By Sharla Hoff

Sharla and Anthony Hoff

I am overweight, non-athletic, asthmatic, have heart problems, serious nerve damage (from a compound fracture) in my left leg and foot, an injured elbow (broke it 2 years ago) but I didn’t want be defined by my limitations. I wanted a new story to tell. It was time to change. And I did. Now, I am a Spartan.

I decided, with one week’s notice, to do the Reebok Spartan Race in the high school heat in Arizona as a reward for my son, Anthony last February. He has always struggled in school but he reached a goal he had set for himself and I promised that I’d do the same for him. We joined the race and got five other teens and one mother to join us. We were all scared and very nervous. But agreed to NOT GIVE UP.

The kids were faster than me and the other mother. So we told the kids to do their best and we would see them at the end. The entire race myself and the other mothers were excited and proud that our boys were out there somewhere and finishing. But nothing prepared me for that moment when I saw the FINISH line just past the wall and barbed wire. I was so exhausted, but knew I had to finish. Then I heard the teens running down toward the wires screaming and encouraging me. I was doing it, slowly but surely. Then almost through the wire I heard my sister (she was sweeping the course) yelling for me. She jumped in and pushed me faster and helped get me over the wall and to the end. She asked to give me my medal. As she placed the medal around my neck and gave me a hug she had tears in her eyes. My son ran up and gave me a huge tight hug with an ear-to-ear smile. While I was still wet and muddy, I knew I impressed him.

On the ride home my son told me how worried he was at some of the challenges and how I would handle them. He checked with staff several times to see if there were any injuries on the course since I was so far behind. He told me when I crossed the line he knew he had a strong mother and he was amazed and proud to be my son. I guess this race was MY reward not his. Now I am more confident that I CAN do things if I WANT them bad enough.

I plan to continue to exercise and get in better shape for the journey ahead. I had an amazing experience. Since the Arizona Race I have lost 9 inches around my waist and I have changed my diet and exercise habits. I also went to Vegas and did the Biggest Loser Off-Road Challenge. I cannot thank the Spartan Race enough for helping to light this fire and determination inside of me. I’m a Spartan.

What are you waiting for?  Sign up today.

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One Spartan Chick tells her amazing story of leaving one broken life for a new one. Baptized in mud, she proved to herself that she couldn’t be broken. Here’s her story…

End and a Beginning

Early last summer my 14 year marriage ended. Over the past 10 months I have struggled to regain some sense of normalcy as I developed a new identity rooted in my own desires; for the first time out from under control and power of a man. After three unsuccessful suicide attempts and two hospitalizations I decided I want to live…but I needed a new beginning.

The Breakthrough

My breakthrough came in the form of a text message from my ex-husband and comments from his supporters who all accused me of abandoning my marital commitments for the “cult of fitness.” I wondered how a hobby I developed in my thirties to increase my physical well being could be such a bad thing. In fact, somewhere in my many trail runs and weight lifting sessions I found more than physical strength. I found I had the emotional strength I needed to survive my divorce and come out happy on the other side.

I decided to commit myself to my fitness goals…and what better way than “marrying” them? When I ran my idea by the wonderful ladies on my team they jumped on board eagerly and picked up rainbow tutus so they could be my bridal party. Every obstacle we conquered together at this Spartan Sprint put me one muddy step closer to starting my new life. In the end, trashing my wedding dress was cathartic and a load of fun. I thank all the folks along the trail who cheered me on and my wonderful teammates,as well as some other behind the scenes supporters who have become my moon and stars, providing light in my darkest hours.  Arooooo!

When will you find your Spartan finish line?  Sign up today!

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by Margaret Schlachter, guest blogger

2010 may have been the start of my Spartan journey when I was one of the original Spartans racing in the first Spartan Race in early 2010. 2011 marked my first podium and an invitation to join Spartan Chicked from the beginning, but it’s 2012 that will forever go down in the history books.

2012 was an incredible year, little did I know that in June when I started my 2012 season I would race nineteen official times and a few laps to help out, amass seven podium finishes and never out of the top 15. Little did I know I would travel throughout the country, race countless miles, make lasting friendships, and change careers all because of Spartan Race. I could write novels about the year but instead condensed it down to my Top 10 Moments in Spartan for 2012.

