Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 36: Norm Koch

With his friendly smile, and penchant for designing courses that make you cry – Norm Koch has been a fixture of the Spartan Race world for years – even inspiring his own hashtag and fan club. #effnorm

But, all good things must end, and Norm has left Spartan Race. We caught up with him to talk about why – and what comes next.

If you’ve ever wondered what makes Norm tick, take a listen to Episode 36 of The NE Spahtens Show.
Hint: It’s not the years of innocent racers.

Would you like to buy team gear? Check out our store, http://www.nesstore.com
W
ould you like to find more team resources? Check our welcome page out, http://www.nespahtens.com/welcome

We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Join our Mailing List, and maybe even become a 2017 Member and support the community!

Don’t forget to subscribe, and leave us a review in iTunes – it’s the little things that help this podcast continue – your questions, your reviews, your feedback let us know you are out there, and you enjoy the content, and we’ll keep recording for you!

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 27: Savage Race

If you’re listening to this show, then Savage Race are coming to New England and we’re the first to let you know – and you should not only listen to the show to find out the details, but get a bit of history about Savage Race itself, and find out what it is that they do differently to all the race brands that came before them, and failed.

Some links we discuss in the show:

Learn more about the Savage Syndicate program – http://savagerace.com/savage-syndicate/

Twin Peaks (watch this, it’s hysterical) – http://savagerace.com/2016/11/inside-the-obstacle-twin-peaks/

and when registration is open, code “savage” will get you an awesome price. http://savagerace.com/locations/

Thanks for listening!

If you enjoyed the show, we’d love if you could let us know. Feedback, questions, reviews on iTunes – all help us record better content and get our show out there more – we appreciate your support!

Posted on Leave a comment

Spahten Story: Chris Marinin – A battle buddy who believes in you. Yes, you!

spartan-muckChris Marinin, AKA Lunchbox, was nominated for a Spahten Story by friend, Nathalie Beaudoin.

The Spahtens are what they are because of people like you.

Chris’s Nomination

Why are you nominating them?

He is the best battle buddy, teammate and friend to have out on the course!

What about them inspires you?

The fact that he goes out there and helps others no matter what it takes to confront obstacles and will encourage you no matter what it takes to get you through.

helping-new-friendsWhat quote would you use to describe them?

“Believe in yourself.”

Chris’s Responses

What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?

Successful, After my first race I got so much encouragement and help I wanted to keep that feeling on the course for others. Doing one of these races can be really scary for some people, and knowing there might be a helping hand when needed can put someones fears at ease.

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.spartan-cheesing

My first race was the 2013 Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park! I had never even heard of Spartan Races or OCR until a month before when an old high school (Andrew Fogarty) friend put the bug in my ear that it would be fun. Once I accepted the challenge that Andrew but before me I trained as hard as I could with a month till race day. That was also my first race with the New England Spahtens!! Needless to say I was instantly addicted.

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

For me completing a race is the biggest accomplishment. Starting a race for me is easy. You are surrounded by family and love, then you begin the journey. It’s the middle that scares the life out of me. Basically it’s all the What if’s that can and will go wrong that makes the completion of the race worth every step. It’s all about how far will you push yourself when your mind says your are crazy stop.

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

The People!! I have met some of the most amazing people while racing! The friendships and bonds made on these courses can’t be described with words. Not a day goes by that I don’t talk to at least one member of my OCR Family

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

Next Season is there is going to be a lot of juggling. We have our first baby Spahten due on Nov 1 so even if I’m not racing a lot you will see the newest NES member at several races. My biggest goal for myself next year is to just continue working on obstacles that have been issues for me this year specifically the Rope Climb and the Rig.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

If you are reading this and thinking I can never do one of these races I have two things to tell you:
1. Believe in yourself and amazing things can happen.
2. If you have trouble believing in yourself come find the New England Spahtens and we will help you along the way!!

spartan-finishHow has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?

Spahtens is really all I know. My first race was with NES and I wouldn’t want to change it. It was a perfect fit and no need to change something amazing.
Do you have someone YOU would like to nominate for a Spahten Story? Click here!

Posted on Leave a comment

Spahten Story: Kim Frechette – A woman on her own journey.

