By Walt Johnson | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fort Carson Training Area 4 became a playground for thousands of Soldiers, military members, Family members and civilians who took part in the annual Spartan Race July 13 and 14, 2019.
The Super and Sprint Weekend events, along with children’s events both days, brought many athletes to the post to test their mental and physical capabilities over a challenging course. The Super event saw the competitors battling against more than 25 obstacles over 8 miles of rugged terrain July 13, 2019. The Sprint, the shortest of the Spartan races, with more than 20 obstacles over 3 miles was run July 14, 2019, with many first timers participating. Both days had kids’ races for ages 14 and younger, with the option of a 1- or 2-mile obstacle course that saw many future Spartan participants testing their skills.
One of the interesting aspects of the race was watching the athletes prepare to tackle the course. Many people shared stories with veteran runners while others displayed nervous energy about the unknown course and obstacles they would face. As the athletes approached the starting line they were high-fiving as they waited to get out on the course. The clean outfits and bright smiles would be put to the test each day as they navigated the course, some smiles fading more quickly than others.
July 13, 2019, was as hot as its been in Colorado Springs this year and many of the athletes that finished the race said the sun and heat presented as much of a challenge as the obstacles and the course. Many athletes did not finish the race in the time they expected because of the energy-draining heat and difficulty of the course, according to Josefina Taijeron, Waller Fitness Center manager.
Athletes competed as both individuals and teams each day. One team consisted of Marines from Chicago.
“We bring veterans and wounded warriors out to events like this because we want our veterans to understand how valuable it is to keep moving and stay active,” said Kyle Cage, a member of the group.
Many Fort Carson Soldiers and Family members were competing for the first time. Veterans like Taijeron know how challenging the course can be, but the first timers who tackled the challenge of the Spartan Race couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. One of those athletes, Damilare Thomas, didn’t commit to the event until Friday after a workout at McKibben Fitness Center. Thomas said he is a bodybuilder who wanted to do the race for its cardio benefit.
“It really wasn’t that bad, but I was happy to see the finish line because everything about this was very challenging. Friday, I went to work out at McKibben, and I asked Kay (Jones, McKibben staff member and Spartan trainer) about the race. She told me about it, and I told her I would be interested in doing a Spartan race one day. I didn’t realize it would be today’s race,” Thomas said.
Another group of Soldiers, Alexander Stevens, Chris Simon, Eric Chavez and Linoshka Castellano, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, competed together, each competing in the event for the first time. Chavez said the race was as challenging as he thought it would be. “One of the things that I got from this race today is it definitely makes you attack your fears, and it will help you get over those fears,” said Chavez. “Some of the obstacles I thought would give me a difficult time weren’t as bad as I thought it would be, and, on the other hand, some of the things I thought would be easy turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought. I learned one thing from this experience — if you put your mind to it, there isn’t anything you really can’t do.”