Independent Tribune – Intimidators get hot at right timeFeatures Physical fitness program joins local trainers to Marines overseas

Physical fitness program joins local trainers to Marines overseas


The Marine Buddy Challenge, part of the Semper Fi Racing Series, simulates various aspects of Marine Corps training

By Christie Barlow
[email protected]

Emily and Gavin Knudson know that being in top physical shape means having discipline, focus and commitment.

When Emily recently opened a personal training studio in Harrisburg and started looking for ways to incorporate these attributes into bootcamp workouts at their studio, she came across information about the Marine Buddy Challenge. 

The challenge is part of the Semper Fi Racing Series, which simulates various aspects of Marine Corps training.

While Emily and Gavin were put to work in a grueling Physical Fitness Test (known by Marines as “the PFT”) for the Marine Buddy Challenge, Major Ed Moen and his fellow Marines simultaneously competed in their own PFT in Al-Taqaddum, Iraq.

The two groups were connected live over a video teleconference to offer shouts of encouragement and cheer the others on as they were put to the test during the workout.

Moen, a Harrisburg resident, and his Marines in Iraq participated in the event in hopes of inspiring others to get involved. Aside from getting in their daily exercise, the event gave the Marines in Iraq a taste of home and those at home a look at what Marines do, he said.

“We wear boots and utilities, we carry a pack with necessities, we sport weapons and ammunition and we never know whether we’re going to have to run five or 10 miles to get to the enemy or whether we’re going to have to walk a couple hundred miles to get there,” Moen said. “We have to be prepared for any situation so we have to train for every situation. This is one way of doing that and since it’s challenging and we get to compete against each other, it’s fun at the same time.”

Stateside, participants in the Marine Buddy Challenge, held by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Charlotte, faced a test similar to the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test.

Each competitor participated in four fitness tests and a three-mile run, all while carrying packs weighing 10 percent of their body weight, and staying in unison with their partners. All the proceeds raised from the event went toward The Colonel Richard A. Christie Memorial Fund, which provides scholarship assistance to former Marines who are attending college.

With Marines shouting at them and sweat pouring, Emily and Gavin, both Harrisburg residents, got a first hand look at what life in the Marine Corps is like.

From the time she signed in, Emily was carrying an extra 13 pounds of weight on her back as she went continuously from test to test.

“It went good,” she said after the event. “It was a lot of fun. It was pretty challenging but we finished it and felt like the time we did it in was good.”

Despite the cold, the yelling and the hard work, she enjoyed the exercise and had enough energy to teach a class later that afternoon at her personal training studio in Harrisburg. Emily, who recently opened her studio, Empowered Fitness, plans to incorporate some of what she did into the bootcamp program she offers.

Emily, who has participated in past Semper Fi Racing Series events, originally got involved because of her family’s history with the military; her father served in the Air Force. Any cause that helps her raise funds for those who served in the military and allows her to promote wellness is something she’s happy to support, she said.

“I’ve been around the military life,” she said. “It can be really hard on them to go from the military life to the civilian life. Going to school is one thing that really helps them transition. This is going to someone who’s really trying to improve their life and working towards a worthy goal.”

• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.

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