The Endurance Course: What You Need to Know

A simulated artillery round explodes near candidates navigating the infamous Quigley
A simulated artillery round explodes near candidates navigating the infamous Quigley

The Endurance Course is a 2.5 mile obstacle course through the beautiful woods of Quantico. And passing it in a time limit is a mandatory requirement for completing OCS.

Check out this superb run-through of the OCS Obstacle Course and Endurance Course by our good friend and fellow Marine Tyler:

Here’s how it works:

  • First, candidates run the Obstacle Course (O-Course) in boots and utes (just wearing boots and trousers)
  • Then candidates put on gear, usually assault vest with canteens, and grab their rifles
  • Next is the 2.5 mile run through the wooded trails
  • Along the way, there will be many obstacles to navigate, such as rope climbing, a 20-foot high cargo net, multiple walls and logs to go over and under, and barbed wire to crawl under
  • Lastly, several water obstacles will slow you down and can be very cold in the winter!

You will run the course several times, and be very familiar with the O-Course. Practice makes perfect, and only the final run counts for your official score.

A muddy candidate gasps for air after getting stuck in the underwater portion of the Quigley
Hold your breath!

How to train for the Endurance Course

While you run the course, it is not sprinting but a steady run with a ten pound rifle and maybe 20 pounds at most of gear, in boots. I highly recommend buying boots and slowly increasing intensity and distance in running in boots. Run on trails, on hilly terrain if preferable. I do NOT recommend running through water, as the friction is almost guaranteed to give you painful blisters that will impede your training.

A high-intensity Fartlek of 2.5 miles with box jumps, low crawling, burpees, lunges and similar exercises at the stations would emulate the E-course well.

Running with weight

Unfortunately, civilian gyms and parks frown on running around in military gear with rifles and assault gear. Please don’t run around with a rifle. You don’t need to.

Endurance Course OCS Barbed Wire
This looks cooler than it feels
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