The spear throw is one of the obstacles at Spartan Race that is generally considered a burpee factory. Along with the rope climb, more people fail this one staple obstacle of the Spartan Race than any other.
But to what many may consider a bizarre circumstance given the threat of those 30 burpees, there are some that rub their hands with childish and cartoonish glee when they see this obstacle on the horizon.
It started out all innocently enough. Steffen Cook, “Cookie” to everyone that knows him, is well known for not taking races and obstacles altogether seriously. Despite being a veteran of 6 Trifectas plus change, he prefers to “mess about” on the course and make light of hills, obstacles and not worrying a great deal in what his recorded time is. His favourite obstacle is the spear throw. As such, one afternoon while trying new throwing methods, he decided to spear an orange from a distance similar to that of at a race.
“There was nothing in it. No challenge, nothing malicious, just me messing around and having a bit of fun. I knew that my aim was fairly precise and just wondered if I could prove it.”
He did. Nailing the orange dead centre, he cheekily walked off camera and thought nothing more of it. His good friend Kevin Kierce, reigning Spartan Race Slosh Pipe challenge champion and also a veteran of Spartan Race saw the video and together they hatched a plan.
“I saw Cookie at a workout he, Michael Ainis and Matt Trinca organised in Lakewood, California and suggested that I spear a peach. During the workout, I though, ‘hey, this is for Cookie, I may as well spear a cookie’”. Kevin went home and couple of weeks later he found the time to set up a camera and sacrificing a girl scout Thin Mint, he completed his video with an even cheekier shrug of the shoulders, titling the video on Facebook, “Your turn, Mr. Cook”.
Knowing what was coming, but not sure how to top it, Cookie decided that the simplest way to put an end to something that had, frankly, got way out of hand, was to land the spear on a penny. For the sake of the video, he stuck the penny to some painter’s tape and then attached that tape to a sheet of paper on the bale. That way, the dark color penny would show against the white of the paper. In inevitable fashion, he again bullseyed the target.
“Kevin is an immense Spartan. He throws accurately, runs like the wind and frankly, should have a license for those guns under his sleeves”, he explains. “We decided to leave it there and call it a tie as, what’s next? A peanut? A raisin? It would prove nothing as the spear end is wider than those targets and it would be like hitting something of the same size.”
“People talk of a rivalry and how we should be outdoing each other and that’s just nonsense. Spartan doesn’t teach that. It teaches how we encourage, support and help, not talk down, belittle or point fingers with cries of “cheat” or “fake”. If somebody does something awesome, congratulate them on it. Whether it’s a PR for a 5K, their first 30 burpees, their first whatever or even a very silly showboating video of throwing spears. There’s always going to be haters, but they can be drowned out with positivity.”
Kevin and Cookie are toying with the idea of doing one last video to end them all and put the matter to bed when it comes to “messing around with the spear throw”. Look out for them at the LA Marathon on March 9th, as they will be running together, each doing one half blindfolded, while he guides the other in aid of Blind Start Of America charity.
How precise is your throw? Find out at your next Spartan Race.