While America still wrestles with the idea of universal health care and many still groan at the idea of having to remortgage the house because little Billy needs an in-growing toenail removed, think yourselves lucky we live in an age where buttock cupping isn’t considered normal practice. Well, perhaps it is where you live, but let’s all agree it’s not considered normal, yes?

The Wellcome Library – one of the world’s leading collections of medical history – has made over 100,000 images freely available of etchings and drawings of a bygone era where medicine wasn’t perhaps quite as advanced as it is today.

With a few teasing glimpses already having been shown on the BBC, many sketches by none other than Goya and Van Gogh are available for downloading via the Wellcome website.

No talk of Paleo this or vegan that. Just health practices that are equal parts humorous and sometimes just a touch horrifying. Click here if your curiosity is getting the better of you.

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“Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” -Ryunosuke Satoro

When Spartans were attacked in battle, they formed a tight group, using their shields to protect themselves and their fellow warriors.  This was called the Phalanx Formation. If one Spartan broke formation and tried to flee, his comrades lost the protection of  his shield and would likely be killed. Spartan soldiers depended on each other completely, entrusting each other’s lives in their fellow soldiers’ hands in each battle they fought.  A Spartan standing alone on a battle field may not have been much of an opponent, but a group of Spartans in tight formation was a formidable foe.

To work in a group, people must learn to trust each other. To be effective together, each member must know how the others will think and will act, especially during times of stress. Spartan warriors lived together, ate together, trained together and fought together. Their entire lives were spent together, to the point that Spartan soldiers were as close as brothers.

In our modern world, it may seem impossible to know another person to the same degree that classical Spartans came to know their fellow soldiers.  We rarely have the opportunity to really get to know the people we work with and depend on.

With time so short in our society,  how can you get to know the people around you? How can you learn to be part of an army that works and functions together, instead of just a soldier standing alone?

Getting out of the office, away from emails and pressing deadlines affords people a perfect opportunity to actually learn about their coworkers.

Competing in a Spartan Race together is a great opportunity to discover your coworkers’ hidden talents.  Crawling through the mud break downs the barriers coworkers feel between each other in the office.  Aspects of people that would usually never be seen come right up to the surface.

Learning new things about your coworkers can be really enlightening when you’re back at the office. Someone you never thought was brave before may show a lot of courage under pressure by crawling under barbed wire and hurling themselves over obstacles. Next time there’s a big presentation, you will know the perfect person who can be confident on a stressful day. Under stress we learn how other people really think and act. It’s much easier to work with other people when you know what they’re made of.

If a group of people can run a Spartan race together, I guarantee you that they will be able to run the rat race together, no sweat.

In short, work together. Strength in unity is universal.

You see how that works next time you’re at a Spartan Race. See you at the finish line…

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by Carrie Adams

Not that you need 500,000 reasons to love Spartan Races  but they sure help!  In 2012, one of our most popular blog posts outlined our cash and prizes on the year.  Far and away, Spartan was the leader in the Obstacle Racing pack with our payouts for Champions and competitors.

Spartan Race was living large in 2012.  So large, we finally quantified it! Spartan Race HQ was proud to have given away $500,000 in cash and prizes!   Born out of the Death Race and growing rapidly since 2010 Spartan has continually worked hard to make our mark in the growing sport of Obstacle Racing.  With 34 global events in the season of 2012, and recognized as Outside Magazine’s “Best Obstacle Race” for the same year, Spartan Race, is building the sport of obstacle racing as the competition for the complete athlete – fast, strong, agile, with endless endurance, and strong of mind, body and character.  There is no doubt that Spartan is cutting edge with the world’s first and only global ranking system, an escalating race series from 5K to the first ever marathon(plus) distance race with the introduction of the Ultra Beast we worked hard to reward our Spartan community – handsomely!

When the season ended, the leader board had Cody Moat, who also won the  Trail National Marathon in Moab, UT on November 3rd, 2012, solidifying his position as an all-around athlete.  It came down to a fraction of points with the final tally for the men, Moat beating resident Spartan Champion Hobie Call by an extremely narrow margin.  On the women’s side, positioned at the top spot on the was former professional X-Terra athlete Jenny Tobin, with a first place point’s finish.  With 2013 already in full swing, check out the current points standings HERE.  To read the full details on the cash and prizes given away in 2012, click on the link HERE. 

