by Tony Reyes, 

One morning I woke up, gasping for breath.  My CPAP must have slipped off my nose in the middle of the night and I had stopped breathing.  I was 23 years old, 400lbs with severe sleep apnea, and a strong history of heart disease in my immediate family.  I made up my mind that morning as I sat at the edge of my bed trying to catch my breath, crying at the realization that I had almost died.  Enough was enough, it was time to change.

I auditioned for the show The Biggest Loser.  After making it through several rounds of the casting process my spirits were so high that when I got cut I fell into a deep depression.  I didn’t think I had a way out.  I felt like my weight was literally crushing my chances at a normal life filled with activity, happiness, and potential.  I am stand-up comedian and it had gotten to the point that when I made fat jokes on stage and people laughed, I began to hate them for their laughter.  Why are they all laughing and not trying to help me?  Can’t they tell I hate this life and need support to change?

Thankfully, my fiancé saw through the facade   She made me understand that I didn’t need a TV show to change, that through diet and exercise I could save my own life.  So I signed up for the Malibu Spartan Sprint in the hopes of inspiring me to lose the weight.  And Inspire it did, I lost almost 100lbs by race day! Through getting a trainer and dedicating myself to myself, I was able to do it!  I also got a ton of support by starting my on weight loss page called “The Fat Man Diaries” where I answer questions, share workouts, and do weekly videos documenting my progress.

When I first signed up for the race I was scared.  I didn’t tell anyone about it because I wanted to be able to back out and quit like most of my other weight loss attempts.  I knew that elite athletes ran it and every video I watched I didn’t see anyone with my body type which made me nervous.  That is until I saw Chris Davis.  He had lost over 400lbs and was over 300lbs when he ran his first race so I thought, why not me?  That is why I’m writing this blog.  So that hopefully someone out there that is nervous to sign up or is unsure if you can finish, can read my story and hear me when I say that you can.  Nothing is impossible and that the hardest obstacle to conquer is your own fear.  I did it, Chris did it, YOU can also do it.

You’ll Know at the Finish Line

The first time I read those words I didn’t understand.  I figured it was some sort of cryptic marketing ploy, but I put my doubts aside and signed up.  Well I am here to tell you, it is no marketing ploy.  It’s not some goofy catch phrase that was thrown around a brainstorming session.  “You’ll Know at the Finish Line” is a promise.  A promise that if you work hard, dedicate yourself to your training, and give everything you have during the race, when you cross the finish line, you’ll understand that who you were at the beginning of the race and who you are at the finish are completely different people.  I know I am, don’t you want to be?

Are you ready for your Spartan story?  Sign up today. 

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Read Part One HERE.

2013
At the end of 2012, prior to the Spartan Beast, I sustained a stress fracture to my right foot. I unknowingly ran the Beast thinking it was a minor injury, then went on to run my first half marathon two weeks later. After taking two months off to rehab my foot, I began training with my team (the Georgia Obstacle Racers and Mud Runners) for the Spartan Race in Georgia and getting excited about the 2013 race season!

Then I heard about the Biggest Losers Run/Walk Challenge that Spartan Race also hosted. I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I registered and was so thrilled over this chance to work with and motivate others. A set of fortuitous circumstances led up to me transferring from the Open Heat to the Elite Heat the week of the GA Spartan Race. Add yet another thrilling dimension to my Spartan experience! I was so nervous!

I thought, “What am I doing on the start line of the female Elite heat? I’m 46 years old, and I’ve never been known as an athlete?”

As I ran across the terrain and through the woods, I felt strong! I took on one obstacle after another, burpee-free! And then it happened…Somewhere in the 3rd mile, my right ankle found that random hole in a flat field, rolled, and snapped like a twig. My first thought was, “I HAVE to finish this heat and get back in time to help with the Biggest Loser Challenge.” The course volunteer asked if I wanted her to call a Medic. “No, I’m finishing this race”, I said as I heaved a sandbag over my head and walked up the hill, confident I could walk it off. I was jogging as I came back down the hill.

