by Carrie Adams

We all have reasons to run, often bigger than ourselves, those reasons keep us moving when we’re tired, keep us motivated even on the tough days, and give a greater purpose to the finishes of races that we run.  We hear many of these stories at HQ and one such racer contacted us about how they are running this weekend to honor a friend who passed away recently from cancer.  IIir Elezaj’s friend Angeline wrote into HQ to tell us about Elezaj‘s mission to honor of his friend Jimmy who passed away from cancer. IIir did his first Spartan race in Tuxedo this year and is now signed up to do 5 more races.  He’ll be racing in PA this weekend, VA, Mt. Vernon, and Killington.  He also plans on doing the Death Race next year.  Elezaj contends that his friend Jimmy inspired him to always go his hardest no matter what he did he’s one of the driving forces for why Elezaj is doing 6 races in total 3 sprints, 2 supers, and the Beast.  He is going to honor Jimmy at all his races starting with the one in PA.

Here is IIir’s story:


On June 12, 2012, my good friend Jimmy Reagan passed away after a battle with cancer. But boy did Jimmy put up a good fight, having beat it once before. Jimmy was the kind of guy you wanted in your life. He was hardworking, loved his family and friends, and always had a smile on his face. Even crazier, he brought a smile to your face no matter how you were feeling.

When I learned of his condition and how quickly it worsened, I dropped everything at 2 am and drove straight to the hospital. I was told he would not make it through the night. Now I know Spartans aren’t supposed to shed tears but that night it could not be helped. Even the hardest of Spartans feel for their loved ones.

I have a lot of warm memories of Jimmy.  For example, very time Jimmy drove past our hotel in Cape May, NJ, we’d hear a honk come from the road. If you looked up quick enough you could catch Jimmy waving from his white pickup truck as he drove past. Every time he drove past that hotel, he honked that horn and waved. Every time.

He was one of those generous and honest souls. The good guy. A guy everyone in town loved and trusted. How many people can you say that about?  When I read the code that the Spartan Race was built on, I see characteristics that Jimmy displayed every day of his life. He was a fighter and lived every day as if it was his last. He gave generously and proved himself through actions, not words. Even more importantly, he had fun doing it.

I remember the day after Hurricane Irene came to shore in Southern New Jersey. The rest of our seashore town boarded up and left. We stayed around to watch our property. In the morning after the storm, we heard a knock on the door. We opened it only to find Jimmy. He wanted to know if we were okay.  Then he asked us why the bar wasn’t open—we’d just survived a Hurricane—what were we waiting for?

It is for these reasons and others too numerous to name that I am dedicating my Hurricane Heat and Spartan Sprint both in the same day this July to Jimmy Reagan.  Jimmy was a great friend and a true Spartan. I’ll be sure to run them with a big smile on my face and a generous heart—it’s what Jimmy did every day of his life.  He will be very missed.


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5 Responses

  1. avatar

    My mother died 2 years ago from complications of ovarian cancer. As a tribute to her, I began running and vowed not to shave for one year . I hadn’t done any major exercise since I had left the army about 8yrs ago, but I was able to complete my first half marathon, and I am going for the Spartan Trifecta this year (all while growing an EPIC beard).

    Whenever I get really down about a bad workout, or just need to finish that last mile, I always think of my mom, and all of the people I met in cancer treatment centers and the wonderful selfless people of hospice care.

  2. avatar

    I lost my mom to breath cancer in january. Although I have done some races prior to that I made a personal vow to where the white shirt a made the night before my firsy mudder in her memory. I race for her my family and myself. See you all out there sunday .

  3. avatar

    Thank you Leo so much ! You are a true Spartan to all of us and we will all be running with you. Jimmy would have a great big smile on his face seeing you covered in mud. BE STRONG BE BRAVE BE YOURSELF BE INDEPENDENT

    GO SPARTAN !!! Llir Elezaj

  4. avatar

    and we could tell so many more stories about Jimmy , RIP, our good friend LOve Ya Mean It

  5. avatar

    I ran the Spartan race with my 19 yrs old son Sam. I am 51 yrs young. He finished in 2 hrs. I finished in 3 hrs. It was brutal. About 3/4 of the way through the race a pulled my calf muscle going over the high barricade. I vowed I would finish and I did. After the pain subsides I may do it again next year. Next year I am taking water. It was too hot. This is a contest of mind over muscle. Takes your body to new limits!! I’m glad I did it!!!!!!!!!!! Dave

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