After three incredible days of Spartan Racing in Tuxedo, NY earlier this month and a week of hosting amazing friends and athletes in my home, I’ve had some time to reflect on how my athletic career has come full circle.

As a child I grew up without the privilege to play on many sports teams so the outdoors became my playground. Running through the woods, climbing trees, building forts, and catching animals with my bare hands is how I began to build my self-esteem and confidence. Unfortunately this wasn’t very popular with my classmates. I ended up taking a lot of grief for it, but I would not let constant ridicule change or deter me. I knew deep down who I was and didn’t want to give up the great feelings my outdoorsy life gave me.

Entering HS, fueled by frustration and anger, I thirsted for contact and to further distinguish myself athletically. I began playing football and I discovered the brotherhood I had always desired. Not only was I able to channel the frustration and pain that had built up from being bullied, but I found true friendships that I still cherish to this day. For the first time in my life I felt truly happy and accepted.
However when HS, College, and Semi-Pro Football came to an end I was left with a void that was difficult to fill. Running and training for Ultra-marathons turned out to be to isolating. Jumping from planes is a quick adrenaline rush but way to expensive and skiing with my pals only lasts a few short months.
Luckily for me I discovered Spartan Race due to a chance in meeting with a local Tuxedo, NY Policeman. Ironically enough, I knew him from the private school where I was bullied.

Now, because of that first Spartan Race I ran in 2011, I have filled a huge part of that void. I was able to rediscover the joy in running, climbing, and chasing things throughout the woods again. I have finally found a sport that gives me the adrenaline rush I was seeking while building friendships with fantastic athletes from all different walks of life.

I’m so grateful to Spartan Race for creating an environment where the athletes have been able to breed a culture of intense competition, built on a platform of respect and camaraderie. It is a culture that has blended the passions of my past into the passion of my present and future.

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Dr. Jeff Godin, Ph.D., CSCS, & Spartan Coach

What if there was a disease that afflicted 36% of the population in the United States of America, roughly about 78 million people? What if this disease was strongly related to other debilitating and life-halting diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes? Which Hollywood celebrity would start a foundation to crush this horrible disease?

The disease is obesity. On June 18th, 2013 the American Medical Association officially declared obesity a disease. This means that it will become a physician’s professional obligation to treat patients with obesity, the same way they would treat other diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. The optimist in me says that this will create a healthy discussion between the patient and physician on the health implications of obesity and physicians will prescribe a healthy diet and exercise as the primary mode of treatment. The cynic in me says that treatment will include prescriptive medications instead of encouraging preventative measures.

Why is it so hard to talk to people about obesity? Every time I teach it in class, I have to walk on egg shells. Even in the professional setting, if you tell someone they are obese they react as if it was a racial slur. I was called by an irate mother that accused me of ruining her daughter’s self-esteem by noting that her BMI and body fat percentage placed her in the obese category. Hopefully, classifying obesity as a disease will eliminate some of the awkwardness that comes with discussing it. It will be seen for what it is… a clinical diagnosis, not a personal attack. No one gets their feelings hurt when the doctor tells them that the hideous mole on their back should be removed and biopsied to see if it is cancerous. I understand that obesity is more than simply a physical problem, but until it can be discussed openly, and attacked vigorously, it will always remain as the elephant in the room and we will never make progress towards finding obesity’s root cause.

The best treatment for obesity is a Spartan Lifestyle, one that is founded on a healthy diet and loaded with physical activity. The Spartan Lifestyle includes a diet that is mostly plant based, that includes an abundance of vegetables and fruits, very moderate in grains and animal food products. It is a diet that eliminates processed foods, added sugars, and trans fats. A Spartan Lifestyle includes meals that are prepared from fresh foods, not ones that come from a box. For fluid, Spartans drink water, not sugary, over caffeinated beverages. You can get access to healthy and nutritious recipes by subscribing to our daily “Food of the Day” emails. They are FREE and provide recipes to help get you started and keep you fueled in a healthy way. Subscribe HERE.