I finished the race in 1:15:34, ran off the course, grabbed my volunteer t-shirt and ran back on to the course to find Chris

The Fab Five

Davis and the Biggest Loser Challenge participants. I randomly attached myself to a group of ladies I wound up calling my “Fab Five” and journeyed with them throughout the course. As we approached each obstacle, I gave them instructions on how to successfully navigate through the obstacle… should they choose to do it. I was THRILLED that they chose to take on every challenge (with the exception of the rope climb). They were FEARLESS!

The Fab Five and I worked together as a team through each obstacle, over every hill, and across every mile. The bond seemed to solidify more and more as we continued on our journey, and I saw confidence exuding through the mud as the ladies proved to themselves they could do what they set their minds to. The encouragement they received from the Spartan Racers along the course bolstered their sense of determination as well! They began cheering for and encouraging the Spartans who ran past them in a show of camaraderie!

Almost to the Finish Line
As most of the time we encountered cold water, the pain of my sprained ankle was kept at bay; but I also believe the adrenaline and the endorphins were my saving grace. At the slippery wall, the only thing left between these ladies and their finisher’s medal was the wall, the mud crawl ,and the gladiators. A couple of the ladies took on the slippery wall, paying close attention to the instructions I gave them, “Keep your weight behind you, your feet in front of you, and use your hands to pull you along. I’ll be at the top to help you over.” The third, and final, lady in our group to attempt this obstacle stepped up to the wall, hesitantly saying she would “try”.

I yelled, “You’ve got this!” One of her teammates stood next to me on the back of the wall, ready to help her find her way over.  She grabbed the rope and began to climb, strong and confident. Then a look of hesitation flashed across her face. Self-doubt started to gnaw at her resolve, “I just don’t have any upper body strength.”

I yelled, “You’re halfway here! You’re doing it! You’ve got this! Keep coming!”

Another Spartan Racer was scaling the wall, and he stopped to help assist my Fab Fiver in her quest up the wall. She wanted to quit. She wanted to let go. I knew I couldn’t let that happen, so I grabbed her hand and yelled, “I’m not letting you go!” She didn’t realize at the time that I was leaning backwards. If she chose to let go, I was going to tumble off the back side of the wall. I believed in her. So did the crowd who was cheering her on! The Spartan Racer who had been behind her climbed over the wall and reached across to help us as another Spartan Racer got behind her and started pushing.

As we got her left leg over that wall, the emotions burst forth in uncontrollable sobs… it was ME who was crying! The crowd was cheering her on! Her teammates were cheering her on! So many emotions of that day all released at once as I grabbed her at the bottom of the ladder and hugged her tightly! The team laughed at the fact that I was crying!

We still had the mud crawl. I ran from the first of the team to the last, encouraging, and cheering, and redirecting! When the final one cleared the barbed wire, I had us link arms and said, “Let’s do this!” We ran through the gladiators across the finish line together! My team was THRILLED to see the blood from the scratches and scrapes! It was a personal victory for each and every one of them!

I’m still in contact with each of those ladies and have added them to my team! They are signing up for more OCR’s and are still on an incredible high from their accomplishment!

The Street Team provided this great opportunity for us to share our Spartan Spirit with our fellow athletes of the Biggest Loser Run/Walk Challenge, and for that I am grateful. That race changed me in a positive way. Yes, I sprained my ankle and tore a ligament, but I finished strong in my Elite Heat (because I had a purpose); and my team of Fab Five finished as stronger ladies because of the experience they had.

I’m 46, almost 47, and I AM A SPARTAN CHICK and STREET TEAMER! AROOOO!

Spartan isn’t just a race it’s an experience!  You’ll know at the finish line.  Sign up today. 

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How it Began

by Michael Mills

I became the first ever paralyzed Spartan in history when I finished the Reebok Spartan Georgia race on March 9, 2013 along with my team.  A head-on collision with a drunk driver in  1993  landed me in a wheelchair.  The devastation from my injuries resulted a T-12 paralysis, but I’ve never let it define or stop me.  I’ve competed in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times.  So, I’m used to competition, but Spartan was a challenge I had not yet experienced.  I had to be a part of it and wasn’t going to let my paralysis keep me from finding that finish line.   It began just a little over eight months ago I made the decision that I was going to compete in the 2013 Georgia Reebok Spartan Sprint. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew I was going to give it my all. I built a team with my misfit friends and we all trained in preparation for what we knew would be our toughest challenge ever.

