by Charity Fick
As I stood in the crowd waiting to start my first Spartan Sprint last June, my heart started pumping, and I felt a sense of fear, excitement, and panic all at the same time. Many thoughts crept into my head but the main one that felt like it was screaming was: “What the hell am I doing here?” I wondered how I, a 5’7” amateur runner ended up in the starting pit with many others waiting to take a risk and go for it. My head cleared and I remembered that this whole adventure started with winning a book. A few months earlier I had won a book called Ultimate Obstacle Course Racing. After bugging the author, Brett Stewart, about not getting an autographed copy I started to read it and could not put it down.
The thought of racing in mud, through barbed wire, flipping tires and even dealing with fire intrigued me. Is this something I really wanted to try? Is this something that I could do? Did I want to? I threw caution to the wind and a few weeks later I was registered. Not really knowing how to train properly for a Spartan Sprint, I read through my book, continued running, and even attended a couple of boot camp cardio-type classes to prepare myself. Before I knew it, it was race day. That day, the race MC pumped up the crowd with an awe-inspiring speech. He let us know it was our responsibility to ensure that no Spartan got left behind. This was it; there was no turning back now. I blinked and we were off. I am not going to sugarcoat this next part: the race was hard. In fact, it was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. We ran up and down a mountain in the snow in June. There were several obstacles to climb up, down, around, and through. I hit the ground a few times to pound out a set of burpees after not being able to complete a few of the obstacles; but at least I was giving it my all.
If a 5’7”, 136-pound average runner can take on a race such as this and succeed, anyone can.
Each obstacle I walked up to, I watched others then tried it. Crawling under the barbed wire and jumping over the fire were the two most heart-pumping aspects of this race for me. I was mentally and physically exhausted but I made it to the finish line, dripping in mud and covered in freshly-forming bruises. After getting my medal, I realized that I had just conquered this race, and I did it for me. Being a Spartan isn’t limited to age, gender, race, height, athletic ability or marital status. Being a Spartan means finding your spark and running with it. I am not suggesting that you don’t need to work hard or train hard for a Spartan Sprint or any other obstacle course race, but you just need to get over the biggest obstacle which is the fear inside of you of trying something new. If a 5’7”, 136-pound average runner can take on a race such as this and succeed, anyone can. This year will be my second Spartan Sprint and I am doing it alongside the love of my life, my husband, Ryan.
Race photos from Pete Williams, John Ramspott