Physical activity doesn’t require a fancy gym, or shiny plates, or cardio equipment. It does require a commitment of 60 minutes a day, which still leaves 1,380 minutes to sleep, work, and relax. It starts with motivation, if a BMI of 30 and all the excess baggage associated with it isn’t enough motivation; there are 1,000,000 trainers and coaches out there that are willing to help the right person find it.  Similar to our Food of the Day (FOD), Spartan Race offers FREE workouts WODs each day to keep you moving and active, and to prepare you for your Spartan Races.  Subscribe HERE

Spartan Race wants to lead the charge in crushing obesity. Do we really need a physician to treat obesity? Why not nip it in the bud before it gets to that point? Let’s rip 78 million people off of their couches and get them to follow the Spartan Lifestyle!

Who wants to join us in this crusade?

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by Jenny Tobin, Spartan Pro Team member

Luzzi as he is known to most Spartan regulars is one of the main guys behind the Spartan race scene. He has been with Spartan since the beginning. He was introduced to Joe De Sena, one of Spartan’s founders through his College Professor Matt Soroka, a mutual friend. Joe De Sena is known as the boss who will try to “break you” and if you survive you’ll end up being a trusted and worthy employee of Spartan. Luzzi and two of his buddies, Matt Murphy (Spartan Marketing) and Ben Killary (Spartan grassroots sales) haven’t been broken, yet, and are still with the company and loving every minute of it!

They started working for Spartan as interns when Spartan only had 500 Facebook fans so their job was to increase that number. He said they did all kinds of things from crazy bar promotions to the usual canvassing of event locations promoting Spartans. They believe wholeheartedly in the mission of Spartan: rip people off the couch and get them moving. That is Luzzi’s favorite part about working for Spartan. He enjoys watching Spartan change lives. He says it’s cool to watch the elites but what really impresses him are those that might be overweight, disabled or have had a tough go at life and they are out there trying to finish a Spartan Race. Luzzi sees the athlete’s physical and mental challenges out there on the course and how they all strive to make it to the finish line. Some athletes get broken and others rise to the challenges put in front of them.

As Operation Manager, Luzzi makes sure all the events run smoothly. The race directors make a plan and Luzzi has to enact it. He designs and builds many of the obstacles and is involved with making sure all the equipment and supplies get from one event to the next. If something isn’t working right during the event, he has to go iron out the kinks. He loves most all of the obstacles, in fact, when I asked what his favorite was he started off with listing the rope climb, tyrolean traverse, and cargo nets because he has to actually rig them for the athletes. However, when pushed to give me one obstacle he said, “the barbed wire crawl”. He likes to see how the athletes go through it, crawl or roll, straight or zig zag to get to deeper sections, how they make it work best for them. I’ve seen him at most all of the races and he is sometimes counting my burpees or making sure athletes are doing the obstacles correctly. Sometimes he has to be the bad guy and tell someone them they have to do an obstacle over again. He doesn’t mind being the bad guy, he feels like it’s part of his job and that athletes should be good sportsman and do the obstacles correctly. All sports have rules and he’s the compliance officer so you’d better do things by the book or face the wrath of Luzzi.

Luzzi went to Castleton State College in Vermont and got a degree in Sports Administration and Management. He did all kinds of jobs before landing in the Spartan world. He did landscaping, restaurant work, snowboard instructing and more but loves working for Spartan. He sees it being part of his life for a long time. He lives in Killington, Vermont when he is not on the road and guess what his favorite Spartan venue is? Surprise, surprise it’s Killington. He says it’s a beautiful mountain and it’s just so dang tough. It’s the Championship event and it will test you to the limit!

