“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like.” –Thoreau
Many have asked me in this biog what the Spartan Death Race is.
"Is it a race? What is the mileage? When does it end and when does it begin."
The answer is: its not a race. There are no answers.
It was created by some endurance athletes who thought an Ironman and Ultra Marathon were just too easy. With those races, you have aid stations, know what to expect and how to train. Anyone who is willing to train can complete those races, despite the challenge.
The Death Race creators decided to design an event you can't train for: one that has no aid stations, and during which you have to carry all your gear, adapt and overcome adversity.
That's what the Death Race is.
It has been called the world's most punishing and grueling test. It took me to a place spiritually, emotionally and physically that I never even dreamed existed. Here is an account of last year's race written by my friend, Carrie Adams.
"Rain broke through the thick overhead branches of the mountainside forest and the steep, gnarly trail was overrun with mud. Run-off plummeted down the rocks making every step unsure and dangerous. Shielding my eyes from the rain, I looked skyward and sighed. Eighteen hours into the race, we hadn’t yet reached the halfway point of the trail up to Roger’s Farm for the next task. Serving as crew for a few friends, I had ventured out on the course and was experiencing firsthand the level of difficulty the racers were enduring. I was beginning to wonder if we’d get out and back before dark.
Blazing out of the dark woods below us in what became a trademark red bandanna came Grace Cuomo Durfee, who would ultimately get a fourth-place overall finish. She was just one of four women to
complete the grueling challenge. As she returned from the checkpoint, she graciously offered, “Not too much farther guys. It’s steep,” before charging up. It was hard to understand how much had happened in the past 18 hours and how much lay ahead of the racers in the 2011 Spartan Death Race.
On June 24, 2011 the small town of Pittsfield, VT was inundated with racers, their families and support crews for the legendary race. Religion served as the race’s theme. A meeting was set for 5:30 PM at a local church.
Religion seemed fitting. The setting was biblical. The skies were dark and ominous. Fog rolled off the mountain peaks — beautiful but telling. It was cold in the mountains. Thunder rolled, and the rain clouds spit out large rain drops as racers congregated around the barn to check in and to huddle together to stay warm. Racers trudged into the church, some solemn and others boisterous, but all
awaiting instructions for what they were about to face.
The course for the race is ever-changing, but has a few trademarks. Amee Farm is ground zero and mountains on either side of the farm serve as grounds for the grueling death race tasks. This year, the main locations were the church, Amee Farm, Riverside Farm, Tweed Cabin, Borden’s, Roger’s and Colton’s Camp.
Says competitor John McEvoy:
“You can watch all the videos you like on the Internet, read every article, review
and biog about the Spartan Death Race, but you will honestly have no idea what it’s like unless you actually experience it. Looking back on what I had to do over a 24-hour period, it seems like a messed up dream, or, better yet, a nightmare.”
But, the Death Race has never been about dying.
“If you are willing to push your heart, body and mind to the limits you can experience moments of pure bliss, what it truly means to be alive.” –
Michele Roy (Death Racer, 2011)