by Carrie Adams

27966_1127450282571_1716617129_247377_4881280_nOne of Spartan’s founders and accomplished endurance athlete Joe Desena lives and works in the small town of Pittsfield, VT.  Pittsfield is well known for  playing host to the Death Race each summer as well as the Winter Death Race and a variety of other endurance challenges held by Peak Races.  The Winter Death Race is set to kick-off this weekend but racing isn’t the only thing you’ll find in this small town of Vermont.  Among all the talk of Death Racing, Pittsfield is also a unique, and somewhat unlikely place for love2720303334_edf765f0b8

Up the street from Amee Farm, which serves as basecamp for the Death Races sits Riverside Farm, a quaint spread of land accessible by covered bridge and serves as a home for Joe and his growing family.  Joe has three children with his wife Courtney and a fourth is on the way, due this summer.  Courtney helps run a wedding business out of their property Riverside Farm Weddings. 

The wedding venue accommodates all sizes of weddings and boasts a rustic, inviting, and personable wedding experience for couple’s seeking a unique venue and location.  Joe and Courtney should know, they got engaged in a very Spartan-like way, in the summer of 2001 and Courtney 390674223_2e200772e3Desena was kind enough to share their story. 

Joe and Courtney went to do a 24 hour adventure race in Santa Monica, CA in the summer of 2001 and spent a grueling night of kayaking, mountain biking, and trail running (they heard coyotes all night long howling in the woods).  Courtney, not admittedly a hardcore adventure racer (She was Captain of the Penn State women’s soccer team and avid runner) was enthralled and challengd by Joe’s idea of “fun” in extreme sports and distance running so she got used to dating in spandex and camelbacks instead of dresses and heel. 

Thinking it was just another one of their normal dates of eating Protein Bars, kayaking, biking and running to all these crazy races, she didn’t realize he had something special planned.

After the duo had finished a tough section over the night and as the sun was coming up, they arrived to the ocean and Courtney was dead tired. She stopped to look over the water- the waves were crashing against the rocks and they sat down to enjoy the view and have a have a drink and a breather before continuing the race. 

Suddenly Joe asked, “Are you having fun?” and Courtney responded, “Yes, this is incredible!  Exhausting, but great.”

Joe replied, “I have another question- will you marry me?”

Dazed, Courtney responded, “Of course! Are you going to finish the rest of that Protein Bar… and wow, those coyotes were loud last night, this is…”  

Realizing what he had said, tired but giddy, Courtney said, “YES!” ! 

They made great time the rest of the way… suddenly not tired, or thirsty, or hungry…they raced to the finish and have been running ever since. 

Courtney says, “Now 3.5 kids later we are having a blast and I appreciate Joe for being passionate about life and his family. He’s a great dad. He’s a great role model for the kids. Life with Joe is never dull and he has a wicked sense of humor… so that makes for an interesting life together.”

5379137658_2c8825d06bSo, if you’re heading to Pittsfield, it may not be in search of Death Racing… it might just be for love. 

To find out more how you can have a unique Spartan Wedding of your own, check out photos of the grounds and amenities of the Riverside Farm Weddings by clicking on the links below.  Go to for more information.

The Grounds at Riverside Farm

The Groom’s Cabin at Riverside Farm

The Stables @Riverside Farm

The Red Barn @ Riverside Farm

The Bridal Suite @ Riverside Farm

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Spartan had our first ever BEAST race in Killington, VT August 6, 2011.  Show hosts, Shawty Carrie Adams and M_Scan Maurya raced in the epic event and this week’s Spartan’ radio show had a special guest join the fray as well.  The Beast’s third place female finisher Margaret Schlachter joins the group to talk all things Beast!  Hear the ladies recount their experiences in the Green Mountains of Vermont and their adventures at the Upstate New York Park ‘n’ Ride.  Honey Badger talk, lots of water drinking, and plenty of laughs in this one!  Of course there are outtakes and we talk about some nutrition as well. Carrie aka Shawty makes some amazing homemade protein bars and breaks down a few clean eating basics! Did you notice the new look of the Spartan Race blog?  Go check it out!  If you haven’t signed up for a race get to it!  Register HERE!