Working for Spartan can mean long hard days but it’s also a good time. Luzzi says there are plenty of funny stories to tell. Pretty much every day there is something to laugh about. He says he really enjoys Mike Morris. He is a great boss and people look up to him. Mike also has a great sense of humor and has been known to show up for work with a belly shirt, short shorts and a hard hat. Very entertaining! One of his favorite Spartan stories is when Kevin Donahue crashed his car right before the start of Killington last year and was able to leave the car upside down and go race. Kevin’s passenger Andrew Hoffstetler forgot his shoes at the condo 2 miles away and couldn’t get there in the crashed car so Luzzi took him in the gator/4 wheeler as fast as he could. Spartan life is always interesting!

Luzzi seems like a great guy, he always has a smile on his face (even when he has to be the bad guy) and I haven’t seen too many glitches at any of the Spartans I’ve competed in. The races seem to always run smoothly to me…Nice work Luzzi! So, the next time you’re at an event say “hi” to Luzzi and thank him for making your Spartan experience a good one!

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Corinne Kohlen

by Corinne Kohlen, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician
Spartan Pro Team Member

The American Medical Association (AMA) voted Tuesday, June 18, to classify obesity as a disease. This decision has come after much controversy and years of debate.

Currently obesity is defined by using Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is a ratio of one’s weight to height and for most people* correlates with their amount of body fat. A BMI of 18.5 -24.9 is classified as “normal weight” while a BMI above 30 is classified as obese. It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans has a BMI over 30. That translates to 78 million adults and 12 million children who are obese, and now according to the AMA have a “disease”.

The vote was against the recommendations of the Counsel of Science and Public Health who believes BMI as a measure of obesity is flawed. They feel that a BMI of 30 is a very arbitrary threshold; People with a BMI of 30 can be very healthy and muscular while many people at a “normal” BMI may have multiple metabolic issues. There is also concern that once diagnosed with a “disease” people may become overly reliant on medication and surgery as a solution to obesity and neglect to focus on lifestyle and behavioral changes.
The AMA was joined by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Cardiology to classify obesity as a disease. Supporters of the vote site multiple reasons for their decision. They believe classifying obesity as a disease will reduce the stigma associated with the condition and make it easier for physicians and patients to talk about. It may also help get the attention of insurers and researchers and increase reimbursement and availability of counseling, treatments, surgery, prevention, and drugs to treat obesity.

The AMA denies that obesity is simply the result of overeating and under activity. “The suggestion that obesity is not a disease but rather a consequence of a chosen lifestyle exemplified by overeating and/or inactivity is equivalent to suggestion that lung cancer is not a disease because it was brought about by individual choice to smoke cigarettes.”

As one can imagine this decision and statement has created much controversy. The AMA feels this decision will only better the treatment and care of the obese, and will open up opportunities to more people for care. Currently Medicare does not pay for obesity related drugs, or dietitian counseling regarding obesity.

For many it is difficult to not blame diet and lifestyle for the rise in obesity. With portions being supersized, foods packed with saturated fat, processed sugars, and loaded in calories, and people becoming more and more sedentary it seems a logical correlation. With the addition of just 500 calories a day one will gain a pound a week. For some these calories “sneak” in with their morning blended coffee drink, with their side of fries or potato chips, or with their soda or sweet tea.

On the flipside of things obesity can be prevented and even reversed by focusing on portion control, appropriate daily calories, and an active lifestyle. It seems almost too simple but daily exercise and mindful eating can help maintain healthy body weight and prevent obesity.

What do you think? Should obesity be classified as a disease? Will classifying obesity as a disease help or hurt in our fight against obesity?

Time for you to get fit?  Sign up for our FREE Food of the Day (FOD) to help you get started.

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by Elliot Megquier, Spartan Pro Team

Cameron Robert Morris

It takes a village to keep Spartan HQ running and that village has grown! On June 20, Spartan Vice President of Production Mike Morris and Spartan Marketing Manager Shonda Morris welcomed their second child, a healthy baby boy!  Cameron Robert Morris was welcomed into the world this morning and he and the family are doing great!

How is that for a Spartan love story?

We’ll be profiling some of the Spartan HQ staffers and giving you some insight into the men and women behind the Spartan curtain. Who better to lead us off, than Mike Morris himself!

