Ever since I learned about Spartan Races, I knew about the Junior Spartan Race. It was something I’m sensitive to, as a Daddy to seven. Anything related to kids or family is caught by my eye, no matter how peripheral that thing may be. As soon as I learned about it, I told my wife and kids. Four of my little ones qualified to run in the Junior Spartans, age-wise, so I was anxious to get them registered. My wife, the Voice of Reason, told me to check it out after my first race and see what’s involved.
After I finished my PA Spartan Sprint (and finally came down off of my adrenal high), I went to watch the kids’ race. I also chatted about it with my trainer, and friend, John Sales of Hate Mentality Training, who occasionally volunteers with Spartan Races to help during the Junior Spartans. I got it all figured out, methinks, and I head off for the 4.5 hour drive home.
Fast forward a few weeks…
Our Maine vacation is coming up soon, or, as we’ve come to call it, our “RACE-cation“. The kids are excited. I’m excited. My wife is excited (this is her first trip to any part of New England, and she’s been dying to get to Maine since forever). This is going to be great!
Now, I’m kind of an over-the-top kinda guy — no pulling punches here — so, I designed and had made up some shirts for the kids to wear, as well as a team name. They became my “New Warriors” — named in part because of their age and in keeping with the theme of Spartan Races, and in part after my favorite teen comic book heroes from the 90s.
I let Kai-Le, my 7yr old, decide which color shirts to go with — she selected the orange as her first, and only, choice. I think she did a good job, there (see below).
I ran the Hurricane Heat that morning, and then had an 11:15am takeoff for the Spartan Sprint. My only goal that day was to finish with enough time left to see my kids launch out for their heat. They were scheduled for a 12:50pm start time — that gave me well over an hour to finish my race and get over to watch my babies in their first-ever Junior Spartan Race! Piece of cake, and I can’t wait!! So proud of my little monkeys!
Building up to all of this, we trained together. The kids (6, 7, and 8yrs old) worked hard on their running, finishing every 1/2 mile run we planned together, often with a really solid time. They even pushed through small stitches in their side as they cramped a little. I have me some determined little Spartans in Training!
In the backyard, we did animal movement workouts, and I often came up from work to find them in the back dragging a 40# tractor sled, working the monkey bars, or climbing the 12′ rope we have (complete with cowbell hung at the top). What a great bunch! I think they’re ready!
Race time is upon us. I’m finished with my race, and have more than a half-hour to spare. I help my wife get the troops together and over to the Kids Zone, and lined up inside the gates. The time arrives.
AND THEY’RE OFF!
At first, the trio stays together up and over the hay bale pyramid, but then we hit the base of the mountain and my son (6) explodes uphill. I hung back with his sisters, but kept an eye on him as best I could. He was clearly pumped up!
They hit the “barbed wire” mud crawl. I lost the boy completely. I knew he was fine, and safe, but I was hoping to catch more glimpses of him trucking along…! The girls breeze through the mud crawl. I’m impressed! Then, they launch up and over the first A-frame climb, and then the second, and then the O-U-T Walls (Over, Under, Through), and they keep on burnin’ downhill as fast as they can, over the spider-net crawl, under the netted tunnel crawl, and then crab-walking down the steep descents (that was the rule), and off into the finish! My 8yr old daughter kicked on the afterburners once she hit the base of the mountain and into the flat finish!
At one point, I turned around and realized that my son was *behind* the girls — apparently, he got caught behind some slower kids on the mud crawl and couldn’t get around them. Poor dude! I gotta teach him to be “kindly-aggressive” for the next one. Ah, well…
They all finish. They all loved it. They all begged to go run it again!
Next time, little warriors. Next time.
New Warriors have been forged.
This has been a Proud Daddy production.