NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Fifteen Sailors from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) participated in the fourth annual Armed Services YMCA Mud Run Aug. 14 at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base.
Sailors from all rates and ranks tied their running shoes, hydrated and stretched out for the eight kilometer run through obstacles, surf, sand, mud and muck (muck is a mixture of mud, sand and saltwater).
Competing against other armed service teams, Ike's warriors split into three teams of five and took on the competition.
Out of 34 teams, Ike runners finished 14th, 17th and 18th. Led by Cmdr. James Gillies, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department maintenance officer, 'Ike Warriors II' were the first contingent from the ship to cross the finish line. He and his teammates finished in 57:27.30. Flanked by Lt. Christine Ventresca of Admin's X-4 Division, Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Michele Craig of Combat Systems Department's CS-7 Division, Gun Boss Cmdr. John Evans of Weapons Department and Lt. Cmdr. Darrell White of AIMD's IM-1 Division, Gillies and his squad paced themselves at a 10:17 mile.
"There was a lot of sand and mud," said Craig. "There were a lot of obstacles."
Some of the obstacles the athletes were required to maneuver included a wire crawl, mazes and the mud pit.
"It's a lot more difficult because of all the obstacles," said Craig.
According to Craig, the Mud Run is especially tenuous for conventional runners; however, "if you are a sand runner or a hill runner, this was nothing."
The effects of the race were not too extreme for Craig because she worked so hard at conditioning herself for the event.
"I went to the beach and ran in the sand," Craig said.
Like the Olympics, team unity and perseverance were far more important to those competing in the Mud Run than winning.
When 'Ike Warriors II' finished the race, Craig said her emotions overtook her.
"It was very rewarding to me [to finish the race]. We literally linked arms and finished together," Craig said.
Finishing together, building team camaraderie and persevering are exactly what Ike's Warriors accomplished at this year's Mud Run.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.