Race Day

On race day, we started off at 9:15 am through the smoke and we began our journey to become Spartans. We hit the first obstacle with an aggressive nature and we didn’t look back. Shortly after the first obstacle we made the trek into the woods where there was the crooked creek about shin deep. Most people saw the creek as just part of the course, I saw it as obstacle number two. I dove right into water that was chest deep and started to crawl. Shortly after reaching the end the creek, I realized I had a flat tire on my wheelchair. Not even a mile into the course we had a problem.

In Spartan form I said “I ain’t got time for this, let’s just go!” So, we pushed on. We attacked each obstacle with extreme prejudice. We were relentless and we conquered each and everyone of them together. We made our first block around to the cargo net and that’s when I realized that people were really yelling and rooting for us. Our team were making a mark in Spartan history.

As we got to the top, my good friend Chris Davis came up behind me and said, “This is what you’ve been waiting for!” He was right, I took a short breath and looked around and just took it all in. We made it through the traverse wall, the tire flips (man those things were heavy), and off to the remainder of the course. As we got closer to the finish we could hear music and people, I knew it was close to being over. I saw my oldest son, my mom, and my dad. They were in awe I had made it this far. I was just three obstacles away from the finish.

Next up, the spear throw. Well, let’s just say, I wasn’t the only one doing a burpee. I had to do a “murpee,” which I call a Mike burpee or a modified burpee. I put my 30 in as fast as possible and we were off to the rope climb. I got up about a 1/4 of the way and went down into the cold water. Needless to say I hit 30 more murpees in the nasty thick mud. Then we went to the mud and barbed wire. We came out fast and muddy. Last obstacle was the gladiators. I looked up and to my surprise was Andi Hardy an Elite female Spartan Athlete. Andi took a spot just for us. We as a team decided that we were going to attack instead of them attacking us. The next thing I knew we were crossing the finish line, as a team just like we had started. Team Pushharder were now all Spartans!

I want to thank Nathan, Kevin, Brandon, Will, Scott, Joel, John and April for everything you guys did to make my dream come true. My team and I did something people said couldn’t be done. We made history together.

For those of you who doubted my abilities and said it couldn’t be done, now is the time I can gladly say, “I told you I could!” Not only am I a Spartan, I am the first ever paralyzed Spartan in history.

What’s your excuse? Sign up TODAY.

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by Michael Mills

It seems like yesterday I started my journey to Sparta. Last August I made the decision to sign up and compete in my first ever Spartan Race in Conyers, GA on March 9th, 2013. I remember being scared to hit the payment button. I knew if I did it, there would be no turning back. The thought of doing something I have never done before terrified me, but at the same time I was excited to embark on a new adventure for disabled sports. For the last 20 years I have overcome so much and experienced some difficult times and I look at it as what has prepared me for this year.

Last year, I had a long conversation with Tiffany (my wife) about my goals and what I wanted to accomplish for 2013. As my biggest supporter she backed me up and said she would be there every step of the way. I knew right then I did not need any more encouragement.

Since I started training for the Spartan Race, I have found something deep inside of me that I really didn’t know I had. It was an even stronger willpower and determination. It has fueled me to get up and train before work, work an eight hour day, come home, be a husband and a father to my family, and then go back out to train again for another workout session.

I have had a goal in mind and resolve if firm. I will cross the finish line and become a Spartan. Through my training, I realize how much I’ve changed and grown. I started seeing obstacles in my way that before I would have avoided. NOT NOW! I hit every one of them head on. I see something that looks difficult and I want to do it. My fear is leaving me, anxiety is turning to excitement and I know that this is year for me to do amazing things for myself and for the disabled community.

On February 9th I set out to be the first ever paralyzed person to climb Stone Mountain, in Stone Mountain GA. I started the climb with some already amazing Spartan athletes but no one stood out more to me than my friend and Spartan Chris Davis. When I found out Chris was coming, I was ecstatic. I was going to get to finally meet him. The climb didn’t intimidate me but he did.

