Breckenridge was a race to train for months in advance. A course designed by EFFNorm on top of a mountain that reaches 13,000 feet in elevation. A true Spartan is up for the challenge and desires the test of this type of course. Shortly into the new season the Breckenridge Sprint was placed on the list of courses to be filmed. A month prior to the race a call for female Spartans was sent out on Facebook. Spartan was looking for women who race to escape or overcome challenges they face in everyday life. Women who race because they can persevere over obesity, disease, divorce, and abuse. These women are, The Spartan Queens.
Carrie, overcame obesity and kills it on the course. “My husband was active duty military and we lived in Germany for a total of 9 years. The German word for plus-sized clothing is “uber-grossen Damen moden.” Every time I went to shop I saw “uber-gross.” I used to be 325 lbs.”
WOR: What were your thoughts when you found out you were chosen to be filmed in Breckenridge?
Carrie: When I was chosen as one of the women to be interviewed I had no idea what to expect. I had done 5 Spartans before Breckenridge so I knew I would need help. What I didn’t know was that I would love giving it so much too.
WOR: How do you see yourself as an athlete?
Carrie: As I proceed it’s a constant battle to see myself as fit. I still instinctively go for the “uber-grossen” woman. I now try to realize that I am fit. I am worth it.
Cassidy has lupus but her athleticism shows that won’t ever hold her back. Since Breckenridge she has completed her third trifecta and ran an Ultra Ragnar in Colorado covering 42.4 miles. “My body hurts, but I proved that you don’t have to be a speed demon in order to compete.”
WOR: Why did you choose to participate in the filming?
Cassidy: I did the filming because I wanted to help inspire other women. It isn’t always easy to have the courage and go out and push your limits. It takes that push and I want to help create that push for other women.
Rachel, Breckenridge was her second Spartan Race and the most challenging for her. She is all heart!
WOR: What was it like meeting the other girls?
Rachel: I walked down to the lobby of the hotel with my best friend, saw the group of ladies and told my friend, “Let’s go, I don’t want to do this. I am not on their level.” She said, “Nope, get over there introduce yourself. You deserve this and you are on their level.” She pushed me; I finally introduced myself and far from my expectations they all welcomed me in. I was so relieved, and after about 5 minutes I knew we had established a trust. No one was getting left behind! I lost track for a moment, I let my insecurities get in the way. I’m human, that’s why we have friends right? To guide us when we aren’t thinking straight.
No one was left behind and Rachel was well supported throughout the race and in the end it was Rachel’s race. It was her time to shine and take us along on her journey which humbled each and every one of us.
Chris (Mamma Bear), a 47 year old with lupus and colitis.
After the race I was walking with her and her husband and I called her Mamma Bear. They both looked at each other and smiled. Chris instantly laughed and told me that everyone calls her that. She is so nurturing and loving to everyone.
WOR: What were your thoughts as you were going to meet with the other ladies before the race?
Chris: I was so nervous leading up to the meet and greet. I had no idea what to expect. Are these ladies going to kick my ass? Think I am too old? Leave me behind? I know I am a strong competitor, but what if I wasn’t good enough? What if my bad knees crapped out? What if I got diarrhea? OMG, I was so nervous.
WOR: What have you been up to since Breckenridge?
Chris: Since Breckenridge I have continued to compete in elite with the intent on trying to win my age group for the Canadian series. I visited one of my orthopedic physicians after Breckenridge and quizzed him about a knee replacement I will need in the future. He told me that once I have the knee replacement there is no more obstacle racing. Well, I decided then and there that it will have to wait at least another 13 years, until I am 60. Racing means too much and I am not going to willingly give it up. That means I need to get stronger. I need to work harder to get my body to last longer. I need to be smart about how I train and compete.
Jodie: Has overcome obesity and looks amazingly fabulous!
WOR: Why did you apply to be filmed?
Jodie: When I was first approached about taking part in the filming, I was excited but also very apprehensive. I didn’t think that America would take much interest in watching a chubby girl huff and puff her way through a Spartan Race. I realized, though, that I could set a standard for other women in the same position as myself. I think my story speaks to women who don’t yet know that they can do this too. An average mom on the couch whose weight has crept up over the years does not always relate to the shredded elite athlete that is often the spokesperson for this sport. I’m a normal mom and wife; I work full time and train my butt off. Other moms can too. I want people to know that, and they can only know if I show them it is possible.
WOR: How do you see yourself as an athlete?
Jodie: If ever there was someone without an athletic bone in her body, I am her. I tried various sports growing up but in the end I was always more artistic than physical. I thought that athletic ability was something one could be born with. Once I began losing weight, I learned that “athletic ability” has a lot to do with training. It’s more about teaching your body to perform than having some natural and inherent genetic gifts. To this day, even though I spend countless hours a week in training and even more hours calibrating my nutritional plan, it’s still difficult to see myself as an athlete.
Lacey: A killer athlete who has overcome so much in her life. She is someone who demonstrates tremendous strength on a daily basis.
Sam: Divorce is not an easy process. It is something that once it’s done it is still an obstacle that challenges you for many years after, especially when kids are involved. I am not an advocate for divorce, but sometimes it’s for the best. I chose to do the filming because I know that many racers have found obstacle racing as a great escape from their daily lives especially when you have had your world turned upside down from that horrible thing called divorce. It seems like almost half of the racers I have become close with have or are experiencing it. When I spoke to the producer I stated, my story is not profound, but it’s relatable. I have found that obstacle racing makes me feel strong and confident. I rarely ever feel that way, but when I finish a Spartan Race, that’s the feeling I get. During my marriage, the separation and finally the actually divorce my self-esteem was so low. Not anymore! Hopefully others will find obstacle racing as a positive confidence building outlet, like I have.
Since Breckenridge all of the Spartan Queens have kept in touch and share accomplishments, struggles, and help motivate one another. We truly feel that we have made lifelong friendships amongst this group just the same as so many other Spartans who have chosen to race together as a team. Each individual Spartan Queen has different goals than one another when it comes to racing, but at the end of the day we have one thing in common, we all have a story and a reason as to why we race. Not one story has more meaning over another, not one of us feels more accomplished than the others, and we all know that on the course…. elite or not, skinny or not, married or not, with a perfect body free from disease or not, all of us are athletes. To all the Spartan Queens out there, show the world that women and men can race together, lift logs together, and inspire one another to great heights because there are no women more powerful than the Women of Obstacle Racing.
****A special thanks to the producer Ian for providing these wonderful pictures and just being a really cool guy. Thanks to the film crew who were incredibly fun, motivating, and really helped keep us going with smiles on our faces. Especially that one camera guy who I made climb back down the mountain to take extra pictures of me in the snow because I thought a barb crawl up the side of a mountain in the snow was totally epic. Thanks!!!