Spartan Death Race - 05/24/13
We will take a break from horse racing for a minute to focus on something a little different. When you think of cinder blocks and barbed wire, my guess would be that you're probably in prison. If not, those are just two of the ridiculous obstacles 'Spartans' have to overcome in an upcoming 'Death Race', June 21-23 in Vermont. These things look beyond my wildest dreams and my longtime friend Stu Klaas is going, start to finish.
Klaas has been training a long time for this event with intense workouts and other similar races mixed in along the way. He raises a lot of money for charity too. His team raises money for Wounded Wear, a clothing company to support our nation's veterans.
So why am I writing about this well the simple answer is that I do not want my friend to have to lift more weight at this insane race than necessary. Since he is a first-time Death Race runner, if he doesn't spread the word about this event his arms would most likely fall off his body. He would have to lift 50,000 extra pounds. Not all at once. Klaas is strong, but he is not that strong. It will be broken up into 30 to 50 deadlifts. Boulders and other obscure items will have to be picked up 1,000 times. Klaas will have five hours to do it. If he does not, he is eliminated from the race. So this article should spare him. But that sounds wild. Lift 50,000 pounds in five hours and then go do the race. That's a man's challenge if I have ever heard one.
The race is just one aspect though. The amount of charitable giving these runners do is more impressive than their will power and physical strength. When you see photos and videos of these 'Death Racers' doing their thing, everyone takes care of each other and no one is running just for themselves. It is the true definition of a team. My friend Stu will be making his way through the Capital Region tomorrow for a weekend of training in Vermont and then will head back later on in June for the Death Race.
I had a few question for Klaas as he prepares for this upcoming challenge.
The Chalk: How are you training for this event?
Klaas: Since there is a lot of guesswork as to exactly what we will be doing during the race you need to prepare for everything! Recently I have been doing CrossFit in order to help prepare my body for what might be in store. NEPA Crossfit in Wilkes-Barre has been helping me train to not only build explosive power, but to be able to handle the endurance. Another way I train is to run as many obstacle course races as possible. I have been traveling up and down the east coast trying to get as many races in as possible. This helps me get used to being in different terrain and battling the cold, wet, and muddy!
The Chalk: What do you think the most challenging part of this race is going to be?
Klaas: Having to be prepared for anything out there! Since the race could last over 48 hours I need to be able to carry food and water along with me. On top of the other gear I must bring to be ready for anything my pack could weigh up to 60 pounds! All that extra weight combined with the elevation of mountains in Vermont it is going to be a serious challenge. Sleep deprivation is another concern of mine. I have never tried staying awake that long and I just hope that the constant physical activity will help me forget that I am tired and I will fight through it.
The Chalk: What is your goal in this race being that only 15% of people have finished in the past?
Klaas: My ultimate goal is to finish the race. I will have my other teammates as well as a crew of at least three others to help get me back on the course no matter how much I want to quit. They are going to try and break us and make us want to quit, but mentally I want to be strong enough to power through that and do the best I can. The odds are definitely against me, but that just makes me want to be part of that 15% that finish and I will strive to do my best out there!
I want to wish him the best of luck.