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Sgt. Luciano Vera charges across the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey, South Korea, on Saturday. About 80 soldiers competed in the event, with 2nd Lt. Michael Woudenberg finishing first in 58:12.

Sgt. Luciano Vera charges across the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey, South Korea, on Saturday. About 80 soldiers competed in the event, with 2nd Lt. Michael Woudenberg finishing first in 58:12. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Sgt. Luciano Vera charges across the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey, South Korea, on Saturday. About 80 soldiers competed in the event, with 2nd Lt. Michael Woudenberg finishing first in 58:12.

Sgt. Luciano Vera charges across the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey, South Korea, on Saturday. About 80 soldiers competed in the event, with 2nd Lt. Michael Woudenberg finishing first in 58:12. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Doolen has his 35-lb. bag weighed at the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey on Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Doolen has his 35-lb. bag weighed at the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey on Saturday. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Soldiers trudge around Camp Hovey during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge beginning at Camp Casey on Saturday.

Soldiers trudge around Camp Hovey during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge beginning at Camp Casey on Saturday. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Master Sgt. Ka-ron Haumann has her 35-lb. bag weighed at the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey on Saturday.

Master Sgt. Ka-ron Haumann has her 35-lb. bag weighed at the finish line outside Carey Gym during the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge at Camp Casey on Saturday. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Sgt. George Mourtos takes a breather outside at the Carey Gym finish line after running the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge. Mourtos says he wore the helmet as a tribute to his Greek heritage.

Sgt. George Mourtos takes a breather outside at the Carey Gym finish line after running the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge. Mourtos says he wore the helmet as a tribute to his Greek heritage. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

CAMP CASEY, South Korea — Plenty of servicemembers spend their Saturdays relaxing on their couches or recovering from Friday night.

So what possesses someone to strap on a 35-pound rucksack and run 8 miles on the weekend?

“I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment,” said Capt. Jason Buursma of 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment after finishing third in the 8 Mile Rucksack Challenge. “I like the challenge and the sense of accomplishment. It sure beats the office.”

More than 80 soldiers competed in the event, which began in the Carey Gym parking lot and looped around Camp Hovey before returning. Second Lt. Michael Woudenberg of the 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment’s headquarters company finished the race in 58:12, a healthy distance ahead of other competitors.

“As officers, we have to lead the way,” said Woudenberg, who has also completed road races and a triathlon in South Korea. “I think the soldiers see us and it motivates them.”

First Sgt. Andrew Rhoades of the 302nd Brigade Support Battalion finished in second place.

Several junior enlisted soldiers also competed in the event, many of whom had never run in a rucksack race before.

“I showed I’m not scared to do it,” said Pfc. Anthony Eid, also from 1-72, while rehydrating after the finish. Eid then pointed to Spc. Lloyd McBoyen of the 702nd Brigade Support Battalion. “We kept running past each other and in the end, we finished together.”

McBoyen said that Eid helped him finish faster than he thought he could run.

“It gave me a chance to push my body to the limit,” McBoyen said. “I would definitely do this again.”

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