[Editor’s Note: The Death Race that began on June 24, 2011 is a monumental part of the Spartan Race history. The athletes are phenomenal individuals and the volunteers and crew for the event are second to none. It defines the spirit of our racing series. Several segments will be released on this year’s epic race including official results.]
by Carrie Adams
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like…” –Thoreau
Rain broke through the thick overhead branches of the mountainside forest and the steep, gnarly trail was overrun with mud. Run-off plummeted down the rocks making every step unsure and dangerous. Shielding my eyes from the rain, I looked skyward and sighed. Eighteen hours into the race, we hadn’t yet reached the halfway point of the trail up to Roger’s Farm for the next task. Serving as crew for a few friends, I had ventured out on the course and was experiencing firsthand the level of difficulty the racers were enduring. I was beginning to wonder if we’d get out and back before dark.
Blazing out of the dark woods below us in what became a trademark red bandana came Grace Cuomo Durfee, who would ultimately get a fourth place overall finish. She was just one of four women to complete the grueling challenge. As she returned from the checkpoint, she graciously offered, “Not too much farther guys. It’s steep,” before charging up. It was hard to understand how much had happened in the past 18 hours and how much lay ahead of the racers in the 2011 Spartan Death Race.