by Brian Ansley

SPARTAN_RACE_LEVELS_SPRINTSpartans have always been known for their “Warrior Spirit” and their willingness to face adversity no matter what obstacle they faced. That “spirit” persists in many of our athletes across Spartan Nation.  One who recently caught our attention was 26 year old Matt Smith from Atlanta, Georgia.  Matt will be participating in the Georgia Spartan Sprint in March 2012. The only difference is he will not be running the course like everyone else. Matt will be conquering the entire race on crutches!

Matt Smith was born with a birth defect known as, Spinal Bifida. He’s maintained a positive outlook and willingness to educate about his condition.  “My main goal in life is to promote awareness about the disabled community. We are just as capable as able bodied people.” In fact, this is the very reason Matt is participating in the Georgia Spartan Sprint next year.

He went on to say, “Disabled people don’t need help with everything.”

Matt first discovered Spartan Race on Facebook. He thought, “I will give it a shot!” This will be his first obstacle race. However, he is not new to the racing community, nor to competition. He participated in the wheel chair races in the Special Olympics when he was younger. Matt is also an exceptional marksman. He has been participating in competitive shooting for 10 years now. He was a member of the shooting team for North Atlanta High School’s ROTC program for 3 years, and also reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Additionally, Matt was a member of the Shepherd Spinal Center Shoot Team in Atlanta, Georgia. The Shepherd Spinal Center Shoot team achieved national rankings three times. In 2007 Matt individually ranked 3rd in the country!

Currently, Matt is studying at Georgia Perimeter College to become a Physical Therapist. When he is not in school, Matt is continuing to compete as a marksman five or so matches a year.

Matt Smith (2)He is excited about his upcoming race in March 2012, and said, “I’m not competing against anybody but myself.” However, this Spartan does have a training plan set in motion. “I’m working on my upper body strength, and walking up to 10 miles.”

Matt may have a few friends coming out to support him from his Church. “Hopefully I can get them to do the course with me”, he added.

I asked about Matt’s optimistic approach to life, and his new adventure.  He was quick to tell me what would inspire him over the coming months,  “I’m very grateful for my aunt BJ Haroen.”

He explained that his Aunt Haroen was, “Diagnosed with diabetes and that never slowed her down. She told me to never let my disability slow me down either…just think of myself as a regular person.”

We look forward to Matt taking on the challenges of the Georgia Sprint!  We also wish him luck in finding his Spartan Finish Line and his Spartan finisher medal! 

spartan_REGISTER_gradient

Tags: , ,

by Brian Ansley

Marg 1When you combine some of the world’s toughest obstacle challenges, including the Spartan Beast and the World’s Toughest Mudder 24 hour race, what do they all have in common? Well besides the obvious elements, they have one forceful competitor ready to take them all on before the end of the year! That’s right, Margaret Schlachter, 27, currently residing in Killington, Vermont is ready to take on that test. Margaret has developed a passion for obstacle racing. She did her first Spartan Race in 2010. I asked her about her craze for obstacle racing and she simply said, “I’m addicted”. Well Margaret, the feeling is mutual, and I’m sure many of our readers feel the same way! Vermont is also where Margaret conducts the majority of her training to prepare for all of the upcoming races. She sticks to a very rigid workout routine, and shares it on her web page www.dirtinyourskirt.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

by Brian Ansley

249434_10150199104756861_251061411860_7594660_1151185_nThere are many proud moments after completing a Spartan Race. Every Spartan will usually celebrate the achievement of the race in his or her own way. Some choose to unwind and have a beer at our exciting Spartan post party, while others mingle with their team and share scrapes and stories with other Spartans about their newly conquered adventure. However, there is one symbol of accomplishment that everyone can share no matter what position or place you finish. It is known as the “Wall of Valor”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,