by Paul Morin, Army Veteran and Spartan Athlete

While most people were prepping their livers for St Patrick’s Day or trying to finish a vacation, I took my son, and a few fellow Spartans and Team X-TREME members, to the Walter Reed National Medical Center. Our aim was to help get more of our wounded warriors out of the barracks and seeing what is possible.

I spent the next three hours chasing my son, talking to wounded warriors (or adaptive athletes) about what Spartan Race is and what Team X-TREME does, all while admiring the courage and resiliency of the men I met. How can you complain about anything when a soldier who has lost an eye, with severe damage to his face, says “I am doing great today, how are you?”

It was an amazing experience for me as an Army Veteran but as a father it meant even more to see my son there. To watch him lose that initial shyness and just start being a hyper five year old boy. To see the smiles he brought these men as he bounced around, ran into them, asked questions and threw them the t-shirts provided by Team X-TREME.

I was asked why I took my son to a hospital to interact with men who are severely wounded. My first response was that I wanted to teach my son that we are all equal. That potential resides inside each of us and what we do with that defines us. That we are all presented many obstacles in life and how we overcome them defines us. I wanted my son to know these men, and know them as men and not just as those who lost limbs to support our foundations of acceptance and citizenship. And that the look of the soldier who had my son jump in his lap was as priceless as the laughter he caused.

We were there to show them that through Spartan Race and Team X-TREME we can, as a unit and as a family, help them overcome their physical obstacles and start doing activities they would not have imagined. They helped me raise a better child. I think it is a fair trade.

What’s your excuse?  Sign up today.

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by Carrie Adams

Spartan Race is no stranger to Guiness Book World Records.  Some of our founders, including Noel Hanna have a few on their walls.  On Veteran’s Day in 2012 a very special record was broken by another familiar Spartan face, well, gas mask.  Introduced to Sparta in Leesburg, VA female Team X-T.R.E.M.E. athlete, call sign “Justice” was the record breaker!  A member of Team X since January 2012, she’s participated in two of our Spartan events and recently became a world record holder when she was the first female to complete a marathon’s full 26.2 miles in a gas mask.  Completed as a Team X event, it was done in honor of all Wounded Veterans and was an accomplishment not lost on the Marine, who when masked is referred to simply as “Justice.”

Justice, whose real name will be withheld out of respect for the anonymity of the team and the commitment to their focus on their wounded comrades, has been a member of Team X since January when she went through the INDOC process.  She was asked to join after 48 grueling hours of physical and psychological testing.  The INDOC testing phase was the third and final stage of Team X-T.R.E.M.E.’s intense indoctrination process.  The first step Justice underwent was the submission of a two minute video.  Upon acceptance of the initial video submission there is an invitation to join the athlete community to show a candidate’s dedication to the organization by raising money and awareness.  If proven in the community, the candidates are invited to participate in the Richmond, VA 48 hour test.  The most recent INDOC with seven candidates actually resulted in no new team member invitations, a nod to the difficulty and exclusivity of the process.

Justice not only succeeded, she excelled, and has been a remarkable addition to the team.  For her first Team X event and weighing in at just over 120 pounds she carried 45% of her body weight for 26.2 miles through the New Mexico high desert while wearing a gas mask at the 2012 Bataan Death March.  At the Spartan Race in Leesburg she carried almost 90% of her body weight with wounded warrior athlete USMC Cpl. Todd Love on her back throughout the course rotating with the rest of the male-based team every half mile.  Not once did she miss her turn to carry the weight, not once did she falter or complain.

She repeated that again the Carolina’s and will be in attendance of many more Spartan events in the 2013 season.  We look forward to her return and congratulate her on her incredible record-breaking accomplishment!

Want to join her?  Sign up for one of our many events in 2013, it looks like we’re going to have nearly 60 worldwide by the time the year is over.  Join us!

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