by Carrie Adams

In 2012, Spartan Race crossed the United States from Boston to Malibu, Miami to Washington State.  We were in Canada and the UK, we found ourselves in Slovakia and we were even doing burpees down under in Australia.  Spartan Chicked grew from eight women in 2011, myself included to over 8,000 on FB.  And with 55 races in the 2012 books, it’s easy to get lost in the BIG numbers, the 130,000 women who have crossed a Spartan finish line, the average 124.8 miles Spartans would travel for race day, the first of its kind Fenway Spartan Race, the introduction of the world’s first ever marathon (plus, it was actually over 28 miles) Ultra Beast in Vermont and the nearly half a million dollars in cash and prizes given away in the calendar year.  It’s been monumental.

Yes, it is easy to focus on the big numbers, distracted by how quickly Spartan has grown and expanded.  But, for every one of those 130,000 there is a story… there is an impact and an impression left by finishing a Spartan Race, the medal placed around the neck of someone who arrived earlier that day unsure of what lay ahead.  And for all manners of women, those who are accomplished athletes to those who are just finding their inner athlete, lives were changed.  So, we’re going to tell a few of those stories to remind our readers that Spartan Race is still striving to be maintain the spirit of why we began in the first place: getting more people off the couch, empowering individuals, families, and communities to be healthy, to overcome obstacles, and to find out what they are truly capable of when they commit to finish what they start.

First up, is Sarah Keddel.  In her own words, she describes her Spartan experience in Tuxedo Ridge.

The Making of a Spartan Chick

By Sarah Keddel

When I entered my first Spartan Sprint at Tuxedo Ridge, I had no idea what I was in for. I figured it would be an obstacle course similar to the one I did in military basic training back in 2002. I thought it would be easy. I thought it would be something that I would soon forget about when it was over.

I could not have been more wrong.

It took me longer than I felt it should have to do that race. I thought I was in good condition with the little bit of maintenance work I did at the local gym, and this Spartan Sprint was a perfect mirror to make me realize the reality of my condition. I had caught mud madness. I found myself determined to do better at the next race, when before this race, I had not planned on doing more than one. I went on to register for, and volunteer at, as many races as I was able to handle with a full time work and homework load.

Luckily, I attend a college where I get to design my own curriculum. The Spartan races, and training for them, became my main focus of study for the last semester. I taught myself about endurance training and sports nutrition for science credits. I also had the good fortune to interview a couple of the elite Spartan racers in a comparison study about endurance sport psychology. I watched, and reflected upon, the evolution of the post-race videos and Spartan advertisements as a study on women in sports advertising.

As time passed and the races grew longer and more difficult, I grew stronger. As I became physically stronger, and I discovered I have more self-confidence than ever before. I used the knowledge and strength I gained to complete the VT Spartan Beast in September. Meeting that challenge alone has changed my world view in a positive way that only experience can explain fully.

The Spartan races have been fun, but they mean much more than that to me. I’ve made friends who run the races, and friends who design them and set them up. Each race feels like a wonderful, crazy, and supportive family reunion. The Spartan races have helped me stay focused in pursuit of higher education. I’ve become physically, mentally and emotionally stronger in one year than any combination of time and experience before this point, and I’m proud to be considered a “Spartan Chick”.

Tags: , , , ,