For those who haven’t met Morris, you’ve undoubtedly met one of his courses. He’s the reason why you’ve spent hours swearing about and toiling on the exceedingly difficult and punishing Spartan courses in the US circuit. He may be a diabolical course designer, but he’s actually one of the funniest and coolest guys around.

Morris has been with Spartan since the beginning.  He started out as a race director and course designer and now he has done so

Family Affair – Morris and his son, Logan

well he has been promoted to Vice President of Production. Often sporting a mohawk and a radio, Morris is at nearly every US event. I asked him a few questions to find about what makes him tick and how he comes up with the courses that lead many a Spartan to tears.

Where are you from?
I was born in Costa Rica, live in various places but spent most of my life growing up in Sudbury, MA. I now reside in a Suburb of Boston with my wife (who also works for Spartan) and now two sons.

What did you do before for work? What brought you to Spartan Race?
My degree is in Mechanical Engineering and I had a six year stint working for a consulting firm. Then I jumped into the fitness industry as a Fitness Together studio owner (two units). And now I work for Spartan. Never would have guessed this is where I would be working now!

Funny stories from the inside?
Most of my funny stories “from the inside” are fairly self-deprecating, are not suitable to be published, or both. Let’s just say (among many other things) we’ve gotten a few laughs messing around with digital street signs, not-so-appropriate radio etiquette, and creative use of cameras.

What is your favorite part of Spartan Race?
My favorite part of Spartan Race is watching the competition between the pro team and elite racers, witnessing the heart of the last few racers, and learning about the passion our customers have for our events.

When is Spartan Race coming to Sugarloaf, ME? (Megquier’s hometown)
ME? You mean Maine, the state? Isn’t that up near Alaska? That’s a long way for folks to drive for an event.

If you could pick one venue in the US that hasn’t happened, where would it be?
Lake Tahoe. Or anywhere you (meaning Elliot) won’t get lost at.

What has been your favorite venue/race so far?
We always talk about our favorite events internally. There are so many ways to compare them all including everything from how nice the hotel was to how crazy the course was. From a purely course design standpoint Killington has been epic the last two years. That’s about as crazy as you can get for 13 miles. But, that mountain has its share of operational challenges given how crazy big and technical it is, which adds loads of stress to the execution. If I look at the full experience I would say our Dallas Beast in Glen Rose, TX was a favorite.  A crazy beautiful venue, fairly straightforward operationally, a cool course, mild weather, and ridiculous accommodations and food.

And there you have it. The man behind the myth (and sometimes a mohawk.)

[Editor's Note: Spartan HQ would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to two of our staff on the healthy birth of Cameron Robert Morris!  It was an exciting day for us to welcome a new member to our Spartan family.  We expect him to be doing burpees in no time!]

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by Isaiah Vidal

Why Obstacle Racing? Drastic change is what I call it. In 2011 I was in a downfall situation in life, but when Spartan Race entered my timeline at Glen Rose, Texas I completely changed my life upward. Spartan Race taught me look at different views and philosophies. Life is an obstacle race and it can be perfectly smooth at one moment, but then one hits issues. Overcoming the obstacle just depends on the person you truly are. Spartan Race was my adventure to an awakening life. Participating in obstacle racing is a constant reminder to never back down and to keep overcoming the chaotic scenarios in my daily and social life.

When I get scrapes and cuts from races, the comments I get from most people are that I’m crazy. In reality it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of me, because I’m being the athlete I was born to become. There’s a lot of people that don’t have this view when hitting an obstacle in life, one starts to question the issue by saying, “Why did this happen? Why-why-why?” Spartan race has taught me to not complain about any issues, but to have the wisdom and the courage to overcome the obstacles themselves when presented. It has brought out a unique athlete in me.

I am also pushing forward to open the minds of young adults. I want to make it clear that there is more to life than just partying and getting wasted on the weekends. By doing a Spartan Race on a typical weekend is more beneficial. By sending this clear message it is my goal and there is no telling what could happen in the future for every human being.

