U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Runners tame hills, rough terrain during annual ‘Grueler’

By Cpl. Ben Eberle | | July 30, 2012

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Competitors begin running following the blare of the starting horn during the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. More than 210 military and civilian runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels participated in this year’s race. The event gave Marines in different work sections a chance to bond, as well as build esprit de corps, said Capt. Greg Wagner, commander of Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. The large turnout allowed for some of the proceeds to offset ticket prices for junior service members during MarForPac’s Marine Corps birthday ball in November.

Competitors begin running following the blare of the starting horn during the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. More than 210 military and civilian runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels participated in this year’s race. The event gave Marines in different work sections a chance to bond, as well as build esprit de corps, said Capt. Greg Wagner, commander of Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. The large turnout allowed for some of the proceeds to offset ticket prices for junior service members during MarForPac’s Marine Corps birthday ball in November. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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A runner straps a time chip to his ankle prior to running the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Each competitor wore the device, which recorded their official time after crossing a sensor at the finish line. More than 210 military and civilian runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels participated in this year’s race.

A runner straps a time chip to his ankle prior to running the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Each competitor wore the device, which recorded their official time after crossing a sensor at the finish line. More than 210 military and civilian runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels participated in this year’s race. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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More than 210 military and civilian competitors shuffle into position before the start of the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. The scenic starting point gave the runners a bird’s-eye view of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and a vast portion of southern Oahu. The event gave Marines in different work sections a chance to bond, as well as build esprit de corps, said Capt. Greg Wagner, commander of Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.  The large turnout allowed for some of the proceeds to offset ticket prices for junior service members during MarForPac’s Marine Corps birthday ball in November.

More than 210 military and civilian competitors shuffle into position before the start of the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. The scenic starting point gave the runners a bird’s-eye view of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and a vast portion of southern Oahu. The event gave Marines in different work sections a chance to bond, as well as build esprit de corps, said Capt. Greg Wagner, commander of Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. The large turnout allowed for some of the proceeds to offset ticket prices for junior service members during MarForPac’s Marine Corps birthday ball in November. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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Runners round the first turn, and enjoy one of the only flat portions of the course, during the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. “They’re wonderful races, but they’re painful,” said Jim Murray, a 60-year-old Honolulu resident who has competed in nearly 20 similar races on Camp H.M. Smith. “The only flat part of this race is (the starting point). After that, you’re either going up or down.” The multiple hills, along with uneven terrain and roots scattered throughout the 3.1-mile course, prompted event organizers to make safety a top priority.

Runners round the first turn, and enjoy one of the only flat portions of the course, during the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. “They’re wonderful races, but they’re painful,” said Jim Murray, a 60-year-old Honolulu resident who has competed in nearly 20 similar races on Camp H.M. Smith. “The only flat part of this race is (the starting point). After that, you’re either going up or down.” The multiple hills, along with uneven terrain and roots scattered throughout the 3.1-mile course, prompted event organizers to make safety a top priority. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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Col. Brent S. Willson, commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, congratulates the overall winners in both the male and female division during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Arch Robertson (left) finished the 3.1-mile race with a time of 17:26. Cindy Anderson finished in 19:37, more than three minutes faster than her nearest competitor. More than 210 military and civilian runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels participated in this year’s race.

Col. Brent S. Willson, commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, congratulates the overall winners in both the male and female division during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Arch Robertson (left) finished the 3.1-mile race with a time of 17:26. Cindy Anderson finished in 19:37, more than three minutes faster than her nearest competitor. More than 210 military and civilian runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels participated in this year’s race. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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Beckie Page, assistant manager of the Semper Fit Center, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, presents a medal to Jim Murray, a 60-year-old resident from Honolulu, during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. “Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing out here,” joked Murray, who works as the public affairs officer for the Fleet Logistics Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Murray has competed in nearly 20 similar races at Camp H.M. Smith during his 30 years on the island.

Beckie Page, assistant manager of the Semper Fit Center, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, presents a medal to Jim Murray, a 60-year-old resident from Honolulu, during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. “Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing out here,” joked Murray, who works as the public affairs officer for the Fleet Logistics Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Murray has competed in nearly 20 similar races at Camp H.M. Smith during his 30 years on the island. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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Beckie Page, assistant manager of the Semper Fit Center, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, presents a medal to Staff Sgt. Thomas Gouard, substance abuse control officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Gouard, 30, from Danville, Ill., finished the 3.1-mile race in 20:24, negotiating multiple hills and challenging rainforest terrain to finish with the best time among all Marine competitors. “I heard about how hilly it was, and the trails, that’s why I wanted to run the race,” said Gouard. “It’s a pretty good course, and I definitely plan to come out again next year.”