Chris Davis accomplished some major goals while living in Pittsfield, VT at Spartan HQ. He is known by everyone in the Spartan world for his weight loss success and now he was coming to climb Stone Mountain with me. Chris showed up with a 110lbs strapped to his back and he said he was not going to leave my side. Chris and I were side by side and we climbed the entire mountain together. Once I reached the top, Chris looked at me and told me how proud he was of me. The climb took four hours, me crawling on my hands and knees. I conquered Stone Mountain with some amazing people that day and I will never forget it.

That climb up Stone Mountain prepared me for my first Spartan Sprint on March 9. I am ready. I am ready to tackle the barbed wire, big heavy tractor tires, ropes, walls and even the fire at the end. I have no doubt that with the help from my team, we will be able to overcome every obstacle just like I have in my life for the last 20 years.

Bring it on, Georgia. I am ready for you. My team and I will reach our goal and by the end of that day I will be able to call myself a true Spartan.

[Editor's Note: Michael Mills  is a T12 paraplegic, the victim of a head on collision with a drunk driver in 1993 and though he’s been tackling wheelchair racing since 1996, competing in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times, he saw the Spartan Race series and realized it was the next challenge he wanted.  He'll be doing the Georgia Spartan Sprint on 3/9/13.  Want to stay tuned in to Michael’s journey? He’ll be regularly posting his story and training on our blog in a series we’ll be calling “Chasing Michael Mills.” Follow his Facebook page. Want to support his cause? Check out Spartan Sprint for Berts Big Adventure | Michael Mills’ Fundraiser on CrowdRise]

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by  Jose Ortiz, guest blogger

Where it Began

In 2000, I made a decision to serve my country in the most honorable manner I knew possible; I joined the United States Marine Corp.  After serving honorably in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, my commitment to the Marines came to an end in 2004.  Returning to my home of Long Island, I settled with my wife in Wantagh, New York, a suburb about 35 miles away from New York City and I became a corrections officer.

 

Needing a Change

Once I was home I was looking for something to take the place of the daily PT routine I had in the Marines.  A friend of mine introduced me to two of the best things I have discovered since my wife, Spartan Race and CrossFit Lighthouse.  As soon as I listened to my friend’s story about Spartan Race I started to track down pictures and watch videos…I was hooked.  I signed up right away for the Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo, NY and started doing the Workout of the Day (WOD).  Soon after, I wanted to workout with some great people who could push me and I met Dan Luffman and Jack Sandhaas, owners of Crossfit Lighthouse.  These two guys are HUGE fans of Spartan Race and they took me on as their pet project immediately.  They showed me how the integration of movements in the gym would translate into a healthy lifestyle and top performance in a Spartan Race.

A New Life

Once this journey began, I set my sights on the Spartan Race and my CrossFit coaches did the rest.  I am proud to say that I dropped 30 pounds of unwanted body weight.  I was inspired by the Chris Davis story and followed his journey as I embarked on my own.  I found that once my body became acclimated to the workouts, nutrition also became a huge focus.  Now, everything was part of my Spartan Race/CrossFit lifestyle.  It was something that I lived and breathed every day.  It wasn’t just a workout or a healthy meal; it was a commitment to my wife, my family, and myself to say that I was taking control of everything that was good and productive for me.

The First Spartan Experience

After months of lifting, stretching, running, and healthy living, my first Spartan Race arrived.  The cannon sounded and before I knew it and I was at the starting line staring at my goal that I set months prior.  I was finally here.  One obstacle after the next, training and muscle memory took over, rope climbs and wall climbs and hurdles were second nature.  I am proud to say that I did not have to do one penalty burpee, but if I did, I was ready.  The motto is true, “You’ll know at the finish line.”

Now, with that race under my belt, I have become a permanent staple at CrossFit Lighthouse and Spartan Race.  I am training every day towards my new goal, the Trifecta Medal.

Semper Fi.

Are you ready to test your Spartan mettle?  Find an event near you and get signed up today.

