Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Mama No Papa No Uncle Sam

Bataan Death March , White Sands Missile Range, NM, March 21, 2010.

Marathon #7 of 13 in 11 weeks. Left for Seatac 4 AM for 5:50 flight. Crowded, waited in wrong line to check my sleeping bag, missed my flight. Luckily there’s another flight that will get me to White Sands before the gates close, but 6 hour layover in Denver. Shoulda packed more charts.

Another flight delay. Landed in El Paso around 7:30 PM, drove an hour (only got lost twice) to White Sands, the largest military installment in the U.S. Missed the free showing of “The Great Raid”, a film starring Benjamin Bratt which is supposed to show what this event commemorates, how the 6th Rangers traveled 30 miles behind enemy lines to liberate more than 500 American POWs from the notorious Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp in WWII. Oh well. At least I made it to Marcher In-processing in time to pick up my dog tag.

Luckily I found a small patch of free gym floor to place my sleeping bag, next to a couple of female Maniacs and a young GI team from Mississippi. Haven’t been addressed “Ma’am” so many times in a day. Being surrounded by a couple hundred GIs, lulled by the white noise of different timbres of snoring (punctuated by the occasional fart) was surreal. Lights on at 3:30 AM.

It’s 27 degrees out, projected to reach 65 by race end. We had to line up at 4:30 AM , but the opening ceremony started at 6 , and the race at 7. Got to shake the hands of a few remaining Bataan survivors at the start.

Buttcrack in the desert amazing. Endless dirt roads, flanked by mountains and cacti.

Between the Marine Corps and the Army, I have to give it to the Army . You can enter the race as a team (must cross the finish together) or individual, light or heavy (35 lb pack not counting water). Feeling guilty about marching not as a team at the DC. Saw heavy marchers
"humping" up the 4 mile, 1000 ft climb in the other direction, and later some running in the sand pit- the female winner of the heavy race finished in 5:31! pretty amazing.
Reminded me of this video sent to me by Crash

The views were even more amazing than Red Rock. Afterward, Bud and burgers, then back to reality. Must go back, next time do it “heavy”.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Gerald, were you wearing a heavy ruck (35 lbs) when you were inserting your pics into the text in this post?

    I wanted to invite Ventoux & theGuth to sign-up for this race, but was afraid they'd be so Hooah, and enlist. I didn't want that on my conscience.