On August 23, Kim Frechette shared a before and after photo and a brief message:

“So its hard for me to post this picture. From FB PostI am not proud of the June 2015 side. I had left myself get that big. I didn’t eat healthy or eat for what my body needed. In Jan 2016 I started eating for my body. I started belly dancing and Zumba. I then started walking. In June I did my first Spartan Sprint. Thanks to the support of Chris Marinin I finished it with a time of 3 hours 20 mins. Then with the support of this group I signed up for the Super. I completed that with my friend Amy, this past weekend. With a time of 4 hours and 27 min! I am super proud of the Aug 2016 pic. I am super proud of my finishes! I am down 55lbs and hope to lose more. I am hoping to sign up for more races this year and next! You all are an amazing group that has welcomed me in and supported me out on the course. You have now become a part of my journey to being healthier and I just want to say thank you!”

I reached out to Kim to get a little more information to share.  This woman is amazing and a total inspiration!

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.

Finished the Sprint with ChrisI started ocr this past June. I did my first Spartan Sprint in Barre, ma. Prior to that I had heard of ocr but hadn’t thought I would ever be able to do one. I asked my friend Chris about Spartan because I knew he had done a few. He told me all about it and had me join the group NE Spahtens. My first race I was excited, scared, nervous, hoping I didn’t kill myself on one of the obstacle and just hoping I could get to the finish line. My friend Chris was right there beside me, along with other NE Spahtens, rooting me on and challenging me to try every obstacle. I’m not sure I would have made it through without him there. I was so happy when I got to the finish line, I just wanted to collapse. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. 6.1 miles 20 something obstacles! I think I was in a state of shock for a few days afterwards, but what a great feeling to have accomplished it. I did my second Spartan race a few weeks ago, the Super in Barre, ma again. This time I brought my friend Amy to do her first Spartan. I was excited this time and new I would finish no matter what.

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

I think my biggest accomplishment at my first race was just finishing. At that point I had lost about 40lbs and had only been walking a few miles a day. So to get to the end and not have given up was amazing to me. My biggest obstacle accomplishment was that dam slip wall! My first race I went up and came right back down. Thanks to Chris and other racers helping me and encouraging me to try again. I was able to get up and over it! This last time at the Super I made it up and over with the help of Chris and my friend Amy the first time! That felt amazing. Knowing that even though I still needed help I was stronger and able to get over in one try was the best feeling!

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

Well first I think ocr are like potato chips, once you’ve done one you are hooked! I was first attracted to ocr for the challenge. I had been doing belly dancing, zumba, walking and some weight lifting. I had been losing weight and felt so much healthier and full of energy. I had seen others do ocr and seen how much fun it looked. I wanted to see if I could do one myself. I wanted to see if all my hard work was paying off.

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

Top of the Dunk WallMy next goal is to do the F.I.T Trailfecta with my mom! We just signed up for all three and I think it is going to be a great thing to do together. I am also thinking of signing up for the F.I.T Challenge with my husband. It would be great to get the whole family involved. I know my two little ones can’t wait until next summer when they can do the Spartan Kids race. What is in my

future? Well I hope more races, more Spartans. I would love to get my trifecta next year. I want to be the healthiest that I can be.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

So I started this journey to be healthier about a year ago. I started small by signing up for belly dancing and zumba. About 8 months ago I really changed my eating habits. I have pcos (poly cystic ovarian syndrome.) This makes it hard to lose weight; it makes you crave sugar and carbs. In lots of cases it makes it hard if not impossible to have children. We ending up adopting 3 great kids. Looking back I can say that I used this in part as an excuse for letting myself gain so much. I thought it’s too hard to lose weight, it’s too hard to exercise I have pcos. I was up to 259lbs! I didn’t want to see 260 on that scale. So Kim and Amy at the Dunk WallI cut way down on carbs and sugar. I stared walking more and for longer distances. And guess what? The weight started coming off! I could do it. Was it hard? Yes in the beginning it was, I had cravings. I was obsessed with the amount of carbs in each thing I ate. Did it become easier? Of course. I have now lost 55lbs. I still eat low carb/low sugar but I don’t deny myself the occasional treat. Like the yummy ice cream at Carter and Steven’s Farm at the end of the Spartan Race! If I can do it so can everyone else. Start small; don’t try to do it all at once. Take each day one step at a time.

How has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?

The NE Spahtens are an amazing group of people that support each other no matter what. It feels
amazing to be part of a team, there like a big extended family. I think my racing has changed because of the Spahtens in the fact that I know if I go out on the course I’m not alone. They will always be there to help me over that obstacle I just can’t get over yet or to cheer me on as I get over one that I couldn’t the last time. They also push me to join more races and give encouragement on my goals.

Finished the SuperOne piece of advice you would offer to a newbie?

Believe in yourself. You can do it! Try everything; even if it looks impossible try it at least once. You are
never alone out on the course. Sorry that’s more than one piece of advice but I think it all goes hand in hand. 