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by Chris Davis, re-printed from Project Chris Davis

With the Georgia Sprint fast approaching March 9, T-12 paraplegic Michael Mills is putting in a lot of work to get prepared to take on the course on his hands and knees.  This past weekend, he took on Stone Mountain to prove he was Spartan Tough for his upcoming challenge.


Saturday I watched Michael Mills from Chasing Spartan Michael Mills fight though the pain and climb Stone Mountain on his hands and knees.  He asked each of us that joined him to challenge our self in our own way.  So I chose to carry 100lbs of 1 inch think steel plates.The plan was to start our adventure at 7:30 am, in the parking lot at the head of the walk up trail.  It was very cold almost freezing, and I started to have flashbacks to my experience during the Vermont Beast.  I had the same scared but excited feeling in my stomach as I had on that cold morning in Vermont.  It got so bad that I started to second guess my ability to complete this challenge, and that is when I saw on Facebook that Michael had like my comment about bringing the 100lbs and I knew, that there was no way for me to lower the weight to something more do able like 60lbs.  So I took in a deep breath and decided at that moment, no mater what I was going find a way to get to the top with all 100lbs.

When Michael arrived, I knew that I had made the right choice in not going to the Arizona  for the Spartan Race.  It was a strange feeling, but I just knew I was at the right place at the right time.  I knew that today was going to be one of though days that changes the way you look at the world.   Everyone gathered in the parking lot and we headed out a little before 8 am.  Michael, started out the adventure in his wheel chair, but it was notStart long when he decided to get out of it and continued the long journey on his hands and knees.  I have climbed Stone Mountain and have seen what it can do to people that are in relative good shape, but I could not imagine trying to climb the hole thing in your hands and knees.  It was a slow, but steady climb, Michael, was like the energizer bunny, he just keep going and going. By 11:30 we had made it over half way up and we were facing the most difficult part of the climb.  This part of the climb is so steep that they have to put in two hand rails to help people climb up this part of the trail.   For me this is a very scary part of the trail.   The first time I climbed Stone Mountain, back in 2011, I fell twice trying to climb up this part of the trail.   I know a lot has changed since then, but I keep having visions of me falling, and getting crushed by my backpack.  Let be honest, steel plates to not have a lot of give in them.  Half_Way_Up_The_RailsBut the sight of this part did phase him, he just took it in stride, and keep on going. Before I knew it were we half way up.  You could tell that his arms were killing him, but he never gave up and a few minutes later we were at the top of the steepest segment of the climb.  But the climb is not over in fact this is where you have to dig deep, because you are not at the top, not even closeTop_of_the_Rails.  We took a few minutes to recover and take in the incredible of Downtown Atlanta before counting up to the top.  We arrived at the top around 12:40 pm,  four hours after we started, to put this in perspective, the first time I climbed stone mountain, it took me three an half hours, and I was The_Finish_Linewalking.  The fact that Michael made it up in just four hours to me is incredible!   You could tell that he was exhausted, but it did not stop him from celebrating and taking some time to reflect on what he had just done.   He was on the top of Stone Mountain, and he had climbed up there on his hands and knees.  I think that is when he relied that if he could do this, there is nothing that he couldn’t do!   After taking photo with everyone we sat around and relaxed for a few.  After everyone relaxed, and started to regroup, we all realized that we were only half way done.   Chasing_Michae_Mills_vs_Stone MountainSo we started are way back down.  This went a lot faster, especially once we got past the steep part, and Michael, climbed back into his wheelchair.  I can not tell you how cool it was to see him doing jumps over rocks, and having a great time taking his new wheelchair though it’s paces. We were about 3/4 of the way down, and I was taking a break, when I saw a father reach over to his young daughter.

He then keeled down and said, look over there as he pointed to Michael, and said “Never say you can’t do anything, there is proof that anything is possible!”   When I heard that, it made me think, we came to the mountain to challenge ourselves and in doing this we may have inspired others on the mountain to do something they thought was impossible. I know that I will remember this day for the rest of my life.  Thank you Michael Mills for sharing this great adventure with me!

Michel’s next adventure will be at our Reebok Spartan Georgia Sprint Match 9, 2013.  To join him, register HERE.

