Recruits’ Obstacle Race, 1949

1949 RMC Obstacle Course

Excerpt from the 1949 Review

The morning of the 23rd of November was eyed with much apprehension by the present class of recruits, for this was the day they were to run the 1949 edition of the obstacle race. As fortune would have it, there was several inches of fresh snow covering the course, much to the delight of the second year cadets who turned out in full force, along with the staff and visitors, to watch this popular event.

The course was constructed by the recruits, much to their dismay, under the supervision of second year cadets. Thanks to the fiendish ideas of many of the veterans who ran the New One Hundred’s edition of the race, the course was much longer and somewhat more of a nightmare this year.


Starting en masse in front of the old hospital on the parade square, the participants raced along the new football field to the first obstacle, a row of tarpaulins firmly secured the ground. Under these, a struggling mass of recruits fought and bullied their way to freedom. Next they were confronted with a solid wall, which was successfully assaulted only be means of cooperation between the cadets.

From this they ran to shimmy up slippery telephone poles to the top of the wall surrounding the fort, and then managed to make their way across a network of ropes suspended from the top of the Martello Tower to the wall. Dropping to the ground about halfway between the tower and the wall, the cadets found themselves in a mad race over scrambling nets, catwalks, and barricades to the tunnels through the embankment.

Completely darkened by means of canvas over the doorways, and filled with boards, boxes and other such obstructive articles, these tunnels presented a most trying obstacle and produced a demoralizing effect. After scrambling through one tunnel, the recruits desperately struggled up the side of the embankment under tarpaulins, only to run up an icy ramp, down the other side of the embankment through some suspended tires to be confronted with another such passage-way.

From this, a mad leap was made into the moat surrounding the Martello Tower, and after climbing over a dolly, the recruits were faced with the task of getting over the wall of the fort by means of ropes. The home-stretch lay from here to the Old Gym, and very few were noticed to be springing this weary, final grind.

Tired but happy that the ordeal was over, the recruits all came through the race in fine style, with only a few minor injuries.

The winner was Al Derrick of No. 3 Squadron, followed by Mike Findlay of No. 1 and Gil Ross of No. 2 in second and third places. The event brought out the best in Inter-Squadron competition and sportsmanship-many a cadet stopped to aid his buddies along, perhaps forfeiting his own chances of winning the race.

Now, no doubt, the present recruits are fiendishly planning the course that they will design and build for the new class coming to the College in September.

-R. E. C.