MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Nearly 100 service members and spouses began the 4-mile race in the deep sand alongside the streets of the Combat Center.
Sand and dirt flew behind the line of contestants as each runner took on the course against the cold, desert wind chill with the clothes on their back and the will to compete. The trail alongside the obstacle course was the kick-off to the second race in the annual 8-4-6 Race Series Oct. 9.
The 8-4-6 Series varies each race by terrain and distance to challenge all willing to compete or simply enjoy a friendly base event. Semper Fit and Marine Corps Community Services have hosted the three-part race series for the past three years.
“It’s our third year hosting the run series, and the numbers keep getting better every year,” said George Schadegg, race coordinator, Semper Fit, MCCS.
Both Marines and sailors raced neck-and-neck to compete in this event but military spouses also joined in.
“I know a group of spouses came together just to run in this event,” said Jillian Stoker, wife of Sgt. Justin Stoker, infantryman, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “It brings everyone together.”
Participants pushed through the course with the constant goal to pass the person ahead of them. The event rewarded participants an opportunity to engage themselves in a physical challenge against competitors across the combat center.
“It was my fifth race on base and it was a challenge,” Stoker said. “It was like a rush.”
For some of the 98 runners, the terrain in this course proved to be a formidable obstacle and every step was a challenge as each of them fought to stay ahead.
“Sand was in my face, in my mouth, and in my eyeballs,” Stoker said. “This race terrain had hills, and the deep sand made the race much more difficult.”
Even with the different challenges that came with this new course, every runner made their way to the finish line.
Coming in first place for males was Capt. Jason Maraffi, Remain Behind Element officer-in-charge, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment.
The first-place female competitor was Marlow Besey, wife of Pfc. Austin Besey, infantryman, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
The final race in the 8-4-6 race series is scheduled to be held Oct. 23rd at the Desert Winds Golf Course. For more information, call 830-4092.