Spartan Race Experience: A Rookie and Trifecta Perspective

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Spartan Race Experience: A Rookie and Trifecta Perspective

I often wondered about the insight of Spartan Race from a newbie versus a seasoned competitor perspective, and while I was in Boston for the Spartan Sprint I met two such individuals. Rebecca Jackson, a Boston, Mass. native and college student, had the desire to compete in a challenge race for years, but kept putting it off due to lack of money and time. She signed up for the Spartan Race at Fenway Park a week before so that she didn’t have time to change her mind. On the other hand, Marc Cooperstein, from Neptune City, NJ, has been participating in Spartan Races since 2010. He completed 36 Spartan Races in 2015 up to the date I interviewed him. His final Spartan Race for 2015 will be a Beast on November 14 in South Carolina, at which point he’ll earn his ninth Trifecta this year!

The Spartan Race was a personal goal for Jackson. “My dad was a tri-athlete and I have always wanted to challenge myself with something like that,” said Jackson. She competed in a couple of 5Ks in the past seven years, but she was always fascinated by challenge racing and wanted to prove to herself that she could do one. Diversely, Cooperstein participates in Spartan races because he loves meeting new people and assisting them. “I’ll stay at a Wall Jump obstacle for 10-15 minutes helping people who are struggling over and over again,” said Cooperstein. “I like to take it slow. I’m not a runner. I have asthma. Every race I participate in I strive to get beyond my difficulty running.”

Jackson’s favorite Spartan obstacle was the Monkey Bars. “I was a gymnast for 10 years, so even though that challenge may have been difficult for others, it was second nature to me. I found it fun!” said Jackson. Her least favorite Spartan obstacle was the Hercules Hoist, which entails pulling a rope with a 75 lb. sandbag attached. “It was the most difficult obstacle and definitely the one that took me the longest to complete,” said Jackson. The Inverted Wall is Cooperstein’s favorite because so many people are intimidated by it. “For me, the way I tackle it makes sense. Get your belly up and lean over. I nail it every single time I do a race,” said Cooperstein. His least favorite Spartan obstacle is the Rope Climb over water pit. “It’s impossible for me to get up because it’s wet, muddy and slippery. I’ve gotten very close, but I haven’t rung the bell yet,” said Cooperstein.

So what’s next for these two Spartans? “This was my first challenge race, but it definitely won’t be my last!” said Jackson. “I set a goal to complete a Spartan Trifecta in 2016. I definitely have some training ahead of me, but doing the Sprint this year lit a fire under me!” Cooperstein likes collecting the medals from all the different areas. “The medal for the Montana Beast is a different design from the Vermont Beast – each medal is unique to the location it’s from,” said Cooperstein. He completed 145 Spartan Races to-date since his first one in 2010, 43 of which are from this year alone. Cooperstein’s goal in 2016 is to complete a Spartan Race in every state he’s never been to before and keep accumulating the distinct medals. Jackson and Cooperstein are truly as Spartans say “unstoppable”!

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