*All photos courtesy of Kim Frechette.

Posted on Leave a comment

Spahten Story: Danielle Mitchell – Tackling obstacles on and off the race course.

    Danielle was nominated by good friend and teammate Michael Downey, one of our Ambassadors!

muddyDanielle Mitchell’s Nomination

Why are you nominating them?

In part doing OCR helped her realize she is a much better person when sober.

What about them inspires you?

The fact no obstacle stops her and she dosent fail, she finds a way

What quote would you use to describe them?

Anyone who has Danielle as a friend is a VERY lucky person. She is loyal to all her friends and will always go above and beyond for a friend at a moments notice. She is one of the most fun people to battle buddy with at races and event when it gets challenging her spirit never changes

Danielle’s Responses

What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?

Surprised!

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.

fenway with mikeMy first OCR was Fenway Park 2012. I had no idea what I was getting into but because it was at Fenway
and no mud I said lets try. It took me and my friend Mike over 2 and a half hours to complete it. I was huffing and puffing the whole time, wondering what I had gotten myself into and vowing to never do this again. It pointed out every flaw and how out of shape I really was

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

My biggest accomplishment, oh boy. I think my biggest accomplishment was finally getting up the rope at a Spartan race, not only once but three times out of the four laps I ran at Fenway in 2015. Heights are one of my biggest fears and I tend to scare myself once I am half way up the rope about how high I am and how the heck am I going to get down.

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

I keep coming back to OCRs because I want to continue to improve physically and it is a mental escape. You don’t think about anything other then the what is in front of you. I also like to see how far I have come and how much strength I have gained.

hubbyWhat are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?

After finishing my double trifecta last season, I don’t know what is in my future. I want to continue to have fun, push myself and see how many more obstacles I can over come.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

One year ago 3/10/15 I decided it was time to change my life. I become sober. The friends that I have made in this group have stood behind me 100% and I know I can always count on them. Whether its some one checking in on me or reminding me that they are on the same boat if I never need it, is one of the many reasons I love the family that has been built within this group. I have come so far since deciding this both in my racing and regular life that I can not wait to see what the next year has in store. Always remember there is someone that understands what you are going through, whether it is sobriety, or things like weight gain, low self esteem, lack of confidence or just needing that push to get your butt going again. There is someone there to talk to. Reach out you will be presently surprised 🙂

How has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?fit

Racing with the Spahtens has made me try things I would never think were possible. They push you to be someone better physically and mentally. The peer pressure to do new races or races that you have done and said “never again” is sometimes needed and a healthy reminder to keep pushing and never give up on yourself. It can be done and the finish line will be crossed.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 10 – Margaret Schlachter

Check out what happens when two “OG’s” of OCR get together, share a few beers, and talk about the good old days …

Margaret Schlachter, of Dirt in your Skirt, Mud Run Guide, author of Obstacle Race Training and several other ventures and I talk mostly about her journey through the world of obstacle course racing. We talk about the first Spartan Race events, and how they got her heading towards the inaugural Worlds Toughest Mudder. How she accidentally became the worlds first professional obstacle course racer, and ended up training Chris Davis during a pivotal time in OCR. We talk about more current events – and she places her bets for who’s going to win – Hobie Call or Ryan Atkins at the upcoming Utah Battlefrog. Like always, we talk about the future – and she has kind words for #racelocal!

This is a longer than normal episode (we had a lot to talk about!) and if you’re watching the video, please note there are some slight synch issues until about minute 17, when they fix themselves. More video gremlins!

Huge thanks to Margaret for taking time out of her trip to NY state to come visit, and thanks to the Gardner Ale House for fueling us with a growler full of Summers End beer!

Audio Only

Posted on Leave a comment

Spahten Story: Chris Bordenca – Leading by Example

Chris Bordenca was nominated for a Spahten Story by his friend, Greg Hale.

The Spahtens are what they are because of people like you.

Chris Bordenca’s Nomination10488123_10206387606716352_8251714795455945340_n 

Why are you nominating them?

He inspires us younger guys to keep at it, stay in shape and to drink less and run more.

What about them inspires you?

Everything: Mainly his attitude and the example which he sets by encouraging his wife and kids to be their best.

What quote would you use to describe them?

There isn’t any one, but a multitude of such that all  describe him in one way or another.

Chris’s Responses

What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?

What the?! What?!

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.

