In the last few years, The Citadel has managed to draw more civilian participation in its annual Citadel Bulldog Challenge, an obstacle-course race through the campus, including an adjacent salt marsh.
In fact, as of last weekend, only 70 of the 163 four-person teams that had signed up were active-duty or Reserve military.
I can remember when the challenge struggled to get a dozen nonmilitary teams.
The change is due, largely, to the rise in popularity of Marine Corps mud runs and similar obstacle races and high-intensity, trainer-led exercise programs, such as CrossFit. The result is higher participation overall.
Marine Capt. Marcus Gillette said this year's challenge is trending 20 teams above last year's and may set a new record.
Among the civilian teams at Saturday's 16th Citadel Bulldog Challenge will be a team of men in their 60s raising money, appropriately, for the Wounded Warrior Project, which seeks to help veterans wounded in war with services and programs.
Allan Woods and Frank Zaubi, both 66, John Feldman, 65, and Tom Peck, 61, all of Seabrook Island, have been training for the Bulldog Challenge since October, when the island's Lake House fitness director Nic Porter pitched it to them.
While the men were all active to start with, Porter designed a program using training phases, or "periodization," that incorporated CrossFit, mixed-martial arts, mobility training, yoga and nutrition to prepare them for the rigors of the challenge.
After all, the event features 15 obstacles, such as scaling walls and trudging through chest-high pluff mud in the "Guadalcanal" obstacle, while lugging 25-pound sandbags along a six-mile course.
As of late last week, the team had raised more than $4,000 for Wounded Warrior, while also inspiring many at the Lake House who watched them train as a team. One woman in her 50s already wants to form a team for next year's event.
Porter said, "I wanted to do this to create awareness that we're capable of doing more than we think we're capable of doing."
And in that respect, the Bulldog Challenge continues to accomplish its goal, as well.
While registration closed at midnight Wednesday, the event is still fun to watch and often is a good way to start preparing for next year's event. The challenge kicks off at 8 a.m. and two, four-person teams start every two minutes. The event is campuswide.
Oysters benefit kids
The get bOYSTERous on Bowen's, a benefit for the Yoga Benefits Kids program, will be held 2-5 p.m. Saturday on Bowen's Island and include live "jamgrass" music by Green Levels, along with oysters, beer, a silent auction and raffles.
The cost is $25 for adults; kids 12 and under get in free; older kids cost $10.
Mountain bike race
For mountain bikers, moving to the Lowcountry can cause withdrawals, but there are support groups for that.
Mount Pleasant Velo will present The Killer 3 Mountain Bike Race on Sunday at Manchester State Forest in Wedgefield, which is near Sumter.
The 13-mile race is part of the Maxxis Southern Series and is broken into cycling levels, which will race at different times Sunday morning.