by Carrie Adams
In August of 2011, about eight women towed the line at the Spartan Beast dressed in Spartan Chicked gear, myself one among them. The Spartan Chicked movement had started shortly before when I sent an email to some friends and some women I knew to be registered for the 13ish miles in Vermont. Several responded, and just that simply, there were eight official Spartan Chicks. I thought when I sent the email that it would be fun to have my friends race with me for such a momentous athletic first – the Spartan Beast. And it became something that we huddled around and cherished. Because when we finished, we were bonded for life in a way that I was so thankful for and so completely inspired to be a part. More than anything, I just wanted us to feel supported and connected. I had no idea where that email would lead.
Spartan Race has grown substantially since 2010 when the obstacle racing series began. Born out of the Death Race that was founded in 2005 with an emphasis on surviving the unknown and pushing past your known limits, the obstacle racing series has evolving and continually pushing the boundaries ever since. Developed deliberately as an merging sport at the highest level with international world rankings, chip times, and even accolades like Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race 2012, the event has growth astronomically over the last few years. Seeing nearly 250,000 racers in 2012, Spartan Race has solidified its place in the endurance arena. FOUR distances – from a 5K Sprint, Super 10K+ distance, Beast half marathon distance, to the grueling first of it’s kind the unsupported Ultra Beast that will be roughly 26.2 miles, there is a place for everyone in the series. Knowing where Spartan Race was going as a whole, I wanted to make sure there was a space carved out for women, and from eight in Killington, VT we are now numbering in the thousands.
Spartan Chicked began as a way for me to connect women into a network that would inspire, educate, and motivate the women who had already raced with Spartan, those who were registered, and those who needed to know more. We started a closed group on FB for the women to network and engage on all things health and well-being. (Sorry boys – it’s closed so that we can keep it female friendly and an open forum for exchange.)
Everything from recipes, training tips, gear, motivation passes amongst the nearly 5,000 women who are now a part of the group each day. I’ve watched those numbers grow in the past months and have felt remarkably humbled to bear witness to the impact of those connections. Women are motivated to take better care of themselves, reclaim their lives, rebuild from injury or loss, commit to train, and ultimately dedicate themselves to live a healthier life. Like 5,000 on call cheerleaders it’s a safe place to ask the un-askable and to women who have probably wondered the same things. It’s also a practical place to get gear and nutrition advice from women who know and are willing to share. It has also happily become a social network of women who now connect and even plan trips to run their events together, training in groups and virtually from afar.
There is no “standard” Spartan Chick. There are grandmothers, daughters, wives, sisters, moms of all shapes and sizes, colors and backgrounds, abilities and places on their own journey to a lifetime of health all committed to being a part of the community and being part of each others’ lives even in a small way every day.
This was recently demonstrated in a big way in the Facebook network when I decided, on a whim, to issue a special WOD to the group. On May 16th, I issued a challenge to the community and they answered back. I dubbed the day, “DROP AND PLANK DAY” after my own four and a half year old daughter showed me her best plank. For every waking hour on the hour the women were tasked with holding a plank position for 1 – 3 minutes and post their pictures in the community feed on FB. The women responded enthusiastically and creatively to the task. More than 150 pictures were posted and collected for this photo album that shows how the Spartan chicks get it done when called to action. From cubicles to school buses and everything in between, the Spartan Chicks showed off their rad planking skills.
Thinking back to that August morning in Vermont, and the connection between the eight of us original Spartan chicks, I feel the same connection now, amplified by so many amazing females. Though our numbers have grown, our intentions have not and that is a beautiful thing.
Ladies, do you want to join the movement? Just ask HERE. Sorry guys, this group is just for the Spartan Chicks.