Regular Joes and G.I. Joes tested their strength side by side at Fort Hamilton’s Civilian Military Combine on Sept. 10.
Local exercise-lovers, first responders, and active-duty soldiers pushed themselves to the limit through 24 military-grade obstacles. Finishing could be a real battle, but it helped to have allies, according to one upstater who came with a group of friends.
“The participation, encouragement, camaraderie — it was all great,” said first-time participant David Schweizer.
Before they took off running, contestants got warmed up in The Pit — a timed challenge where fitness freaks had five minutes to swing as many kettle bells, do as many lunges, and lift as many barbells as they could. It sounds grueling, but some veteran combine-ers made it feel much easier, Schweizer said.
“There was this guy in The Pit — clearly military, maybe even a drill sergeant — who was getting everyone amped up,” he said. “He was so passionate and spoke so highly of the military. He got everyone excited.”
Of course, participants felt the burn by the end, another said.
“With everything combined, I started to feel it in my legs,” said first-timer Nick Mellusi.
Some of the combine’s proceeds will go to the base’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program, which offers fitness and entertainment for soldiers and their families.