Obstacle course racing has hit the world by a storm. Originally starting in the UK in 1987 with Tough Guy and then hitting the U.S. by 2010 with Warrior Dash, Spartan Race & Tough Mudder. Currently  there seems to be an obstacle race every other weekend in certain areas of the country. From your casual fun race like R.O.C., to your competitive races like Spartan Race where there is prize money for the top 3 male and female winners. It’s not hard to find some kind of OCR in your area.

When you break through the other side of hell and finish an event that did not seem possible, that stopped you in your tracks over and over, something happens. You feel accomplished, incredibly proud of yourself and, in some ways, a different person.

The CEO and co-founder of Spartan Race, Joe De Sena has gone above & beyond to keep Spartan races anything but a typical OCR race.  Not only does he keep things fresh with Spartan races but this year he has taken things to a whole new level.  In March his line of “Reebok All Terrain” shoes (that are perfect for obstacle racing) will be available & his book Spartan UP! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life will be available in May. This is a motivational to get everyone moving not just OCR athletes.  He does a great job giving the reader what they would expect out of the book, which is plenty of training, nutrition and motivational stories.  Many of the personal stories in the book show every reader how Joe not only created Spartan Race, but how he survived and thrived in the business world as well as the racing world.  From stories of personal physical pain (leg being ripped out of his hip socket) to his emotional struggles while racing.  Joe gives us much more of his personal story to show us how he overcame the same types of struggles in his life that everyone else has dealt with. He adds his own personal list of guidelines to follow to not only help get through these struggles but how to thrive after overcoming them.   Many racers today lack that extra push needed to commit to the Spartan lifestyle. In the book Joe talks about how there is more than enough inspirational wisdom to get anyone out there on the course and racing. The book also gives a little glimpse into the great life Joe has made for himself.

People may think I’m crazy, sadistic, relentless, maniacal, suicidal, all rolled into one, but they still seek me out, sensing somehow that there is a method to this madness. And that my tactics change lives, create opportunities, and yield results.

This book tells it like it is, life is not easy, and not everyone wins. You can’t get upset at anyone because you didn’t come in first. You can change your path from that point forward. Life is full of hard times, we either grow from them or we fail. Just because you don’t complete the task or win the event does not mean you failed. The only way to fail is to give up trying to do better. Spartans push themselves to the breaking point and sometimes beyond, but it is only during those times that we can truly learn that we can go beyond what we and the world thought we could do. Step outside of your comfort zone; reach higher than you think you can. Spartan Up! Is all about setting goals, the main one being we can all be better people. Not everyone is made to be a “Spartan” but every one of us can be better than we are today.

My goal with every Spartan Race is to push you to overcome your short-term desire for comfort in an effort to reach for something greater than your current self. Anyone can run up a hill. What about going up the same hill crawling under three hundred feet of barbed wire?

Joe De Sena not only is a motivational leader for OCR but should be the Ambassador for the sport.  He is really pushing to have obstacle course racing  become an Olympic Sport. And  the way it seems to be growing it just might be!  Spartan UP! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life is available on May 13th, so get your pre order now!

Reviewed by Eric Acuna, Mike Matter & Paul Mitas