Cpl. Ethan Mawhinney and Sgt. Calie Jacobsen edged out the competition during last month’s High-Intensity Tactical Training Ultimate Tactical Athlete Championship at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. It’s only the second time the service has held the competition, which pits 32 active-duty Marines against each other during a grueling competition that combines tactical skills and athleticism that push Marines to their mental and physical limits.

The gauntlet includes events in five categories: The HITT assessment, a 300-yard power shuttle, a tactical hill climb, a virtual marksmanship test and a tactical fitness challenge. But there’s a catch: Competitors didn’t know which of 150 possible events would be graded until the day of the event.


Strength, endurance, agility

Mawhinney, a Virginia-based Marine air-ground task force planner, competed in the HITT championship last year. After finishing in sixth place, he said he knew he needed to work on his speed and agility while increasing his weights in strength training.

He warms up with something specific each day, ranging from an Olympic lift to a box jump or max pullups. Once in the heart of the workout, diversity is the key as he targets movements in different parts of the body, often mixing calisthenics and weight training.

Mawhinney uses the same format but never repeats the same workout. He kicked it into high gear in March, with longer and more intense workouts.