[Editor's Note: Michael Mills  is a T12 paraplegic, the victim of a head on collision with a drunk driver in 1993 and though he’s been tackling wheelchair racing since 1996, competing in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times, he saw the Spartan Race series and realized it was the next challenge he wanted.  He'll be doing the Georgia Spartan Sprint on 3/9/13.  Want to stay tuned in to Michael’s journey? He’ll be regularly posting his story and training on our blog in a series we’ll be calling “Chasing Michael Mills.” Follow his Facebook page. Want to support his cause? Check out Spartan Sprint for Berts Big Adventure | Michael Mills’ Fundraiser on CrowdRise]

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by Joe Desena, Spartan Race CEO

Todd Love, Leesburg, VA Super Spartan

A New Year is the chance for a New YOU.  It’s never been easier, and we can tell you why.  Spartan Race has been able to keep 82% of those committing to a new years resolution on track with their health goals. It is a simple technique that has been proven effective over the last three years at Spartan.

What is it?

It’s simple.  Don’t go it alone.  Committing to a race with friends will keep you on track each day training and eating healthy the same way the Spartans did knowing they WOULD go to battle.  We can help.  Get daily workouts – we can send them directly to your inbox www.spartanrace.com/wod, and your daily workout will be waiting for you each day.  No excuse not to train.  Getting daily food tips, www.spartanrace.com/fod and you’ll get healthy, delicious food ideas sent to you as well so you can fill your table and your stomach with the fuel you’ll need to stay on track, lose the weight, get stronger, faster, and better in 2013.

Sign up for a Spartan Race, even if it terrifies you.  Especially if it terrifies you!  Your fight or flight mechanisms kick into gear, and you’ll be sure to get moving. Once signed up, you and your friends will have a goal and a reason to start taking your health seriously and it works 82% of the time which is an amazing statistic.  We call it the Resolution Solution.

With the support of your community of friends and family, healthy recipes and food ideas, and workouts that will get your body in shape, you can accomplish more than you thought possible.  And you’ll never have to be alone in the process.  When you feel down, have a bad day, don’t want to eat healthy, you’ll have the reasons you need to stay on track, to get outside and run, to get to the store and buy something green instead of something fried.  It’s time for a change.

Once friends are involved they act like a vice grip, should you start to go back to your old ways. Not only are you training to get through the event you signed up for…but you are training for them and they are training for you.  In signing up, they aren’t just holding you accountable, they are depending on you for the same support.

Not enough?  How about some proof?

How is losing 430 pounds?  Spartan Chris Davis did just that and finished the Spartan Beast (and several other Spartan Races) in Vermont after five grueling months in Pittsfield, living, eating, and exercising with our team at HQ.  You should see him carry a sandbag now!  He sure couldn’t when he arrived.  Chris resolved to lose the weight and finish the race and he got it done.  It’s amazing that he began his journey at 696 pounds.

Spartan Chick Andi Hardy started following the Spartan WODs and is in the best shape of her life.  One of the Spartan elite athletes in our 300 group, with 21 races completed she had an incredible eight first place finishes in the 40 – 44 division in 2012, three of those first OVERALL female.  Not too shabby!

Todd Love, triple amputee from Georgia alongside his teammates from Team X-T.R.E.M.E. took on a Super Spartan and a Spartan Beast all while donning a blacked out gas mask.  Despite his injuries from an IED attack in Afghanistan while serving as a Recon Marine, he completed the races.  How is that for inspiration?

So, now what’s your excuse?

It’s all here waiting for you, you just have to decide it’s finally time to do it.   Get signed up for a race, get signed up for our FREE workouts and FREE food tips and you’ll join the 82%.

Sign up, show up, don’t give up!

[Editor's Note: Need extra motivation?  Spartan founders include Guinness World Record Holders, Triple Iron Man finishers, former professional Adventure Racers (AR).  Check out our Founding Few Bio Page to learn more of their incredible stories.]

