Trever Jennings is a Spartan. His story isn’t about one Spartan, but a family of them. It’s changed their lives and may have saved his. I’m his brother, [mis]fortunate enough to be born on Trever’s sixth birthday. Together, we’ve completed two Beasts and one Super. We’ll do the Washougal Sprint this weekend to earn our Trifecta medals.

Trever was a high school athlete, track and football. Like many, his physical gifts quickly faded in adulthood. He worked hard and ran fast, but food, smoking, and drinking took their toll. He stopped many of his self-destructive behaviors himself, especially when his two daughters arrived. He quit smoking; drinking became a social activity. Food was still a problem. At 5’10” and 300 pounds he was extremely overweight. I had similar problems but in 2006 committed to portion control and a gym routine, reigniting my love of running.

September 2011, we were antelope hunting in central Utah. After an easy shot early on, I started dressing my kill. Trever hiked away, successfully following a buck he’d spotted. I retrieved our game cart from the truck and went to help. Strong but not fit, he had the big antelope in a fireman carry which was taking a toll. Things were easier with my help and a game cart. Trever later told me was frustrated about the pace I was keeping. It was the first time his nerdy little brother outperformed him physically. He committed to change.

His job has an on-site gym, but also fitness equipment in work areas to exercise while monitoring machines. He did, often and a lot. His wife, Jamie, started planning healthier meals for the family and joined a gym. It worked.

Spring 2012, Trever convinced me to run the Utah Spartan Beast with two friends. We weren’t fast, but finished with only 60 burpees each and Trever got a Spartan tattoo. We knew at the finish line! We wanted to do it again. Trever, Jamie, and I signed up for the 2013 Trifecta.

Trever set up a family burpee challenge: 250 burpees each week leading to the Vegas Super. Their daughters, Madison (8) and Kennedy (5), joined the challenge. Our Utah team repeated the challenge for the Beast. Kennedy’s 5th birthday party was at a park six miles from me. I ran then started a set of burpees. Kennedy matched me on each one. This is the commitment Trever inspired in his family.

Half of our 12 person Beast team couldn’t compete due to injury. Jamie’s flu-stricken body took her out at mile three. Trever and I finished together, as I expect we will in Washougal. They’re considering a replacement Beast in California for Jamie’s Trifecta.

For me, Trever’s family is an inspiring story. He’s lost nearly 100 pounds and adopted a lifestyle that will reflect in his children throughout their lives. I look forward to the day the entire family runs a Spartan together and I plan to join them…

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