As the year rolls around to a day of the year that is often overlooked, we wanted to give a shout out to those guys that you see on the course that, while striving to reach the finish line, have a greater goal in their lives. This, of course, is continuing to be the best Spartan dad they can possibly be.

Daren De Heras of Monrovia, California might be more familiar to many as the man who continues to set multiple lap records or as the face of Team SISU. Many will see him as the guy that has now visited the Death Race 5 times, but to his little girl Maddy, he’s just daddy.

“I’ve always wanted her to know that she is always front and center in everything I do”, he explains. 

“When she was born, I was a very passionate wrestling coach, business owner and marathoner.  I wanted her to see my passion for fitness and hoped she caught on for a love of sport, but it was important that she find her way, not what my way was.  All I ever want is for her to always finish what she started, to always challenge herself, and to know that it’s all about the journey, not the finish.  As she grew up she fell in love with Soccer and Gymnastics.  I spent the next 6 years learning soccer and coaching her teams.   During that time, Spartan Race popped up and I fell in love with it right from the start.  In 2011 I participated in my first Spartan Death Race, and suffered my first DNF.  After I quit the race, I was fortunate to spend some time with Joe De Sena the founder of Spartan Race.  I listened to his story, passion, and drive he had for the sport of obstacle racing and the positive impact it could have on so many.  I went home that weekend, inspired, motivated, but most of all it made me think if I can teach my daughter how to live this Spartan lifestyle and apply it to her everyday life, there will be no limits to what she can achieve.

“Spartan has given us a place that we feel is our special place.  We both have our own goals, and share some, but most important it’s not a race to us, it’s a journey, a way of life.  I have been to five Spartan Death Races competing in all of them with bracelets she made me, her name written on me with a sharpie and her picture in my pocket.  She has completed 5 Spartan Races, finishing 4th overall and 1st for the girls in her previous Spartan Race.  We inspire one another, push one another, and never let the other one think we have anything less than more to give. She is my heart and soul and the best thing I will ever be is her daddy.”

Sign up for your next Spartan Race here and sign up your child for Spartan Kids right here.

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One competitor laughs of the cold and takes time to tell the photographers that it really isn’t that bad under the water.

You’d have been forgiven for thinking you were not actually in sunny California, but perhaps Chicago, Detroit or somewhere not altogether unfamiliar with ice and below freezing temperatures.
With the typical Spartan Race rain on the Saturday and the malevolent grin of glinting frost and ice beckoning the competitors to the start line on Sunday, the elements had already conspired to make the competitors suffer.

Spartan Race elite male and female podium finishers

With many regular faces descending on Malibu from all corners of the country, the all-too familiar feeling of a reunion in was in full force. However, once stepping over that start line, all friendships were put temporarily on hold. Tellingly, a water obstacle again proved to be the undoing of Hobie Call as he only briefly misjudged a plan of attack. This merest hint of a chance was something Hunter McIntyre exploited and punished by pushing past and snatching first place by only 33 seconds. Brakken Krakker took third place by crossing the line only just over a minute after Hobie, proving just how tight the men’s elite class is now. It seems as though every race is now a guarantee for a nervous and exciting fight for 1st place.

The female elites didn’t fail to add to the tension, either. Rose Wetzel (1st), Lauren Ho (2nd) and Tiffanie Novakovich were separated by only just over 3 minutes. The female elites are crashing through into 2014 with higher rates of training and motivation than ever before, so it was unsurprising that numbers into double figures were finishing faster than some male elite runners. Competition has never been fiercer!

Despite having no legs, Mathew Webb failed only one obstacle – the spear throw.

Away from the professionals the Spartan Race inspiration machine was in full force. Travelling over 7 hours to make the event to represent the ever-present and all-conquering Weeple Army (taking their 8th biggest team win), Mathew Webb crushed the course despite having the “minor inconvenience” of having had no legs since being only 18 months old. Making jokes that the water in the lake was so cold that he couldn’t feel anything below the knee, he powered through failing only the spear throw.“Overcoming Obstacles” was led by Slosh Pipe champion Kevin Kierce. Containing competitors  Michael Aygin, Brian Tom, Michael Yu, Durrell Johnson, James Mogana, Joel Senteno, (who are all hard of hearing or blind) and previous Spartan Race blog subject Misty Diaz who battles Spina Bifida, they all went through the course in a flurry of high-fives from well-wishers and a  volley of “AROO!” chants. Accompanying Kevin was his 74 year old mother, Linda Barber. Together, this one group alone pushing the fact that there are simply no valid excuses.

Linda Barber, 74, has completed every Malibu Spartan Race to date.

Team SISU,led by Daren De Heras made multiple loops of the course over the weekend, choosing to continue their Death Race ethic by carrying logs, tires and wearing elevation masks in order to make “things more interesting”.

From Hollywood, actors Tony Besson – making his third Spartan Race appearance – and Josh Peck ran in a wave shortly before Eric Colley fromTMZ made his debut at the start line.

As 2014 winds down to a close, Texas will see thousands of Spartan descend on Glen Rose where host the last race of year. Spartan Race will see out 2013 with a Beast and the last chance to qualify for a Trifecta before the new season starts in January. Will you be one of them?

 

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