I enjoy competing against other amazing athletes at Spartan Races. The camaraderie and the relationships I have been able to build with people is a true blessing. Being able to surpass my accomplishments at 20 years old, by finishing the 2012 Spartan Death Race and also placing in the top 10 at every event I’ve attended is a big advancement in my life. When I was young I thought that I would be playing college football or soccer, but no, God had different plans for me than just being some average jock. I have begun to quickly display that I am an elite obstacle course racer.

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My story is constantly changing and has so far, for the most part, been filled with a great deal of struggling. I have grown up with all the reasons to quit and all the excuses to justify doing nothing but sitting on the couch for the rest of my days. However, I cannot and will not settle for that, the thought of not being able to achieve my dreams disgusts me in so many levels. And my dream is to be the best version of myself in every aspect of my life.  Spartan Race is a big part of that.

The first Spartan Race I ever did unexpectedly altered my life in many ways. I had been running seriously for about two and a half months before the race and I stumbled upon the advertisement for it and decided to enter. I had no idea what to expect, as I stood there in the chilly winter morning, with the rain penetrating my face, nervous as could be, but I went out fast.  Before I knew it, I was accomplishing tasks I had never done in my life. I was climbing walls, carrying heavy objects, crawling under barb-wire, and climbing ropes. Throughout the entire course I had one of the biggest, silliest, smiles slapped on my face (especially after I won it). And since then, with every race that I do, I find my face in a constant grin even with all the injuries I accumulate.

From breaking my back in two places while training for a horse race to suffering from a stress fracture in my tibia during the Death Race of 2012, I am way too familiar with being sidelined. But the camaraderie of my fellow competitors has been outstanding, the support I receive has shredded light on some of the darkest moments of my life and it has given me the strength to push aside the pain and reach new limits.

I can recall busting my shin open during the Pennsylvania Sprint in 2012 and just as soon as I finished, I fell to the ground and was immediately surrounded by several athletes giving me their hands. At every race, no matter how intense the competition gets, or hard the course turns out, we all reach our hands out to each other. Spartan Race has given my life something beautiful, it has given me the chance to be able to live my dreams. There was once a time where walking was questionable for me and where I was completely unable to get out of bed, go to school, ride my horse, and more importantly I was unable to smile due to the pain. And with that being said, Spartan Race has given me my smiles back, my life back and it is constantly redefining what it takes to be unbreakable and I love that challenge. I love the sacrifices, the work, the patience you must endure to become the best you can be. And Spartan Race will challenge you to become the best you can be, so make the best of it.

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By Daniel Pebbles

We men, we live, we are strong, we rule, we beat our chest, and yet our strength is nothing next to the will of the women who love us. I have never been surer of this than I was when I watched my wonderful, beautiful, wife (my SPARTAN PRINCESS) complete the Spartan Military Sprint Challenge at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs Colorado.

For months now I have watched my wife dedicate herself to change physically and mentally. Working out almost daily at Gottsche. Now she had been doing this while never failing in any of her others endeavors such as taking care of our children, our home, her more than needy husband, and full time job.

I did not know much about what she had signed up for with this Spartan Race until I watched what it made her. Waves of 200 racers were released beginning at 0800 hrs. and continued throughout the day. Sherri’s heat was set to go at 0915 so numerous racers had been released prior to her start, making the course ahead wet and muddy in places that those who started first and or were in the lead would never have known. Just to give you an idea the first obstacle was a series of trenches that were 4 to 5 feet in width and full of water and mud, and there were at least five of them.

She was nervous and so was I, but she now it was time for her to do her thing out on the course. So then the waiting started. Minutes were multiplied and time seemed to slow down as I watched for her to appear on the horizon.  And then finally of all people to see her, Stone said, “Hey there is mom.” He pointed to an area just after the mud crawl, under the barb wire and through several mud pits, as long as or longer than two semi trucks and trailers end to end. And there she was covered in mud from head to toe running toward the “spear throw.”

