Annual Swamp Romp Expo invites Hawaii to get dirty, stay healthy

Special to The Hawaii Independent

Story by Christine Cabalo

KANEOHE—Before gearing up for Hawaii’s premiere muddy race, take down a few fitness tips from three top Hawaii athletes headed into the Swamp Romp Expo on February 25.

Triathletes Shonny Vanlandingham and Amy Eck, alongside competitive surfer Duane Desoto, will be at the Samuel Adams Sports Grill for the expo beginning at 3:00 p.m.

“[The Swamp Romp] is a great event put together by the military and out of the box,” said Desoto, the 2010 Oxbow Wave Sliders ASP World Longboard Champion. “The military does events like these all the time, but it’s even rarer for the public to get the opportunity like this.”

An advocate for Hawaiian culture and children’s physical fitness, Desoto said he’s happy to support the family event. The champion surfer, who does outreach work with children, said he’s a firm believer of continuing to push personal fitness thresholds through life.

His fellow champion Shonny Vanlandingham said she hopes her visit will also inspire athletes of any age to expand their fitness.

“I’m in my 40s, but I’m in the best shape of my life,” Vanlandingham said. “Believe you can do it. Triathlons are great for people 35 to 40, because they can last longer with more endurance in competition.”

At the age of 41, Vanlandingham took first place for Pro Women at the October 2010 XTERRA World Championship held in Maui. Competitions have taken her all over the world, racing in rugged off-road terrain. She’s currently in training for an upcoming March 6 triathlon in the Philippines featuring a course of more than six miles on foot and more than 100 miles by bicycle.

Vanlandingham appreciates how the Commanding Officer’s Fitness Series includes the Swamp Romp as well as triathlons during the year.

It’s the first time Vanlandingham may see the muddy race, but it’s a familiar sight to Eck.

As a five-time Swamp Romp competitor, Eck said she loved competing because it fosters good teamwork in a fun setting. She also likes having it as an opportunity for Marines and their family members to enjoy a day together while staying active.

“Swamp Romp is super fun because it’s a dirty, outdoors obstacle course for people in an area you may not get to run in otherwise,” Eck said.

Besides competing in the Swamp Romp, Eck has raced in the Ironman Hawaii Championship and competed in the off-road XTERRA races. At this year’s Swamp Romp, she’ll be in the crowd cheering for several racers she’s trained for triathlons.

After meeting with the champions, expo attendees can enjoy more than just picking up their racing chip and information packets. The event will feature several booths with health products and giveaways. Nearby Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course will also host a golf demo that day from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For more information about the Swamp Romp, call (808) 254-7590. Registration for the race continues until February 19.

To register online, click here