by Carrie Adams
I remember getting a phone call from Joe Desena that the Amesbury permit had been pulled from our Sunday heats for the 2011 Spartan Sprint Race. I panicked. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. It was our first two-day event in Spartan’s race history and now we didn’t have the opportunity to hold our second day of heats. We were devastated. Of course, true to form, Joe D had a plan.
“Tell them to come early Saturday morning.” said Desena.
“Who?” I asked.
“All the people in the Sunday heats. I’ll take them out and we’ll do the course my way.” And then he hung up before I could ask what that meant.
And just like that, the Hurricane Heatwas born. With some last minute scrambling and coordination between staff on the ground and staff at HQ, I emailed the entire roster of Sunday racers offering them the chance to run with us early Saturday morning. Not knowing what would happen next, we all held our breath wondering if anyone would come. And come they did. Saturday morning, over 150 of would-be Sunday Spartans showed up to get put through their paces by Joe and other Spartan staffers in what would become a Spartan Race tradition. They formed into teams, gathered up sandbags, and set off to spend nearly three hours on the Spartan course before the Saturday crowds.
The Original Hurricane Heat Amesbury 2011
Two of those racers were Jennifer Sullivan and Danny Allen. Sullivan is now a full-time Spartan employee but they have both been a part of our community as well as two of the founding members of the Storm Chasers since that fateful morning. And from that day in August of 2011 Jennifer and Danny went from strangers, to friends, and then on August 23, 2012 they became husband and wife.
At Spartan Race HQ, we are a tight knit family. Despite our growth, we’re still a pretty small shop and we’d like to wish a warm and loving “Congratulations” to Jennifer and Danny. They aren’t the first marriage as a result of Spartan Race, but they’re certainly very special and we are thrilled with their good news. It’s only fitting that it began in the midst of a hurricane. That’s the Spartan version of a fairy tale. Congratulations, Jennifer and Danny. We love you both very much, wish you all the best, and are thankful to be a part of your story.
Our Spartan Wedding
by Jennifer Sullivan
We can thank Irene.
Unknowingly, Danny (my now husband) and I both signed up to run the Sunday, Spartan Race Sprint in Amesbury, MA in August 2011. However, due to Hurricane Irene’s predicated landfall, the State of Massachusetts shut down the race venue. Thankfully Spartan Race (With a special Thank You to Carrie & Tommy) was able to create a new heat, based off of teamwork, which was to take place before the storm: the Hurricane Heat. That heat changed my life.
Over the next few weeks, via Facebook and text, those strangers from my team became my friends. When Spartan Race offered us the
Storm Chasers in Chicago, 2011
opportunity to race in Illinois, we all jumped at it. Twenty-five of us from states across New England worked together to coordinate a road trip that would get us there. We decided to name our team the Storm Chasers, in tribute to that original Hurricane Heat (because we were following the ‘storm’).
It was on this road trip I first met Danny, well; I heard his voice over the walkie -talkie while we were all sharing ‘war’ stories. Danny was the crazy outgoing, totally over sharing guy from the road trip and I was the girl that showed up with a binder, itinerary, map, list of contact numbers and waivers pre-printed for everyone…in his words, “a total dork”.
After this trip our team became like a second family to both Danny and I. During the next year many of us from the team would go out together, run races or just hang out. Eventually Danny asked me out… well more like eventually he got me to say yes to a date. He drove from Connecticut to New Hampshire to take me to dinner; and to be honest; it was the worst date ever.
We both ended up telling our friends how badly the date went. I may even have dodged a few phone calls in the aftermath of the terrible – awful – really bad date. Thankfully, we had some history with the Storm Chasers and we were able to stay friends, and even got to hang out a few more times with the team. At this point most of Danny’s time was spent in a pineapple under the sea… aka out in a Submarine. My time was spent convincing Spartan Race to hire me, which entailed me being on my computer for hours on end. This gave Danny and I plenty of time to spend emailing and chatting on the phone (when he was out of the pineapple), thank god for technology!
Around Christmas, Danny invited me to the Navy’s Submarine Ball down in Connecticut. This was a really big deal; people bought crazy fancy dresses, got all dolled up and it sounded… well terrifying to me. I’m an introvert and Danny, well extrovert almost covers it – ask someone who knows him or come to a Hurricane Heat and hear him. He will be the one in the middle yelling out the Warrior Ethos…But anyway, that Navy Ball sounded terrifying and although I agreed to go, I ended up backing out. I think I may have used my new job with Spartan Race as an excuse (Don’t feel bad for him, he found a backup date and has yet to let me live it down!) His favorite way of introducing me to his Navy friends and co-workers is by saying, “this is my wife Jennifer, and she’s the one who ditched me at the ball last year.”
Shortly after the ball Danny left on an underway (fancy Navy jargon for riding around in a submarine practicing secret squirrel stuff). During this time we emailed daily, actually multiple times a day, and I started realizing that he might be the one for me. The more we wrote, the more I found we had in common outside of Spartan Race. Even more exciting than that, I found that he challenged me to think about things in a way I had never really done before.
Now, I only had one more time to see Danny before he left on another underway lasting almost two months (these are a big part of his job and something that I am still learning to deal with). We went on an amazing date to a NASCAR race with some fellow Storm Chasers. We were able to walk around and talk, which was something we hadn’t really had a chance to do alone or in person for quite a while. We started talking about having a life together and our ideas about the future and I realized he felt pretty much the same way I felt about him: he loved me too. I guess this was obvious to everyone else in the (Spartan) world, but I tend to be a little oblivious to this type of thing. The first time I realized the extent of how he felt was when we told his brother we had eloped and his response was, “Jeez Danny it took you long enough, you’ve been talking about her forever”.
Over the last year Danny had become my best friend, the person whom I would turn to when I had a bad day, and the one person I could see spending the rest of my life with. Two months later, on the day he got home, we were able to video chat online and I asked him to marry me. He said “yes!” and we decided to elope the week after Spartan Race returned to Massachusetts, in August 2012.
On August 23, 2012 Danny & I were married. We only told two of our closest friends and teammates and asked them to join us on our trip to the Virginia Spartan Super which was also our Honeymoon. We then decided to wait until the October South Carolina Beast to tell our families. After completing the Beast with my Dad, Brother and Danny we went back to the hotel, and before anyone even took showers we announced it: “Mom- Dad… Danny and I eloped!”
~ Nothing worth having in life is easy to come by ~
Ms. Jennifer Sullivan & Mr. Danny Allen
We also want to thank all the friends and family who helped us get to where we are today. Whether you were part of the Spartan Race team (Carrie, Tommy, Joe) that helped get the HH to happen, Storm Chasers who helped us meet, or our families who supported us and continue to support us – You are all part of our lives and we are thankful to have you.
[Editor's Note: As we see the East Coast yet AGAIN staring down a hurricane with Sandy, we would like to wish everyone a safe week as it bears down the seaboard. Stay safe, Spartans!]
Tags: Amesbury, Danny Allen, hurricane heat, Jennifer Sullivan