I hollered, “Sherri” and the kids yelled, “mom!”

We caught up with her just prior to the spear throw and due to the bottle neck of throwers we were able to exchange a few words. She was muddy from head to toe, sopping wet shoes and an abundance of mud caked on her face, hair, and clothes. I could tell she was tired, exhausted.

I looked at her and simply said, “Do you want to quit.” And with a look that I honestly can say I have never seen in her before she said, “No”. I never asked again. We told her that we loved her and she continued on to the spear throw. That is where we lost her and we did not find her again until the mud pits on the other side.

Once she emerged from the mud pits there was the slanted wall of 10 feet or so that now was covered in wet mud, and the ropes were so slick with mud the racers could not hold on as they attempted to scale the wall and continue on. This is where I truly learned the meaning of this endeavor that my Spartan Princess had got herself into. As racer after racer attempted the slick muddy wall and muddy ropes, numerous racers slipped and fell back from where they had started. Other racers stepped forward and were able to get atop the wall and sat on top and helped racer after racer get up and over this obstacle. Encouraging words, hands outstretched helping each other beyond this obstacle of slick mud and slimy rope. This is when I learned this race was not about who was first or the fastest. It was about who was willing to give that possibility up to turn and put out their hand to someone who was struggling and simply say, “Take my hand.” I am a man a chest beater but I became just a little emotional at this point, not outwardly because I am a chest beater.

As Sherri stood in line for this obstacle we were to be able to speak with her. She was watching as racer after racer slid back and or fought this wall. She looked at me and said, “I don’t think I can get over that, I don’t know anyone here to help me. I told her to just go for it and they would help her. And she did, she grabbed the muddy rope and twisted it around her hand and placed her muddy shoes on the slick muddy wall and began to pull herself up and as she did the racer on the wall above her and the one below her helped her scale that wall of which she thought she could not do. I was in awe of her, and so very proud. Then we again lost sight of her for what seemed like forever. In the distance you could see where it appeared racers had to drag huge tires and hike up and down a steep hill with back packs (that I was sure were not empty) and then disappear from sight for god knows what for which seemed like forever.

And then again on the horizon the kids and I seen her, coming down the hill toward the last four obstacles that were between her and the end of this madness. What were left were the rope climb, cargo net, fire pit and gladiator pit. The rope climb was so slick with mud it was 30 burpee’s and on to the cargo net. Sherri climbed up and over without a hitch. Then on to the fire pit, which she cleared with ease, and through the gladiator pit  to the finish line.  That’s when my Spartan Princess received her Spartan medal. 

As I took her picture standing there covered in mud from head to toe, with her medal around her neck on the right side of the finish line. I realized why she had answered the way she did when I asked her if she wanted to quit. Even though at the time of my question I knew and she knew she was tired and hurt all over but it did not matter as she intended to conquer and nothing was going to prevent that, not 4.5 miles, not 28 obstacles, not the mud, not being alone (or at least thinking you were), the face I looked into was one of determination and dedication. I realized it was the same as many of the faces that I saw thrusting forth their hands and simply saying, “take my hand, there is no way we fail”.

I learned a lot from my Spartan Warrior Princess this date. And I am one lucky chest beater.


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Part 3 of 3: The Top Three Body Weight Exercises for Female Obstacle Racers

Number 3: The Jumping Pull-Up

by Joe Di Stenfano co-founder of Spartan Coaches

Click here for Part I:  Bowler Squat

Click here for Part II:  Reverse Bear Crawl


Because 8 foot walls, monkey bars, traverses, and festival challenges don’t conquer themselves.

Everyone makes mistakes. Sadly, the architect that drew up the blueprint for the homosapien female never foresaw a time where millions of women globally would have a need to do more pull-up variations in a weekend than they would produce babies in a lifetime. The anatomical disadvantages we have discussed in the last two posts in this series, created a species that since the dawn of creation has had much trouble with pull-ups. Fortunately, there are always things we can do.

