Hundreds of Fort Drum community members show their grit as they battle mud, water and the cold along the four-mile Mountain Mudder course Sept. 18. Members of the Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program teamed up with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff to create a fun, safe event designed to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Fort Drum Soldiers get ‘down and dirty’ during annual Mountain Mudder on post
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 18, 2020) – The 2020 Mountain Mudder looked every bit as dirty as in years past, and hundreds of Fort Drum community members showed their grit on the four-mile course Sept. 18.
Members of the Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program teamed up with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff to host the annual event.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but everyone enjoys doing it because we know people are going to have a blast,” said Spc. Christopher Jones, BOSS representative for 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI).
With so many events this year cancelled because of COVID-19, Jones said this was clearly an event people were eager to attend. Roughly 600 community members registered early for the Mudder, with more signing up that morning.
“It’s a smaller event this year because of COVID, but we’re still out here having fun,” Jones said. “Everybody’s loving it.”
Some long-standing obstacles were cut from the course this year because of COVID-19 safety concerns. Jonathan Banister, BOSS adviser, said that that they designed a course that focused on the mud and water obstacles, and they eliminated those with the most surface contact, such as the warped wall and inner tube crawl.
Still, many fan-favorite obstacles were back. Participants precariously maneuvered across Remington Pond over a slippery plastic bridge, plunged down a water tube and low-crawled through several mud pits.
Spc. Adrian Nevius, with 10th Mountain Division Artillery, described the course as fun, but cold.
“You have to hit the water with a certain mindset. It’s warmer than the outside air, but it’s still pretty cold so it kind of shocks you,” he said. “I still had fun.”
He recently arrived at Fort Drum from Fort Bliss, Texas.
“I just got here, and this was something my unit is doing to build unit cohesion,” he said. “I love it here.”
Participants started the course in one of four waves, beginning at 6:30 a.m. To avoid large gatherings, there was no after-party this year. Finishers received their medals, showered off the mud with a power hose and then exited the area. Pfc. Cesar Moreno, with 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, ran the course with B Company.
“It was a little painful for me, but I liked it,” he said. “Just the constant low-crawling and the weather was pretty cold. Honestly, I liked it a lot. This was something different.”
Moreno said that this was his first Mudder at Fort Drum.
“Next time I’m going to get my friends to do it, and it would be fun to wear costumes like some of these groups are doing,” he said.