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Spartan’s Burpee Penalty is Staying

Thanks to a blog post, 5 Obstacle Racing Trends to Watch in 2015, by Ekaterina Solovieva, the rumor mill was crazy with the idea that Spartan Race had eliminated penalty burpees from their races (her blog has since been updated assuring people the Spartan Burpee is here to stay and with her apologies).  With each rumor I read there was a different understanding on how Spartan would be making the change.  Some were in line with how Battlefrog handles elites, others were in line with how OCR World Championships worked.

When a search on Spartan’s Facebook page and website couldn’t corroborate what I had read, I reached out to Aja Varney, Customer Service at Spartan Race.  Here’s what she had to say: “Hey! So, that was speculation by blogger that seemed to turn into a crazy rumor. There is no plans to get rid of burpees at this time – we love them too much.”

A few helpful links with the current rules and guidelines:

Rules, Guidelines and Penalties for Spartan Race Obstacles

Standard Obstacle Specific Instructions

Spartan World Championship Athlete Standards and Guidelines

Spartan World Championship Penalties & Disqualification

And just in case people are still unclear on what a Spartan Burpee is!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4C_dYKzMAI]

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Tell us your story.

There have been more than a few memes/blogs going around Facebook as of late.  The context is the quiet sufferer who feels, for what ever reason, that they don’t want to relate their story.  Some feel they don’t have anything to add or that they aren’t “part” of the group.  They feel that maybe they haven’t done what others have.  I find this a little disheartening.  If you are on the NE Spahtens team/group/twitter feed/facebook page/sideline or whatever I need to let you in on the big secret:  YOU’RE A WIERDO!  Plain and simple.   We have podium finishers and people that finish dead last.  In between those equally inspiring people is everyone else.  So it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re with teammates.  Therefore everyone should feel they have something to share.  If you surround yourself with positive people you become positive and once you become positive there really is nothing you can’t over come.

In a post comment today I came across Tony’s post:

Tony DeMauro:  I have held off posting a lot of my thoughts in this forum as i really do not want to sound like a kiss ass…But what the hell… This ENTIRE community of the NE Spahtens has been almost overwhelmingly inspiring. I have done Warrior Dashes and Spartan Sprints and thought I was doing pretty well with a WHOLE lot of room for improvement. But after joining this group and seeing their posts and aspirations, and challenges, nevermind pics of their Medal Collections…I am pushing myself even harder to better myself. to have people STILL waiting at the finishing line at the 5 miler on Sunday (WELL after they had finished and the beer was flowing freely) just to cheer people coming across the line- might be a small act for some…But to someone like me who feels very new, and “off”, and even as far as to say a “Square peg in the round hole” at these things- THAT was a HUGE act of kindness and solidarity for a group to show. I felt a large sense of accomplishment finishing a 5 mile run. As it is something I never thought I would ever do let alone even TRY! Each race (3 mile, 4 mile, and 5 mile of the Wild Rover Series) I have watched and learned from how to land my feet to strides, to pacing, just from watching others and from the words they gave me as I started back up from a “walking break”…Not sure where this post is leading…Just wanted to express my gratitude for this group as everyone really DOES stand behind their commitment to being a “TEAM” not just a facebook group that sometimes gets together for things…They really are a community,and one that I am glad to quietly be a part of…”

 

Tony said it all perfectly.  My hope is everyone feels they can share.  Please at events say hello, come to the team tents or where ever we are gathering.  It’s your tent if we have one.  You did it, you made it happen.  It’s hard knowing everyone from Facebook but no one bites unless asked to.  We’re all just obstacle racers.  How we finish or what we have accomplished wouldn’t be half as awesome, for me at least, if it weren’t for the Team.  Inspire and pass it on.

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Interview: Mass Mayhem 2014

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Mass Mayhem is a new OCR to the scene – but organized and run by Type One LLC, a team who have already held a couple of events, the well regarded 2012 and 2013 Renegade Run.

Like Renegade Run, Mass Mayhem will be allowing Type One LLC to raise awareness for type one diabetes, and raising funds to funds to help find a cure – something that Type One LLC co-founder Tyson knows only too well, being diabetic himself.

