Don Tran and Kaj Larson set a new record


swimming Five miles is no small feat, especially in the ocean. But what about dragging a 45-pound boulder across the ocean floor for five miles? Now that’s the challenge – a new record set by US Army veterans Don Tran and Cage Larson. The duo completed the epic mission – dubbed the Waimea Rock Run because it took place in Waimea Bay on Oahu – to raise awareness about the blue force team, an organization that helps special operations veterinarians participate in marine conservation efforts. For Larson, a former Marine, and Tran, a former Marine, the race put their military training to the test, and required a lot of intense prep work (more on that in the video above). Dealing with the changing conditions of the ocean has made an already daunting task even more difficult.

“Once we get out there, we have a whole bunch of other factors to deal with: wind, waves, currents, hail, sharks,” Larson says in the video.

Once in Waimea Bay, Tran, Larson and their team set up a simple path – just a rope wedged in the sand – under 12 feet of water. Local rescuers selected a massive 45-pound stone to carry, and began work on moving it back and forth. They used the “free companion system” and took turns carrying the stone. Although they spent a lot of time training in the pool, they soon discovered that working in the ocean is a completely different ball game.

Waimea Rock Run - Don Tran and Kaj Larson complete a record run for five miles underwater on the rocks
photo courtesy

“In the pool, there’s no current ripping you back and forth, but here you are always constantly correcting yourself,” Tran explains.

After a couple of hours passed, it became clear that they were in for a very long day.

“It’s way harder than I thought,” Larson says.

But they pressed, and, after six hours and 28 minutes, they finally completed their task — setting a new record in the process.

Attempted sponsored by Activeware ten thousands as part of Feats of Strength Series, where athletes attempt to break a new world record every month in 2021. Although it’s only one part of the series, Tran and Larson’s attempt was something really special.

“Their extensive military training, of course, played a huge role in their ability to keep their cool in the face of the near impossible,” says Keith Novak, founder and CEO of Ten Thousand. “However, no matter who you are, carrying rocks underwater for five miles is superhuman.”

Check out the video above for an inside look at how they trained – and completed – this amazing new record.

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