Review: Reebok Spartan Races

At the end of 2015, a couple of friends from my CrossFit gym, Rainier CrossFit, asked me if I wanted to complete a Reebok Spartan Race.  I didn’t mind running, and the thought of an obstacle course race sounded very intriguing to me.  I had only run one obstacle race before in my life, and it was a 5k fun run.  In September 2015, I completed my first Spartan Super, and from that moment I crossed the finish line, I was hooked.  I had no idea at that time, how much this race, this organization, and the people I would come across would change my life so much.

(Photo Credit: Spartan)
My first dunk wall photo in 2015 (Photo Credit: Spartan)

When 2016 began, I was determined to receive my first Spartan Trifecta, which includes running a Sprint (3+ miles, 20+ obstacles), a Super (8+ miles, 25+ obstacles) and a Beast (12+ miles, 30+ obstacles).  In October of this year, I finally received my Trifecta.  My parents, who live near Las Vegas and who I hadn’t seen in over a year, were at the finish line after I completed the Seattle Beast.  I may or may not have cried a little as it was a very overwhelming experience.  I had set a goal for the year, and I had accomplished it, and my parents and husband were there to see me complete my goal.

My parents and I at the Seattle Super finish line (Photo Credit: Jeremy Haenny)
My parents and I at the 2016 Seattle Beast finish line (Photo Credit: Jeremy Haenny)

Spartan also has the Ultra Beast (26+ miles, 60+ obstables) Hurricane Heat (each one is uniquely different), Hurricane Heat 12 Hour, and Agoge (60 hour event, read more about it here!).  One day, I would like to check each one of these off my bucket list.  In the meantime, I plan to continue to train for my 2017 trifecta!

Those who cross a Spartan Sprint finish line together swimming through mud stay together! (Photo Credit: Spartan)
2016 Portland Spartan Sprint photo finish! (Photo Credit: Spartan)

The biggest part of being involved in Spartan races is the new obstacle course racing (OCR) family I now have around me.  My friends and I have gotten to know each other even better during the races, and I have met so many incredibly inspiring people, whether it be through Facebook Spartan Groups or on race day.  A Spartan will always be there to help another Spartan.  We pick each other up when one has fallen.  The camaraderie, the support and the positive attitudes of my fellow Spartans has been incredible.

2016 Spartan Super finishers! (Photo Credit: Spartan)
2016 Seattle Spartan Super finishers, Kim, Dustin, Jon, Cassie, Jesse, Ashley, Eliott, Dawnett, Lauren and Dani! (Photo Credit: Spartan)

I had the opportunity to ask some of my new Spartan family members to share their stories, and you can read about these incredible human beings below!

Aroo!

My Seattle Beast family, Dawnett, Cassie, Lauren, Dustin and Dani (Photo Credit: Jeremy Haenny)
My 2016 Seattle Spartan Beast family, Dawnett, Cassie, Lauren, Dustin and Dani (Photo Credit: Jeremy Haenny)

Steffen “Cookie” Cook

(Photo Credit: Spartan)
(Photo Credit: Spartan)

I emigrated to California from England in 2011 having gone through 2-3 years of extreme unpleasantness. Divorce, homelessness, depression and what got me through those times was running and trying to stay in shape. After doing my first Spartan Race, It was very obvious to me that the event was a parallel of what I had gone through in my life; one impossible obstacle after another, a mountain to climb and a series of things in the way that would try to thwart my progress. As in life, I pushed on and made it to the finish line. Battered, muddy, a few bruises adorning my arms and legs, but intact.

It stirred something in me and I wanted to share what I felt with others, so I volunteered for Spartan for 8 months (while my green card and work permit were being issued) and because of my work rate, Spartan wanted to hire me.

Almost five years on, that passion for the race is as hot as ever and I hope many more get to experience the same fulfillment that I had all the way back in January 2012.

Given I also knew no one when I first came here, I can now boast that my circle of friends – through the Spartan community- is staggeringly broad. I’m lucky to have had Spartan come into my life. That missing “something” would still not be there had I not ran that race almost 5 years ago.

Jamie Gesualdi

(Photo Credit: Spartan)
(Photo Credit: Spartan)

The Spartan race has been a amazing journey for me. I was born with NF Type 1 I have a tumor in my neck and spine. My parents were told that my life expectancy wasn’t good and I’d be lucky if I lived to see the age of 7 ( I am now 47) To put it lightly I grew up very sheltered. After breaking my ankle and spending 8 months in all forms of casts I was feeling down and saw a Spartan race video with the amazing men from operation enduring warrior I knew I had to make a change. I did my first Spartan Beast in Sacramento I had no idea what I was getting into.. I found out a lot about my self out there. I became the person I wanted to be. I haven’t looked back since. I was able to get my trifecta and I even got my husband to do a Spartan as well. The only obstacle that will stop you is you.. fyi I did all of my races on a broken ankle. All that time in the cast and the bone never healed. If it wasn’t for the support of the weeple army I’m not sure if I would have been as successful.

Kristena Lynn

(Photo Credit: Spartan)
(Photo Credit: Spartan)

Spartan has been a fun and challenging race series. I have learned a lot in the last few years, gained new friends/family and a new found respect from the culture that is Spartan. This year I decided to chase the Perfect DELTA. What does that mean exactly? Its much more than a trifecta to say the least. The events include one of each of the following: Sprint, Super, Beast, Ultra Beast, Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12 Hour, Agoge, Spartan X and Spartan SGX.

To do this it takes a lot of time a dedication. There was a lot of trial and error on this journey. There were also tears of joy and sorrow. In the end no matter what the event I came out stronger and a better person for being a part of it. Pass or fail there was always something to get out of the situation at hand. Just falling short of completing the Perfect DELTA because of the snow in Tahoe was devastating at first. Realizing that I was only a few short miles from being able to do something that not many have done will always eat at me a little. However my journey continues and I will continue to learn and grow from it.

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