Mass Mayhem will happen April 12th, at the Blandford Ski area in Mass

Mass Mayhem is a new event to the calendar – what can people expect regarding difficulty and obstacles?

One of the most exciting aspects of obstacle course racing is locking down an amazing location, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to do with the folks at the Blandford Ski Area. Runners are going to be climbing up the mountain terrain across wooded areas and through the trails. The base is located at 1,025 ft above sea level and the summit is located at 1,490 ft; a 465 ft vertical drop. We have a slew of new obstacles and some old favorites that everyone will enjoy. Maybe we will even get lucky with a late season snow, but if not, we do have full access to snow making equipment!

While Renegade Run was held on a relatively flat course, Mass Mayhem looks to be some serious terrain. How much do you plan on using that?

They gave us the whole mountain and we intend to use as much as possible. We will be scattering water and banana stations to keep runners fueled to power up and down the trails. We’ll be incorporating some of natures best obstacles while digging and building our own.

How long will Mass Mayhem be?

I guess that depends on how much mayhem you want to cause. The course maps out to about 3.9 miles. Afterwards everyone will be enjoying beer brought to you by our partner Harpoon Brewery, and the live music as we’ve booked local favorite Girls, Guns, and Glory which was just named Americana Artist of the Year at the 2013 Boston Music Awards. We will also have some amazing food for everyone to enjoy, we want to make sure we hit all of the body’s senses!

Tell us more about your charity and fundraising work?

Our company’s mission is to raise money and awareness to cure type 1 diabetes. 25% of our profits are donated directly to the Faustman Lab at MGH to find a cure. The Faustman Lab is leading the way with their clinical trials to regenerate the pancreas in diabetics! People also have the capability of donating directly to the Lab and our parking fees at Mass Mayhem will go directly to Dr. Faustman’s research as well!

How much spectator access will there be on the course? Will there be a cost?

Spectators will have free access to the course and full use of one of the mountain’s chair lifts to watch runners on the course. Once at the top, spectators will be free to roam the mountain and walk to the bottom on their own. There will never be a cost for spectators, that’s just wrong!

Being the first Mass Mayhem, do you plan on making this into a series (like Renegade Run)?

We think we found a great location and partner to continue to build with in the future. We are focused on making this event a home run and then we will begin planning our next event.

Many events live and die by their volunteers – what plans do you have in place for getting enough reliable volunteers on the course?

Through various schools, colleges, and community organizations we have already received a number of commitments. Also, with our partnership with the Faustman Lab, they have graciously offered volunteer support through their Massachusetts General Hospital affiliation. We recognize the backbone of a successful event is having a strong race day crew and just like past Renegade Run’s we anticipate having a great enthusiastic crew for Mass Mayhem.

You can register for Mass Mayhem today – http://runmassmayhem.com/register/, and use code NESPAHTENS to save $10 (Join team NE Spahtens!)

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Featured Athlete: Steve DellaCroce

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Check the bottom of this interview for some information on how to help Steve fundraise!

* Name: Steven DellaCroce

* Website:
* Age: 37

* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
I am a dad first and student second. I was overseas as a contractor and was injured in Oct. 2011. I am currently enrolled in NE Tech’s nursing program which I graduate in March 2014. My hobbies are reading, CrossFit, hiking, mediating and anything outside with my Princesses, Aaliyah and Jaydin.

* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
My first OCR was Amesbury 2012. I went with my CrossFit team and was instantly reminded of my military roots. I found a piece of me that had been missing since my days in the military. I loved the challenge, the mud, and the camaraderie. I was fortunate enough to have no clue what to expect, I arrived right before my heat was to begin. I got off the bus, got my number, went to the starting line, and I was off before I ever caught my breath. The race was challenging and all new to me. I was hooked instantly like so many fellow Spahtens before me. I seemed to take forever to finish and when I did I was beat up and tired. Now I run several laps, some with weight! I have come a long way since then.

* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
Just getting out there and challenging myself is an accomplishment. I have gone on to run 5k’s, 10k’s, Half Mary’s and this past weekend I had the nerve to finish a full marathon. This year I also got my Spartan Tri-Fecta. None of this compares to the challenge I am about to embark on. The Carry the Fallen Ruck March on November 10th will be the most strenuous and fulfilling challenge I have ever been part of. Myself and nearly 200 others around the world will be “rucking” from 6a-6p with a weighted ruck sack to raise money and awareness for the epidemic that is Veteran’s suicide and Veterans suffering from PTSD.

* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
I am attracted by the challenge. I want to push myself and accomplish whatever I can. OCR’s marathons, and whatever else is out there. I love being part of a team, giving back, and just being out there. Sitting idol is torturous to my soul. I am drawn tot the type of people who participate in these events. I like to surround myself with likeminded and driven individuals. Everyone in this community pushes me to compete, not to beat them, but to beat myself. I come back to these races to support the people who have supported me. I want to see if I can improve and I want to be an example and role model for my Princesses.

* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
My diet and training are weak at best. I like to CrossFit and run on my own. Being in nursing school and sick the past two months has reduced my training to zero. I ran the Marine Corp Marathon and only had 19 miles of training prior to and my results reflected that.

My only pursuit is to continue to challenge myself, motivate others and not become complacent. I’m signed up to do the Dopey Challenge in Disney (5k, 10k, half Mary, and marathon on back-to-back-to-back-to-back days) and surviving this sounds like a great goal.

* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
I was always doing something. I played hockey growing up, football and baseball in high school but I would never be confused with an athlete. I never ran more than a couple miles outside of the military and never liked it until recently. I have changed my diet and my exercise routine to be more focused and in line with my goals. They are FAR from perfect but at least now I’m aware of my training and diet and how the translate to my performance.

* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?
My grandmother would be the easy choice. She was a beast! I was her “Little Angel”, imagine that! She was tough and went through a lot in her time and I would do anything to spend an afternoon running up hills and playing in the mud with her.

* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I can’t/won’t pee in urinals and I’m the youngest of 13 children. And those who have raced with me know if I’m not complaining on raceway there is something wrong!

* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
Next season? Does the season ever end? I have no clue. I’m signed up for the Dopey Challenge, Boston Marathon (again), and the Rangler Relay. My goal is to constantly vary my races to see what I like/dislike. I made a promise to myself and my little Princesses, from now on, when I run I will support a cause and do all I can to bring awareness to that cause. I also want to do all I can to motivate the people around me with words of encouragement, a helping hand or a slap on the ass if need be.

 

* You may have seen Steve running with an American flag, and a second flag full of child’s handprints – I asked him what the story was, and how we could support his fundraising.

The American Flag has been with me since 2003. It was on my first deployment to Iraq 03-05 and has been to Baghdad and several bases around Iraq. It has also flown with the 1st Calvary, 4th Aviation Div. Blackhawk and Apache Unit on a couple of missions all over Iraq. It was also flown over our firehouse, Rescue Station One, and several of the palaces. It also came with me when I return in 2010. It was flown on Sept 11, 2010 over Station 3 in a ceremony for 9/11 and returned to the Palaces to be flown. It was flown at “The 2 House”, my rescue house on special occasions until I was injured Oct 2011.

The “Hands Flag” is a flag my daughter’s kindergarten class made for “The 2 House”. We adopted them and they adopted us. The hands are the hands of each classmate and their teacher and the “stars” are their thumb prints. This flag was up in our Rescue House since the day we received it until the day I left in October 2011.

If you want to support Steve, check his ActiveHeroes profile – collecting money for Veteran support and suicide prevention, the link to fundraise is still active, even though he compeleted the associated Ruck.

http://fundraise.activeheroes.org/fundraise?fcid=259571

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Interview: Lynn Hall, founder of BoldrDash

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BoldrDash is loved by many Rhode Island racers – and has been around and putting on solid, challenging events since 2010. One of the few events that started back then that is still around, and thriving – putting on a couple of races each year, and supplimenting them with training camps and programs – even adding Unleashed to their roster of facilities.

BoldrDash is also one of the amazing races we hand picked to be on our #racelocal Grand Prix, and for early 2014 you can race in the opens or elite divisions of the Grand Prix – right on the beaches of Rhode Island!

We (well, Corrine!) chatted with Lynn and got to know her, and her events a little better.

 

http://www.boldrdashrace.com

Check our featured reviews of the 2013 beach event and fall events!

When did BoldrDash Start?

