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!