by Kevin LaPlatney

The Spartan Code begins… “A Spartan pushes their mind and body to their limits.”  No one exemplifies this more than the 4’11” humble 45 year old, Lisa Demetriou, fromLong Island NY.  A retired NYPD detective of 17 years, which says enough about the many limits she has had to test,  she exemplifies the spirit of a Spartan.  Well before attempting her first SR last year, Lisa dealt with physical setbacks which would make any of us feel guilty to complaint about our shin splints or tendonitis.

On the job many years ago, Lisa suffered a broken tibia and fibula in her lower right leg, along with metatarsal fractures and ligament damage that has forced her in for over 10 surgeries to correct the problem.   Also as a result she has developed RSD in that foot and has difficulty even putting weight on it sometimes.  Doctors told her to avoid the training she wanted to do, and even to not use weights!  Trying to obey those orders, Lisa ended up putting on 30 unwanted pounds and fell into possibly the worst shape of her life.

Fast forward to August 2011 when Lisa, her husband George, and another half dozen of the athletes they coach at their affiliate CrossFit Suffolk (aka SPARTAN Performance!) signed up for the Vermont Spartan Beast, a grueling 12 mile course on Killington Mountain.  Remember, this was not the bunny hill of obstacle races- it’s the “Beast” for a reason!  And never mind the broken toes Lisa suffered while training just weeks before, she was going to run the race with her team.  Everyone finished, and Lisa came through with an impressive time while still having to limp much of the way after being without her supportive orthotic boot for the first time in weeks.  No problem!


Like most Spartans, they wanted more of this action, so Lisa and the team joined up for the next closest event- the Staten Island Super in September 2011.  Still on the high from finishing the Beast, and with the leg, ankle, foot, AND toes that have ALL been injured feeling pretty good, she was ready to tackle the shorter 8 mile course and claim another victory.  And it went well, up until the dreaded monkey bars, where in a split second the progress of recovery disappeared and the nightmare of the past injuries returned.  Lisa misjudged the last rung, slipped, and fell awkwardly on (of course) the SAME leg that has plagued her for years.  Race staff and paramedics quickly tended to her, urging immediate care and to call it a day.  But for Lisa, the competitor who had come so far, NOTHING was stopping her.  And with George along her side, she finished the last two miles of the race on a broken leg!

Another trip to the hospital, surgery to place a pin to reset the break and allow it to heal, and then another surgery to remove it two months later.  The end?  Not even close.  If you know Lisa like I do, this was just another bump in a long road.  Having been through this before, she worked even harder in rehabbing and set new goals once again.  This spring Lisa competed in the CrossFit Games Open in the Women’s Master’s Division and finished ranked 31st IN THE WORLD!  Yeah, I just got goosebumps writing that!  And with the 2012 obstacle race season beginning you’ll be able to find her going after the Spartan Trifecta in NY, NJ, and VT.  She begins that journey tomorrow in NY.

Another entry of the Spartan Code reads “A Spartan proves themselves through actions, not words.” Well, no words even necessary here, Lisa.  Enough “said.”

[Editor's Note: Kevin LaPlatney is an avid obstacle racer and Spartan Race NY Local Ambassador.  He regularly writes up reviews of the races he runs on his blog -]


6 Responses

  1. avatar

    Wow! What an amazing story. Thank you for the inspiration, Lisa! Best of luck this weekend and I look forward to meeting you in VT at the Beast this year. Bring it!

  2. avatar

    What an impressive woman!!! I love it, it shows to prove you can finish and overcome anything if you really want it.

  3. avatar

    When I speak of my sister I try to express her incredible determination and her “no excuses” mind set. I can go on all day about how she practices and competes despite unimagineable physical obstacles. There has never been a time I can express it all. She’s just an amazing athlete who has inspired so many. She’s amazing. Enough said.

  4. avatar

    thank you all! It been a tremendous journey Im still recovering but when you have the support of good people behind you ..anything is possible -dont mean to sound like an old cliche but it is true…I love the Spartan race, the commraderie cannot be expresed enough w/ words…just whn ur ready to quit someone comes up behind you to encourage you to keep moving! whn you need a boost-out comes a hand to help you up! Best racee in the world! BTW ..thank ya,Matt Look frwd to meeting you too! :)

  5. avatar

    My mother is truly an impressive woman. She has the ability to inspire anyone, including me, her only daughter. I can’t wait to be alongside her for the 2012 Super Beast (:

  6. avatar

    This is truly inspiring, and brought tears to my eyes! Way to go Lisa!!! <3

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