by Carrie Adams

Chris Detar

Spartan Race started our Street Team last year as a way for our most dedicated Spartans to spread the Spartan story and get their friends and family off the couch and racing in our nearly 50 venues worldwide.  Since it’s launch, the Street Team has spread to all 50 states and into several countries worldwide full of eager, active Spartans and each of them has a story.  We’ve been fortunate to hear so many of them and we are honored to tell them to the Spartan community as a whole.  One such story came to us from Chris Detar. 

Spartan Race advertises that “you’ll know at the Finish Line”.  To me, for the year that I have been a follower of Spartan Race, this has gone in one ear and out the other.  It’s just another catch phrase or slogan to stick in your mind so you will remember the brand.  I couldn’t have been farther from the truth as I would find out for myself.

From the time I first started looking into obstacle course races as a motivational tool for getting into shape I have been aware of the Spartan Race series, but it never worked out that they had a race close by on a weekend that I had free.  But I followed the Spartan series.  I read SR blogs and watched the Spartan Race videos.  I downloaded their radio podcasts and subscribed to their Workout of the Day (WOD).  I completed five other races put on by other companies, some local and a couple national, but I always came back to Spartan for reasons that it would be too difficult or that I would have trouble qualifying.  They were committed to getting people off their couch and were great motivators.  The stories of their races, the dominance of Hobie Call, and the growth of Spartan Chicked were compelling.  I even joined their fledging group, the Spartan Street Team, to promote the racing series, and yet I had never had the chance to compete.

That all ended on Saturday with my completion of the Spartan Sprint in Palmerton, Pennsylvania.   The course, though considered a Sprint due to its length (Super Spartans start at eight miles and this was five and a quarter), was designed to be as tough a Sprint as Spartan has ever put together.  They were affectionately referring to it as a mini-Beast, which is the toughest of Spartan Races.

You’ll know at the finish line!  But what do I now know?

Blue Mountain Resort

I now know I am tough enough to overcome any obstacle, be it physical or mental.  To look at the mountain that the course weaved up and down was intimidating.  The Blue Mountain Ski Resort has two double black diamond slopes at nearly 1,000 feet vertical climb.  Just looking up from the base and knowing that I would be climbing this mountain two times tested my mental fortitude.  I worried that I would not be physically able to handle the climbs and descents and complete 25 obstacles, but at the finish line I knew.

I now know that Spartan is the toughest race going.  As I stated before, I have completed five other races, a few of them much longer than this Sprint, but none of them compared to this race.  The mountain itself, the way the race organizers weaved us up and down the slope, cutting through the woods to traverse technical trails, was more than any other course I have encountered.  The obstacles, including a 15 foot rope climb, walls that ever increasingly got higher, a gravel carry (in five gallon buckets), a very long crawl under barbed wire through rocky mud, and a 40 pound sand bag carry up and down the top of the double black, all exceeded anything I have endured before.  At the finish line I knew I had completed the toughest course around.

I now know why I followed Spartan Race and joined the Street Team.  This race series is the best around.  I was worried going in that I would feel let down if this race and its people were not equal to the pedestal I had put them on.  I was already signed up for two more races so that I could achieve the Spartan Trifecta this year.  The trifecta is achieved by completing a race in each of the three distance groupings.  What if I had signed up for three races and hated it? What ifI encouraged others to join this race and it wasn’t everything I told them it could be.  Well, at the finish line I knew I had made the right call, that my gut decision about Spartan was right.

I look forward to training for the next two races in the series, culminating with the Spartan Beast in Vermont this September.  At the finish line I learned a lot about myself, that I have more strides to make, more weight to lose, and more miles to run, but I also learned that I am strong enough to do so because at the finish line, I knew.

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