Kaitlyn Cain, age 8
Richmond, KY

On April 27th, 2013 I had a ton of fun running a Spartan Kids Race!

I was a little nervous in the beginning, but soon I forgot all about it. After standing at the starting line for what seemed like a long time, I wanted to start running because I was cold! There were some adults that led the kids out onto the course, but I wanted to run past them all! There was the male and female winner of the adult race, another male racer and my dad. Before the race I got to meet Amelia Boone, the female winner, and I got the first poster signed by her.

It said “To Kaitlyn, To a future Spartan Superstar!”

The race started and everybody took off running as fast as they could. There were lots of obstacles. We had to run up and down a bunch of hills, climb up a net, crawl under a bunch of ropes, and crawl under a long black net. We had to jump in lots of deep mud holes and then climb out over a big mushy, muddy hill. It was really fun because normally, us kids get in trouble if we jump in the mud with clean clothes on! We had to jump over some small walls and climb through the middle of one. There were some small triangular walls that we ran up and over and they were easy.  We had to walk across balance boards and try not to fall off. That was only half the race. Then they made us run the whole thing again to complete one mile.

I got tired during the race and there were a couple of times when I wanted to stop, but I didn’t! In the middle of the race my dad ran with me for a couple of minutes and then he went ahead to hand out the medals at the finish line. I felt really good when I finished, even though I could barely breathe because I was so tired!

My dad gave me my medal when I finished and said, “Great job! I’m so proud of you!” At the end I was muddy and had to wash off. The weird thing was that I wasn’t at my house, so I had to wash off with cold water, something else that us kids aren’t used to. I got most of the mud off, but I still wasn’t that clean, but that was okay. I am happy that I finished and I can’t wait until the next Spartan Race! I’m happy that I’m a Spartan racer!

At Spartan Race, our mission is to inspire children to develop a love for fitness at an early age. Our “Jr. Spartans” obstacle course races for kids 4-8 are about a 1⁄2 mile and our 1 mile kids spartan races are for older “Varsity Spartans” aged 9-13. Both kids races are filled with obstacle styles and amounts tailored just for them.

Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher’s Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation. As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit.

So remember, Spartan Races are not only limited to adult fun! Bring your kids ages 4-13 and they can participate in their very own Jr. Spartan Race. Just like you, they will enjoy the thrill of the run, a variety of scaled down obstacles and their own mini festival area filled with games and children’s challenges!

Sign your kids up for a Spartan Race – it’s for the whole family!  Click HERE to find one near you!

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We sat down with Mitch H., Navy Federal Credit Union User Experience and Design Manager and his daughter Lucy, 1st grade student to get the inside scoop on how they stumbled upon the obstacle course style race and their training tips.

Navy Federal: What got you interested in running the Spartan Race?
Mitch: The end of 2011 started my fascination with obstacle course racing, and the Spartan race series easily bubbled to the top of my list. I admire the comraderie and motivation you find in the Spartan community and from the people you run along side. They also have kids races, which lead me to the idea of having my daughter, Lucy, partake in a race too.
Lucy: I like mud!!

Navy Federal: How many Spartan Races have you both run?
Mitch: My first Spartan race, and only one I have completed thus far in my racing endeavors, was the 10.5 mile Mid-Atlantic Super in Virginia. The course was littered with what felt like over 50 horse jumps on top of the typical 20+ obstacles of a normal Super. I have already signed up to run this event again this year. My goal is to complete the trifecta, which includes running a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year
Lucy: Just one, I was 6 then.

Navy Federal: How far out from a race do you start training?
Mitch: Training for these types of races becomes more of a lifestyle. The races challenge you both physically and mentally. Keeping yourself motivated and in relatively good shape is hard to do on a moment’s notice, so adapting your training to your normal routine is the best approach.
Training doesn’t always mean hours in the gym, it can be as simple as staying active as much as possible. I did make an effort to better condition myself for the challenge of the Super Spartan due to the longer distance and more physically challenging obstacles.
Lucy: I sometimes train, but I play all the time. Playing on the playground really helps me get ready for the race.

Navy Federal: What are your training tips for those new to the obstacle course style race?
Mitch: After competing in 12 races, I have found the most important thing to have in your training routine is cardio. Endurance easily will outweigh strength in the longer races. Many obstacles are about moving your own body, so strength is important, but being able to complete the races require endurance.
My personal tip is to have a wonderful significant other, like mine, who will keep you motivated and enjoy training and racing together.
Navy Federal: awwwwww
Lucy: You have to train and be strong. Don’t give up, you’ll miss out on the fun and mud if you give up!

Navy Federal: What’s been the hardest obstacle during a race?
Mitch: For me the hardest obstacle has been the rope climb. The Spartan rope climb (at the final obstacle) was the first obstacle I was unable to complete. After 10.5 miles of running and obstacles I had very little strength left and was unable to make the rope climb. It has become my goal to accomplish in my next Super Spartan this year.
Lucy: The mud pit. But it was also my favorite.

