Most of us know the story of the Spartans, fierce warriors renowned through the world for their prowess, minimalistic life style and stern determination. How would one run like a Spartan?
Through mud and over every obstacle they throw at you, of course.
The Spartan Runs are sweeping through the world, gathering athletes of all stages as they go. Spartan runs are wonderful because anyone can attempt the race. While there are many elite runners who are looking to reach the World Championships, any runner can stumble into the “sprint” and pit their determination and will against the obstacles. The events have also have a great community feel. Encouragement of your fellow Spartan is key.
How do the Spartan founders describe themselves?
Born in the gritty green mountains of Vermont by Joe DeSena, world-class adventure racer, Spartan is a frame of mind.
Gritty. Resilient. Passionate. Spartans aren’t soft. Spartans overcome obstacles. And yes, Spartans burpee.
Spartan is a sport, community, a philosophy, a training and nutrition program – with daily advice, a podcast, a book, an activity for kids, workout gear, a media channel, an NBC Sports series, a digital magazine, and a timed obstacle race.
We offer three core races each escalating in distance, obstacle count and challenge level. The Spartan Sprint (3+ miles/20+ obstacles), the Spartan Super (8+ miles/ 25+ obstacles) and SpartanBeast (13+ miles/ 30+ obstacles). Courses are riddled with signature obstacles: mud, barbed wire, walls, rope and fire. Challenge yourself to complete all three and become part of the TRIFECTA tribe.
We also offer a kids race (½ – 1 mile), Special Spartans (for racers with intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities), and for those who looking to push themselves even further, the Hurricane Heat (bootcamp-style challenge) and the Ultra Beast (26+ miles, 60+ obstacles).**
I am fortunate that I know some Spartans, and was able to get the inside take on the races. I have mentioned before that my brother and Isaac, his oldest son, ran a Spartan. My brother ran another sprint this year, teaming with a cousin in law. And to keep it all in the family, my youngest nephew, who is 12, ran the children’s sprint that morning. Considering how much I enjoyed my Urban Raid, I may need to get involved in this family event.
Isaac, however, ran 5 Spartans this summer! I asked him what he liked, what he didn’t like and what exactly he had accomplished this summer. Isaac said he “loves the people, the atmosphere, and likes the competition. The courses are always well done.” He ran 3 sprints (3.2-5m), 1 super (7-11m), and 1 beast (13-15m). Preparing for these events involved Isaac pushing the family cars back and forth in the driveway, and buckets of rocks carried up hills. Truly a Spartan effort.
His last race was the Beast in Killington, Vt. It was 13 miles long (that’s a half marathon!!) and had 35 obstacles to clamber over, under and through.
I am so absolutely proud to say that out of 250 competitors, Isaac came in 17th!
Isaac said that there was nothing about the experience that he disliked. The barbed wire crawls were the most draining obstacles, with the rope climb and Hercules hoist following close behind. The Killington (the Beast) was the most challenging course.
“The hardest obstacle was the spear throw. It was on top of Killington, and it was impossible to stick it in the constant wind.”Which meant, as Isaac ran with the elite, 30 burpees:
Isaac had a good run, only 90 burpees in all 🙂
The Spartan Code:
A Spartan pushes his/her mind and body to the limit
A Spartan masters his/her emotions
A Spartan learns continuously
A Spartan gives generously
A Spartan leads
A Spartan stands up for his/her beliefs, no matter the cost
A Spartan knows his/her flaws as well as his/her strengths
A Spartan proves himself/herself through actions, not words
A Spartan lives every day as if it were his/her last
The Conquering Heroes