By Carrie Adams
When Paramedic/Fire Fighter of the Miami Dade Fire Department Andy Andras ran the Super Spartan in Miami earlier this year, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. The former Air Force fire fighter and had taken on a challenge from the Miami Dade Police to compete in a charity event on the Miami Dade obstacle course and not only did the Fire Fighters win, but Andras earned the fastest time, established bragging rights, and ultimately decided to find more challenges in the obstacle course world. What he found, was Spartan Race.
“The Spartan Race was challenging and rewarding to compete in. Absolutely.” He said. “The running was tough, the obstacles were really where I was strong, but I need to work on my endurance.” Spartan Race photographer Brent Doscher of Nuvision Action Image captured Andras’s acrobatic ascent over an eight-foot-wall and Andras credits his success in the Super Spartan eight mile race to his training and his time with the Air Force and the Fire Department. “The training, the physical shape my body is in from my job makes me well-suited for this kind of race.”
The Super Spartan is eight rugged trail miles with over a dozen obstacles placed throughout the course. The Spartan Sprint is just over 3 miles. Obstacles range from cargo nets, crawling under barbed wire, scaling over/under walls, traversing walls, throwing spears, crossing water, carrying heavy buckets of earth and water, and ultimately facing off against a Spartan Gladiator before the finish line. The fastest finishing time of the eight mile race has been just shy of an hour, and the finisher with that time runs a 2:16 marathon – Mr. Hobie Call. The race is legit. It’s hard and it’s meant to test you. There’s a Spartan Beast that’s closer to 12 miles and then there is the epitome of Spartan Racing – The Death Race. A little something for everyone.
Andras, and other fire fighters like him across the country are finding out how tough the Spartan Race experience can be but what it means to cross the finish line. Racing alongside his best friend, and Delray Beach Fire Fighter Joe Falcone, they have committed to finishing more races this year including some endurance skateboarding… yes endurance skateboarding. Andras recently competed in the Silver Comet Sk8 Challenge a three-day 188 mile race where he finished fifth. He was featured in a recent article about the inaugural event. “I’m evolving” he says of the process. “I’m always evolving.”
When it comes to competition, the Spartan Race gives athletes and competitors a chance to find out what they are capable of accomplishing when they are pushed to their limits. The chance to join a cause towards becoming better by earning the victory of a race you can’t prepare for with normal endurance and strength training. You have to show up and do what it takes to finish. As fire fighters and former Air Force fire fighters Andras and Falcone know what that means.
Falcone and Andras are taking their game to a new level. Both have signed up for the 2012 Spartan Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont and are spending the year doing some ultra distances including a 50 mile run in the Fall.
On the appeal of the race he says, “There is that “what if” about the race. The question “Can I make it?”’ Andras laughs. “You just have to have all the steel, the drive, and a lot of heart to keep going and not stop. I just want to believe that I’m that guy.”