Top 10 Moments in Spartan Race of 2012

10.       The Perfect Race – finishing my first race with a single penalty burpee in Amesbury, MA Sprint.

9.         Finishing 3rdboth days in the Mid-West Super Spartan. It was an incredible weekend where two great races happened.

Margaret Schlachter and Juliana Sproles

8.         Watching the Spartan Chicked movement grow over 9,000 members. We started with a dozen women brought together with an idea by Carrie Adams and today it’s grown beyond what any could have imagined a year and a half ago.

7.         A Book Deal – Because of OCR and Spartan Race I am working on my first book due out in Spring 2014, dedicated to getting more people into racing and getting over the hurdles that stand in the way.

6.         Racing in Fenway Park – I went to college in Boston and that’s when I first got into baseball. Racing in Fenway was a surreal experience, hugging the Green Monster, burpees on the warming track, and seeing parts of the park otherwise closed to the public was priceless!

5.         The People – The Spartan Community is unlike any other in sport. The bonds and friendships formed are closer than many friendships I have had for years. Some of my biggest competitors are my best friends. The conversations on the trails during races are what sometimes got me to the finish.

4.         DNF’ing the Death Race after 25 hours of racing – More was learned in about myself in that DNF than I could have ever known.

3.         Finishing the Ultra Beast – it was more than a race for me, a goodbye to Killington, Vermont where I started my fitness journey. My last time on “my” mountain before moving to Utah, it was a race that transcended the rest.

2.         Chris Davis – Meeting and helping Chris to train for the Vermont Beast was an experience that not only allowed me to help train another Spartan but more importantly I got a great friend out of it. The first time he got over the 8ft wall in my backyard is a treasured memory of 2012

1.         Turning “pro” – In July, I quit my day job and simultaneously became the first female professional obstacle course racer. My life is my website, Dirt in Your Skirt, racing and training.

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by Carrie Adams

Our community of athletes has grown substantially since we first took off from the start line of our Vermont Sprint in 2010.  From a sport that was virtually unknown and mostly coined “mud runs” and “fun runs” we’ve gone into a whole new stratosphere where familiar faces are more and more often seen on the course and their racking up some major mileage, and mud, to follow us across country.  The bruises, bumps, and breaks on the course become badges of honor, the friendships forged on the course become immediate and life long, we’re kindred after all.

One of our repeat Spartans, Rayn Boncie, created this incredible top ten… and we knew it needed to be shared.  We saw her in Leesburg and in Vermont just this last weekend taking on the Beast, but she knows Spartan better than just about anyone.  And if you’ve raced with us, you’ll get it, and find yourself nodding along and even shouting out, “Right?  YES!” as you read through the list.  Thanks for sharing, Rayn.  We’ll see you on the course  again real soon.

You are officially a Spartan Athlete when…

1. You have the uncontrollable urge to show everyone you come into contact with, the bruises and cuts you obtained from a race.

2. You are completely comfortable taking off your clothing in a parking lot, despite how many people are around.
3. You plan your work, dates, family time, etc., around races.

4. You could be sick or injured and will whine about such, but when someone advises you to skip an upcoming race; you look at them as though they just admitted to killing baby animals.

5. People who mention they also do Spartan Races, instantly become your best friends, and are invited to your home, despite the fact that you have never even met.

6. Mud has become sexy, and barbed wire excites you.

7. Despite how much difficulty you may have had with a run, you have the uncontrollable urge to sign up for more.

8. Your finisher’s medal becomes your most prized piece of jewelry.

9. You and burpees have a love hate relationship, mostly hate, but you do them anyway.

10. You are constantly added to groups, and invited to challenges with the words death and pain in the title, on the other side of the country, and at least momentarily consider going.

How do YOU officially know you’re a Spartan athlete?  Email carrie@spartanrace.com with your story.  And if haven’t signed up yet, what’s keeping you?  Register today.

Editor’s Note: Spartan’s give generously and Rayn Boncie more than proves that.  Boncie is a mother, a Spartan many times over, and the Executive Director of a very special charity – Things of My Very Own.  Things of My Very Own, Inc. (TOMVO) is a 501(c)3 Non-profit Corporation that provides innovative programs and services to children that have endured the most extensive abuse and/or neglect within New York State.

Feel free to contact them at (518) 630-6137 or by email at info@tomvo.org

To donate: http://www.tomvo.org/donatenow.html

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