by Carrie Adams

SR_ICON_LOGO_186“Never believe that a few people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

Defining the soul of a race like Spartan took the collected effort of seven extraordinary people.  Inspired by the spirit of the Death Race, expect the unexpected and the brain child of endurance athletes, and mountaineers, the Spartan Race is the toughest series of events on the planet.  These individuals, dubbed the “Founding Few” in the inception of the Spartan Race obstacle racing series, these individuals have blazed new trails in their respective events, broken world records, and traveled the world seeking bigger and better challenges.  They bring that experience, that fire, to each and every Spartan Race around the World.

The people who bring you Spartan Race are the real thing.  They’re tough. They’re daring. They’re bold.  They’ve been out there, pushing themselves physically and mentally further than they thought possible, facing adversity and overcoming it.   Every member of the Spartan Race Team is dedicated and talented, many accomplished athletes, relentlessly pursuing the next level of competition and their own personal best. And each one of them brings this intense enthusiasm to Spartan Race and to its participants.

Here’s your chance to get to know them a little better.  The “Founding Few” who have blazed the trails as epic athletes of their own right, making Spartan Race the toughest obstacle race series in existence and the one and only Spartan Death Race, the World’s Toughest Race, period.   

For the next seven days, we’ll tell their stories and in a follow up series we’ll share the stories of those who hold it down at Spartan Race HQ each and every day. 

Hear their stories, be inspired, come out and race with us… you’ll never be the same. You’ll know at the finish line.

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by Carrie Adams

Shaun Bain: A Legacy of Living Out Loud

“Working harder, living fuller, and loving stronger.” – Shaun Bain

Spartan Founding Few member Shaun Bain is living life out loud, learning from the past, and leaving a legacy in his wake. When Bain’s friend and racing partner David Boyd, M.D., died on Blanca Massif near Alamosa, Colorado, on September 3, 2008, Bain was devastated. The two men were racing partners and had run countless races together. Bain aided in the search and recovery operation for his dear friend, and then delivered the eulogy at Boyd’s funeral.

“What we did as a race team was not all about play and fun….we grew as people. Our races packed a lot of life experiences and emotion in a short amount of time. He enjoyed the challenge and dynamics involved in making HIS team and teammates the best that they can be and the challenges we faced as a team gave him a huge boost in self-confidence that helped him handle whatever life had to throw at us. Our experiences made us better people and we became stronger. Working harder, living fuller, and loving stronger.”

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View from the Top: Noel Hanna

by Carrie Adams

On a Thursday morning, most people are settling into work behind a desk, looking forward to weekend plans and just trying to make it through the day. Noel Hanna, 44, isn’t most people. I received this email from him this morning:

“At present I am sitting at Everest Base camp in Tibet with 4 clients who are hoping to reach the summit. I have already been to the summit 3 times from both sides of the mountain.”

He then politely offered me a phone number where I could reach him between “2000hrs until 2300hrs my time if I needed anything. Noel’s days often begin this way, and that’s nothing new to the Northern Ireland native.

Recently, Noel Hanna had an ambitious goal. He set out to climb the highest peak on all seven continents. On December 22, 2009, at the summit of Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, he reached his goal and earned himself a World Record for the effort. In addition to his Mt. Vinson assent, Noel scaled Everest, Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro and the Carstensz Pyramid. He’s seen the world from the highest peaks on all seven continents, but he never stayed to admire the view. Instead, he raced down to sea level by running, skiing, biking, or kayaking over hostile terrain at top speeds. In the process of completing his goal, these peaks, he and his wife Lynne Hanna, an accomplished mountaineer in her own right, raised over 130,000 euro for UCF, the Ulster Cancer Foundation – Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity. You can read about his amazing, record-breaking journey on his website 7Summits2Sea Level.

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Reaching New Peaks: Andy Weinberg

by Carrie Adams

Growing up in Peoria, IL, Andy Weinberg, 41, always loved the water.  He swam competitively in high school and college, and when he did his first triathlon in high school, he fell in love.  At the time there weren’t many people doing them, and after college Andy spent a couple years really hitting the triathlon circuit.  He burnt out with swimming after a few years and decided to focus on running instead.  Admittedly never “super-fast,” he trained consistently and did 11 marathons in one year alone.

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by Carrie Adams

Limitless Living: Joe DeSena

All too often we spend our waking hours trying to find and stay comfortable in our own lives.  We look for short cuts, gadgets, and processes to make things easier, seeking what we consider personal fulfillment.   We believe that there are things we can do and things that we can’t, and we become conditioned to that distinction.  It creates our everyday reality and it makes us feel secure, because we think we know what to expect of the world and what to expect of ourselves.  Enter Joe DeSena, the man who will turn that world upside down.

Growing up in Queens, Joe’s mother valued healthy eating and living and passed on that value system to Joe.   It’s been well-documented that he worked hard growing up and ultimately got to Wall Street, where he made his mark and made himself a small fortune.  He moved his family to Pittsfield, Vermont and quickly entrenched himself and his family in the local landscape.  Joe moved to Vermont in an attempt to get back to the way things used to be.

It’s also well-documented that Joe turned an interest in endurance racing into a passion.  His racing resume is the stuff of legends – over 50 ultra-events overall and 12 Ironman Events in one year alone.  Most of his races are 100 miles or more with a few traditional marathons in the mix.  (He once told me that my running a 26.2 marathon distance was “adorable.”)

To put it in perspective, he did the Vermont 100, the Lake Placid Ironman and the Badwater Ultra… in one week.  For those that don’t know or just don’t want to hear the gory details, the elevation climb for Badwater is over 8,500 feet up to Mt. Whitney and temperatures soar into the 120’s.   Joe also rode cross-country to the Furnace Creek 508 which has been coined “The Toughest 48 hours in sport.”  It’s no wonder his favorite quote is, “Death is the price we pay for life, so make it worth it.”

In 2005, Joe decided that the world needed a new race, something that had never beendone. And so, together with Peak Races, he created The Death Race, a 24-hour mental and physical test filled with unknown obstacles.  Racers couldn’t and wouldn’t know what to expect.  The fear of the unknown would either break or motivate, and all they could do was try to survive.  The race waiver consists of three words: “I may die.” It doesn’t get any more real than that.  No way to train, no way to prepare, just show up and make it to the end.  And don’t expect any love from Joe or the volunteers.  They want to break these people, make them quit.  Joe’s been quoted as saying, “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. We’re basically holding your hand to help you quit. The same way life does, right?”

The winner of the fourth installment of the Death Race was Richard Lee.  Richard, Joe, and the other members of the “Founding Few” wanted to create another event, something that captured the extreme spirit of the legendary Death Race, but was modified and accessible to a much wider racing audience.  And so the Spartan Race was born.  Spartan intends to wake up the world up and save humanity, one racer at a time if need be.  It’s a race meant to challenge, to push, to intimidate, to test and even to break those brave enough to try, and it was designed by seven people who know what that feels like.  “Fun run” doesn’t apply here.  It’s about being uncomfortable, overcoming obstacles and finding out what’s possible when what you expect of yourself is everything.   In the words of Joe himself: “The phrase ‘I can’t’ doesn’t mean anything to me anymore, not because of my ego but because I know anything is possible.”

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