by Brian Ansley

SPARTAN_RACE_LEVELS_SPRINTSpartans have always been known for their “Warrior Spirit” and their willingness to face adversity no matter what obstacle they faced. That “spirit” persists in many of our athletes across Spartan Nation.  One who recently caught our attention was 26 year old Matt Smith from Atlanta, Georgia.  Matt will be participating in the Georgia Spartan Sprint in March 2012. The only difference is he will not be running the course like everyone else. Matt will be conquering the entire race on crutches!

Matt Smith was born with a birth defect known as, Spinal Bifida. He’s maintained a positive outlook and willingness to educate about his condition.  “My main goal in life is to promote awareness about the disabled community. We are just as capable as able bodied people.” In fact, this is the very reason Matt is participating in the Georgia Spartan Sprint next year.

He went on to say, “Disabled people don’t need help with everything.”

Matt first discovered Spartan Race on Facebook. He thought, “I will give it a shot!” This will be his first obstacle race. However, he is not new to the racing community, nor to competition. He participated in the wheel chair races in the Special Olympics when he was younger. Matt is also an exceptional marksman. He has been participating in competitive shooting for 10 years now. He was a member of the shooting team for North Atlanta High School’s ROTC program for 3 years, and also reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Additionally, Matt was a member of the Shepherd Spinal Center Shoot Team in Atlanta, Georgia. The Shepherd Spinal Center Shoot team achieved national rankings three times. In 2007 Matt individually ranked 3rd in the country!

Currently, Matt is studying at Georgia Perimeter College to become a Physical Therapist. When he is not in school, Matt is continuing to compete as a marksman five or so matches a year.

Matt Smith (2)He is excited about his upcoming race in March 2012, and said, “I’m not competing against anybody but myself.” However, this Spartan does have a training plan set in motion. “I’m working on my upper body strength, and walking up to 10 miles.”

Matt may have a few friends coming out to support him from his Church. “Hopefully I can get them to do the course with me”, he added.

I asked about Matt’s optimistic approach to life, and his new adventure.  He was quick to tell me what would inspire him over the coming months,  “I’m very grateful for my aunt BJ Haroen.”

He explained that his Aunt Haroen was, “Diagnosed with diabetes and that never slowed her down. She told me to never let my disability slow me down either…just think of myself as a regular person.”

We look forward to Matt taking on the challenges of the Georgia Sprint!  We also wish him luck in finding his Spartan Finish Line and his Spartan finisher medal! 


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3 Responses

  1. avatar

    any gd training routeins u can give me in preparation for the Spartan race, I’m doing on the 16th October? seen 1 on fb that looks gd, must be some that I can push to the limit tho???


  2. avatar

    this comment goes out to matt.. man you are a big insperation for me personally and to everybody in the world man, if only the world was more like you in the mindset of “yes, i can do this.. i can give it a shot!” instead of the lazy, winey, give up additude that we as a planet have, then i honestly wonder what the world would be like… and i really hope to get the honor of running with you in the georgia sprint in march man. best of wishes! keep it real man…

  3. avatar

    Wow. I thought I would read a blog or two for some motivation before my workout. This did the trick. Good luck Matt.

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