Bataan Memorial Death March: One Month Countdown

We’ve got less than a month until the Bataan Memorial Death March. I’m putting to the test the assertion that CrossFit + heavy weight lifting = preparation for endurance events. We’re not doing a lot of long-distance training – we have one 14-mile hike planned for this weekend, with the option of a shorter follow-up if we need it to refine equipment or clothing.

Surely I can walk all day, right?!

To educate ourselves more about the real Bataan Death March and to get in the appropriate frame of mind, Dave and I watched The Great Raid. It’s the story of the rescue of POWs in the Philippines and is based on the real events. If the actual experience was even a fraction as horrible as portrayed in the movie, it was truly beyond comprehension.

I’m also about to dig into the book Tears in the Darkness. When I reach a point of severe mental or physical challenge during the March, which I surely will, I want to draw on the stories of the men who marched under far worse circumstances than I will endure to make sure I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Team Relentless was fortunate to be contacted by the blogger from ... And the Adventure Continues… (Hi, Dave!) He’s running the Memorial March in a weighted pack. Running. In a WEIGHTED PACK. Which puts him at the opposite end of the spectrum from our walking team. But that’s the beautiful thing about events like this: everyone experiences the pain and the exhilaration in their own way.

I’ve also been reading and re-reading all the information on the Bataan Memorial Death March website. It’s packed with rules and details and testimonials that seem essential to being prepared for March 21. (It’s not too late to register if you want to join the March. Just sayin’…)

Here are three of my favorite quotes from past Marchers:

“I truly believe that the march route was laid out by the devil himself. I don’t mind increases in elevation, I’ve seen that before, but the absolutely horrendous deep sand was more than I had ever expected, and I thought I was pretty much acquainted with what to expect… I hope you keep this event going forever.  The men truly deserve to be honored.”

“I’ve run in a lot of marathons. This was the toughest, especially the hill that I now refer to as Hell Hill. The wind that we pushed into up that hill was unforgiving. This event is not for the light of heart. The great thing about the march is that it helps you find a sense of community right in the middle of a desert.”

“This was the first marathon I have ever done. I came from Chicago to run and haven’t regretted the trip at all. The course provided a true test of strength, endurance, and determination. The sand pit at mile 21 was excruciating. On the bright side, the workers at all the water stops were very friendly and nice to see every two miles or so along the way. Being a civilian participant it was very rewarding to be cheered on by soldiers along the way and to do the same in return. It was especially rewarding to cross the finish line and shake the hands of a few survivors.”

So, to recap:

  • Course designed by the devil
  • Hell Hill
  • Mile 21 Sandpit
  • Hanging out with military badasses
  • Honoring POWs
  • Eating trail mix with Team Relentless


You know what else is awesome? Supporting the Wounded Warrior Project. There’s a conveniently-located button on the top left of this page where you can make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. A donation of any size is most welcome! We’re walking 26.2 miles… how ’bout sponsoring us at 50-cents a mile? Or a dollar a mile? Every donation helps severely injured service men and women.

We’ve been joking that Team Relentless are the walking wounded – we’ve got busted-ass thyroids and hips and feet on our team. But the Wounded Warriors have real challenges and made sacrifices at a level beyond anything Team Relentless will face.

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