by Carrie Adams
“The military is in Spartan blood.” – Joe Desena
Spartans are active soldiers, former soldiers, Veterans, wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, fathers, mothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends of troops. Veterans and military personnel are even entitled to a discount when registering for a Spartan Race as well, a very small gesture of “thanks,” but one that we are honored to provide. Since mid-2011, Spartan Race’s main military partner has been the Air National Guard. We could not be more proud to align ourselves with such a courageous group of Americans!
If you are a Spartan Race finisher, chances are you have been face-to-face with ANG’s logo, as you were attempting to successfully complete the traverse wall obstacle. Some of you, whether racing or spectating, have competed in the Air National Guard Pull-Up Challenge – the most popular festival challenge at our events.
In 2012, a portion of all Spartan USA revenue is donated to Homes for Our Troops,a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that assists severely injured servicemen and servicewomen and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and to coordinate the process of building a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently.
Spartan also launched a Military series in Fort Carson, Colorado in May of 2012. We’re returning in 2013 May 4th! Click HERE for event information on this special edition Spartan Race. The Military series was a huge success and it was coordinated through the Army Department of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR), a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of soldiers (active, reserve and guard), their families, civilian employees, military retirees and other eligible participants.
In keeping with the longstanding Spartan Race tradition of giving back, a portion of the proceeds from the Spartan Fort Carson event was donated to direct military nonprofits including the Green Beret Foundation. Future military series events will do the same and will donate to other organizations to help address the unique needs of each respective host installation.
In 2011 Spartan teamed with Pro vs. GI Joe to create a rehabbing with the Troops program that featured MMA superstar Tito Ortiz. We put up a special Spartan Race course in Southern California, see the video HERE. SR also partnered with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that annually sends 100,000 care packages to military personnel, their families and wounded service men and women. Donating money to their cause for FB likes going into the 2012 Calendar year.
Many military service men and women have graced our race courses. From Team Riley in Glen Rose, TX, to Team X-T.R.E.M.E. in Leesburg, VA and everything in between. Every Monday on the Spartan blog, we’ll be featuring some of our favorite military inspired stories. Last week, we gave you the recap of Team Riley, an inspiring team running to honor a fallen brother.
Each Spartan finisher runs for their own reason, many of those reasons are bigger than themselves and we’re excited to tell you their stories in 2013 each and every Monday on our blog. Spartan Race would like to say “Thank You” to so many men and women who have served, who serve still, and who will serve in the future.
For his week’s installment, we’re introducing you to a Beast. Kevin Phillips took on his first Spartan Race, the Beast no less in Killington, VT. That’s quite the introduction to the Spartan Race series. Phillips enjoyed the race so much, he’s planning on earning his Trifecta Tribe status in 2013 (finishing a Spartan Sprint, Super Spartan, and Spartan Beast in one season) and in his own words, reflects on what the Spartan Race series has to come to mean to him. Kevin spent four years in the Air Force and is currently a graduate student pursuing his MBA at the University of Michigan. We look forward to welcoming him to future Spartan battlefields.
My Spartan Experience
by Kevin Phillips
I was once like you. I had participated in races, competed in mud runs, and finished tough workout programs, but the thought of doing a Spartan Race was daunting. The idea of subjecting myself to that type of torture didn’t seem to make sense; crawling under barbed wire, jumping over fire, and climbing up cargo nets seemed ridiculous. Why would anyone do this?
However, while I wanted to stay in shape, my desire to workout wavered because of the lack of having an end goal. Lifting weights at the gym, going out for a run, or completing a workout program was no longer appealing, and though I put emphasis on getting in shape every January, this past year was different because I lacked the motivation to stay focused. Because of this, I decided to take a chance and sign up for a Spartan Race.
What I got in return was one of the best experiences of my life!
While there was significant apprehension in the days leading up to the race, shortly after the event started the uneasiness disappeared. Concerns over not being able to get past an obstacle were replaced with the joy of conquering a challenge; uncertainties of whether I would be able to complete the race were pushed aside, as other Spartan racers motivated me to continue to push forward; and the anxiety and stresses of everyday life becoming too much faded away, knowing that if I could slither through the mud, navigate up a mountain, and perform hundreds of burpees, I was capable of conquering any challenge that I would ever face!
My Spartan Race was unlike any other experience I have ever had, and the way I felt throughout the race and at the finish line was nothing less than euphoric. The demanding course, dedicated athletes, and exuberant fans created a lasting memory that I will never forget.
Now it is your turn!
If you are reading this article you have undoubtedly thought about competing in a Spartan Race, but passed because of the fear of the unknown, concerns over the ability to do the obstacles, or worry that you might not be able to make it to the finish line. No more! Everyone has those fears, but the ability to get past them is what shows true grit and is the mark of a Spartan!
Join me and my fellow Spartans this year by signing up for an event of a lifetime! The Spartan Race you compete in will shatter your expectations and you will cherish your experience for the rest of your life. Find a race near you HERE and find out for yourself.
Tags: air force, Air National Guard, and Recreation, Army Department of Family and Morale, Carolina's Beast, Fort Carson, Green Beret Foundation, homes for troops, joe desena, Kevin Phillips, Leesburg Super Spartan, operation gratitude, Pro vs. GI Joe, spartan beast, spartan race, Team X-T.R.E.M.E., Tito Ortiz, University of Michigan