by Jennifer Jarvi, Spartan Street Team
In January of this year, a fellow Spartan Chick posted about a contest with a prize of a week for two at the Biggest Loser resort. “Wouldn’t it be cool if a Spartan Chick won?” Yeah, sure it would. Nobody ever wins these things or there is always a catch. I entered and totally forgot about it. Weeks later, on a day I was beaten and battered by the world, I was informed that I won a week with a friend to the Biggest Loser Resort of my choice. When that certified letter arrived though, it really did hit home. I didn’t deserve this spectacular awesome prize.
As the date of my first ever Spartan Race in Indiana approached, I learned of the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge heat. I was already signed up for the standard race, but I wanted to help out with this event somehow so I volunteered. It seemed appropriate. It was the least I could do. The Biggest Loser Resort gifted me a week at their resort (minus the usual expense of transportation and taxes) that I will be taking next month. I worked for months losing nearly 100 pounds of weight and getting healthier for my first Spartan Race. What better way to give back to both a little for what they did. I could pay it forward a little. I was very sad I would miss running the heat with the CornFed Spartans, Spartan Race’s largest team to date, but somehow felt that volunteering was just as important. These CornFed Spartans are like family and they live by the Spartan Code. I would run on my own later in the day.
What I witnessed and what transpired from this decision was more inspiring and incredible than I could ever imagine. After participants got a pep talk from Dan and Jackie from Biggest Loser’s Season 5 and some shared their personal stories, we set off to the start line. At 9:15am, my friend Chris Davis, my friend Bridget, and I headed out with backpacks of water bottles to support the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge heat participants. Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge competes as a team. Everyone helps everyone, participants are encouraged them to try obstacles without penalty. As we started along the course, I had the opportunity to share my own struggles with some of the participants.
Just before we got to the ‘playground portion’ of the Indiana Course, I saw Cornfed Spartan jerseys passing by. I called out to the CornFeds and I smiled brightly because I knew in my heart what was about to happen. This couldn’t have worked out better. You see, CornFed Spartans take great pride in helping not only one another, but also everyone out there on the course; making sure there is no one left behind!
I saw Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants become Spartans. I saw Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants step outside their comfort zone with determination, pushing their bodies and minds to the limit and conquering their fears. I saw CornFed Spartans reach out a hand of assistance instantly to anyone struggling, taking action to back up their words of support and encouragement. I saw Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants push CornFed Spartans up the barb wire crawl hills and vice versa. I saw lots of hugs and smiles. The amount of pure grit, determination, encouragement, teamwork, and acceptance on that course was astounding.
I used those memories and inspiration to power me through my own heat later. I was by no means fast, but like the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants, I did the hardest part on my own – I got to the start line. It was all down hill from there. And with all that, my first Spartan Race is in the books, and it could not have been more epic. I highly suggest all Spartan Racers run or volunteer with the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge heat at least once. I know I will any chance I get.I promise it will be simply incredible and inspiring. Check out their next stop!
A Spartan pushes their mind and body to their limits.
A Spartan masters their emotions.
A Spartan learns continuously.
A Spartan gives generously.
A Spartan leads.
A Spartan stands up for what they believe in, no matter the cost.
A Spartan knows their flaws as well as they know their strengths.
A Spartan proves themselves through actions, not words.
A Spartan lives every day as if it were their last.
[Editor's Note: Author - Jennifer Jarvi is an aspiring mud-athlete who hopes to some day defeat her worst enemy, the rope climb. When not found on the course cursing burpees, she can be found working as a Network Engineer for a large MSO, practicing her spear throwing in her backyard, or trying not to roll an ankle on a trail run. Her favorite obstacles include barb wire crawl and long walks off the beach and into a lake. "A Spartan gives generously"