The Road to Sparta: Hawaii’s Spartans prepare for big race

Imagine preparing for a race with obstacles you know little about, except that they’re sure to be tough. That pretty much sums up the wildly popular Reebok Spartan Race, which will make its Hawaii debut Saturday.

The race kicks off a season of themed exercise events, including The Color Run, Glow Hawaii Glow, Bad Prom 5K and the Warrior Dash.

The Spartan Race, a series of obstacle courses of various distances and difficulty levels, is making its way across the globe to benefit local charities. Those preparing for the race don’t have a clear picture of what to expect until they actually hit the course, as some obstacles are specific to the location’s terrain. Hawaii’s race will kick off at 8 a.m. at Kualoa Ranch.

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Athletes prepare for the Spartan Race at a recent Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.

We headed down to Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park recently to watch an official Spartan Race Hawaii WOD (workout of the day). The workouts involve a mixture of cardio and strength training in a circuit of 12 stations. Although designed to prepare Spartan Race participants, WODs being held at various locations around Oahu are free and open to the public.

It was there that we met Johnny Waite, international quality control manager of the Spartan Race. He says the overall goal of the event is “giving people the feeling of doing something incredible.”

When comparing the race to other themed exercise events, he doesn’t recommend one over the other. In fact, Waite says enthusiasts should try them all. When it comes to difficulty, though, the Spartan Race is the most challenging, he says.

Hawaii’s Spartans have the option of competing as individuals or as a team — and the same can be said for their training.

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John Akana, leader of the Papakolea Insanity Fitness Club, will be entering the Spartan Race with a team made up of mostly family members.

John Akana is a familiar face to being808 who is shining up his armor for the Spartan Race. A hip replacement surgery served as his wake-up call and the race is just one of the physical to-do’s on his list.

The leader of the Papakolea Insanity Fitness Club will be entering the event with a team comprised of mostly family members. When asked how the Akana ohana is preparing, he said they are using Insanity creator Shaun T’s new workout called Focus T25, a daily 25-minute workout.

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Jillian Campbell Scheibe

Another friendly Spartan face in the ranks at Kualoa Ranch will be that of Jillian Campbell Scheibe. Readers will know her from the healthy recipes she has shared with us over the past year. When asked why she’ll be taking the day off from her Health Rebel blog to participate in the race, she said, “The Spartan race is acting as a goal for me to work towards. I am hugely excited by fun, functional workout challenges, the kind where you’re yourself as a 5 year old again.” In true rebel fashion, she’ll be competing alone and is training for the race by doing a combination of spin, swimming, bodyweight classes and, of course, running.

Typically known for their appearance at the annual Warrior Dash, EC Fitness members will be temporarily trading in their horns for Spartan helmets. A 10-member team from the EC Fitness Warrior class will be entering the Spartan Race obstacle course. EC Fitness owner Eddie Clattenburg recently acquired a certification in Spartan Race training in order to properly prepare his class. The high-intensity group workout includes ladder drills, tire flips, medicine ball tosses and battle ropes.

Clattenburg shared his team’s motivation for competing:

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EC Fitness Warrior and local comedian Jason Pepper Lamb is jumping at the chance to become a Spartan for a day.

“The word is, the Spartan Race is the biggest, baddest obstacle race and we’re jumping to the challenge of trying something we’ve never done before. Think about it. If you can do those obstacles, what’s to stop you from working out every morning?”

One of the EC Fitness Warriors is local comedian Jason Pepper Lamb. When asked why he’s becoming a Spartan for a day, he said, “I’m a 36-year-old ex-athlete and I can’t go around hitting people anymore. This is the closest I can get.”

It is not confirmed whether or not EC Fitness will have their signature post-workout shakes waiting for them at the finish line.

After the mud dries and the medals are handed out, what’s next? Existing and future WOD participants will be glad to know that the Spartan Race Hawaii organizers aren’t planning on going anywhere. Certified trainers will continue to hold WODs to not only prepare for the next Spartan Race, but to provide a health-minded community.

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