Dashing through the mud

ROTC hots 70 participants in 2nd annual Gorilla Dash

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Joud Bayeh | reporter

The Gorilla Battalion had many from the community turn out for its second annual muddy mess of a race.
The Gorilla Dash, a 5k obstacle-riddled run promoted by the PSU Reserve Officer Training Corps, was held for the second year on Saturday, April 27, at the PSU Baja Course near the Student Recreation Center.
About 70 people participated as PSU students, area high school students and people from the community struggled through a harder, muddier course compared to last year.

Becca Pearson, sr. in exercise science, Taylor Saia, sr. in biology, Nicole rockhold, sr. in biology, Leah Flynn, sr. in plastics engineering, and Brooke Fay, sr. in marketing, flip a tire during the Gorilla Dash on Saturday, April 27.

Becca Pearson, sr. in exercise science, Taylor Saia, sr. in biology, Nicole rockhold, sr. in biology, Leah Flynn, sr. in plastics engineering, and Brooke Fay, sr. in marketing, flip a tire during the Gorilla Dash on Saturday, April 27.

“This year there are some differences because it is actually a 5K,” said Cadet Stephen Cuff, senior in geography. “Last year it was a little shorter. There are also some different routes such as running in the woods and a pass through a creek.”
Rainy weather forced ROTC to make some changes in the course and also has created some new natural obstacles.
“There wasn’t a dry spot, it was constantly muddy, and that made a big difference,” said Cadet Keith Weaver, junior in justice studies, who ran with two other cadets. “It feels good, I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t do it, but it was fun after all.”
Challenges confronted the runners throughout the course.
“The runners have to crawl through the stream, carry weight on the mud and cross the flooded field,” Cuff said.
Becca Pearson, senior in exercise science, ran with four of her peers from the volleyball team. She says that they attempted the course just for fun, not to compete. The course is very tiring, she added.
“We came to have a good time,” Pearson said. “My legs hurt, but it was a good ending, pretty hard. The hardest part was the field, it was muddy and we sank on it.”
Cadet Bryan Wallraff, freshman in chemistry, agrees with Pearson. He says that this year, the course was a lot harder than last year.
“(There were) more obstacles,” Wallraff said. “It is nice that it rained, so as people pass through the obstacles, it is getting muddier and harder to pass through.”
Among all the teams and individual Bruning stood out, because he chose to run with his mother.
“It was awesome, lots of fun,” said Bruning, senior in graphic communication management. “I had to help my mom sometimes, but it was worth it. We ran through a pond with mud up to the chest. It was good, the rain made it tougher.”
Bruning added that he’d definitely do it again.
“You should be prepared to get muddy. If you want to come next year you should start training now,” he said.
Curtis Thurman, senior in computer information systems, ran the course with two other friends. This was his first attempt.
“It was tough, but I had lots of fun,” he said. “The mud passed my chin. You get all dirty. I’d probably do it again and if you didn’t come you missed out on a whole lot of fun.
“It is the best opportunity here at PSU, the most awarding one.”
In the end, Cuff says he hopes that Gorilla Dash becomes more and more of a big student body event, where anyone can participate.
“It’s you who decides how difficult it is,” he said. “You can either run or just walk, so don’t be afraid to come next year.”

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