It’s that guiding hand that is the key. Children have always and will always see what the elders do and imitate them, forever and ever, amen. So logically, showing the next generation the path they should tread would be the best form of parenting. This is something Californian Spartan, Chris Cow, takes very seriously.

“My wife, Anne Plourde, and I did our first Spartan Race in January of 2013, the SoCal Super Spartan in Temecula, and were instantly hooked by the challenge and sheer physicality required.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have her share my passion for OCR, and it was natural for us to want to get the whole family involved. At the end of 2013 in Malibu, we were able to make this happen.  My youngest daughter Lianna did the kids race with a few of her friends, and after running early with my wife for time. I had the pleasure of taking a second lap of the course with my then 14 year old daughter Gabrielle.

“Being along to encourage and help her through the obstacles was a great bonding experience, and seeing her smile through a very tough and freezing cold course was the highlight of my Spartan experience to date. Having the picture of us jumping the fire in perfect synchronicity is a priceless souvenir.

“As the father of two beautiful and intelligent girls, it’s very important to me to instill a love of health and fitness in them, along with the deep sense of satisfaction that only comes from doing difficult things. Both of them completed a half marathon at 11 years old, but Spartan training requires all over body conditioning while encouraging a healthy sense of play doing monkey bars, rock-climbing traverses, and of course, playing in the mud.

“Being a Dad, especially of teenage daughters, is fraught with difficulties and unexpected obstacles in your path.  Navigating these often hits deep emotional waters as your growing child naturally pushes boundaries and declares their independence while you try to keep them safe and encourage them to make wise decisions.  I believe it’s important to strike a balance between setting boundaries and encouraging them to develop into strong, capable and confident young ladies.  Often this involves letting them make their own choices and take risks.  Spartan races are filled with risk, and the burpee penalty provides consequences of their choices while encouraging them to try their hardest.

“While I love the physical challenges presented by the races, one of the things that keeps me coming back again and again are the people I’ve met; on the course, through social groups like the Weeple Army and SISU, and of course in line for a celebratory beer after the race.  Many of their stories and personal journeys are incredibly inspiring, and these are the people I want my daughters to hear about and get to know so they can also be inspired by their accomplishments and/or the difficulties they’ve overcome to get where they are now.

“In September, My wife and I are running the SoCal Beast, then our whole family is returning on Sunday to do the Sprint together. I’m looking forward to sharing this with both my girls this time, as Lianna has graduated beyond the kids race and is ready to climb the rope and conquer the traverse wall like a champion.  I hope that our love of OCR is passed on to the next generation, but even if Lianna and Gabrielle end up not doing more of these races, the memories and lessons instilled during training and on the course will last a lifetime.”

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