GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Christina Garcia
Running in a race is nothing new for Debra Love and her team. They take part in 5k's regularly, but this race was a little different. Love's team joined more than 1,000 runners in the 17th Annual Seabee Mud Run Saturday morning.
"We are gonna get muddy," said runner Debra Love.
Organizers said creating the muddy course wasn't too difficult this year, thanks to the weather.
"Of course we had a lot of help from mother nature. With the rain earlier this week, as well as, Hurricane Isaac, last week," said Captain Rick Burgess Commander of the Seabee Base.
Burgess said the race, that was open to the public, offers a rare glimpse inside the base.
Runners of all ages and backgrounds wrapped their shoes in tape so they wouldn't fall off as they braved muddy water, heat, mud hills and trenches.
And unlike competitive races, some runners said just making it to the finish line was good enough.
"Just to have fun overall. We don't have no strategy in mind," JROTC platoon leader Dequavius Brown said.
"My strategy is, to have fun, get muddy. And really just have a good time with my boys. It's more of a guy togetherness thing for us," Burgess said.
Other runners came to win.
"I think we're gonna have to pace it, in the beginning and let some of them teams fall out and in the end we're taking it home," runner Martin Lilland said.
For JROTC cadets from several high schools, the race was a learning opportunity.
"Some of them will get through this in about an hour. Some might take two hours, but they'll fill a lot of pride and a sense of accomplishment just finishing this course. It's a pretty challenging course," JROTC teacher Ed Butler said.
It's that same sense of accomplishment that keeps runners coming back year after year.