First Timer Again

As Lara Croft exploring the pain cave for treasures

I hit the road to the small community of Morganfield, Kentucky for my first stab at a Spartan DEKA event. Those of you outside the Commonwealth might never have heard of Morganfield, Kentucky. Hell, I claim Kentucky home and still did not know exactly where it sat prior to the DEKA. Morganfield is a very small community boasting a population of less than 3,500. While approaching the site via winding county roads felt like nothing out of the ordinary for a Spartan sanctioned event, pulling into a small, unassuming parking lot signaled that I was in for a different experience.

Filled with apprehension on approach, the blast of energetic thumping and encouraging shouts pervaded my ears, quelling the dissonance. Upon entry, I was first greeted with the sight for sore eyes that is the finisher table decorated with my long-overdue finisher medals and new weekend tees. It had been more than two years since I earned a true event finisher medal (Fort Campbell 2019!), so the race day vibes started to kick hard at the sight of swag.

Community Touch

Though the event itself was on a smaller scale than the national events, energy filled the entire box. Waves launched two competitors at a time, each monitored by a volunteer judge. Plenty of bystanders—most of which were members of the host box—cheered each other along. Though I opted to go it alone to this event, my gracious judge and fellow competitors cheered me along all ten zones of pain in my sub-20 minute vomit-suppressing effort. They even politely smiled when I whipped out the Lara Croft costume* for a second effort and took some photos for me. Thank you guys for that!

Khalil & Nelson promoting fitness in the community

The DEKA Road Show naturally in scope felt more community-forward more than any nationally-recognized event I have ever participated. After chatting with Spartan crew member, Nelson Diaz, and Morganfield CrossFit volunteer and adaptive athlete, Khalil Taliaferro, it seems that is exactly what Spartan intended with these events. Khalil and Nelson connected years ago competing with a group of adaptive athletes in tough obstacle course races. From there, the two worked together to launch the DEKA Road Show event with the intent to get more folks (that’s right, I’m from Kentucky and can get away with that) into fitness. I approached the event with the very specific similar purpose. I left feeling hopeful that this Road Show style of DEKA is soon to explode in popularity nationwide in smaller community gyms. As a practicing Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer, I am 100% in favor of promoting fun, functional events on a smaller scale to create excitement with exercise. Kudos, DEKA. I’m looking forward to finding (and perhaps hosting) the next event to keep earning and improving my mark!


Rating: 5/5

*This is part of my larger effort on the year called, Project Heroine. From March through June I’ll be working out in the style of video game character, Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider franchise. For more on the nerdy female-empowerment project follow @nerdragefit on Instagram.

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