by Cathy Bergman

“No retreat! No surrender!” The Spartan warrior chant has been my mantra for the past two years as I worked to lose close to 170 pounds from my 5’3” 300 pound frame.

A few months after I had committed to yet another diet and exercise plan, in the fall of 2011 a friend of mine ran a Spartan Sprint in New York and sent me photos of her day. Although crawling through mud under barbed wire is not generally not a favorite past time of most women in their mid-fifties, to me it looked like great fun. I checked the Spartan web site – a race in June 2012 was just fifteen minutes from my front door. I had less than year to get ready. Although decades of morbid obesity and inactivity made standing up without assistance a challenge, from that point onward, I set my sights on Sparta.

I committed to a strict balanced diet, and worked with a remarkable trainer who patiently guided me as I struggled to get fit. By early spring of 2012, I had recruited thirteen friends and neighbors crazy enough to enlist in my fledging team – the Domaine Alarie Spartans. Our beach front – which in years past was the site of family picnics and barbeques – was converted into a Spartan training ground. Weekend after weekend, friends and neighbors crawled on their stomachs under netting, pulled tires through the sand, lifted weights, chucked spears, did endless push ups and pull ups and ran from one end of the beach to the other working on cardio and endurance as they helped me train for the upcoming race.

By race day, I had dropped 125 pounds and in June 2012, the Domaine Alarie Spartans ran the Spartan Sprint in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. This was not just any team, but a remarkable group of friends and neighbors that championed my cause and who supported my every effort to regain my health and my life – even if it meant joining me in my crazy idea to run a Spartan Sprint.

When the Domaine Alarie Spartans ran the last gauntlet on race day last spring, we certainly understood the Spartan slogan “you’ll know at the finish line” because indeed we did. We were muddy, bloody and soaked to the skin, but nothing dampened the exhilaration of our journey to Sparta.

Now almost 170 pounds less than when I first set my sites on Sparta in 2011, the Domaine Alarie Spartan team of 2013 is eighteen members strong and will storm the Spartan field in Morin Heights, Quebec on Saturday morning, May 25th. We are leaner than last year, stronger than last year, but with the same Spartan spirit as when we began the journey.

Having been to Sparta and left with a smile, we learned that it was not the finish line that counted, it was what it took to get to the finish line, and the wonderful friendships that were forged along the way.

We are looking forward to race day this coming Saturday. See you at the finish line!

Huh rah Spartans!!

Spartan is international!  Check out where Spartan events are around the world.  Click HERE.

Tags: , , , , ,