LONGPORT — Racers finished the half-mile ocean swim looking tired Wednesday, but that was just the beginning of the U.S. Navy SEAL Challenge.
After the swim, participants in the team challenge picked up a giant hollow pipe and, in groups of four, ran three miles with it on their shoulders. At one point, the teams had to push the pipe along the sand and duck underneath yellow caution tape.
Mark Baum, the race director, said the hollowness of the pipe is a gift.
“I did with it logs when I did it back in the Navy,” the Ocean City resident said. “We had to take the log everywhere we went. You go out, you take the log. You leave it outside. It’s your log. For a couple days, and then they’d have you carry some other crazy thing. A boat or something.”
Baum served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. This is the fourth year that he’s organized the fundraiser attended by about 50 people.
“We raise money for the families of Navy SEALs,” he said. “Our mission is threefold: One is recruiting. The other is money for the families. And the other is to let the special operations people know that if something happens to them, we’re going to take care of them. They can go into battle knowing their family is going to be OK.”
Next year he wants to build a ditch in the sand and fill it with water. He also wants to make the caution tape maze more complicated.
Tim Hayes, of Stone Harbor, was on the winning team. He said the hardest part was carrying the pipe. The caution tape maze helped to break up the monotony, he said.
“I think for us that was almost a good break,” he said. “You see it coming off the turn, and you’re just like: ‘Make it to that point.’”
His teammate, Billy Auti, of North Wildwood, said they never trained with the pipe. He said they signed up on a whim.
“It seemed like an interesting race and we’re stoked on it,” he said.
Also on the team was Sean Regan, of North Wildwood, and John Maloy, a former Wildwood Crest lifeguard.
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