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Marines, Sailors and Soldiers take the Ironman challenge Tri-Command style

By Sgt. S. Correll Heard | | December 18, 2000

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As sounds of the Rocky soundtrack bellowed through the cold-crisp morning air, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers stretched in front of the Marine Aircraft Group headquarters building, one could tell something was happening aboard the Air Station on this day.

On December 6, the Air Station hosted the inaugural Tri-Command Ironman Team Relay competition, that pitted 10 six-man teams against the clock and eight challenges. The events included a two-mile team run with a 40 pound pack, going through the obstacle course twice, an 11-mile bike race, 10k run, two-person canoe, 40 dead hang pull-ups and 200 sit-ups.

There were many changes made to the ironman before it took its final form. Changes like the subtraction of the swim and adding a canoe event (due to cold weather). Initially everyone was to run every event, but a relay gained greater interest from potential participants.

The eight events were the brainchild of Capt. Tom J. Brinegar, MAG-31 logistics officer, SSgt. Ronald Johns MALS-31 logistics chief and GySgt. Carl Gailes, Personel Support Detachment Gunny,  chose the events based on a combination of ideas from road races, triathlons, and an MCRD San Diego Ironman in which Brinegar competed.

"We wanted to have an event that would promote physical fitness, camaraderie, esprit de corps, team work and competition," said Brinegar.
Participants were not limited to just those in the Tri-Command as Soldiers from Fort Stewart, Ga. infiltrated the games. According to 2nd Lt. Aaron Vanhorn, platoon leader from Ft. Stewart, Ga., he and his troops found out about the ironman about a week prior. Although the events were challenging according to Vanhorn, no one event was particularly hard, which was evident as his team took second overall in a time of 2 hours 54 minutes.

"We had a good time, but we'll be back next year and take it," said the team. As one of the guys from the team had to drop at the last minute. "The hardest thing about the even was the cold air, it burned my lungs."

Although the Army team had little notice, while some had even less.

"I was just asked yesterday," said PFC Jeremy Franklin of the Provost Marshal's Office. "The hardest thing about the event was the cold air it burned my lungs." 

By the end of the triathlon many said they planned to participate in the event for years to come. According to Brinegar, this year's event went well because of Marine Corps Community Services, Search and Rescue the Provost Marshal Office and others aboard Fightertown doing their part to make the event run without a hitch.

"We are hoping that MCCS will sponsor the event next year and we invite the winning team back again to fight for the first place cup," said Brinegar.


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