by Katie Idle, Western Canada Spartan
Twenty-four-year-old Jake Zimmerli from Utah is definitely up for a challenge, and totally addicted to Spartan Races. Having completed not one – but TWO – Beasts back-to-back in Utah last week, Jake is signing up for the Super Spartan in Squamish on September 22nd. His aim – to run two Supers to qualify for two Trifectas in the same year. His ultimate goal? The DEATH RACE!
During the day, you can find Jake managing a Pediatric Endocrine Clinic in Utah, in the evenings and on the weekends he’s snowboarding, wakeboarding, and now travelling around North America to take part in Spartan Races. His list of achievements this year include the Colorado Military Sprint (twice), the Vancouver Sprint, the Utah Beast (twice), the Dirty Dash (10km race), and RAGNAR, a 192-mile relay race. “I started doing Spartan races because of a buddy, and RAGNAR because a friend at work knew I was doing the Spartan, thought I was a runner, and invited me to do the 48 hour relay”, laughs Jake.
Jake and a buddy put together a team of 38 people, under the team name of the ‘RUFUSES’, which placed 3rd overall in the team category for The Beast. Pretty amazing considering they are not runners! “Our goal is put the ‘RUFUSES’ on the podium in every race that we compete in, and to gain recognition within the Spartan community”, he adds. Jake had friends in both the 8am and the 2.30pm heats, so he signed up for both – but then they switched the 2.30pm heat to 12.30pm and made it even tougher! Aroo!!
One of the factors driving Jake is the memory of his young friend, Josh, who tragically died of cancer at the tender age of thirteen. Josh was diagnosed with osteo-sarcoma, or bone cancer, at only eight years old, at which time he had to have his leg amputated and went into heart failure. However, after a long battle, Josh enjoyed a two year cancer-free remission. Unfortunately the cancer came back last year, and less than a month ago he passed away. “Before the Beast, our team – the Rufuses – had bracelets made up with the running ‘Rufus’ logo on them and the last time I saw Josh before he passed away, I gave him one. We ran that race for him”, adds Jake.
“My goal is to do the Death Race with a few buddies in Josh’s memory and have all my friends, family and contacts donate $1 for every mile that we run, and maybe $10 extra if we complete. We plan to donate all the money to Primary Children’s hospital in Utah, the hospital that josh and our family spent so many years in and out of. “
“In the meantime, I’m excited to get back to Canada for the Squamish Super, and for the last qualification for the Trifecta”, says Jake. Jake intends to run with his cousin, who ran the Vancouver race with him in May, and has now caught the ‘spartan bug’ – he can’t wait to step it up to the next level and get a Super under his belt.
What’s next? Calgary offers another chance to for a Spartan Sprint … but space is filling up fast. Or … why not push it up a notch and sign up for the Super Spartan in Squamish on September 22nd. Click HERE to register.