Saturday, October 1, 2011


My whole family are runners (except me). Mike, my son is a great cross country runner who has a lot of energy and above average ability. So, I was checking out the race scene in my area that he might be interested in and came across this race in Palmerton, PA called The Spartan Race. Guys and gals that run this race are not only physically fit but also mentally strong and very courageous (and maybe a little deranged). There is absolutely no doubt about it, the majority of these folks are true athletes.

You see, the Spartan Race is an internationally recognized obstacle race that challenges both mind and body. This course is set up by professional torture treatment specialist. The tougher, muddier, wetter and wilder it is, the better. This is a no holds bared race equal to a 5K in distance however, the "stages" are set up so you have to complete a task in order to continue or be ordered to do push ups called "Burpees" if you fail. The races are set up in four levels of competition and difficulty. These guys aren't messing around. Once you get to the Beast and Death Race stages, your fitness and mental abilities need to be as sharp as an Olympian and you have to WANT to win! Many don't even complete these levels and those who have are immediate legends of the sport.

There are some staples in obstacles such as crawling under barbed wire, lots of mud, water crossings, wall climbs and jumping over a wall of fire. Each race offers a select variety of challeneges conducive to the location selection. In the Plamerton, Pa race which was held at Blue Mountain Ski Resort, the organizers took full advantage of the steep ski slope going up and a first time ever stage using a very long, industrial strength "slip n slide" going down that dumps you into a holding pond of cold water and muck. These guys are nuts!
Brian (far left) and his team accept their metals of completion
I was looking at some awesome video's posted on YouTube and decided to send an email to one of the participants and ask for an interview. Brian Tumelty is this Spartan's name and he competed in the Palmerton, PA Sprint Race with a team of guys and nearly 4,000 others all hell bent on getting roughed up, a filthy mess, coming in in a respectable time and just plain old having fun. He said he would be happy to do the interview for CacheCrazy.Com so here it goes.......Thanks Brian!

Bloodhounded interviewing a 
real Spartan

Q. I know that most of you guys and gals have a racing name, what is yours? Come on you have to have a racing name? Like Brian Disbisious of Darkness or something wild like that? Right?
                I wish I could say we did have a team name, but we did not. Since our team is starting to grow, there are already talks of team names and shirts for the next race. Our first race consisted of 4 people and this past Saturday we had 9 people and many more are starting to join the fun for the next one.

Q. In your opinion, what is Spartan Racing?
                Spartan racing is an extreme test of your endurance.  It is both physically and mentally daunting.  Your typical Spartan “sprint” is 3 miles, however in Plamerton, Spartan was nice enough to provide an additional mile and half to make it that much more daunting.  We started our race at the base of Blue Mountain and begin our hellish march to the top with obstacles testing us all the way up and back down
Q. How did you even find out about this craziness?
                One of my closest friends is an independent beach body coach I saw him transform his life from the type of person who did not really care about much to a person who motivates everyone he comes across, especially me.  I read his blogs often and found that he ran a race similar to Spartan.  When I asked him about it, I was hooked and once I did one race, well let’s put it this way, I have at least 5 scheduled next year…

Q. What was going through your head the night before the race?
                What wasn’t going through my head should be the question.  I had MANY fears and I was very anxious.  Did I train enough?  Will I be able to do this?  What if I fall in the fire? Will I hold my team back?  How many burpee’s will I have to do? (for every obstacle that you fail you have to do 30 burpee's) And of course my 7 year old questioned if his dad could even do it…

Q. In order to compete you have to be in really good shape, how did you train for the race and when did you start?
                I guess I trained for 6 months before the race. I did the Insanity workout, which is by Beachbody. After Insanity I started training at LA Fitness.  I took their cardio boot camp class, cardio boxing, cardio kickboxing, and spinning. I worked out at least 4 days a week.

Q. Why do you do it?
                For the reason it says on my Spartan shirt, “You’ll know at the finish line”
The thrill, the anticipation, the camaraderie, the accomplishment, etc… 

Q. Is anyone really hurt in these races? It seems like you’d be pulling bodies out of there left and right. Did you see anyone go down?
                Oh yeah, people get hurt and people get taken away on stretchers. Some people needed others to carry them over the finish line after the last few extreme obstacles.  The only person I saw go down was me when the side of my head went into a tree stump.

