The Marine Corps Community Services Hawaii Camp H.M. Smith Semper Fit Center held its 15th annual 5K Grueler run that started at Bordelon Field and tested competitors through the surrounding trails here Saturday.
“[The purpose was] to raise funds for the Marine Corps ball and to promote friendly relations between military and civilians here on Oahu,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Granados, the race coordinator and company gunnery sergeant, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
Participants competed for age-group medals, and the top three overall male and female runners won plaques. The first place male and female runners were Austin Warner with a time of 17 minutes, 32 seconds, and Angelica Valdez finishing at 21:55.
Previous Grueler runs have typically been hosted on Wednesday afternoons in late July. According to Kelly Fornes, the Camp Smith Semper Fit coordinator, it seemed scheduling this year’s Grueler on a Saturday morning instead of a week day afternoon attracted runners from all over.
In total, 211 runners participated in the race, including people from beyond the Hawaiian Islands and service members of all branches.
Benoit Borduea, who came from New Brunswick, Canada, traveled the greatest distance. He was on his honeymoon and found the race online.
Other couples and families from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay and Camp Smith made the event a family outing. Children ran the race alongside their parents, and spouses encouraged each other through the rugged trails. One spouse from MCBH finished the race off with her daughter by her side and her baby in her harness.
Rain let up to a light mist just in time for the participants’ arrival and held out long enough for the awards ceremony to end.
After the closing ceremony, competitors thanked the Marine volunteers for the motivating cheers they received at the most difficult stages of the run, which featured a mixture of trail and road throughout the race route.
“I liked that there were different people at the sides encouraging you and pushing you and saying, ‘You got it, just one more hill, there’s just one more hill after this,’” said Ariet Ednan, who placed second in her age group, 20-24. “I liked that there were equal amounts of uphill and downhill. Even though it was muddy, it made it kind of fun.”
Fornes mentioned the possibility of making the Grueler a 10K next year but counted this year’s race a success.
“It was the greatest Grueler we’ve ever had, it was probably the highest participation,” said Fornes. “There was fantastic cooperation by the Marines who were assigned to work it. Coordination by Staff Sgt. Granados and his organizational skills really made this happen.”
For more information on the Commanding Officer’s Fitness Series, visit www.mccshawaii.com/cgfit or call Semper Fit at 808-254-7597.