by Carrie Adams 

As a co-editor of a blog like Spartan’s we are lucky enough to get emails from our community about what inspires them to run.  More often than not, the stories are not about the ones contacting us at all, instead, they opt to tell us the story of fellow Spartans and how they themselves have been inspired by another.  I recently received an email from Jen Morgan who along with Sam Stark and her husband David Morgan met a fifteen year old boy named James at the Tri-State Super Spartan (his first race) and his heroic finish of the race. 

The Super Spartan, one of our most brutal to date, was James’ first obstacle race and even as he struggled through the course, the debilitating burpee penalties, and the worsening weather conditions, James managed to find it inside himself to finish the race and claim his Super Spartan medal and the pride that only Spartan finishers know.  

For those who witnessed his efforts, it was humbling and inspiring.  So, here, in Sam, Jen and David’s words is the story of James, the relentless young Spartan. 

James recently turned 15, and has never done any obstacle course… ever.  He chose the Tri-State Super (the mother of all Super Spartans) to be his first race.  We met James early Saturday morning as our team was sitting down in the festival area stretching and waiting for our start time.  A woman asked if anyone had a sharpie marker.  She was James’ mother, and visibly worried about her son’s decision to take this race on. A teammate offered up a marker and started up a conversation with this mom and her young son.

He was obviously new to the sport.  He had on a gray cotton tee shirt, shorts, no camel back, energy bars, or energy gels. She told us that he was racing alone and had never done an OCR before. It was at that moment that our teammate told the worried looking mom, “He will race with us.”   And so it was!   Our group snatched him up and stayed with him for the entire race.   His performance was nothing short of amazing.  Not once did he complain, whine, say that he wasn’t going to make it, or say he wanted to quit.  He was excited about the cliff jump and jumped off the 24 foot jump without hesitation.

At the pancake carry he struggled but never once gave up and only accepted just enough help to get him through it.    At the monkey bars he fell after a few rungs.   He was told to complete his burpees.  Wide-eyed he asked us innocently, “how do I do a burpee?”

The hill climbs were brutal.  Grown muscle men were lying on the ground, dropping like flies around him, but James kept going.  Putting one foot in front of the other, he just got the job done.  When we rounded the corner and saw the cargo net attached to the trees the look of excitement on his face was priceless.  When one of our group member’s legs cramped up and had to rest, he sat down next to him and waited with the rest of us to make sure he was ok.

The weather was also deteriorating quickly around us.  When the storms rolled in with the thunder and lightning, he was only worried that he would not have the opportunity to finish.  We had already gone 10 miles and only had one mile left to go.  He was determined to finish and wouldn’t let anyone or weather conditions stop him at this point.   It was the most inspirational, and motivational thing we have seen in a long time.   His mother was able to see him at the last of the obstacles that were open.  She was beaming with pride.

James crossed the finish line in just over seven hours. What did he do after?  He commits to running Super Spartan in NJ again next year and the Tri State Sprint in Tuxedo with his mom in 2013.  A true Spartan! James Signed Up! Showed Up! And Never Gave Up!

*Photos by Sam Stark and Denise Byrne

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by Carrie Adams

10,000 competitors and spectators from across the U.S. and several foreign countries representing every walk of life, age and stage and varying degrees of athletic abilities converged on Mountain Creek Waterpark (200 Route 94, Vernon, N.J.) to tackle the Super Spartan 8-mile obstacle race, presented by Dial For Men and Gaspari Nutrition on Sat., September 8 and Sun., September 9, 2012.

Team Braveheart

This race was hardly normal even in the Spartan world.  The theme seemed to be hills and water – the water coming by way of the course and the skies!   In the week leading up to the race, there were several bear sightings by the build crew and as the race edged closer, the weather reports indicated that it would be a story weekend of races.  Let’s talk about the course itself… 11 miles long and with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain over the grueling course it was not for the faint of heart.  Touted as one of our most challenging Supers of all time, the course spanned three mountains, the fastest time of the weekend clocking in at 1:47.  That’s almost 10 minutes per mile indicating the course difficulty.

Our friends at Gaspari Nutrition were on-hand in a big way.  Coming with their Team Gaspari Braveheart crew, of over 77 individuals they represented one of the largest teams of the year at a Spartan Race.  We told you about their story in a blog post last week leading up to the race.  Gaspari has been a sponsorship partner for Spartan Race throughout 2012 and Official Gaspari Nutrition® has handed out over 50,000 FREE drawstring mesh bags to our racers throughout the year with samples of their products.  We’ll have more on them later this week!

Jim Miller, UFC fighter and Sparta, New Jersey native who we told you about last week in this post, also made an appearance at the epic race.  He competed with the 10 A.M. heat and taking on all eleven miles with  a smile and a sense of humor, even joking on Twitter about taking the infamous 24 foot cliff dive instead of burpees!  The cliff dive was a notable part of the course this year.

There was another Spartan first, a “Tornado delay” brought by a massive storm system in the Northeast.  The tornado inducing storms struck Saturday, forcing some of the racers in later heats to leave the course early, one obstacle Spartan Races did NOT plan.  Despite the wild weather, what is being called a mini-Beast course, as well as the bear sightings, the 3,000 feet of elevation, and the 24″ free fall into a waiting pool, the Spartan Race was deemed a huge success.

September 8th Storm Cloud
Photo courtesy of NJ.com

Huge thank you to our brave and awesome volunteers!  We can’t put on our races without you!   Also, a big thanks to our other sponsors for the Tri-State Super: Air National Guard, Inov8, Newton Medical Center, Franklin Sussex Auto Mall & Dodge RAM, Zico, and Body Armor.

Looking for results: Click HERE.

Photos from Race Day?  Here are two FB photo albums.

Super Spartan Tri-State: Saturday Race Day

Super Spartan Tri-State: Sunday Race Day

Your FREE Race day images coming soon from our friends at Nuvision Action Image.  

Can’t wait to race again?  We understand.  Click HERE and find your next Spartan finish line.

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