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Training and Education

Running the Course:

Overcoming Obstacles

Each summer, first year students at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), known as plebes, test their physical endurance by charging through the obstacle course: a gauntlet of log structures, ropes and metal bars.


Identical to the courses found at Marine boot camp, the USNA obstacle course tests upper body strength, agility and cardiovascular endurance. Prior to their runs, plebes are typically briefed on safety and allowed to practice the more challenging obstacles.

Recent USNA graduates facilitate the event, giving pointers and ensuring a safe and effective training environment. Each plebe is timed on his or her run, and the fastest compete against their detailers, senior students that mentor the plebes, for one thing: pride. In 2017, the fastest recorded times for the obstacle course were 1 minute 30 seconds for women and 53 seconds for men.