Bearden’s NJROTC takes top team honors at Knoxville’s 2019 Marine Mud Run

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Olivia Hailey, News Editor

Bearden’s NJROTC brought home victories from the 2019 Marine Mud Run in late September, an event that consists of an off-road 5K through mud and other obstacles.

This year, Bearden’s NJROTC sent five teams, and their top team placed first out of 17 other JROTC teams. Bearden’s other teams placed third, sixth, and 10th. 

Anyone could participate, but for Bearden participation specifically, NJROTC members had to attend two practices a week to prepare for the run ahead of them. 

“You have to go out of your way… but as long as you show up at 6:30 [in the morning] and you’re running, there’ll be a team for you,” senior NJROTC Commanding Officer Brycen Hazelip said. 

Hazelip has been involved with Bearden’s NJROTC since his freshman year and has participated in the Marine Mud Run every year. 

“Freshman year when I did it, it sucked,” Hazelip said. “I was the slowest person on the A Team, and so they were all faster than me. Every single practice was a struggle to keep up.” 

However, the 5K has given him an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. 

“I’ve gotten to understand a lot about myself and how much I’m willing to put out,” Hazelip said. “Freshman year, it showed me that I was capable of a lot more than I thought I was. … It showed me how much your brain affects your body; if you tell yourself you’re going to do it, then you will.”

They start preparing at the beginning of the school year, and the run serves as a way to build both individual strength and the strength of the unit as a whole. 

“It’s a camaraderie thing, so we can all be working together,” Hazelip said. “We go out there, and we all have a great time. It really builds the team, especially coming out to the practices and everything like that.”  

Added freshman cadet Julian Loyacano: “It really helped me train as a team and get closer to everyone else, and it was really fun. I’m going to try every single year.”

The run is a total of 3.1 miles through hills and mud in Melton Hill Park, and it is open to anyone, individuals or teams. 

“When you get there, you’re in the water, you’re in mud pits, you’re climbing over obstacles, and that’s what makes it a lot of fun,” Hazelip said. “You’re just completely soaked in mud. Not falling is an obstacle in itself.” 

Bearden’s NJROTC encourages anyone at Bearden to participate next year, and more details can be found at https://runsignup.com/Race/TN/Knoxville/MarineMudRun.