Joe De Sena: The Original Spartan

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The Vermont Reebok Spartan at Killington Ski Resort was a Founders’ Race edition this year, which is a special version of the race more difficult than the regular Beast. “An experience you will NOT forget.” Who better to provide insight about it than Joe De Sena, the original Spartan and man behind the grueling weekend challenge that consisted of 13+ miles and 39+ obstacles.

When De Sena started the Spartan Race in 2010 he never imagined it would evolve into what it has — he did not plan on investing more than 50k that quickly went to all his friends and family as well. When I asked De Sena how he felt about Spartan becoming his legacy he said, “This would be an incredible legacy!”

De Sena grew up in Queens and then years later set down roots in Pittsfield, Vermont, which is where the Death Race began that eventually became known as the Spartan Race. Vermont appealed to De Sena because he hates traffic, he wanted a clean peaceful place to raise a family and the area is beautiful. It’s his favorite location of all the Spartan Races. On the flip side, if De Sena could pick any location in the world that a Spartan Race hasn’t been held yet, he would choose North Korea. De Sena said, “I believe with a Spartan Race in North Korea we can start to calm everyone down in the region.”

When I asked De Sena why this year was a Founders’ Race, without hesitation he said, “I just wanted to see what 50 obstacles looked like on the side of a mountain!” A few of the obstacles included log hurdles, walls of various kinds, tire drag, bucket brigade, atlas carry, barbed wire crawl and spear throw. Over the years, Spartan Race obstacles have been added and refined, but Joe’s favorite remains the spear throw because as he put it, “spear throw = burpee maker.”

His hope for the future of Spartan is that it will be in the Olympics in 2024. De Sena’s greatest reward as CEO and co-founder of the Spartan Race, besides its financial success, is being connected to helping people get healthy.

One great way he does this is by providing Spartan race participants with a daily subscription feed for free called Workout of the Day (WOD), which includes a different inspirational quote every day paired with suggested exercises. The purpose of the WOD is to inspire and motivate racers toward their goal(s). The best fitness advice De Sena ever received was “A workout a day keeps the Grim Reaper away!”

More than 5,500 racers descended upon Vermont to compete in the 2015 Beast, Sprint and Ultra Beast. Here are the some of the results…

Top five BEAST OPEN Racers Saturday, Sept. 19:
NAME                                            BIB    AGE    GENDER     TIME
1. Vincent Larochelle                   5241      31           M         3:46:22
2. Dakota Seiple                            7421      21           M        4:00:49
3. Nick Fitzsimmons                     3888      42           M       4:17:36
4. Jeffrey Hepp                              4575      26           M        4:17:53
5. Benjamin Rodkey                     7067      26           M        4:19:47

Top five BEAST ELITE Racers Saturday, Sept. 19:
NAME                                             BIB    AGE    GENDER    TIME
1. Jesse Bruce                                2691      34           M         3:28:05
2. Matthew Kempson                  9310      25           M         3:42:46
3. Junyong Pak                              8662      37           M         3:46:12
4. Ethan Nedeau                           6233      42           M        3:46:42
5. William Ferullo                         3849      30           M        3:47:32

Top five BEAST OPEN Racers Sunday, Sept. 20:
NAME                                              BIB    AGE    GENDER     TIME
1. Phillip Gandhi                            9962      24           M         4:00:05
2. Terri Moore                                9778      34           F          4:04:49
3. Rachel Beckmann                     9534      31           F           4:14:33
4. Jesse Aguilar                              12047    36           M         4:14:36
5. Olivier Loudig                            9198      43           M         4:19:15

Top five ULTRA BEAST OPEN Racers:
NAME                                              BIB    AGE    GENDER     TIME
1. Nathan Fry                                5765      31           M            9:08:49
2. Tom Kwon                                 7966      46          M           9:10:20
3. Kevin Salley                               6516       42          M           9:11:58
4. Jake Silverman                         7306       17           M           9:18:30
5. John Flynn                                 950        34           M           9:24:41

Top five SPRINT OPEN Racers:
NAME                                          BIB    AGE    GENDER     TIME
1. Tom Martin                           11981    25           M         1:18:36
2. Spenser Sawyer                    11543    16           M         1:18:53
3. Christian Avery                      10061    21           M         1:21:17
4. Abigail Serra                           11577    26           F          1:21:45
5. Trey Waversak                        11831    34           M        1:21:5

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