by Brian Ansley

Peter 3 (2)The Spartan Death Race is comprised of many unique athletes, having the guts to sign up alone is a testament to the participants’ character.  It’s becoming more and more known that this race is one of the most challenging on the planet.   In order to make it through this excruciating race, these competitors need to show up in their finest physical and mental condition. I recently spoke with a 2011 Death Racer, Mr. Peter St. John. Peter who is an outstanding athlete, and who showed up to the 2011 event ready to take on any of the challenges that were going to be thrown his way. The only difference is that Peter is deaf.

Peter is 32 years old, and was born with his disability. “It has given me a drive”, he said.Peter 1 (2) “Most people don’t know sign language, so it makes it hard to communicate with me.” He is originally from North Hampton, and now resides in Boston, Massachusetts where he is currently employed at Ratheon. Peter grew up with an athletic background. He played ice hockey, rugby, and was on the Lacrosse Team for Rochester Institute School of the Deaf.

He said that being deaf was, “A big role in his life, but never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do.” Peter also has a dynamic racing background outside of the 2011 Death Race. He participated in the Tough Guy Race twice, which he pointed out to me is different than Tough Mudder. “The first time I did the race I got hypothermia near the finish line.” Peter also did an Adventure Race in Vermont. “I heard about the Death Race through a friend. It was on the website, I saw the challenge, and thought wow!”

Peter shared with me some of the mental and physical tests that he endured while taking on the Death Race. He told me that he had to have shoulder surgery before going into the race, which was a little bit of a concern. However, he was quick to point out, “Everybody at the race was really cool, and each person had their own pressures. The challenges were really tough, but fun!”

He continued to tell me about sharing his experiences with fellow Death Racer’s at the bonfire that first night after being waist deep in the frigid river for the infamous pond crossing. He also spoke of the weather and how the menacing rain wouldn’t let up noting that at one point, “Andy threw our shoes in the woods so we had to go look for them.” During the log chopping event, Peter’s log was twice the size than it should have been. In order to save time, he did not saw the ends off. Ultimately, this is what hurt Peter physically for the remainder of the race. At approximately hour 24, Peter decided to withdraw from the Death Race. “I didn’t take Andy’s advice, and take the time to saw the ends off the log”, he said. “All my life being challenged and being deaf, I wanted to show people I could do it.”

I asked Peter what his race future looked like in 2012, and how he was preparing for it. The first thing he said was, “Winter Death Race in March.” Peter is preparing day and night by doing CrossFit, and various strength training. “I’ve got rashes all over my body.” He also said that he will remember to, “Take other’s advice next time.” Also, “To not think ahead so much in next year’s race. I will try not to be so mentally consumed.”

Peter noted, “My mom has been great training crew.” I asked if he had anything else in mind besides the Death Race for 2012. He replied, “I’m not sure yet. There’s nothing out there testing me like the Death Race.” I went on to ask how the Death Race has effected his lifelong “drive” that he has had his whole life. “My drive now is specifically something I have for the Death Race. The Death Race is the toughest race of all. It has the mental component that all of the other races are lacking. All of the other races are a cake walk.”

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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! 


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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

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186218_527643487_6512450_nEditor’s Note: Inspired by Paul Faust’s hilarious “Ways I  know I’m hooked on Spartan Races” series, Spartan Race is having a contest to find out from YOU why you feel the same way!  Submit them to and if you’re is chosen it could earn you a free race entry to an upcoming Spartan Race AND on a cool new t-shirt!  Submit by July 10th to make the cut!

Our newest blogger Brian sat down and picked Paul’s brain, a place we wouldn’t recommend anyone go near alone or at night….

by Brian Ansley

Paul’s newest gems:

When my dog sits next to me….instead of petting her…I use her to do curls and triceps exercises

When I’m at the playground with my 6 year old…all the parents stare at me as I race up and down the cargo net

I bought Pugil sticks and make my kids try to get past me on their way to bed

When I hit a single in a softball game and instead of running to first….I get as low as possible and crawl around the bases.

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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”.

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by Brian Ansley

Anthony Kalamas

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to participate in the Tuxedo race, it was not known for being one of the easier Spartan races. It could have been the seemingly endless barbed wire crawl, the tricky placement of the obstacles, or the overall combination of the terrain and extreme obstructions together. The challenge of a Spartan race is very dynamic, and takes an exceptional type of athlete. To be a Spartan, an athlete must know how to press on even when their bodies may tell them to do otherwise.

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by Carrie Adams

This weekend serves as a reminder as to what our fallen soldiers, veterans, and active military have sacrificed for all of us to have the lives that we live.  Spartan Race’s partnership with Homes for our Troops is just one way we try to help those who have given us so much.

We love hearing stories from our military personnel running our races.  I got this message from Brian Ansley, one of America’s finest.

Spartan race 2

Brian Ansley, Austin Spartan Sprint 2011

I am an Army veteran of 5 1/2 years, with the 82nd Airborne Division. I deployed to Iraq twice, and served as a squad leader conducting combat patrols in Tikrit, and Baghdad in 2006-2007 then again in 2008-2009.  I ran the Texas Spartan Sprint for the first time back in March.  It was great!  I also wrote a blog about it Here. I have attached a picture of me crawling under the barbwire.  Hopefully in 2012 you guys will step it up a notch, and bring the Super Spartan or Spartan Beast to Texas!

Well, Brian, we will be in Glen Rose, TX December 3rd, 2011 with a Super Spartan Race.  We hope to see you there!  Aroo!

Are you a veteran or active military who runs or plans on running a Spartan event?  Tell me about it and you might get yourself on the blog!  Email and sign up for an event near you!

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