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Featured Athlete: Ellen Duffey


  • Name: Ellen Duffey
  • What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:

By day, i’m an executive assistant and my other passion is animal rescue.  I advocate for various organziations; especially those working with hard to place animals such as seniors, pitbulls and special needs animals.
However, tame and sweet as that may make me sound; I am addicted to crossfit and people are shocked by the callouses on my hands and the various bruises I tend to display.
However, if I’m not doing pullups on a bar; I don’t mind drinking at one : )

  • Age: 41
  • When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race.:

My first obstacle couirse race was a (NY) Warrior Dash in 2009.  I had let myself get about 15 lbs overweight (on a 5’1 frame that’s more than it sounds) and was pretty unhappy with m yself as I had always been active and athletic.  As much as I make fun of WDs now; I will always be grateful to  that race for giving me my spirit back as I climbed walls and jumped over fire.  I felt like ME again and I was HUNGRY for more!

  • What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?):

This is tough because there are 2 moments that stick in my mind.  The first was at the NJ Metro Dash in 2010. There was a 20 foot cargo net and the event was set up in a parking lot so if one fell, you coudl truly be seriously hurt — the mat around it was thinner than a mattress and it was a windy day.  The net was wavering in the air and I am not overly fond of heights as it is.  I was seriously nauseous as I approached the net and it took everything I had not to look up or down, just to stare straight and climb.  When I got to teh top to throw my leg over I was shaking so hard my teeth started to chatter as well.  But I am proud to say I made it.  My rubber legs barely carruied me the rest of the race but I was thrilled.
The next is at the Spartan Beast in VT– the tyrolian traverse over the (ICE COLD) water.  I watched people hanging and going and also saw them crawling along the top of it for about 10 minutes before I attemped and though I had never doen it before, i managed to ranger crawl.  Did I make it to the bell?  No…. but I was damn close and I will this year.  I was just so happy to try and “get’ a new technique that it carried me through the rest of the grueling race.

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

I love the sheer challenge– how much can I take and keep going? I also enjoy the canaraderie– there is a spirit amongst people who do OCR’s. an “us against the course” mentality that you just don’t see in other sports.  We want our best times possible; but we are also willing to throw a hand down and pull someone else over a wall or give a boost, hodl a rope; whatever.
We want to OWN the course… together.

  • What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?:

I do Crossfit 6 days a week, log about 10 mikles or so running and eat fairly clean (no preservatives, lean proteins, etc)

  • Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?:

I’ve always been active and worked out– sitting still is just not an option for me.  The key piece for me to work on is endurance.  My longest events have been a half marathon and the VT Beast.

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

hmmm… that’s a tough one.  I guess I’d have to with Bruce Lee because seriously I don’t think there is anything that man couldn’t do and his sheer physical ability and strength was amazing and I would love to watch and learn from him.

  • Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!:

I am an AVID bookworm.  Something that doesn’t seem to mesh with everything else but I love the classics and poetry (Tolstoy, Kipling, Shakespeare, Bronte sisters, ee cummings, too many to list)

  • What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:

TRIFECTA in 2013~ and shaving 2 hours from my Beast time.  I am READY this time around.  Also doing a half marathon @ 1:55.
That is the next season ro 2… after that; who knows.  .. become a certfied CF trainer; move to the Caribean and charter a boat, run OCRs in Bermuda… lol

0 thoughts on “Featured Athlete: Ellen Duffey

  1. […] is a guest post by Ellen Duffey – if you find this useful, leave a comment and show her some […]

  2. Thank you Mike : ) and Paul spelled my name wrong LOL DUFFEY!

  3. That was a fun read, but I enjoyed your great smile the most.

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