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USAG Stuttgart, Germany
BSRF Marines persevere in Transylvanian race

By Cpl. Sean Berry | Marine Corps Forces Europe | May 20, 2017

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Resilient. It takes a special kind of mindset to voluntarily trek across the harsh landscape of the mountains in Bran, Romania, and its unforgiving footholds. Even as the downpour of rain and hail increased, over 50 Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 17.1 pushed themselves to their physical and mental limits with one goal: complete what they came here for.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Capt. Jeffery Amell, staff judge advocate with BSRF 17.1. “But quitting is not what we do; it was never the answer because we wanted to keep going until we were done.”
These Marines joined competitors from all over the world to take on Transylvania 20km, 30km, or 50km races in Bran, Romania, on May 20, 2017. The race started in the shadow of Bran Castle. With their gear and unwavering determination, they journeyed from checkpoint to checkpoint gaining the confidence to reach the finish line.
“I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up, and I knew what it was going to feel like,” said Staff Sgt. Miguel A. Gonzalez, a company gunnery sergeant with the BSRF. “Everyone reaches a certain point where you feel like you might not be able to keep going, but there’s always more.”
Weariness took its toll for some; bodies aching from the countless kilometers of hiking the steep mountain side, they still pushed on.
“Marines spend a majority of their time working through challenging situations,” said Amell. “This job requires the resiliency to keep going in difficult and challenging situations whether it is running a race on a mountain or pushing through in combat scenarios.”
This mindset helped Marines endure through 18 hours on the mountain trails and crossing the finish line near midnight. They completed the race thanks to a handicap known really well to Marines.
“First gear when you’re doing something like this is always your physical and mental ability,” said Gonzalez. “That second gear is always heart, how bad do you want it and do you have it inside yourself or do you not’; it all comes down to how far you’re willing to push yourself.”
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