We’ll be giving you even more reasons in 2013!  Our good friends at Navy Federal Credit Union have graciously agreed to sponsor the prize money at six Spartan Events in 2013.  The breakdown will be:

$2,000 1st Place

$1,000 2nd Place

$750 3rd Place

These prizes will be awarded in Arizona on February 9th, Las Vegas on April 6th, Burnet, Texas May 18, Washington, August 3rd, and the Mid-Atlantic August 24th.

More cash and prize updates coming soon!  You could win BIG with Spartan Race.  Don’t wait.  Register today.

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by Carrie Adams

Creating an international obstacle racing series is not an easy task.  Logistics alone are enough to make it a dizzying headache of epic proportions.  The race venues crisscross the globe and span such long distances that there is a need for constant traveling, scouting, and having teams spread out over wide expanses of the world trying to find the best and baddest places to have the events.

You need course designers who are visionaries that look at the landscape and not only design but set up a course only to have it deconstructed days later. There’s the task of finding sponsors, determining and procuring materials to build the obstacles, finding volunteers to put them up, take them down, assist before, on, and after race day, and runners for the event itself.  There’s parking to manage, racers to get bibbed and chipped, to get fed post-race, and to keep entertained.  Before an event, you have to manage registrations, a constant barrage of questions, accounting paperwork, all just to get one event in the books.  The marketing, advertising, and pounding pavement to tell people your story and get people to show up on race day is an effort of epic proportions in and of itself!

But there is a whole other side to creating an international obstacle racing series.  It’s defining the spirit of the event, the very soul of what it will represent to the runners themselves who will struggle, fight, and claw their way through the miles and the tests that are put in front of them.  It isn’t about getting dirty, but you’ll get dirty.  It isn’t about having fun, but you will have fun. It isn’t about the costumes, the beer, and the after-party.  It’s about who you are when you run, and what is brought out of you when you falter, what you do when you want to give up, and how you feel when you finish.  It’s about what you have inside you to get you across that line.  How do you create something that changes a person so that they are better when they cross the finish line?

The Spartan Race was created by eight ultra-athletes.  It was created by people who have spent their lives redefining what’s realistic and finding out what’s possible by living lives without limits.

The Spartan Race was built on a code:

  • 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.

Recently, we told the story of Richard and Selica, two of the initial founders of the Spartan Race.   You’ll be hearing all the stories of the founding few.  The originators of the Spartan Race who gave life to an idea but more importantly gave soul to a movement: living a life without limits.  You have one life to live, strive for greatness!

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image credit sikyon.com

by Harmony Heffron

I’ve seen the Spartan influence in a lot of places lately: movies, books, video games, even Spartan wetsuits.  Our obsession with Spartan culture is so prominent that now there’s a word for it: laconophilia.  Though I’m motivated by the images I see on TV of brave Spartans fighting battles against all odds, I find my true inspiration in the actual history of the Spartans.

Sparta was a state in classical Greece best known for its military prowess and disciplined, physically tough population, a reputation they certainly deserved. At one point they even managed to defeat the Athenian Empire.

From birth, Spartans were judged on their physical strength.  At age seven, the boys entered the Agoge, where they spent the next thirteen years of their lives training to become citizens and warriors of Sparta. Self-discipline, endurance, and physical strength were all goals of the training they received in preparation for lives constructed around war.  Every day was spent training their bodies and minds for the rigors of battle. Life was tough and demanding. Indulgences were few and far between.

According to Plutarch, a Greek historian (circa 50 CE), a Spartan only got the luxury of a bath a few special days a year.

The historian Helen Schrader stresses that Spartans were also trained intellectually as well as physically. In fact, boys would receive extra punishment if they did not respond quickly and concisely enough to questions. To be good soldiers, Spartans had to learn to think quickly, as well as just move quickly. A little strategy can go a long way in the field.

Spartans left the Agoge to become part of the military reserve at 18. Promising Spartans, at this time, were sent into the woods with only a knife in order to test their military skills and stealth.  After passing this test, at 20 years old, a Spartan became a true soldier, although he still had many more years of hard work ahead of him in order to become a full citizen.  The reality is that a Spartan’s training was never done.  In order to stay in peak physical and mental condition, a Spartan soldier could never relax.

There was no such thing as a day off in Ancient Sparta.