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Review: Training in Harvard. Spahten style.

The difference between a New England Spahten, and many of the other groups is in our focus on a specific geographical region – New England. This area is a hot bed for obstacle racing, with many popular events starting out here, and many events from others regions flocking to get a taste of the New England scene.

It also means we are relatively local to each other – and on Saturday, Dec 22nd we took advantage of this and met at Harvard Stadium for a face to face, real life meeting, training and forging of Spahtens.

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We had somewhere between 20 and 30 Spahtens come along – ranging in fitness levels. These training courses are really well balanced so they are accessible to everyone – you take things at your own pace, just like you would during an event.

Our trainer for the day, James Mariano, had concocted a circuit that tested us all – the stadium is comprised of concrete bleachers, and we made several stations. The idea was to sprint to the top of the bleachers and perform the workout at that station – everything from 30 burpees, or 30 pushups, or 30 tricep dips, or 30 wall sits – then run back down the bleachers and perform your own choice of ab workout – we saw situps, crunches, planks, bicycle crunches … once you had made it through the 8 stations, you sprinted up, then down the next 5 bleacher rows.

Harvard Stadium is open to the public – and one of the comedy moments came when we were interacting with the “normal” runners – “normal” being subjective here, because really, how normal is it to be at a stadium at 8am, in 35f cold, running concrete bleachers to begin with – but when we realized that these guys, already at the lunatic fringes of normal society, were being “out wierded” by us – who not only showed up to run the bleachers, but brought sandbags ranging from 30lbs to 100lbs, tires to drag and flip, even our own pull up rig – then happily ran the bleachers and started doing burpees and squat jumps?

They did not know how to deal with us.

Some of the Spahtens finished this loop in 25, 30 minutes – others called it quits after four or five stations due to pre-existing injuries and other personal desicions – truly, an event that would challenge all fitness levels. Happily, the only injury came in the form of a bloody knee when Jess stepped short!

Once the stations were done, we did a few sandbag carries, and headed into the stadium for some sprints (while towing tires on ropes) and tire flips – Patrick had brought four tires, ranging in size from a manageable 200lbs, up to a beastly 450lbs – we had guys and gals flipping them all!

As people ran out of time, and had to go get on with their weekend, the group got smaller – we were looking for somewhere to go sprint, but foiled by unlighted domes over the field and the cooling temperatures. I had brought along my photography gear, so we got some of the last few folks lined up for fun portraits – as only New England Spahtens can do …

Of course, we wrapped the day up with a visit to iHop and some entirely tasty, but not really very healthy pancakes. As you do.


James runs these events weekly, and while for most folks it’s a hike to get in during the week days, keep an eye open for these special weekend events. We’re the New England Spahtens, and we can get together, support each other, train together and make better, fitter, stronger folks by doing so – you don’t want to miss out.

Want more? Join the Spahten Elite Fitness Facebook group –

Many more photos –

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