MCRD Holds 12th Annual Boot Camp Challenge

12th Annual Boot Camp Challenge kicks off Saturday at MCRD

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If you could train like a Marine for one day, would you do it?

About 3,000 people are expected to try their hand at just that Saturday morning as they join 60 Marine drill instructors for the 12th Annual Boot Camp Challenge.

The event, which is part of San Diego Fleet Week, takes place at the Marine Corps Depot located at 1600 Henderson Ave.

Beginning at 9 a.m. participants will run through a three-mile course filled with obstacles that Marine Corp Recruits use throughout the year, according to race organizer Kelley Sitar.

“It’s really the mystique of the drill instructor that has always drawn people here to get a taste of what it’s like without having to sign up,” said Sitar.

With the help and encouragement from Marine drill instructors, runners will be put to the test as they face 52 obstacles including hay jumps, tunnel crawls, hurdles, wall climbs, and those dreaded push-up stations.

However, daunting as it may sound, according to Sitar that isn’t the case.

Runners are usually seen laughing and smiling after the race is over and there’s something in it for almost every age; the oldest participant was 88-years-old, Sitar said.

Challenge aside, for some, Saturday’s event will be more than a race.

In the past, around seventy percent of Boot Camp Challenge’s participants have either served in the military or have a family member that has done so, according to Sitar.

“They make t-shirts and wear signs and pictures of loved ones who are serving or have passed on,” Sitar said. “It’s really evolved this race over the 12 years.”

An after-party is scheduled to take place eight after the race and will feature food, awards, prizes, and a chance to rub elbows MCRD Marines.

Participants in the Boot Camp Challenge must be at least 15 years old. Registration can be done online or at the event beginning at

For more information, visit the event's website.

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