ST. CLAIR – They were all tired. They all appeared dirty.
But everyone seemed to find a way to smile as they shared stories.
The fifth annual Swampfoot 4 Mile made it’s return Saturday in St. Clair with more than 2,500 participants pushing themselves to complete more than 75 obstacles that stood in their way.
The four mile course wasn’t for the faint of heart and the challenge of completing the feat drew people from all around the state.
“My church came last year and run but I already had a vacation planned, so this was my first time this year,” said Daniel Eaddy of Detroit, who participated alongside several members of Covenant Christian Center International.
“It was a large group of us and it was great. It was a great sense of accomplishment having never done anything like this. It was a battle. It showed you can do more than you think you can do. We are a lot stronger than we expect through Christ. It was a whole process of getting ready. It was not only physical but spiritual training.”
The military style obstacle course was a formidable challenge for everyone involved.
“It was a lot of nerves building up,” Michelle Archer of Port Huron said. “You start running and you see the course and then your adrenaline kicks in. You start encouraging one another and picking each other up and pushing yourselves.
“At the end it was difficult going up one thing and sliding down another. It really challenged you. It was good.”
Sharing in the experience with Archer were her guests Pablo Mendoza and Liliana Rodriguez of Miami, Fla. It was the first time competing in the event for the duo, who left pleased with their result.
“I really liked it,” Rodriguez said. “I was very nervous. It was exciting but you don’t know what to expect.”
“It’s all mental,” Mendoza added. “If you think you can do it, you can do it.”
After training for several months with a cross-fit group in the metro area, Randy Schneider of Macomb got a chance to test his endurance alongside his friend Debbie Osborne, who hails from Casco.
As they took in the sights and sounds of the event they reflected on the accomplishment of finishing the event.
“I set a goal of being an all around athlete instead of just running,” Schneider said. “You have to combine core strength and everything to do the obstacles.”
At the end of the day, the participants all appeared to leave with a smile and looking forward to next year’s event.
That’s exactly what John Cook, one of the organizers of the event hoped to hear.
“Our goal is that everyone will have a good experience and push themselves to their limit,” Cook said. “We want them to come and challenge themselves.
“We have been rocking and rolling the last six days, 16 hours a day putting everything together and we normally build year round. We keep changing it up because we want to provide the highest quality race we can.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.