was challenging.
“Keeping up with the Marines around me was good motivation,” Besey said. “I’m anticipating the four and six-mile races.”
Coming in first place for males was Capt. Jason Maraffi, Remain Behind Element officer-in-charge, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. The first-place female competitor was Besey.
“With 137 racers today, it was the most we’ve ever had for the 8-mile,” McKeever said. “This was a very successful start, and I’m thinking the next two races will be even bigger.”
The next race in the series will be held Oct. 9, in which runners will compete over a four-mile course.