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by Carrie Adams

Chris Davis trudged up the hill, already exhausted.  With more than 11 miles left in the Spartan World Championship Beast, he was facing one of the steepest ascents of the day, and it wasn’t even dawn yet.  The terrain surrounding the small group moving up the mountainside is technical and gnarly, making each step even more arduous.  One of those in the group was founder Joe Desena, who would carry a sandbag, another was Spartan HQ Facebook maven Rachel Stuppy, and even Davis’s boss from Comcast joined in the journey.  Yet another was Spartan Death Race finisher (two times over) Josh Zitomer, and finally there was Forest Call, and he carried a familiar tool – his camera – to capture every moment of the action.

Two Death Races, two Beasts, several supers, sprints, and everything in between all with a camera in hand and a tireless attitude to get the very best shots. He is best known as the brother of the most famous obstacle course racer, Hobie Call or more recently as the boyfriend of elite racer and Dirt in Your Skirt Blogger, Margaret Schlachter. Each race Forest Call has been there to document the action.

It all started in February of 2011 when Call followed his brother, Hobie, to his first ever Spartan Race in Temecula, California.  I actually met him there, it was my first Spartan Race as well.  Call went camera in hand to capture the action of Hobie’s first race. From that race on Call became a staple of Spartan Races, following Hobie’s progression to the legend he has become today. Along the way he captured other elite racers and memorable Spartan footage and each video he makes he shares with the world on his own YouTube channel.

When asked why Call, a general contractor by day, takes time off work to travel and film and edit races for other people, he always answers “it’s my passion.” In edition to shooting and editing hundreds of hours of video footage this former downhill mountain bike racer also has competed in the 2011 Tuxedo Sprint and 2011 Utah Super. Call is no slouch himself in Utah finishing top 10 in the elite heat, without the camera that time, but finds his true love is behind the camera.

In 2012, during the Summer Death Race while filming Schlachter for her Death Race experience that he met Chris Davis. It was during this race the two chatted about the Vermont Beast, Call asked if he would be able to document Davis’s race for him. Call knew this would be an amazing experience for Davis and wanted to ensure it was captured on video. Davis immediately said, “yes” and the two started planning.

On the morning of the race Call trudged out in the woods and followed Davis for his entire thirteen and a half hour Beast capturing all the footage along the way, some of which was used in the Spartan Race recap by Mad Motion. Once back in his home state of Utah, Call sifted through hours of footage and edited together an emotional video of Davis’s race.

So Spartan Race HQ would like to give a quick,  ”thank you” to Forest Call for capturing the conclusion of Chris Davis’s journey in Vermont at the Vermont Beast. We look forward to more videos in the future from Call.

Watch the full version of Chris Davis’s journey from Forest Call HERE.

To read the Chris Davis Project recap, go HERE.

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by Carrie Adams

When he emerged at the Spartan finish line, he was exhausted.  The last official Spartan racer to finish the Georgia Spartan Sprint, he was hours behind the top of the field.  Spartan staff members had to help him get back to his car because they feared he wouldn’t be able to do so under his own power.   An incredible accomplishment for a man who was nearly 700 lbs just a couple years earlier. His weight loss journey was far from over, in fact, as he crossed the finish line; he was also crossing a line that intersected with his destiny and a decision that would change his life forever.  It was the first time Spartan Race would meet Chris Davis and from that moment, none of us would ever be the same.

The dramatic finish was the first step in a journey that would lead Davis to Pittsfield, Vermont, home of Spartan Race HQ and the place Davis would call home for 20 weeks as he continued his path towards a healthier future and many more Spartan finish lines – his last, the World Championship Beast where he would begin at 4 AM and finish just before night fell, earning his medal and celebrating a staggering weight loss of over 530 pounds.  His weight loss in Pittsfield alone was half that amount.  How he got to Pittsfield is an incredible story in it’s own right… When Spartan founder Joe Desena heard about Davis and how far he needed to go to finish what he’d set out to start, he offered up an incredible opportunity:  move to Vermont and Spartan Race HQ, lose the weight by following Joe and Spartan Coaching’s plan, and race the Beast in September.  Davis, with the support of his employer (Comcast), family and friends, accepted the offer and just like that, the Chris Davis Project was born.

