Race Camaraderie

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Despite all its pettiness, greed, and selfish indulgence the human race still surprises me from time to time. I am always humbled by random acts of kindness and selfless generosity from strangers and this weekend’s Spartan Race in Georgia did not disappoint. While the event was filled with its fair share of cocky young assholes and jerks I still found myself impressed by the camaraderie and spirit displayed by some of the course. That many would sacrifice faster times and finishing spots to help random strangers to complete obstacles speaks to the heart of someone’s character and personality.

 
I am a very fit individual and though the course was not difficult to me it was still challenging and by the finish I was grateful to find warm clothes, food, and somewhere to sit. I had helped my girlfriend and friend through many of the obstacles and was glad to see them both finish heads held high and proud to be with them. Along the way there were many people helping each other out; giving a boost to get over walls, a hand to free tangled shirts from barbed wire or just to steady a wobbly body in the two water crossings. In fact with all the great people I encountered throughout the 5 mile course I feel confident in saying that there is no reason why anyone couldn’t finish the race if they were determined and vowed to never give up. Even the volunteers working the different locations were more than willing to assist those who were truly struggling.

 
That being said I think it also deserves a minute to address some of the other people I noticed at this event. First let me say this, some of you need to stop being such pussies. There I said it. I can only guess that many of those who registered for this event thought it would be a joke; a few miles of scenery with some mud and laughs along the way. They quickly got a reality check that’s for sure.

 
It is apparent to me from some of the behavior I witnessed at the bag check tent that many people today have no concept of hardship and have never been tested a day in their lives. Run them through a 5 mile obstacle course and they turn into whiney, crying, babies. The truly pathetic aspect of this is that most of those I witnessed acting so childish were men, big guys, with chiseled physiques and sculpted muscles that while pretty had obviously not been built with functional strength in mind.

 
At the sand bag carry I saw petite women no more than five feet tall and barely a hundred pounds hoisting those things on their shoulders and soldiering up that hill without a complaint. Meanwhile so-called grown men huffed and puffed like teenage drama queens. Really, this is today’s modern man; a whiny, sniveling mommy’s boy? The only thing more shameful than this was the way the same guys would run right by those same women at the walls.

 
Here’s a tip young studs if you really want to impress women try a little selfless humility and generosity next time. It’s not like you really had any chance of winning, I mean hell you can’t even pull a rope hooked to a bucket over a pulley. Here’s a little nugget of information for you from physics. At most those buckets weighed 80lbs, run that over a pulley and you literally half that number. That’s right big boys you got your ass kicked by forty pounds of effort!

 
That routine would repeat itself at every obstacle along the course. Young college aged guys; running without shirts blowing by people only to fail obstacles then flounder through Burpees flailing about like wounded giraffes. I was not amused. The current state of manhood in America disturbs me and that’s putting it lightly.

 
Moving past this though, I have to tip my hat to all those Saturday who ran their own race and never gave up. You all were truly inspiring and motivating. I’ll never forget the one really big guy I saw on the trail. He was having a hard time, and said he was okay when asked if he needed a hand, but he soldiered on and finished the course. Later I saw him at the bag check and the smile on his face was from ear to ear. That’s the image they need to capture and advertise. That guy’s life was changed forever and I was privileged to witness it.

 
The event was well run all in all and I can’t wait until my next race in Indiana. I look forward to meeting more great people and witnessing their triumphs. I also look forward to skunking more college guys and showing them how a man gets it done. I know I am just as arrogant as many of them, just as cocky, and flamboyant. But I’d rather finish knowing I had fun and helped other do the same. I had my glory days and made my mark years ago. Today I care more for the journey not the finish, and the 2 hours on the track are more vibrant in my mind then the seconds I crossed that finish line.

One Comment Add yours

  1. James Horgan says:

    As always this blog cuts to the heart of the matter. And it is indicative of todays modern male: All E-go but no “Go”. Mommas boy although this maybe an antiquated phrase its correct. “We are a nation of men raised by women” (nothing against women, ladies, simply a quote) There is no more “work” in the workout. Shoot try getting them to “work” at all. So you go to the gym, and the club, and what ever else you do. For what so you can look at yourself, or get other men to look at you while your attempting to impress women? The true mark of character, the real essence of a person is doing something for someone else without reward. Helping someone because its the right thing to do. Fortunately I see that aspect all the time at OCRs and it carries me for months. It is to the point I don’t even see the self centered individuals any more. I see people over coming fear, over coming physical hardship, mental hardship. I read about people who have spent years in private hell’s of isolation or bullying or self image and health issues. For one day they come out and they beat all the obstacles set in front of them. Along the way they meet strangers who put out a hand to help them, something they may not ever see in their life except at that race. It restores their faith, it invigorates their soul. It gives them reason to improve if only to run another race. At an OCR a helping hand is never a “hand out” its always a hand-up. It costs you nothing and the reward is immeasurable! Remember this the next time your running, the person struggling at the wall could be you.

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