Q. What was the best obstacle at the Palmerton race 9/10/2011?
                The best obstacle hands down was the slip n slide. It was supposedly the first time this obstacle was used and man was it awesome!! After climbing up that ENTIRE Mountain and battling extreme obstacles in the sun, an adult water slide was accepted with open arms.  The slide however dumped you off in the cold muddy pond, but again, it was all welcomed …

Q. What was the absolute worst?
                I won’t answer this question as the “worst” because I loved them all, but the hardest was easily the rock carrying. If it wasn’t bad enough that we are walking up a mountain, Spartan allowed us to walk a part of it with a 5 gallon bucket filled with stones.  This task alone took quite a while and there were times that I felt like I could not go any further, but complete strangers would come up next to you and inspire you to keep going. I never ran into one person who was rude, mean, or thought they were better than everyone else. EVERYONE knew how tough this was and you could hear people all over the course pushing others to keep going.

Q. I heard that they trucked in cow manure for certain sections of the run, is that true? I mean, you would know, right?
                This is a funny question. I never heard that from anyone until after the race, but I can tell you that when we got to the barbed wire section we smelled something you won’t find in a Yankee Candle store… Many people, including myself got stuck in it and had to have people help us out of it. What they did was, to get to the barbed wire section, you had to go through about 20 yards of the suspected “manure” and it was about 2 feet deep

Q. We had a lot of rain three days before the race; did that make things a mess there?
                I was surprised that the rain did not really make it much worse, however, the guys standing on the side nailing you with fire hoses sure made things messy.

Q. Do you have any tips for us “wanna be” Spartans that are on the fence about signing up?
                If you want to do it, just do it. No excuses. You have plenty of time to train. Go onto youtube and watch Spartan videos. I must have watched hundreds of them. It completely consumed me.  The next Spartan race is July 14th and 15th at Blue Mountain again.  That is plenty of time to train.  Train hard and train right.

Q. Do race volunteers really beat your ass and bang you around when you’re headed for the finish line?
                They sure do and that was what I looked forward to the most.  From watching all amateur videos I found that if you look timid while approaching them they will just tap you, but if you do what we did and waited until our team was ready and storm them like we are going to battle, then yes, expect to get drilled by all of them…

Q. You shot a lot of great video and thanks for letting us use it here at CacheCrazy. Was this race more of an event that you could just hang out and have fun at even if you’re not nuts and racing?
                Absolutely! We had people there watching us that did not run. They just had to see it for themselves.  The atmosphere there is awesome. Food, beer, music, and some interesting people watching, and it’s all outside just for the price of parking.

Q. It looks like you had a boat load of Spartans with you at the Palmerton race; do you want to give a shout out to them here?

Brian leads the charge to the finish line!
I wouldn't mess with any of these guys!

Q. So, when is the next race and would you do it again?
Our team is taking the Spartan Challenge to compete and complete the following to become "The Ultimate Spartan"
  • ·         Spartan Sprint –  4.5 mile run in Palmerton, PA – June 15th
  • ·         Super Spartan – 7 mile run in New York – Sept 9th
  • ·         Spartan Beast - 12 mile run in Vermont - Home of the Spartan! - Sept 29th

Brian says in email yesterday - "I have just been added to the Spartan Race Street team and can now offer a code to that anyone can enter to save $10.00 on the next race" Another step towards his commitment to this sport. So, now that Brian Spartan is part of the Street Team he will be knocking on your door and "motivating" you any way he has to to get you in shape and keep you in shape for you're next race. 

Wow Brian, great stuff man and congratulations to you and your team for competing and finishing such a race and all the best with your teams goal to achieve Ultimate Spartan .
Thanks for sharing your experience with us and making me feel like a total whimp, lol!
If you would like to learn more about the Spartan Race check it out here. For now, I think I better train a little more but you just never know when you'll see good old Bloodhounded leaping over the firewall, crawling under barb wire and ucking it up with the young hounds on my way to the finish line, how about you, are you Spartan Tough?

Interesting similarities of 
Spartan Race Runners and Geocachers

  • Spartan Runners name themselves with a racing handle and geocachers do the same
  • A Spartan must know his/her limits as well as a geocacher
  • Spartan races are leveled up in difficulty and terrain, sound familiar?
  • There is a definite tie to fitness and wellness
  • All Spartans are thrill seekers and Geocachers are too
  • There is a sense of fraternity much like the geocaching community
  • And in many cases, we're all nuts! 
I can see it now, a Spartan Race where you have to complete the physical challenges AND finds stages to a geocache along the way. This is very much reminding me of A Walk Into Darkness, lol!

Whatever you do, wherever you do it and why is up to you! The most important thing is you are out in the great outdoors, living your life and just making the most of it!
Live it up, have fun and cache crazy!


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

LOL - that is awesome! I've never heard of the Spartan Race. That would be fun just to go watch. Great idea for a post. Oh, by the way, will you be participating in the race next year Kevin?? Fun post!

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