If running the Bearathon, the toughest marathon in Texas, wasn’t challenging enough run, imagine completing those 13.1 miles with a forty-pound pack strapped to your back.
Nine students from Baylor’s Army ROTC program did just that Saturday during the 2016 Annual Bearathon.
“Last year, I did it with a couple of cadets and it was a great time; everyone was cheering for us,” said Flower Mound junior Charlie Carr. “It really helped give our program some more notoriety.”
These men and women started their training at the first of the year as a part of additional training for a similar ROTC competition.
“We are on an ROTC team that competes against other schools and one of the event we compete in is called the Ruck March where we run with the packs that we have,” said San Diego, Calif., Nic Simitzi. “The competition is about 6 miles, so for the Bearathon we upped it a little.”
“To train we would ruck about once a week,” said Converse junior Jordan Pruitt.
This is not going to be the last time students from the Army ROTC program attempt this challenge at the Bearathon, though.
“We decided after last’s run to try and make it a tradition and do this every year,” Carr said. “I reached out to a bunch of people this year and we raised money to help pay for the fees.”
“We figured it was a good way to raise awareness of the program,” Simitzi said.
When asked how they strategized completing the winding and hill-covered course, Carr said the group had a plan from the beginning.
“We started off with the two -minute-on, one-minute-off pace until we reached Cameron Park,” Carr said. “From there we would walk up every hill and then run down them. We tried to stay pretty close to the two-minute-on, two- minute off for all of the flat spots.”
“Our system brought us to about a 10-minute-per-mile pace,” Pruitt said.
With a group of nine, Simitzi said that they tried to all run together for the majority of the race.
“We stuck together for the majority of the race,” Simitzi said. “I think we split up once we got to about mile seven. We finished in two large groups so no one got left behind.”
This is not a task that can be easily accomplished, Pruitt said.
“Don’t put on the pack and try and run,” Pruitt said. “I recommend training before actually attempting to do it.”
The right gear is also important to anyone looking to run the race like the Army ROTC students.
“I remember my first time my feet were killing me so try to have the right shoes,” Pruitt said. “Boots are probably the best thing.”
Most importantly, though, the group said the right attitude is the key to being successful.
“It’s a mental game so try and have fun with it,” Pruitt said.
“We really kept a good attitude. The entire time we were trying to cheer each other on,” Simitzi said