By Carrie Adams

The role of Spartan women was unusually prominent for the times.  They had legal rights to property, marriage and divorce, and they had the opportunity to participate in sporting events alongside Spartan men.  Spartan women represented, and this weekend in Georgia, twenty-four year old Olympic hopeful Lindsey Scherf is looking to breathe new life into that tradition.

Scherf

An accomplished track and road racer, Scherf is heading from her home in San Francisco to Georgia to try obstacle racing on for size and to give Hobie Call a new challenge.  She’s no stranger to competition.  While at the University of Oregon she set a new indoor track school record at 5,000 meters.  In 2009 she made the USA World Cross Country team that finished in 5th place at the World Championships in Amman, Jordan.  She broke the American Junior 10,000m track record with a time of 32:51:20.  That record had held for 26 years and was the second longest-standing women’s track and field record in world, American, collegiate, world junior and American junior records until Scherf came along.

The Spartan race, fiercely challenging and competitive in its own right, appealed to the accomplished runner.  “I am looking forward to coming down and trying this race for the first time.  It looks like quite the challenge! “says Scherf.  “The running and obstacles are things we have always wanted to do but never had a place to do it.  That’s where the Spartan Race comes into play.”  Her strategy for the race is to focus on her core competencies: “The running part is my greatest strength and a lot of the skills come down to having an attack mentality.  So that’s what I like about it.  The event suits my personality and it looked like fun.”

She’s doing this one for all the ladies out there, but she’s also looking forward to facing off against Hobie Call at the starting line.  Hobie is the undefeated Spartan champion chasing down a $100,000 prize.   “He’s a fierce competitor,” observes Scherf, “but I think it takes a few to be the pioneers, to be the ones to set the bar and raise the bar.  Women need to take some of that back.  Women can dominate it, and set the marks, and lay out really solid performances. “

After her Spartan race this weekend, she resets her sights on her ultimate goal – the Olympic Trials in June 2012 in Houston, TX.  This summer she’ll hit the road race circuit including the fast and competitive Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany in June, and then the Chicago marathon this fall.  She’s attacking her Olympic dreams again after the tragic loss of her father last July.  Her father John, who she’s been quoted as saying was her “everything” on LoHud.com, was her catalyst for running and they shared a close relationship.  His passing was difficult for Lindsey, but she’s chasing her dreams again and inspiring those around her on the way.

Lindsey hopes her Spartan Race in Georgia calls attention to women’s sports and to women’s causes like Girls on the Run, Women’s Global Education Project and other initiatives that directly encourage empowering, educating, and engaging women around the world.   Her race in Georgia is three muddy, obstacle filled miles in the right direction.  It’s about time Hobie got ‘chicked’.  Battle on, Spartan women!  Aroo!

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