The Jumping Pull-Up is going to allow almost anybody to crank out a set of ten pull ups in good form. In addition, it has complete carry over to racing since when you are climbing over the towering 8-foot walls, you will most likely begin with a jump.

Jumping Pull-Ups are going to provide two primary strength benefits to a female obstacle racer, upper body pulling and a whole lot of grip strength. Jumping pull-ups can be be done on tree branches, walls, playground equipment, and of course, on chin-up bars. This flexibility allows Jumping Pull-Ups to be trained with varying hand positions, grip widths, and grip circumferences. Exposing the grip to variations in training, especially under the load of one’s own body weight, is going to become important to reducing the risk of elbow tendonitis on race day, one of Spartan Race’s most common injuries.

In addition, Jumping Pull-ups are going to be a fantastic compliment to the other two exercises in this series, hereby completing a total body workout specifically designed for Spartan Races in just three simply, body weight maneuvers.

To recap, because women anatomically have a larger “Q-angle”, a more anteriorly (or forward) tilted pelvis, and a larger percentage of body weight held below the midsection, they often times require specialized lower body, core, and upper body training. Female training should begin around strengthening the hips and move up to the core and upper body. Exercises such as the Bowler Squat, can reduce unwanted or excessive medial (inward) rotation and adduction (knee caving inwards) of the femur (thigh bone), as well as help to equalize the pelvis’s forward tilt to a more neutral one, both of which will reduce stress on the knees. The Reverse Bear Crawl is going to train a woman’s core function and reflex, as well as add tremendous stability, strength, and “injury proofing” to the upper body. Finally, the Jumping Pull-Up is going to balance out this increased pressing strength in the upper body and develop very functional grip strength to help a women conquer even Spartan Race’s most challenging obstacles.

by Robert Perednia

I was introduced to the world of Spartan Racing last year at the Amesbury Sprint and was not prepared how it would change the way I look at life. Literally crawling up a trail while struggling to catch my breath, I was wondering why years of sports, weight-lifting, and running weren’t helping my legs get me up this hill. Eventually crossing the finish line covered in mud, bruises, and scrapes was a great experience but also a motivation. I went home and trained hard to attempt another race.

With a little luck, I was able to finish the Tri-State Super and Vermont Beast. The training challenged me physically and emotionally in ways I couldn’t even imagine possible, but the experience was incredible. I’ve met inspiring people I now call my friends, been on top of mountains overlooking beautiful landscapes, felt great highs, and overcome frustrating lows. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to experience these feelings and that makes it all the more special to me.

This is why I chose to run for Zack.

Zack is my friend and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is a genetic disorder affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 male births and results in progressive muscle weakness. Because the heart is a muscle and the lungs require muscle to function properly, young men with DMD typically only live into their twenties. Zack is now 20 and only able to control his fingers and head, confining him to a wheelchair. However, he is living life to the fullest and continues to excel every day. Zack is in college studying video-game design, a genius with computers, and is more educated about cars than anybody I know. Zack and other courageous young men with DMD prove strength cannot be measured and remind us that we should all take pride in the gifts we have.

So this year my goals for Spartan racing have changed. Zack is my motivation to not just finish but to run each event as hard

Bobby and Zack

as I possibly can. If I am lucky enough to place within earning a cash prize, all will go to Zack’s foundation to benefit finding a cure for DMD. The Zack Heger Foundation has been huge in supporting Muscular Dystrophy research and helped show that preventative care can improve quality of life and increase life expectancy. My small part is to be a voice for Zack’s amazing story and raise awareness for the countless other boys who have been affected by Muscular Dystrophy.

It is a privilege to run Spartan Races and Zack has helped me realize how fortunate I really am. Whether you’re competitively racing, running for fun, training at the gym, or walking the dog, what we are able to do is a blessing. I truly believe the goal in life is to make a positive difference for someone else and I hope my excitement and passion inspires you to do the same.

See you at the starting line.

For more information and to show your support, visit

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