The 2013 Amesbury Spartan was my first race of any kind. 12494885_10207658049636631_7427289713903728076_n My wife has a way of inspiring / tricking me into getting healthier and better.  First she got me running and then doing P90X.  Until then I hadn’t really been too active except for chasing our kids around.  I was a smoker on and off for over twenty years and really struggled with quitting.  My brother, who’d done the Sprint the year before, asked if I wanted to give it a shot since he knew I’d started working out and trying to get healthier. A mixture or terror and excitement were all I felt for months leading up to that first race. The adrenaline, the fear, the challenge and afterward the feeling of accomplishment had me hooked immediately. When a Sprint was announced for Killington that would run alongside the Beast a few weeks later I signed up and then right away signed up for the Fenway Sprint and convinced my wife to join me.

Once she was hooked it was like a landslide and we started looking for as many OCR’s as we could find.  We even got our three kids running kids’ races too. That’s when I reconnected with Al Heard and Tony Demauro, old friends I hadn’t seen in over a decade, save for Facebook, who noticed the Spartan race pics being posted.  They opened my eyes to the magical (super expensive) world (addiction) of all the other obstacle races out there and to the New England Spahtens.  

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

11022622_10205994213681772_7363817972493487220_nFinishing the 2014 VT Beast with has to be the hardest thing I’ve ever accomplished. It wouldn’t have happened if my wife, Andrea, wasn’t there to keep my spirits up and not let me quit when my legs cramped up somewhere around mile 10.  The one I’m most proud of is finishing the 2015 VT Beast penalty free and with a pretty decent time.  I ran solo on that one, but ran into some great Spahtens, like Kevin Grant, along the way who kept me going with encouragement when cramping was slowing me down greatly.

Oh, and every single time I do Walk the Plank at Tough Mudder it’s an accomplishment.  That makes one me crazy.

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

Obstacle races are far more exciting than straight up road races.  They’re more interesting than triathlons. The people, the camaraderie, the sense of insane purpose.  I love that most of us are just out there competing with ourselves, just trying to get better.  I love the challenge of a new obstacle or the feeling of knowing you’ve got one nailed.  I even love the frustration of failing an obstacle and stewing on it until I get another chance at it.  I love feeling like a teenager running through the woods from the cops after a party got busted up.

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

In 2014 I earned my first trifecta.  In 2015 I earned the 11393272_10205236356641383_6259984117709668951_ndouble trifecta.  The new goal for this season, is to see how long I can continue to train and race without drinking.  I had a tendency to finish a race and go a little crazy with the feeling of having done something super healthy, which meant I could indulge that much more afterward.  There was nothing better than drinking a ton of beer and smoking a bunch of cigarettes after a race.  I’m not kidding.

Training for a race was the time when I’d really stop everything so that I could be prepared.  But after a race, all bets were off and eventually that attitude slid into the days following a race.  Suddenly I’d be a proper smoker again.  Craziness.  The same held true for drinking to the extent that the feeling that I could be a little more unhealthy for a few days following a race led to a few more hangovers than were necessary.

11665599_10206465292338444_8004200105871781027_nI’ve got at least one OCR a month booked this season to keep me focused and training.  So far, so good!

Is there anything else you think we should know?

I think the mustard craze we all experienced last year in regards to cramping was manufactured by big mustard to boost sales.

How has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?

Races are no longer solitary events.  The Spahtens have forced me to engage with more people.  I’m generally an introvert, I work from home and I spend more time with my kids than I do with actual adults. The Spahtens are this unique blend of people who all love the same relatively off-beat sport as m1508990_792732887481726_7374552293348113464_ne with a matched level of enthusiasm and as a result an obstacle race where I’m surrounded by blue team jersey’s has become one of places in the world where I feel at home even when it’s miles from Massachusetts.  I love seeing the same faces at different races.  I love when the crew that I tend to run with, recently dubbed Al’s Crew at Blizzard blast, encounters another Spahten who asks if they can run with us because they’re new, or got separated from the people they were supposed to run with.  If it weren’t for the Spahtens my races wouldn’t be as full of smiles, laughs and pretty cool swag too.

The main thing that’s changed though… I do waaaaaaaaay more races because of the Spahtens.

See what Chris does when he isn’t running obstacle course races at his website, www.bordenca.com.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Episode 4 – Eric Matta of Ultimate Obstacles

UltimateObstacleslogoUltimate Obstacles is a soon-to-open facility in West Boylston – owned by Eric Matta, long time New England Spahten. We get to sit down and chat during construction of the facility (and we’ll go back when they’re up and running!).

http://www.ultimateobstacles.com

You want to watch the video of this interview – lots to show!

Audio only:

Please leave us feedback! How are we doing? Comment, rate or just give us a thumbs up on iTunes or Youtube!