Before the 2014 Spartan Race season kicked off with the Spartan Sprint and Super in Temecula, CA there was a storm brewing in the early hours of the morning. At 5:30AM the Hurricane Heaters descended upon Veil Lake Resort reporting to the parking for their warm-up. Anyone who did not show up on time subjected their fellow comrades to non-stop burpees until they were directed to stop. The Hurricane Heaters are always provided with a mandatory gear list which this time included bringing their own signed waivers as well as a questionable item, toilet paper. On top of late arrivals there were a few individuals who neglected to follow the instructions in their email which of course resulted in more burpees.
The event officially kicked off at 6:00AM with 50 participants. To start these brave individuals were to complete 30 burpees, a few more stragglers showed up on top of five who neglected to bring their toilet paper rolls, which brought the total burpee count up to over 100 before continuing on to the first challenge of the event, stacking all the logs for the fire jump obstacle. What might seem like a tedious task actually doubled as a chance for the large group to begin learning what it means to be a team, during this time their minds were activated by teaching them to recite The Warrior Ethos together. To ensure the Hurricane Heaters were challenged they were given a time limit of fifteen minutes to complete the challenge. Just as the racers finished the sun began to rise and the use of their headlamps was no longer needed. At this time the entire group descended on the beach and entered the water, there were still some individuals that hadn’t figured out the need to communicate and work together as a team. This caused their fellow comrades to be subjected to…you guessed it, more burpees… in the lake. The Hurricane Heat strives to teach valuable lessons, one of which is how to effectively communicate and work together as a team. When that doesn’t happen, there are consequences, however when the group does finally figure it out, that’s when the magic happens.
After “playing in the sand” and rolling along the shoreline the Hurricane Heaters were sent to the rope climb obstacle back on the Sprint and Super course. Everyone had the task of reaching the top to ring the bell. What transpired next was the turning point for this group of friends and strangers. They worked together to ensure the success of all their teammates by building a human pyramid while another participant climbed along side their teammate motivating them to keep climbing all the way to the top. Ding, just like that all the racers succeeded in smacking that bell. It was a very rewarding moment for the group and everyone cheered and celebrated their success.
The HH-044 Class had discovered the power of communication and teamwork, so to shake things up they were divided into four teams and sent out backwards on a section of the Super course. At the base of one the steepest inclines the teams were stopped and one person from each team was informed that one of their comrades had been severely wounded. Their mission was to be the first team to reach the top of this climb carrying their wounded comrade the entire way. At the very top each team had to help their wounded person up and over the seven foot wall. Once completed everyone was miraculously healed; after a quick group photo the teams set out on a run along the mountain ridge looking over the festival area to the left and Highway 79 to the right. The view was breathtaking. The first team to reach the bottom was subjected to 30 burpees. Each team that came in after also had to do burpees but as soon as the first team hit 30, everyone was instructed to come to a halt and the entire Hurricane Heat made a quick hustle to the next challenge they would face. As they approached the grassy area leading to the Inverted Wall obstacle the group was taught the proper bear crawl technique in accordance with the Spartan SGX training program and immediately began crawling their way to their next obstacle.
As the Hurricane Heaters approached the festival area they were greeted with a lot of strange stares and loud cheers. For those that don’t know about the Hurricane Heat it’s quite the spectacle to see such a large group of people already being pushed beyond their limits before the race has even begun. A quick stop over to the Spartan SGX booth resulted in a series of body weight exercises including fireman-carry squats, burpees, reverse burpees and the infamous super burpee. Once all the Elite Men and Women took off for the Spartan Super the Hurricane Heat made their way back onto the course from the Start and went through a series of obstacles until reaching a strangely placed throne-like chair that was found on the course. Here the challenge they were presented involved hoisting the one and only Johnny Waite from Spartan HQ into the air and carrying him for over an 1/8th of a mile through a very swampy section of the course. The teamwork here was top notch, all the participants worked together to swap out as needed and to make sure Johnny was sitting pretty.
Next up the four teams combined into two teams at the Gamble obstacle, here you had to choose which direction to go, more difficult terrain but shorter distance or easy terrain over a slightly longer distance. The two teams were sent in different directions, Johnny Waite and John Ziegler from HQ led the team on the easy course, as I led the difficult. The final destination was the monkey bars. The harder section proved to be the faster route arriving a few minutes ahead of the other team. When the team that took the shorter route arrived, a female on the team was cramping up quite horribly. Together everyone helped, providing her with water, salt tabs and a granola bar to boost her nutrition. In this moment the Hurricane Heaters had a new mission, never leave a fallen comrade.
With less than a mile to go the Hurricane Heaters once again made their way into the now booming festival area and made their way toward the center of it all. They gathered around in a large circle and at the top of their lungs shouted out the 7 Pillars of Spartan and the Warrior Ethos followed by a set of 30 burpees. Thinking it was all over, Johnny Waite presented them with one last challenge, everyone was to hold up their toilet paper rolls to show they had protected it from the elements, if everyone succeeded in keeping the rolls clean and dry they were done if not another 30 burpees. At least three people failed to protect their toilet paper rolls. More Burpees!!!
This group of strangers came together in the early hours of the morning, failed to read instructions, arrived late, and appeared to be a complete mess. By the end they had learned to work together making sure every single person who started finished together as a team. When you suffer together there are many lessons to be learned. Either you can overcome the obstacles or you can fail to. The choice is yours. Remember, “I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.” This is your Ethos.
For more information about the Hurricane Heat, click here.