CHERRY POINT, N.C. (WNCT) – Marines competed Friday in the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Battle Challenge competition; a unique fitness and ability-based military action competition designed for the U.S. Armed Forces.
The obstacle course requires skill, strength, and agility.
The three-day event began on Wednesday at the Two Rivers Theater and Event Center. On Friday, 13 units came out to run the course.
Each team had 10 Marines, who race against the clock for the best times.
“I’m always competitive,” 1st Lt. Trudian Smith, MASS-1, said. “I like to go out there and prove that I can perform just as much as other people can.”
The creators of the challenge incorporated the cargo net climb, a knotted rope descent, wall surmount, ammunition resupply, low crawl, Jerry-Can shuffle, marksmanship tasks and a service member-down rescue to create this para-military relevant obstacle course.
“The hardest part, no kidding, was maybe the monkey bars,” 1st Lt. Jose Vigil, MASS-1, said. “I didn’t compensate for the room in my glove and slipped off of there.”
The course depicts battlefield-like obstacles relevant to training. It’s also about building camaraderie within each unit.
“It keeps them fit and tests their endurance,” Beth McKenzie, MCCS marketing director, said. “It adds an element of fun even though it’s kind of like Marine training. It adds an element of fun as well.”
The Battle Challenge is the newest competition created by On Target Challenge. It also produces the internationally renowned Firefighter Combat Challenge. The Battle Challenge combines a fitness program that simulates a highly relevant series of nine battle-field-like skills required to be successful under physically challenging circumstances. It’s dubbed “Competition with a Purpose.”
Cpl. Cameron Johnson was the first to break the standing record. He ran the course in 1 minute and 36 seconds.
“The secret is to basically just do it as fast as you can,” Cpl. Johnson, 2nd LAAD, said. “Once I watched other people, I was able to run through it with a breeze.”
There are even cash prizes which will be awarded to the top three teams with a first-prize award of $1000, second prize is $750, and third prize will earn a $500 award. It’s co-sponsored by the Military Benefit Association (www.militarybenefit.org) and Marine Corps Community Services.