I took part in one of the most difficult, fun, and rewarding challenges of my life. I competed in my first Spartan Race , and it was awesome! It took almost two years for this goal to be realized, but it was worth the wait.
I had been following Spartan’s work out of the day, watching their inspirational videos, and psyching myself up to take the next step and compete in an event for a long time. Injuries, calendar conflicts, and excuses kept this goal on the shelf, but my desire to compete only grew stronger.
I needed to do a Spartan Race for many reasons. For one, it would be homage to my Spartan ancestry. (My Mom’s family comes from Sparta, Greece, not Sparta, NJ) Secondly, I had to satisfy my curiosity about Spartan Races cryptic phrase, “you’ll know at the finish line.”
The day finally came when I had no conflicts in schedules, no injuries, and no good excuses. I took that next step and registered for a Spartan Super. I even convinced a friend to join me in this adventure. I considered myself to be fit and ready for the event. After all, I’ve run marathons and half marathons before, so how hard could an 8-mile run with 12 obstacles be? That cryptic phrase “you’ll know at the finish line” kept tugging at me. What would I learn ?
Those words proved prophetic. I did learn a lot of things when I crossed that fiery finish (literally, there was a pile of burning logs you had to jump over to complete the race). I learned that pain is temporary, challenge is necessary, preparation is vital, getting dirty is a lot of fun, the distance between quitting and victory can be very short, human beings are amazing, and we need each other.
I witnessed incredible feats of determination, bravery, selflessness, and compassion during the Spartan Race. I crossed the finish line feeling more optimistic about our collective future. I also felt a deeper kinship with my Spartan roots.
In the days following the race, I learned some more things which teachers and schools may find interesting and beneficial. After all, that is the real purpose of this blog.
Spartans mission is to get people of all ages off the couch and into a healthier lifestyle. Spartan even created specific events for children and teenagers. For the 4-8 year olds there is the Jr. Spartan Kids and for the 9-13 year olds there is the Varsity Spartan Kids. For more details on these events click here. To learn about a Spartan race from a child’s perspective, read this great article by Time For Kids Magazine reporter Abhinav Piplani. To see Spartan Kids in action, watch this YouTube video.
For teens 13 years old and older there is the Spartan Race High School Challenge. To read about the teen Spartan experience check out this blog post. To watch Spartan Teens in action and to hear from a high school principal and one of his students about their thoughts on the race check out this video. With all these options, Spartan has created unique opportunities for families, school age students and their teachers to train and compete in race events together.
Maybe after reading this blog and watching the motivational videos you are ready to sign up for a race and to tell your students and colleagues to do it with you? You might even get so encouraged by the experience that you want to take it to the next level and become a Spartan Coach. If you are a Physical Education teacher this certification program could be really interesting. Your school might even pay for it if you can show how it will benefit your teaching and your students learning. It could also be the case that you are certified personal trainer and a classroom teacher. If so, this program could also benefit you. If Spartan founder Joe DeSena gets his wish, you might be training future Olympic athletes.
Spartan Fundraising For Schools
Still need motivation to get you and your school to sign up for an event? How about raising money? Spartan has established a great way to raise money for your cause through a partnership with Crowdrise. This could be an amazing opportunity to raise money, promote a healthy lifestyle, strengthen your community, and to have a ton of fun! There may be some critics out there who will argue that school is about learning, not having fun in the mud. Don’t worry we got you covered.
Spartan Educational Ideas and Resources
Learning about the ancient world is a lot of fun. Learning about epic battles and heroic deeds is a passion for many school age children. Just look at all the battle themed video games kids of all ages play. Why not teach them about historically relevant warriors and the cultures that produced them? History, social studies, English, the arts, physical education, all of these subjects have the opportunity to bring in lessons from the ancient world of the Spartans. A great website to start your research on the world of the Spartans, is 300spartanwarriors.com. John Trikeriotis, a Greek scholar, created the site in an effort to teach students the true story of the legendary 300 Spartans and the history of ancient Greece. His site is loaded with information and teaching ideas for middle and high school age students. Also of interest for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers is this lesson plan from Discovery Education, comparing Athens and Sparta.
You’ll Know At The Finish Line
I hope you found this blog interesting and inspiring. I hope it gets you and your students interested enough that you sign up for an event and start training together. Let me know what you learn when you cross that finish line!
Thanks for reading and for sharing. You might want to catch up on the races and even watch them live on NBC Sports. As the Spartans say, “Aroo!”