Intro and Exit Music used by permission from “Windows of the Soul” by Fool’s Chaos. Hear more great tunes at Fool’s Chaos.

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Reaching New Peaks: Andy Weinberg

by Carrie Adams

Growing up in Peoria, IL, Andy Weinberg, 41, always loved the water.  He swam competitively in high school and college, and when he did his first triathlon in high school, he fell in love.  At the time there weren’t many people doing them, and after college Andy spent a couple years really hitting the triathlon circuit.  He burnt out with swimming after a few years and decided to focus on running instead.  Admittedly never “super-fast,” he trained consistently and did 11 marathons in one year alone.

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by Beth Connolly

[Selica is director of Quebec and Ontario Spartan Race Markets. Richard is the director of the UK Markets.]
If you want to know how exactly Spartan Races came into existence, you have to look to the story of Selica Sevigny and Richard Lee, the British-Canadian couple that literally stumbled into Pittsfield, VT in spring 2009.

Montreal native Sevigny, 26, was working for Global television in Montreal in 2008 when she met Iron Man finisher, and endurance athlete Richard Lee, 29.  He was on vacation and it was love at first sight.

In spring 2009, the pair was hiking south on the Appalachian trail to help Richard recover from a broken leg.  After 2000 miles, they hit Pittsfield, VT only a few days before the start of the Death Race, Joe De Sena’s brutal 48+ hour test of mental and physical endurance.  Richard was confident he was up to the challenge of the Death Race, and he dared Selica to do it with him.  She agreed, although she had never competed in an endurance race before.  But, she said in a recent interview, “I’m just a very determined individual.  When I set a goal, I try to stick with it and get through.”

Remarkably, despite his lack of preparation, Richard finished first in the race.  He said though he found the Death Race psychologically more difficult than the training he received before sustaining military career-ending injuries. Selica, who said the race was “by far the hardest challenge I’ve ever experienced in my life,” developed hypothermia during the race and was unable to finish.  She said, “Many times during the race, I could only put one foot in front of the other, but I thought, as long as I’m moving, I’m still in the game.”  Her determination and persistence led her to return for the winter Death Race  in December 2009, where she placed third.

Needless to say, the race made an impression on both.  “It’s so unpredictable that you can’t really train for it, and we really liked the idea of not knowing what’s coming,” Selica said.  “In a marathon or triathlon, you know exactly what’s coming.  In the Death Race, you don’t know the obstacles and you don’t know how to react.”

The day after the Death Race in 2009, Richard broke his foot, effectively stranding the couple in Pittsfield for a month.  In that month, they spent some time hanging out with Joe, and the idea for Spartan Races was born.  Selica and Richard, both inspired by the sense of accomplishment and confidence they felt after competing in the Death Race, wanted to offer that feeling to a much wider audience.  Due to its extreme nature, the Death Race is open only to the most elite athletes—those who have the time to train extensively.  “We wanted to invite just anybody, regardless of fitness level, to give it a try,” said Selica.

Why Spartan?  “We brainstormed to come up with iconic images of strength, bravery, and ingenuity.  Spartans were a small group, but they overcame so much adversity.”  Plus, the fact that the Spartans were an ancient people offers an appealing alternative to the questionable values of our modern society.  “The essence of what we’re doing is encouraging people to return to their ancient roots,” said Selica.  “Our ancestors lived in the woods, hunting and gathering as a daily lifestyle.  Now we depend so much on technology that people use a GPS system just to go for a walk.  Not only are we living a pampered life—we live a life where people get stressed by little things like having to wait for an elevator or being stuck in traffic.  We want to encourage people to return to the days of running in the woods, getting lost, challenging themselves, getting dirty.  Even just getting in contact with that for a day is fantastic.

“If the race inspires people to just get out of their comfort zone for a day, or if it inspires lasting change, then we’ve done our job.”

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