Obstacle races continue to grow in popularity among fitness enthusiasts and after completing the Spartan Sprint at Welch Village in Minnesota last year I decided to become a certified SGX Instructor with the goal of training a previously sedentary group of individuals to finish their first Spartan race.

A couple of dozen people started the journey in January 2017, attending bi-weekly Spartan Training classes.  As the weeks passed the training got harder, the workouts more vigorous, the time commitment more arduous and thus, the number of attendees began to dwindle.  Two distinct groups emerged, so I decided to complete the race twice, once with each group (never again).
Race Day was this past Saturday.  A sunny, slightly overcast day with the threat of showers in the afternoon.  Team one consisted of 5 would-be Spartans (including me) with the expectation of completing every obstacle with the fewest number of forfeit burpees* necessary.  Team two was larger; all of the people that had persevered and finished the Spartan training we started together in January – 9 brave souls, including me – again!  We jumped walls, waded through trenches, crawled under barbed wire, did 30 burpees, ran, swung, 30 more burpees, carried, climbed, jumped again, another 30 darn burpees… 21 obstacles over nearly 4 miles before reaching the finish line, which could only be reached by taking a running jump over fire.

Demons were faced and overcome, negative inner voices silenced forever as everyone crossed the line with a smile, triumphantly bowing to receive the coveted 2017 Spartan finishers medal.  I’m proud of anyone who sets their mind to a challenge and succeeds, regardless of the complexity, but I am particularly proud of ‘my’ Spartans.  Capable of more than they could have previously imagined, committed to a more active and healthy lifestyle, and looking forward to the next race… wherever that may be… whatever that may look like.

Aroo, Spartans.  Aroo!

*”Spartan Small-print” – any obstacle not completed as prescribed results in a penalty of 30 burpee’s.