In just ONE week, ONE day, and about EIGHT hours (at the publish of this post), weekend warriors, “elite” athletes, average Joe’s, young and old, new and experienced, and all of which will be hailing from near-and-far, will descend upon the Mississippi Gulf Coast to find out, or remember, exactly what it means to “know at the finish line.”
For the third year in a row, one of the top obstacle racing brands in the country, Spartan Race, will be coming to town. Many people don’t know the history behind how we got our very own Spartan Race way out in little ole’ Mississippi–a state often percieved by the rest of the country as the “fattest,” poorest, and least-educated in the nation.
It’s a shame that very few people participating in today’s Mississippi Spartan race have little idea of the 2011-2012 effort and battle fought by a small, motley group of people who had a crazy idea that our area could support an event the magnitude and high production-value as a Spartan Race. Amy Sadd, Max Burge, and David Tromblay, folks who no longer have anything to do with the race, were instrumental in the effort to convince Joe DeSena, the Spartan Race CEO and founder, that we were worth his time. That was before Reebok and Spartan Pro Teams, and all the other things that have made the Spartan world a little bit bigger. This was also a time when Norm Koch still designed many of the race courses, and he designed ours–complete with a suicide ditch start that crushed many a foot, ankle and leg that November day in 2012, at Red Creek Off Road. These days, Spartan Racers drool (or cry) at the chance to test themselves against a Norm Koch-designed Spartan course. And we had him all to ourselves that year.
Post-publish edit: I forgot this video of the 2012 start existed. You don’t want to miss the carnage:
An even further shame? Local tourism and news agencies don’t make a bigger deal out of this event. This is a huge boon to our local retail, hotel and restaurant industry. As mentioned, people come from far away to participate in these races. When they get here, they need to buy things like gas, food, and places to sleep. Not to mention, they need to make trips to the local sporting goods stores and grocery chain for last minute race items.
I don’t know how long we’ll get to keep this race in our area. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to see it come back this year. I say this because the Spartan Sprint distance (5 +/- miles, or so) is often rumored to be the most profitable distance and highest participant event type for the company. I’ve heard Sprint distances often average 10,000 racers. Unfortunately, last year, I heard our race was more along the lines of approximately 6,000 total.
Many other Spartan Sprints, located in more affluent, “skinnier,” and obviously (sarcasm) more-educated states and regions across the country, are two-day events that bring in thousands more racers, and consequently, tens-of-thousands more dollars than our little podunk Mississippi Spartan Race. Who knows? The 2014 Spartan Race Mississippi Sprint could be our last Spartan Race on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I hope not.
To make sure we keep Spartan Race, we need to have our voices heard that we want this race! Drag your friends and family to the race. If not to race, ask them to come watch. It is truly a unique and inspiring experience. I could watch people face and conquer, or fail, the rope climb all day.
If you haven’t registered, I have a 25% discount code: TRAINSPARTAN25. So, don’t wait! Friday, November 6, is the last day to sign up online. I have no idea if they accept race-day registrations. But, you could find out by going to their Web site: www.spartan.com.
I’m doing my part by encouraging my entire gym and all my friends to sign up. I’m also holding a “FREE community” training day and sharing all my obstacles and gym with anyone who wants to come and practice to gain some confidence. Check out the details on our Bandit CrossFit Facebook events page.
Stay tuned for my next post on what to bring with you so you can have a fun and hassle-free day at the Spartan Race.
In the meantime, check out this amazing group of people who conquered the 2013 Mississippi Spartan Race in the name of Team Bandit CrossFit!