Navy Federal: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to prepare for a race?
Mitch: I think many would consider doing these races to be weird on its own. Grown adults romping around in mud and pushing our bodies to the limits even more than we did as kids, with no fear of death. I don’t partake in any ritual aside from trying to get sleep the night before. Oddly enough that’s weird for me.
Lucy: I practice wrestling to stay strong. My dad said that’s a good answer. I don’t think it’s that weird to practice wrestling though.

So, there you have it! Hopefully Mitch and Lucy have helped give you some ideas on training for race day.

As a proud sponsor for Spartan Race this year we look forward to seeing you out on the course!  Sign up TODAY!

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by Mary Donohue, Spartan Race Guest Blogger

About two years ago, my son Ryan missed most of fifth grade due to Post-Concussion Syndrome and we didn’t know if he would ever be able to go back to school or participate in any sports again. It was a very long road to recovery for him and even though his concussion symptoms finally went away and his grades went back up to where they should be, he was eventually told that he wouldn’t be able to participate in any contact sports. He’s always been athletic and this was a huge disappointment for him. We needed to find an athletic outlet for him. We signed him up for a kids boot camp at our local YMCA and he loved it, so when he found out he could do a kids Spartan race after his dad and I finished ours, he was thrilled!

As his mother, I was a little nervous when I saw that the kids race was going to run twice up that Amesbury hill. I had just finished my first sprint and that hill was so tough for me. He started in the back of the pack, but all of a sudden I saw him passing some of the kids. Little did I know until after the race, but he hurt his foot at the beginning of the hill. This didn’t stop him. He seemed to fly over the walls and even dove through the hole in one of them and landed in a somersault. He was catching up to the kid out in front and I knew the crab walk down some of the hill would be easy for him. The competition during the kids race was really tough…and I thought the adult race was intense. It was great to see all of the adults (even those that didn’t have any kids racing) cheering on the kids as they came running by.

On his second time coming down the hill, he lost a shoe at some point coming over or through one of the walls. This didn’t stop him either. He continued on. This was one of the first competitive events that Ryan has been able to do since the concussions. It was almost like he needed to prove to himself that he was “back to himself” and able to be athletic again. Although he ended up being the first kid to the finish line, it really didn’t matter where he finished. I could see that his competitive spirit was back!

In the end, we found out that he actually broke his foot at the beginning of the race, but he persevered and never gave up the fight. He truly showed he was Spartan tough that day. When I asked him if he wished that he didn’t do the race and thus not have a broken foot, he said, “no mom, like the shirt says “Spartans either return with their shields or on it”. I might have an injury, but I returned with my shield.”  Now he can’t wait until he can run a full Spartan Sprint with me and his dad. I was so proud of my 12 year old boy that day.  I think he found his new sport.

[Editor's Note: Spartan Race offers a Kids Race, for kids ages 4-13 who can participate in their very own Jr. Spartan race. They will enjoy the thrill of the run, a variety of scaled down obstacles and their own mini festival area filled with games and children's challenges! Our mission is to inspire children to develop a love for fitness at an early age.

 The course is about a 1⁄2 mile filled with junior obstacles for Jr. Spartans and 1 mile for Varsity Spartans. Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher's Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation.  Check out the event page to get your little Spartan registered for an upcoming race and check out the Kids Page for details!]

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by Carrie Adams

401441_10150530644171861_251061411860_9390973_292477025_n[2]Spartan Race is one of the few events of it’s kind where kids get in on the action! Where else can kids take on an obstacle course and earn some rad Spartan hardware and support an amazing charity with the Kids Fit Foundation?

Entry fee is $25.00 Per Child ages 4-13. The course is about a 1⁄2 mile filled with junior obstacles for children 4-9 and 1 mile for kids 10-13. Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher’s Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation.

As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit. kids race_thumb

Spartan Races are about a return to the childlike sense of adventure that we’ve lost while getting sucked up into ‘normal life’. Spartan Races wants to keep this sense of adventure alive in our kids BEFORE they lose it.

Today, a typical child devotes an average 7.5 hours each day to entertainment media: TV, video games, cell phones, and movies.

Physical activity is essential in helping children control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat, and develop strong bones, muscles and joints. The challenges in a Kid Spartan Race are ideally suited to building fitter, stronger, and healthier youths.

kids1More importantly, the sense of fun and camaraderie inherent in our races will help instill within your kids a sense of excitement and respect for fitness.

Spartan Races are about building a healthy and active community of people. Kid Spartan Races allow us to help build stronger families.

To register, go to www.spartanrace.com and find an event near you and get your little ones registered!  Kids races happen in every US race in 2012! 

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