8 years ago, and some of my gym buddies wanted to run this Spartan Race thing – the second Spartan ever, at Amesbury Sports Park. No “Sprints”, no trifectas and we didn’t even do burpees. None of us had any idea the rocket we were getting on, and where OCR would go.
6 years ago, I did the first year anniversary hurricane heat, two Sprint laps, and through a stroke of providence, met a whole bunch of amazing people and together, we founded the New England Spahtens. Right place, right time, indeed.
It was more work, more effort, more stress – with more ego’s and drama’s – and also more rewarding and fun and amazing than I could have anticipated – from running FB groups and pages, to setting up an e-commerce site, launching and operating a video series and a podcast, and operating #racelocal, supporting dozens of local OCRs … it was frequently fast paced chaos, and not everything ran smoothly. But it has been a blast.
A year ago, I made the decision to step back, and take my life down a new path. Running OCRs had lost it’s sparkle for me – I found myself frequently injured, and frequently away from my family at weekends. Coupled with a demanding day job that had me traveling mid week, I would land in Logan on a Friday and want nothing more than to spend the day with my loved ones, and not get up at 5am to drive somewhere to run another 5k OCR.
NES brought me so many amazing memories. So many amazing friends. We went from a few people sharing codes for race discounts, to a 501c7 organization that has raised money for Team Mike McNeil and others. We’ve clothed the homeless of Boston and seen individuals overcome personal demons, finish endurance races, earn medals and skulls- and I’ll always be proud of the part I’ve played in making that happen and bringing those experiences to people.
This last year, I’ve been spending my time moving daily operations over to the board, and this last few months stepping back almost entirely, and playing a support role. Long term, that’ll be what I do – when the board need technical help, I’ll help – and day to day decision making and operations (and the mistakes that will surely come with this learning curve!) will reside with them. Be patient. Give them your support – just like this last year, they are your elected board, so be engaged! The more involved YOU are, the better job THEY can do.
What next for me? I fully plan to be at the final Polar Bear Challenge – the best local race of the season, I believe, and Shale Hill’s swan song. For the foreseeable, it’ll be my final OCR. I’ve been so lucky to make so many good friends, we frequently have people from NES over at the house for smoked meats and drinks in the hot tub, and I hope those friendships last beyond OCR and NES. My brain will eventually latch onto another hobby, or project, and my life will be all consumed in a new direction – but until that happens – and I’m not looking for it, I’ll enjoy some piece and quiet.
A new era begins. “English” signing off.