Military Obstacle Course

Military Obstacle Course at MMA

Maj Harold Compton

There have been a lot of questions and Internet searches recently focused on military obstacle course. What is a  course layout? How is one run? This article will attempt to answer those questions and is focused on the course located at Marine Military Academy.

The obstacle course at MMA was built based on plans from the United States Marine Corps, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It is an exact copy of the military obstacle  course found at both Marine Corps Recruit Depots, Officer Candidate School and all Marine Corps bases. The Obstacle Course has been in use now for the last 13 years and is used extensively by outside agencies and schools. The military obstacle course is also one of our major events for our annual Summer Camp program.

Military Obstacle Course Layout and Running

obstacle courseThe photo above was taken from the top of the MMA tower and shows the military obstacle course shortly after construction was completed. The course runs south to north and is 300 feet from the first event on the south end to the ropes at the end of the course. The course is 24 feet wide and has two lanes for participants to run. The descriptions below are of all of the obstacle course events from #1 on the south end to #14 (refer to picture).

 obstacle courseEvents #1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13: Low Jumps – These events are low hurdles that are constructed from telephone poles. The top log of the hurdle is 2 1/2 feet high.  Participants may jump or vault over the hurdles. These events are spaced between the other events throughout the obstacle course.



courseEvent #2: Up and Over Bar – This event is a high bar that is 8 feet off the ground.  Participants must go over the top of the bar either by executing a kip or by a technique referred to as a “college boy roll.” Executing this technique requires the participant to do a pullup and then hook one armpit over the bar. They must then hook the opposite leg over the bar and in one motion kick down with the free leg while rolling over the bar.



obstacle courseEvent # 4: Combination – This event is actually made up of 3 different obstacles to negotiate. The first one is Hand Over Pipes followed by the Log Walk and finishes up with the High Roll Over Log. Participants approach the obstacle and step up on the low balance log and jump up to the Hand Over Pipes. They then hook their feet  on the pipes and slide down until they reach the Log Walk. They then stand up and walk down the logs and jump up onto the High Roll Over Log, hang from the log and drop to the ground.


military obstacle courseEvent #6: Log Wall – This event is a wall constructed from telephone poles and covered with 2 feet x 6 feet boards. Participants approach the wall and jump up grabbing the top. They then pull themselves up until they can get their elbows on top of the wall. Once they reach this point they swing one leg up on top of the wall and roll off the back side.



military obstacle courseEvent #8: Medium Roll Over Log – This is a single log roll over that is 5 1/2 feet high. Participants must jump up to get their stomach on top of the log and then roll over the opposite side.




military obstacle courseEvent #10: Four Vault Logs – This event is a series of four logs spaced 4 feet apart.  Each of the logs is 4 1/2 feet high.  Participants must vault or roll over all of the logs.  Participants learn that getting a rhythm on this event is crucial to running a low time on the course.




military obstacle courseEvent #12: Double Pull Over Bar – This event is similar to the Up and Over Bar except that it has two bars. The first bar is located 8 feet above the ground and the second bar is 1 foot higher. Participants must pull up on the first bar until they can grab the second bar. They then pull themselves up until they can get both knees on the lower bar. They then reach over the top bar and grab the lower bar with palms outward, slowly lower themselves down over the bar, hang from the lower bar and drop to the ground.


obstacle courseEvent #14: Rope Climb – This is a series of 20 feet high ropes that each participant must climb and touch the top of the rope before lowering themselves back to the ground.  Participants must be careful when lowering to the ground and use hand over hand technique rather than simply slide down the rope which can cause rope burn.



Military Obstacle Course Modifications

The construction of the obstacle course followed the specifications of the Marine Corps plans, however, some modifications to the course were incorporated to accommodate cadets and summer campers at Marine Military Academy. As we normally have participants ages 12 through 18 and many of these are much shorter than a typical Marine, adjustments were made to the right side of the course to help them. These included steps added to some events and having the ground built up slightly so that smaller individuals could reach the event. These modifications to the obstacle course did not make the course easy, they only made it possible for smaller participants to actually run the course.

Check out Military Obstacle Course Photos

Visit our Facebook Page for photos of our plebes taking on the Obstacle Course.

Learn More about Marine Military Academy and the Military Obstacle Course

Check out the Marine Military Academy website and for more information click on the image below to request information about enrollment.

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