The "Clemson 8" Bataan Death March Challenge is open to the general public. We are hosting an in-person race at 10:00 am on Sat., March 9, 2024, along with a virtual race from March 9-16, 2024. You can complete your own walk, run, bike, hike, swim, or ski in Clemson, S.C. or on your own course - in your own town. And, you can complete it in one day or throughout the eight day period. Your participant packet consists of 100% COTTON Comfort Colors t-shirt or tank top, bib number, wooden nickel, medallion, and window decal. There will be no prize money awarded to the top finishers at the in-person event.
100% of the proceeds will benefit the Clemson University Military Affiliated students via an endowment to send a group of these military students to compete in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March Race at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Donations can be made on-line during your registration or if you want a tax deduction, please contact Amy Craft at the Clemson University Foundation M-F from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm EST at 864-656-1240, email@example.com or mail a check to: Clemson University Foundation, Attn: Amy Craft, P.O. Box 1889, Clemson, SC 29633 On the for line, write: Bataan Endowment.
If you would like to become a Race Sponsor, contact John Seketa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-903-1487 for more information.
On April 9, 1942, six Clemson alumni became prisoners of war with tens of thousands of their brothers-in-arms when American troops who had been fighting in the Philippine theater of WWII were ordered to surrender to the Japanese. They were marched North some 70 miles by their ruthless captors in what would come to be known as the Bataan Death March, one of the most notorious war crimes in history. Seven other alumni were also captured on neighboring islands during World War II.
Already weak and starving from months of intense fighting and illness, the POWs’ were herded with other sick, wounded and starving soldiers through the searing heat of the Philippine jungles. Thousands died. Those who survived the march then had to survive for years in the inhumane and brutal conditions of Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, and the sinking by our own Navy of unmarked prison ships trying to steal the POW’s away to the mainland towards the end of the war. It is impossible to know the exact number, but it is estimated at least 57 percent of the captured Americans did not survive the war – more than 11,500 souls — which is considered a very conservative number by most experts.
Colonel Skardon, 104,was the last living member of this illustrious group. He was well known as the only survivor of the real Bataan Death March who walked in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March (BMDM) at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., one of the toughest and most popular “ultramarathons” in the world. The event has become a pilgrimage for veterans, active-duty military members, supporters, the few remaining survivors, and family members of the men who perished in the march and POW camps.
Colonel Skardon had walked in the BMDM 12 times, most often a distance of 8.5 miles, beginning in 2007 when he was 89. In 2019, at 101, he walked more than three miles through the desert to honor his brothers-in-arms who did not return from the war. He considers it his duty. He was on his way to walk again in 2021 when the event was canceled due to the pandemic. In response, the "Clemson 8" Challenge was created by a team of students, veterans, alumni and friends so Colonel Skardon could continue his pilgrimage from his home in Clemson. The 8 represents the annual miles that Colonel Skardon walked each year to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country in one of the most brutal wartime events in history.
After registering for the "Clemson 8" Challenge, everyone is encouraged to continue their training and participate in the 2024 in-person or virtual edition of the 35th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March at https://bataanmarch.com/
For more information on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country from Clemson A&M College and Clemson University, visit the Clemson University Scroll of Honor website: https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/
Here is a list of 24 known Clemson graduates and 1 former student who were a P.O.W. -
Additional race information can be found at https://go-greenevents.com/.
Participants can choose between two types of Comfort Color shirts. Dark SAGE green and Sandstone green as part of their registration, unless they are a member of a High School and College ROTC Ruck team. Those participants must sign-up as an individual to be able to order a shirt. Colonel Skardon used to wear a white bucket hat on his walks in New Mexico. OOSH!!! was the command given by the Japanese soldiers to the POWs. It means - MARCH ON.
The first 500 participants are guaranteed a Race Bib as part of their registration, unless they are a member of a High School and College ROTC Ruck team. Those participants must sign-up as an individual to be able to receive a Race Bib.
Each participant will receive one Wooden Nickel. Each high school will receive 8 Wooden Nickels as part of their registration. Two hundred additional Wooden Nickels are available for purchase by any participant for $.50 each through the store. The Wooden Nickel is 1.25" in diameter. Easy to carry in your wallet, purse or pocket. Great for any Coin Challenge.
Each high school will receive one 2' x 3' Race Banner (with a grommet in each corner) as part of their registration. A Race Banner may be purchased by any participant for $30.00 each through the store. The banner shows General (Colonel Ben) Skardon participating in one of his last Bataan Memorial Death March events crossing the 8 mile finish line in 2018 at 100-years old.
Participants will receive a Window Decal as part of their registration, unless they are a member of a High School and College ROTC Ruck team. Those participants must sign-up as an individual to be able to receive a Window Decal.
The Start/Finish line is at the middle of the Upper intramural Field/Lot2 next to the North Upper Ramp to Memorial Stadium. You will take one lap around the Upper Intramural Field and exit towards the IPTAY Center/Ticket Office. Turn right onto Centennial Blvd. Turn left at Highway 93. Turn left at Perimeter Road. Turn left at Cherry Road. Turn left at Highway 93. Turn left at the Abernathy Hotel. Go to the cross walk just before the Fike Recreation Center and cross the street to the Intramural Field. Go 1 1/2 laps around the field and you will reach the 4 mile mark. You can stop and finish your remaining 4 miles another day or you can do another lap. If you want to do the entire 8 miles, circle around the Intramural Field another 1 1/4 laps and exit like you did at the beginning of the race. Follow the same course til you get back to the Intramural Field. Circle the field 1 1/2 laps and you will have completed your 8 miles.
All runners and walkers are asked to stay on the sidewalks. For those who can not run or walk the campus course, they will be able to circle the Upper Intramural Field. Every three (3) laps is a mile. Those who are competing on the campus course have til 2:00 pm to cross the finish line.
Looking for a place to train? Train where Colonel Ben trained on the 1/3 mile "Sylvan Delight" trail. There are two visitor parking spots located next to the Douthit Hills parking lot on the Clemson University campus at the intersection of Hwy. 93 and Hwy.76. There is also a back entrance to the trail located on Woodland Way in Clemson.
The Start/Finish line is at the Southwest corner of the Upper intramural Field/Lot2. Please park between the Upper Intramural Field and Littlejohn Coliseum on Centennial Blvd. or in the West Endzone/Lot 5 parking lot. There is a set of steps you can use to get to the Upper Intramural Field. If you are standing at the Tiger statue in front of Littlejohn Coliseum, look East and it is in the small parking lot across the street. Please notice that some of the parking spaces in the small lot are Metered Parking Spaces.
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