by Carrie Adams

27966_1127450282571_1716617129_247377_4881280_nOne of Spartan’s founders and accomplished endurance athlete Joe Desena lives and works in the small town of Pittsfield, VT.  Pittsfield is well known for  playing host to the Death Race each summer as well as the Winter Death Race and a variety of other endurance challenges held by Peak Races.  The Winter Death Race is set to kick-off this weekend but racing isn’t the only thing you’ll find in this small town of Vermont.  Among all the talk of Death Racing, Pittsfield is also a unique, and somewhat unlikely place for love2720303334_edf765f0b8

Up the street from Amee Farm, which serves as basecamp for the Death Races sits Riverside Farm, a quaint spread of land accessible by covered bridge and serves as a home for Joe and his growing family.  Joe has three children with his wife Courtney and a fourth is on the way, due this summer.  Courtney helps run a wedding business out of their property Riverside Farm Weddings. 

The wedding venue accommodates all sizes of weddings and boasts a rustic, inviting, and personable wedding experience for couple’s seeking a unique venue and location.  Joe and Courtney should know, they got engaged in a very Spartan-like way, in the summer of 2001 and Courtney 390674223_2e200772e3Desena was kind enough to share their story. 

Joe and Courtney went to do a 24 hour adventure race in Santa Monica, CA in the summer of 2001 and spent a grueling night of kayaking, mountain biking, and trail running (they heard coyotes all night long howling in the woods).  Courtney, not admittedly a hardcore adventure racer (She was Captain of the Penn State women’s soccer team and avid runner) was enthralled and challengd by Joe’s idea of “fun” in extreme sports and distance running so she got used to dating in spandex and camelbacks instead of dresses and heel. 

Thinking it was just another one of their normal dates of eating Protein Bars, kayaking, biking and running to all these crazy races, she didn’t realize he had something special planned.

After the duo had finished a tough section over the night and as the sun was coming up, they arrived to the ocean and Courtney was dead tired. She stopped to look over the water- the waves were crashing against the rocks and they sat down to enjoy the view and have a have a drink and a breather before continuing the race. 

Suddenly Joe asked, “Are you having fun?” and Courtney responded, “Yes, this is incredible!  Exhausting, but great.”

Joe replied, “I have another question- will you marry me?”

Dazed, Courtney responded, “Of course! Are you going to finish the rest of that Protein Bar… and wow, those coyotes were loud last night, this is…”  

Realizing what he had said, tired but giddy, Courtney said, “YES!” ! 

They made great time the rest of the way… suddenly not tired, or thirsty, or hungry…they raced to the finish and have been running ever since. 

Courtney says, “Now 3.5 kids later we are having a blast and I appreciate Joe for being passionate about life and his family. He’s a great dad. He’s a great role model for the kids. Life with Joe is never dull and he has a wicked sense of humor… so that makes for an interesting life together.”

5379137658_2c8825d06bSo, if you’re heading to Pittsfield, it may not be in search of Death Racing… it might just be for love. 

To find out more how you can have a unique Spartan Wedding of your own, check out photos of the grounds and amenities of the Riverside Farm Weddings by clicking on the links below.  Go to for more information.

The Grounds at Riverside Farm

The Groom’s Cabin at Riverside Farm

The Stables @Riverside Farm

The Red Barn @ Riverside Farm

The Bridal Suite @ Riverside Farm

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

* = Required Fields