we are spartan

This year, my parents and I put in a lot of hard work, personally and professionally. We have been blessed with the good fortune to accomplish our big goals with the support of amazing family, friends, and employees who helped make it possible. One of my favorite memories of this past year was seeing my parents’ hard work in training pay off in completing some very difficult obstacle course races. They took on an incredible challenge (absolutely no pressure from me, mind you) and succeeded beautifully in completing the Spartan Trifecta!

By Kyle Murray

Finding the Motivation

spartan fayetteville super 2017

My friends and I, post-race at the Spartan Fayetteville Super in 2017

I found my current favorite hobby back in 2017. A group of my friends and I from my gym thought it’d be fun to run the Spartan Super in Fayetteville. We finished and for them, one race was enough.

But, I was hooked.

I completed my first Spartan Trifecta in 2018.

What is a Spartan Race? What is Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)?

Spartan is the largest company to offer obstacle course races, though there are many others that operate in the United States and abroad. In 2019, Spartan Race hosted over 200 events in 42 countries.

Obstacle course racing combines endurance running with obstacles that test your strength, speed, and dexterity. Many of them take inspiration from military obstacle courses.

Monkey bars, barbed wire crawls, jumping over walls. All the fun stuff you did as a kid…you can do it as an adult!

Fail to do any of the obstacles on your first try (though beginners in the Open bracket often make multiple attempts despite the rules), you must then complete 30 burpees.

So, while having good endurance is very important in an obstacle race, lacking the strength and/or skill to complete obstacles will make your day a lot longer than you probably would like.

To earn a Spartan Trifecta, you must complete one of each of the following in a calendar year:

  • Sprint: 3-5 miles (5K starting in 2020) and 20 obstacles
  • Super 8-10 miles (10K starting in 2020) and 25 obstacles
  • Beast: Half Marathon and 30 obstacles
spartan trifecta

Your medal includes a small piece that connects with two pieces from the other races.

I ran the Spartan Carolinas Ultra in 2018 and it motivated Gina (who spectated and provided support, thanks again and love you, Mom) to establish a new morning fitness routine.

camp gladiator 2019

Tim and Gina with their CG class, December 2019

She was able to convince Tim to join her in signing up for Camp Gladiator. Also known colloquially as ‘CG’, Camp Gladiator is an outdoor group fitness program that incorporates cardio and strength elements into 60 minute workout sessions.

One of the core principles of Aware Senior Care is the concept of living well. A well-balanced life of hard work (professionally and physically) and time for rest/recovery significantly provide better outcomes as we age.

My parents saw the importance of incorporating this into their lives to demonstrate that it wasn’t just a nice-sounding suggestion for other people.

After all, being able to play with your grandchildren without the fear of physical limitations makes those memories even more special.

Attending CG consistently was intended to serve a larger goal for 2019: Completing a Spartan Sprint in Concord, NC in April. This also became Tim’s goal, unbeknownst to him at the time.

Additionally, the weekend of the Spartan Sprint was also his birthday weekend! 

Spartan Trifecta Part One: Charlotte Sprint

gina kyle tim before spartan charlotte sprint

The Murrays just prior to race start at the 2019 Charlotte Sprint

“Happy Birthday, Dad! Time to run five miles in thick mud and complete 20 obstacles!” 

I ran the race with my parents and acted as a guide through the various obstacles we encountered.

It was a muddy mess after it had rained for a week at the venue prior to the race (though, thankfully, it only drizzled the day of the race). Rain means extra muddy course.

Which means muddy obstacles.

Which means more burpees.

Which means more “Ouch.”

It was a tough slog with all the mud from the rain. But, my parents and I saw it through. Plus, you do get a free beer at the finish line. It’s the little things.

spartan sprint charlotte 2019

Spartan Trifecta Part Two: Fayetteville Super (Spring Lake, NC)

Murrays Pre Race Fayetteville

Fayetteville provided much better conditions than Charlotte. Though it was in the middle of the Summer, the temperature and humidity come race day were cooler than anticipated. 

It was overcast but didn’t rain. Which meant despite the longer race (8-10 miles vs. 4-5 in Charlotte), the obstacles wouldn’t be a muddy mess and amplify their difficulty. 

The course at McCormick Farms is relatively flat as well. It’s a great starter course for beginners.

I ran solo for this race while my parents stuck together.

How did they do? I’ll let them tell you:

Completing the Spartan Trifecta: The West Virginia Beast (Glen Jean, WVA)

Murrays Pre Race West Virginia

This course was no joke. We certainly saved the “best” for last! The venue, The Summit at Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia is home to the National Scout Jamboree for the Boy Scouts of America.

The scenery is breathtaking and the weather was perfect. Cooler temperatures and overcast in the sky (without rain) were a welcome change from the extremely hot and humid days in North Carolina during the 2019 summer.

Hill Climb Spartan WVA

One of several steep climbs on the Spartan West Virginia Beast course.

The course was packed with rolling terrain, steep hill climbs, and featured 38 obstacles. Including a lengthy swim (don’t worry, life preservers are mandatory for swims)!

My favorite memory of 2019 was seeing my parents running down the final stretch to complete this extremely challenging course. It did a number on them. They were tired, exhausted from the relentless hills (over 5000 feet of elevation gain!) and burpees after obstacles.

But, they found the strength to keep mustering on and they did it. They completed the Spartan Trifecta, hand in hand.

Tim and Gina – Spartan Trifecta Tribe Members in 2019

spartan trifecta 2019 complete

I’m extremely proud of my parents for taking on this challenge. The races were definitely challenging. But, it goes beyond that.

They trained for these races in early morning fitness classes that put them through the ringer. Cold weather, rain, hot weather. They showed up and stayed committed, knowing it would help them achieve their goal.

They managed this steady and consistent training while running a successful, award-winning business that puts people (families, caregivers, and employees) first. While also being amazing parents and grandparents.

You are truly the embodiment of living well! Congratulations to you both! I love you very much.