Bataan Memorial Death March Felix Wong

Over the weekend, some friends and I were in New Mexico for the Bataan Memorial Death March, which was a very fun and educational experience. Here are some photos and some e-mail excerpts summarizing how the marathon went for us.

Thanks—I got back last night. I was surprised at how fast I could hike (12-14 minute pace) with a 41-pound pack on. I was hiking pretty much all of the first half—especially since Miles 6-14 were all uphill—but started running in the second half. I ran all the downhills, some at sub-10 minute pace.

For a while I was thinking I’d finish in 5:30, but then came the infamous “sandbox” at Mile 20.5, which was 1.5 miles long of ankle-deep sand. After that, I was very tired, dehydrated, and my shoulders were in major pain (I guess as a result of having 41 lbs. on my back!), and it became a real challenge to finish under 6 hours. I barely managed to do so by picking it up in the last 1/2-mile and sprinting at the end.

My friends (who were running the entire way, sans pack) did really well too—2nd place in the Co-ed Team Civilian Light Division. Only a team from El Paso, TX (who had beer bellies, no less!) beat them. Another friend came in 9th in the Female Civilian Light Division too. She probably could have placed even higher, but she held back to run with the team (Drop and Give Me 26.2). In any case, Fort Collins was represented well.

It was a super fun, unique, and inspirational event!

Felix running with the 41-pound pack on. (Photo by Brightroom Photography.)

Final Results

Total Time: 5:58:46
Age Group (30-39): 3/33
Overall in the Civilian Male Heavy Division: 8/104
Official Results

Time Splits

Mile 1: 14:55
Mile 2: 12:58
Mile 3: 13:44
Mile 4: 12:37
Mile 5: 13:22
Mile 6: 12:37
Mile 7: 13:04
Mile 8: 13:56
Mile 9: 12:33
Mile 10-11: 30:23 (15:12/mile)
Mile 12: 15:19
Mile 13: 15:26
Mile 14: 12:37
Mile 15: 9:52
Mile 16: 9:44
Mile 17: 10:30
Mile 18: 12:56
Mile 19: 10:59
Mile 20-21: 26:39 (13:20/mile)
Mile 22: 18:54
Mile 23: 14:43
Mile 24-25: 34:23 (17:12/mile)
Mile 26: 14:49
Mile 26.2: 1:49 (9:05/mile)

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Bataan or bust!  Here's Dan before heading out to New Mexico.Stopping off at Heart Healthy Sandwiches in Socorro (which means "help"), New Mexico.Our whole gang at the all-you-can-eat pasta feed on base the night before the Death March.This is where we slept: the gymnasium at the White Sands Missile Base.Lindsey, Dan, Eddie, Cat, Celeste and Scott at the start point the evening before the race.Here we are right before the race.  We stayed near the power generator because it was warmer there.Some people had fabric around the openings of their shoes to keep sand out.A huge U.S. flag flew above the many military participants here.A military jet flew overhead right on cue before the start of the race.  It was really fast!Guns (and their resulting smoke) went off to signal the start of each wave.Mile 2: Onward march!Mile 2.5: Passing by Missile Park.Mile 4.3: This amputee was ahead of me for a good part of the first half, as he was running very well.Mile 7: A runner stretches with a nice view of the mountains ahead.Mile 9.8: Going through the misters.Mile 10: The second place runner came blazing by in the opposite direction.  He ultimately finished in 3:23:50.Mile 11: This guy (who sounded like he was in his 70s or 80s) ran 291 marathons.Mile 12.8: Back on sand through the yucca.Mile 14: A great view of the mountains awaited us at the top of the 7-mile climb. Felix Wong running with the 41-pound pack on. (Photo by Brightroom Photography.)The vets got a standing ovation at the awards ceremony.Later that night, we had dinner in Santa Fe at Maria's Mexican Restaurant.  Here's Eddie, Celeste, and Scott.I had this salad with a ton of guacamole.  Yum!Bataan Death March.Bataan Death March.

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One comment on Bataan Memorial Death March

  1. Comment by Luis Zaragoza US Army Ret

    Felix, congratulations on a great finish. Thanks for writing about my team beating your friends team – by a big margin nonethless. I am a member of the “beer bellies” team from El Paso Tx. Hope you or your friends can make it again for there is no other marathon like Bataan. Thanks for the motivation. LZ

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