The conception of BoldrDash was in 2010.  The company was actually formed in January of 2011.

What motivated you to start an obstacle course racing company?

I guess you could say the motivation for BoldrDash began in the back seat of my van.  (sounds a bit creepy’)  I am a trainer, and I back when OCR’s first came on the scene a friend that I trained happened upon this ‘thing’ called a Spartan Race in Amesburry MA.  It was 2010.  I was petrified, I had no idea what we were getting into but I knew it was time for something different.  So, I got about 50 people together and we trained in my backyard.  Outdoor bootcamps weren’t even all that popular back then, so just being outside and crawling around was a new and fun way to keep in shape.  After the race and before the bruises began to appear, we were driving home and couldn’t stop talking about what fun it was.  Not only was it an incredible day, but it was an incredible few months before the race training together and supporting each other.  This simply could not end there. We had to do this again.  But in true RI nature, traveling so far away from home was not an option.   People began talking about needing something like this closer to home (after all – we had to drive 1 1/2 hours, that’s practically an overnight trip for a Rhode Islander).  As discussions continued all heads seemed to turn to me. ‘You can do this,’ I kept hearing, ‘We’ll help.’

So with the help of so many fantastic friends and my wonderful family I agreed to take on the challenge.  I left my job, and began the build.  We were not only building obstacles.  Back in 2010 and 2011, we were building a foundation.  We were educating the public.  The OCR revolution had only just begun.

How many BoldrDash events have there been since you started? How have they grown?

 The first BoldrDash Race was held on August 13, 2011.  There were 600 in attendance and about 589 of them didn’t have any idea what they were getting into.  ( I guess you could say, neither did I.) Mostly, there was an atmosphere that screamed FUN.  When the day ended, my husband scraped me up off the ground and took me and my three very tired children home.  It was a great day.  We created a cool event, we raised some money for the local schools.   As far as I was concerned it was the coolest thing ever!  Soon, the emails began.  People were sharing stories of their success and what the BoldrDash event meant to them.  I was humbled by so many of them.  Stories of success, stories of triumph.  Those participant emails and stories are what made BoldrDash come back.  The following year we had 1200 runners and more stories of success.  In 2013, our third straight year of bringing events to RI, we added our beach event.  This first time event brought in over 1200 people to the sandy shore of Westerly RI.  We felt privileged to be a part of the effort to ‘Bring Back the Beach’ after the devastation of Super Storm Sandy.  Also in year three we, of course, returned to Exeter.   This time over 2000 people shared in the fun.  We created a our first ever BoldrDash Kids, with 8-16 obstacles for kids 4-12.  A great way to spend the day with the whole family.

What can racers expect at BoldrDash?  (obstacles, party, sponsors)

BoldrDash is known for it’s customer service.  Before/during and after the race, race director, Lynn Hall is always accessible.  Safety is always our highest priority.  You can expect a minimum of 20 well thought out and well built obstacles, usually closer to 30 on a 5K course.  Some of our obstacles are the regular wall climbs, cargo net and wire crawls.  You can also expect to see things that you have never seen before.  Our creative juices are flowing constantly.  We have some great beach themed obstacles at the beach race and all the mud you could ask for at mud event in the fall.  Our after party differs from venue to venue.  Yawgoo Valley, Ski and Sport in the Fall is the source for all food and beer.  We have venders like REI, local Chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists there for our runners with stretching stations and quick evals.  Last year we had free rock taping at both events for all runners.  Of course there is music and ALWAYS – BOULDERS!  We have our famous giant boulders that our racers LOVE to use to photograph themselves.  The beach race is different depending on State restrictions.  It is illegal in the State of RI to drink alcohol on the beach, so we try to work with the locals on that.

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How long is the race distance and how challenging would you rate the terrain? Is the May Beach race longer or shorter than the September trail race?

Currently, we are a 5K race at both events.  However, that could change.  (no hints)  The terrain in Exeter is pretty rough.  We work with the hills at Yawgoo Valley to ensure proper quad burn by the end of the day.  The beach on the other hand needs no assistance.  Running in the sand is an obstacle in itself.

What are your plans for BoldrDash going forward?