Crossing the finish line it was hard to find a dry eye.  Davis’s family was in attendance to witness his nearly 15 mile race.  The pinnacle of several races he’d finish in preparation, the hours on the mountain with Spartan founder Joe Desena and other Spartan athletes and staffers getting ready.  Spartan staff joined him on the mountain, Joe Desena carrying a 100lb sandbag as well.  His weight loss and training program conducted under the watchful eye of Dr. Jeff Godin, Spartan Death Racer, physician, and Spartan Coaching founder.  As Chris received his medal and hugged friends, staffers, and family, it was clear that his achievement was one that was felt by everyone who was lucky enough to bear witness.

His journey to the finish line has been well-documented, in his athlete page and on YouTube with videos updating his weekly progress.  If there was ever a doubt that you could do something, let this story be your lesson.   See his final video summary HERE.

Spartan HQ hasn’t been the same since Davis’s return to his home down South.  Since his heroic finish, he has returned to his job at Comcast in Atlanta, Georgia, an employer who would give Davis the life-changing chance to relocate to Vermont for his transformation and allow his return months later.  We’d like to thank them for their vision and support.  Mad Motion provided the video footage of Chris’s journey and we’d like to thank them as well for giving his story a platform.

Congratulations to Chris, he will always be a part of our Spartan family and what he taught us about never giving up is something that has made us all better for knowing him.  That’s the reality of what these races are about – celebrating health, pushing limits, and finding out what you can accomplish when you dare to believe in all the things you CAN do and forget about what is deemed impossible.

 

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by Carrie Adams

What does a Pineapple, Medusa’s Challenge, and Cheesy Fries have in common?   They’ll all get you in shape if you do them the Spartan Group Exercise way.  They are aptly named workouts, just three of many that are included in the Spartan Coaching program and Spartan Group Exercise (SGX) being offered to fitness professionals who wish to teach Spartan style  in their clubs and facilities.  In the emerging sport of obstacle racing, Spartan Race HQ is often inundated with questions on how to prepare and also from those who want to become a part of our movement and our way of coaching athletes for Spartan glory at one of our races.  According to Spartan Coaches, “Trainers work at the circus.  Coaches build better humans.”

Want to hear more?

Dr. G, the creator of Spartan Coaching and SGX who has competed in the Death Race four times, by the way, developed the program and has been using it with our own Chris Davis on his weight loss journey and his movement towards completing the Spartan Ultra Beast.  He explains this new concept of SGX and how you can get involved in the movement.

What is SGX?

Spartan Group Exercise (SGX) is the most unique group exercise program in the world. For the first time in group exercise history, an individual’s true purpose and motivation is at the forefront of design for a large scale fitness program. SGX is designed to create an exhilarating and community driven group atmosphere of fitness, nutrition, and performance that optimizes individual performance in Spartan Races, as well as daily life.

SGX utilizes a unique, independently developed strategy of periodization that allows specific aspects of training, fitness, and nutrition to be targeted at various times throughout the year, while never sacrificing a shred of the well-rounded physical preparedness you demand each day.

SGX is about changing your mind, body, and life from the inside out. SGX prepares you for life! It is not about curling, running or biking, it is about pushing, pulling, jumping, stretching, breathing and sweating. Superficial motivations need not investigate further, intrigued minds are cautiously welcomed.

For the Fitness Pro:

SGX begins with a two-day instructional workshop where you will gain the foundational knowledge necessary to successfully run SGX at your health club or business. Included in this two day seminar are:

  • An in depth interpretation of The Seven Pillars of Spartan Training.
  • Complete needs analysis for the Spartan Race competitor.
  • Introduction to SGX program design for optimal performance in Spartan Races.
  • Nutritional guidelines including how to periodize nutritional strategies based on the current training.
  • Hands-on application and lecture
  • Written and practical examination to prove that you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to carry out the SGX mission.
  • 16 hrs. of continuing education credit.
  • The rest and likely the most valuable take home lessons cannot be itemized by a bullet point.

Prerequisites:

  • Current CPR Certification
  • Current  Accredited Fitness Certification

To find out more about teaching SGX, go to www.spartancoaches.com.  In the meantime, check out our daily WODs to get ripped for Spartan Race day.

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