Beckie Page, assistant manager of the Semper Fit Center, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, presents a medal to Staff Sgt. Thomas Gouard, substance abuse control officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Gouard, 30, from Danville, Ill., finished the 3.1-mile race in 20:24, negotiating multiple hills and challenging rainforest terrain to finish with the best time among all Marine competitors. “I heard about how hilly it was, and the trails, that’s why I wanted to run the race,” said Gouard. “It’s a pretty good course, and I definitely plan to come out again next year.” (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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Col. Brent S. Willson, commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, recognizes Moli Copple, from El Paso, Ill., during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Copple, a basketball player for Millikin University in central Illinois, is on vacation with her family, and ran the race to meet the summer “5K quota” set by her team. After being errantly presented with a plaque for one of the fastest female times, Copple immediately returned the award. Willson commended Copple for her integrity and vowed to mail her a souvenir as a token of the battalion’s appreciation.

Col. Brent S. Willson, commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, recognizes Moli Copple, from El Paso, Ill., during an award ceremony following the annual Camp Smith 5K Grueler here, July 28. Copple, a basketball player for Millikin University in central Illinois, is on vacation with her family, and ran the race to meet the summer “5K quota” set by her team. After being errantly presented with a plaque for one of the fastest female times, Copple immediately returned the award. Willson commended Copple for her integrity and vowed to mail her a souvenir as a token of the battalion’s appreciation. (Photo by Cpl. Ben Eberle)


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CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --

Considering the dramatic bird’s-eye view over Honolulu, Pearl Harbor and vast portions of southern Oahu from the starting point, it’s hard to believe that runners only have one way to go – up.

More than 210 military and civilian competitors of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels gathered here before sunrise to take part in the Camp Smith 5K Grueler, July 28.

The event gave Marines in different work sections a chance to bond, as well as build esprit de corps, said Capt. Greg Wagner, commander of Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.

“It also gives the public who registered (for the race) a chance to see Camp Smith,” said Wagner.

Kicking off a Saturday morning with a challenging 3.1-mile run had at least one of these civilian competitors second-guessing his decision.

“Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing out here,” joked Jim Murray, a 60-year-old Honolulu resident and experienced 5K veteran who has competed in approximately 20 similar events at Camp H.M. Smith.

Despite his initial jitters, Murray finished second in his age group.

“The only flat part of this race is (the starting point). After that, you’re either going up or down,” said Murray, who works as the public affairs officer for the Fleet Logistics Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“They’re wonderful races, but they’re painful,” he said. “The hills are punishing.”

Those hills, along with the presence of uneven terrain and roots as runners sprint into the rainforest near the race’s halfway point, prompted event organizers to make safety a top priority.

“It’s fun, and people are out here to enjoy themselves, but safety is key,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Mehan, a hospital corpsman with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. He was part of a team of corpsmen, or Navy medics, stationed at various parts of the course in the event of an injury.

Regrettably, the only “injury” they encountered is untreatable. The Grueler’s difficulty surprised many competitors, and corpsmen don’t carry a remedy for hurt pride in their medical kits.

“I’ve run quite a few (5K races), and this one is definitely the hardest,” said Amy Copple, a native of El Paso, Ill., who is currently on vacation with her family.

The entire Copple family decided to compete because her daughter Moli, a basketball player at Millikin University in central Illinois, needed one more 5-kilometer race to meet her team’s summer quota.

She finished the race with a solid time, but it was her integrity that most impressed the other competitors and race organizers, as well as provided for one of the more light-hearted moments during the award ceremony.

After accepting the second-place award for all female competitors, Copple realized her name was called in error and immediately returned the plaque.

“I really appreciate this, but I don’t deserve it,” she said.

This caught the attention of Col. Brent S. Willson, commanding officer of HQSVCBN, who later addressed the audience and commended Copple for her honesty, vowing to mail her a souvenir as a token of the battalion’s appreciation.

Unforeseen integrity aside, the battalion had something else to be thankful for.

The strong turnout for the event will allow some of the proceeds to offset ticket prices for junior service members during MarForPac’s Marine Corps birthday ball in November.

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