By Khaled Allen
Triathalon season is over, but that doesn’t mean XTerra racer Josiah Middaugh is finished racing. He’s got one more race this year. Josiah has been invited to compete in the Texas Super Spartan on December 3rd.
While he may not be an obstacle racer, Josiah’s experiences are more extreme than the average triathlete. As a pro XTerra racer, his races consist of off-road biking, trail running, and rough-water swimming. The XTerra world championship in Maui, in which he placed fourth overall, was a 1-mile swim, 18.3 miles bike, and 6.1 mile run. It’s a far cry from the run-of-the-mill road triathlon, so he’s not completely out of his element: “The way I look at it—and this is how I approach a lot of the competition—all of my life experiences will help. It’s not like I’ve never climbed a wall before, or rolled in the mud.”
To be fair, Josiah’s life experiences prepared him well. He was born by a midwife in a one-room stone house in Northern Michigan, lived in a house his parents built themselves, and grew up on a steady diet of hard work and discipline. He worked around chronic knee pain as a high school and college athlete, opting to train instead of sit out. Hardcore seems like an understatement.
Despite all that, Josiah came off as a very humble guy; running so many adventure races will keep you from becoming too self-assured. He knows he isn’t on his home turf, saying, “it would be ignorant of me to be cocky about my abilities.” Not knowing what to expect, he’s approaching the race with a humble attitude, just keeping an open mind, and planning to put out his best effort. With all that said, he’s still a dedicated racer: “I’m super competitive, and I’ll give it my all.”
Jason Rita of Spartan Race, who was looking for some experienced triathletes and trail runners to race Hobie after he won the first six races, invited Josiah to race. He was planning to run in Utah when Hobie was beaten in the Death Race, but decided to wait until triathlon season was over to give the Spartan Race a shot.
Josiah knows what it takes to win and has become a master of self-motivation; with three kids, he gets up at 5am to go to the pool or stays up after the family is asleep to train. “[Family] has just been part of the deal….I can’t train the same way as other pros.” You’ve got to believe that if he can train that hard with kids ages seven, six and one, nothing is going to slow him down.
What motivates Josiah to train so hard? “Just wanting to be the best. To be the best that I can be, and reach my full potential” You’ve got to believe that it’s sheer determination that drives him, and whether he’s an experienced obstacle racer or not, that alone will let him give Hobie and the others a run for their money.
Still, Josiah admits that it’s a tough time for him to be training, since his regular season is over. He’s been weightlifting a bit and doing his best to prepare for the race. He’s looking forward to it, and expects to enjoy the race: “It just looks like a whole lot of fun. Looks like something I’d set up as a kid.” It’s not his forte, so he is trying to stay pretty laid back and put in a good race.
There was one obstacle he had some reservations about, though: “The one that worries me is the spear throw…I don’t have anything to compare that to.” Other than that, it’s going to be a good race. Josiah sees the Spartan Race as a challenge appropriate for any level of athlete, which makes it all the more attractive to try to really excel, saying, “There is a little bit of chance, and a whole lot of skill. What’s attractive to me is that there aren’t any special skills that require special equipment, it’s something any athletic person can do.” You can’t control what’s on the course, but you can always give it your all.
We’re all looking forward to having this top-notch athlete join our ranks, to have him push our own champions and to show us what he’s made of.
Welcome to Sparta, Josiah.