We plan to grow our kids event in 2014.  We tested it out for the first time this fall and over 450 kids had a blast.  Making an impact on childhood health issues is definitely important to us. Sending the message, movement and exercise can be FUN to a child is a huge step toward a healthier living style in their future.  So we will definitely be looking at growing the kids event.   For adults, at this time we plan to stick to our current standing of one beach and one mud event for 2014. Growth is in our future, but planned and careful growth is what we are looking for.  It’s more about quality than quantity in our minds.

Where do you see the sport of Obstacle Course Racing going in the future?

That’s a tough question.  We are in the infancy of OCR’s.  There are new races popping up all over, some good, some need more time to perfect their craft.  There’s lot’s of talk about standardizing the industry.  I am on the fence on that one.  I think people love OCR’s because they are different.  If you standardize too much, you loose that individuality that the runners are looking for.  On the flip side some standardization could help ensure safety.  I love to see new races and new ideas, but over-saturation and over-growth are issues that have affected many OCR’s recently and it is sad to see some of them go.  I love the big guys, they offer a great experience with lots of showmanship.  However, the more local races, I think, are going to be what keep the big guys in business.  Not all runners can follow a large series around the globe,  but sticking close to home and developing yourself in the local OCR world, then taking on the challenge of a larger, longer race is where it’s at for many.

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Featured Athlete: Julie Lewis

IMG_0061-2* Name: Julie Lewis
* Website:
* Age: 105

* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
Advertising Sales Director for Expose Yourself Public Relations
Gotta love the name 🙂

* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
June 1st 2013 Tri-State NY Sprint. I had trained for about a year prior with the best trainer out there! Learned so much for which I’ll forever be grateful for. I went into this race with an injured lower back and was so nervous. Almost threw in the towel in the early morning hours because of the pain. Said many many prayers and my friend constantly reassured me that I’d be fine and would kick a$$. Arrived at the venue, geared up and the excitement set in. The energy was incredible! I couldn’t wait to go! Start time was 9:30. Made darn sure I was in the very front, prayed again and off I went like a bat out of hell not knowing what to expect. Long story short it was much easier than I thought. LOVED all the obstacles. BARBED WIRE being my favorite. Failed the spear throw and log hop and finished in 1:36:28 which is NOT good at all but I had a blast! A few days later I decided to transfer all of my other races to the ELITE heat so I could move faster, feel more challenged and not get stuck behind people. At 105 years old I’ve finally found my niche 🙂

* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
Conquering the BEAST! First, I threw my hydration pack/fuel in a bush in mile one. Too awkward and heavy- getting caught on the obstacles. My trainer thought I’d finish in 5+hours. WRONGO! And what a HUGE MISTAKE going solo! Again, went in with an injury. This time my left ankle. My competitive race was over shortly into mile 2 running down a steep forest path. Rolled the ankle so badly again I thought I broke it. Writhed in pain for several minutes while being comforted by several passersby. One girl would NOT leave my side. She sacrificed HER RACE for me. Wish I knew who she was. THANK YOU EARTH ANGEL whoever you are! They sent for medics but I decided I was NOT QUITTING. Didn’t care about the pain or if I completely busted my ankle trying to finish. I was going to finish! The course was grueling and unforgiving. Painful hours passed and then THE SWIM! Failed the water rope climb- life vest was in the way. Tried taking it off 1/3 of the way up but couldn’t hang on. Swam to shore, burpeed out and started to freeze immediately from the wind. Got to the traverse wall and failed. Fingers were frozen- 30 MORE. Freezing and trembling. Wind was nasty and I was desperate to get warm. I curled up in a ball face down next to a sign that was partially shielding the wind with ZERO intention of getting back in the water! For 1.5 hours I shook uncontrollably. Moaning and groaning involuntarily. Several times the medics wanted to take me in but I refused. Yet another EARTH ANGEL came to me and covered me with a foil blanket which provided a little warmth. Then Felix and Bryan, 2 of the nicest guys on the course, found me. Felix was just as cold as me so I took him in under the foil. YEP…snuggled with a perfect stranger! Bryan seemed to be unaffected. We weren’t getting much warmer so I said “Guys. We have to go back in. It will be warmer in the water than out here in the wind.” To the shore we went with the crowd cheering us on! After 10 minutes of delib
erating we took the plunge and the crowd roared! It was amazing! I was screaming the whole swim ” GUYS! WE DID IT! WE bleeping DID IT!!!!” And neither of them could swim! I will NEVER forget them! The best part….HOT CHOCOLATE awaited us! Keeping it short since I could write all day about it, we/I continued on, failed a couple more obstacles, nearly fainted twice due to lack of calories- actually laid down on the course, ears ringing, cold sweats, pounding heart and blurred vision. Received water, super beans, some other candy like fuel from other male racers who stayed with me until I got up and started moving again. SO MANY ANGELS and did A LOT of praying that day. FINALLY finished in 8:18:09. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. Physically I knew I could do it but I proved to myself MENTALLY that I have what it takes to conquer ANYTHING!

* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
Mainly it’s the mental/physical challenge. I’m addicted. It’s the energy, the sense of accomplishment. It’s done wonders for my self esteem. But MOSTLY it’s the people. I have met so many incredible, kind and compassionate men and women and have made many new friends. We flow. We’re compatible. We “get” each other. It’s a beautiful thing!

* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
DIET: Paleo.
TRAINING: LOTS of RIKING (running/hiking) up and down the slopes and trails of Wachusett. I only run once a week (5-10 miles) and do upper body 2-3 times a week. Lots of pull ups, push ups, BURPEES, up right rows, lat pulldowns, bi and tri. Anything that’s a pull and push exercise and simulates the obstacles. Do some ab work but not much and need to increase my leg strength. I’m sure I’m missing stuff, lol!

* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
I was a dancer and gymnast. Did track in high school. Weight trained for many years. Never seriously ran a day my life until 2.5 years ago. My trainer introduced me to OCR and I’m so thankful he did! It’s my passion!

* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?
My children. Ethan, 11, has begun his racing “career” and is very eager to do more! I am hoping my other 2 boys, Jordan- 16 and Ben-14 will join soon!

* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I love to drive around BLASTING John Denver and other favorites signing my heart out. I think a lot of people do this though, lol! Also, I live to love. Not very fun but it’s the truth 🙂

* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
To become stronger physically. I want to build over the winter and get the legs I’ve always wanted so I can conquer the ULTRA BEAST in 2014! AROO!!!!

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Featured Athlete: Jessica (Sorry!) Kehoe

* Name: Jessica (Sorry!) Kehoesuperhero-gladiators
* Website:
* Age: 36

* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
By day I am a Registered Nurse on a very chaotic all-male (mostly) psych unit where I break up fist fights, sprint down hallways to chase the wanderers, and give hugs when needed.  I am also finishing up my BSN at UMass Boston and just signed up for an art class at a local fine arts school to tap back into my creative side.  Oh, and did I mention that my time is also taken up by a 13 year old mini-me?
I am also a swing dancer and have been dancing off and on for about 10 years.  In the last year I haven’t been dancing much but every time I hear an old tune I am just itching to get out on a dance floor!

* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
My first OCR was the Ruckus Fearless Fall 5k in November of 2012.  I had been interested in these types of races for a while, as some of my friends across the country were doing them, but never had the courage to actually sign up for one.  That is, until my boyfriend Robert (aka Bonzilla) nudged me to try Ruckus.  It was cold and I was nervous but I had a ridiculous amount of fun.  The obstacles were fairly easy and the terrain mostly flat so it was a great introductory course.  I was hooked!

* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
So far my biggest accomplishment during a race was getting to the top of the rope climb during the Hurricane Heat at the Spartan Sprint in August.  I had struggled with that damn thing every time I tried it and always failed.  I am also terrified of heights so being up top makes me start to panic a bit.  Despite my fears, now I look forward to the rope climb at races.  There’s no guarantee that I will be able to reach the top but there’s no way I will walk away without trying.

* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?

* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
My training routine goes something like this:  Run a few days a week in the Arboretum in JP/Roslindale (about 10-20 miles a week) and maybe a long run in the Blue Hills, do pull ups in my house, and throw some burpees in occasionally.  I am trying to be more deliberate about training to see some different results, as this is all still new to me, but my current job not not allow a regular schedule.
I don’t do anything special diet-wise.  I generally stay away from red meat, fast food, and soda.  I make mostly vegetarian/pescatarian meals at home and love cooking in general.  I do have a tendency to eat quite a bit but I am on my feet all day for work so I burn a ton of calories.

* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
I was always Athlet-ish.  I loved playing sports when I was younger, and was pretty good at most of them, but I never excelled at one in particular.  The sport I was best at was Volleyball, which I played for 6 years.  It remains my favorite sport to this day.
To keep up this OCR lifestyle I have had to make the biggest change: Becoming a runner.  I LOATHED running for nearly my entire life.  I only really started in late October of 2012, and I just started to enjoy it around February.  Now it is something that has a very therapeutic effect on me and I really value my time on the trails and road.

* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?
I would love for my 13 year old daughter to do a race with me.  She and I have been through so much together and I think that this kind of race would bond us even more.  She has shown some interest and has even started going on runs with me during the week.  In January she impressed me quite a bit when she completed a winter trail 10k just minutes behind me.  Now I have to get her to climb some ropes and jump over walls…

* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I have an identical twin sister!  Someday I hope to get her out on a course with me.

* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
I have one main goal for 2013 and that is to complete a trifecta.  I had never even done a Spartan race but when I saw that you could get a special medal for completing the 3 races I was sold!  I am actually terrified of the Beast but I am really looking forward to conquering my fear.  I am not going to run it competitively but just plan on making it to the finish line.
I think next year I want to train more deliberately on the trails and possibly work toward an ultra.

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Featured Athlete: Joshua Grant

* Name: Joshua Grant919785_10151617104968872_232865271_o
* Websitewww.healingtreeyoga.com

Editors note – check my review written when Josh did some amazing deep tissue work on my back, and go visit Healing Tree!

* Age: 42

* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
I own a yoga studio where I practice deep tissue bodywork on the injured and ill. In the past I ran residential schools for kids with emotional and behavioral problems and spent many years volunteering for the safety patrol group the Guardian Angels. I was born and raised in Boston, though I have lived in South Carolina and Japan. The most important thing in my life is my family.

* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
In 2011 I attacked the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow. I found the event to be very challenging in unexpected ways. The combination of fear conquering and camaraderie is really a unique aspect of their event. I still remember the views and the crisp air at the summit, as I watched the long line of suffering bodies toiling their way up. It was surreal at the time. Getting that first headband was quite a thrill. I remain very fond of TM.

* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
So far, winning the Winter Death Race would be the biggest accomplishment. I wrote about this quite a bit. This Death Race in particular was both an extreme challenge and an actual race. The hours standing in the icy, fast moving river were among the most transformative of my life. We were faced with a clear danger of permanent injury by remaining in the water. At the end, when we received our skulls in the middle of a frozen forest, I knew that my ideas about limitations had been eradicated.

It was a great honor to share the finish line with Olof Dallner and Nele Schulze.

* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
I treat the world as a playground. Good days often end when you are dirty, worn out, and surrounded by friends. These course provide the above in spades. The challenge is ongoing as you are only limited by your willingness to push yourself. It is important not to acquiesce too much to the comforts our world provides. Most of us have learned how dramatically lives can be changed in an instant. When one of those instants occurs, we experience life with fearful clarity difficult to duplicate. Often, these moments are our most lucid as the value and significance of life is evident. The samurai expression “Live as though your hair were on fire” begs us to live our lives with such alacrity.

* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
I don’t follow any specific diet. I do eat well 70% of the time (the remaining 30% is dedicated to pizza, pancakes, ice cream, etc.). Coke Zero is my major vice. I climb two or three times a week and still attend arm wrestling training with the pros. Of course, I hit the playgrounds all the time. I continue to train in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu as well.

* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
As a young one, I was an avid breakdancer and basketball player. I then got into to arm wrestling and was the New England Champ for a while. After that I focused on jujutsu and inline skating, achieving a 4th degree black belt and two National Slalom titles respectively. I’ve been running for three years. Recently, I became a yoga instructor and currently teach kids in lock-up the asanas and meditation.

* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?
My father and my son. If they were unavailable, I think Gandhi could tear these courses up. There are few people he couldn’t walk into the ground.

* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I have written two mystery novels.

* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
I hope to win the Team Division of World’s Toughest Mudder this year with Gregory Soutiea, Jesse Howes, and Sean Meehan. Shortly after that I’ll tackle Fuego y Agua in Nicaragua. I expect to retire from 24+ hour events after that and focus on marathon distance and under.

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Featured Athlete: Scott Sweeney

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* Name: Scott Sweeney
* Website:
* Age: 44

* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
I am an Engineering Manager for Coburn Technologies.  We design and build all of the equipment used to make a pair of eyeglasses.  Aside from OCR racing and training, I enjoy most sports, cooking, working on the house and spending time at home with the family.

* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
I am relatively new at running and racing.  Decided winter of last year to get into shape and started running around the March timeframe.  To keep myself motivated I challenged myself to run a local Mothers day 5K in town.  As I began training I quickly learned that pavement running was not ideal.  After talking with some people I learned about trail races and the benefits of running on paths.  I looked into some trail races and quickly discovered Obstacle races.  My new goal was to do a Rugged Maniac in July (NJ).  Although the race was difficult at the time I quickly became addicted to them and signed up to as many as I could.

* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
My biggest accomplishment was completing the VT beast last year.  By the end of the year I was in full race/volunteering mode.  I ran a Warrior Dash on Saturday afternoon, quickly ran home, packed the car, left at 3am Sunday to volunteer at 6 and by 1:30 I was off racing the Beast.  My goal was to finish in daylight and I crossed the finish just as the sun set.

* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
I enjoy the races for several reasons.  I enjoy the competitive nature of the races along with the camaraderie.  Mostly I like the variety of the different races.  My first year racing I missed a lot of races so this year I made it a point to try as many different ones as possible ranging from 5K street races, to 24K trail races, to my first tri-fecta, to races in the snow and races in Foam.  All in total I should have about 35 races this year

* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
Training has primarily been on my own with running and mountain biking however I do train occasionally with the mudder babies in CT.  I also train twice a week with a group from work (see below under fun fact)

* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
I used to be athletic throughout school and growing up but I let alot slide over the years.  I finally was able to make a change last year and will continue to improve.  I have found that keeping up with excercise has been the most beneficial.  To date I have lost roughly 55 pounds training for races and have been able to maintain for close to a year so far.

* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?

* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I talked about OCR so much at work last year that this year I was able to pull a team together.  We have 22 aspiring Spahtens in the making.  Most of the team is fairly new to the sport but the reaction so far has been great.  My company has sponsored us for 2 races this year and even installed a gym at work for us to train in.  We train twice a week, once on a slightly hilly trail and the again on a flatter course with small obstacles.

* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
I will be attempting my first trail marathon in October.  For next year I would like to do more Spartans, possibly in Canada. This year I am shooting for 9

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Featured Athlete: Lauren Beichner

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* Name: Lauren Beichner
* Website:
* Age: 47

* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
I am a part time meat wrapper for Stop and Shop. I’ve been with the company for 24 years. I am a New England Patriots football fanatic. I also love Nascar and am a big Tony stewart fan. I enjoy going to the gym and have a love/hate relationship with my personal trainer.

* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
My first race is in Amesbury:)

* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
Finishing will be nice

* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
Let’s get through the first one and I’ll get back to you

* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
I work with a pesonal trainer once a week and try and hit the gym at least 3 times per week. I love TRX training and have a system at home which I try and do 30 minutes 3 to 4 times per week. I try and eat balnaced portioned controlled meals heavy on chicken and fresh veggies.

* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
I wan’t always althetic. In fact at one point in my life I weighed 355lbs. through diet and exercise I’ve manged to lose 120lbs to date. I’m not at my goal yet so I guess you would call me a work in progress.

* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?
Without question…..Tedy Bruschi. The strength and determination that he should playing footbal after a stroke inspires me. I had the pleasure of meeting him and he is an amazingly nice man.

* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I have a wicked sense of humor and if you follow my facebook page you’d notice I refer to myself in the third person alot. My nickname is Diva:)

* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
My goals are to continue on my weight loss journey. I’m thinking about going to school to become a personal trainer. Who better to motivate others than someone who has walked a mile in their shoes. As far as racing goes……i have to see how this first one plays out.

** Editors note – she did amazing.