DeSena Responds To Podium Controversy

Spartan Podium

We heard from Joe DeSena late yesterday in regards to the recent Spartan Race podium rule changes. Here is what he sent us.

I’m here in Tokyo and find myself wanting to write my friends directly. I haven’t read anything online, but a few people in our organization have said, “Wow, I can’t believe what some people are writing about the new Spartan podium rules.” Even though I never read these ridiculous things, I believe all press is good. 

I realize that I need to offer clarity to everyone who’s confused, frustrated, or simply impacted. I apologize for not contacting each of you directly, but in the interest of time—and because I want to be completely open about this—I thought this email was a better choice of communication. 

So, feel free to share this message. Or not. And also always know that the world has my email address should they want to talk to me.

There’s an old adage: “Before you criticize a person, walk a mile in his or her shoes.” This saying was first coined by the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans as “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.”

Henry Ford also said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

In other words, when you understand what drives another person’s perspective, you’re not only likely to have a complete view of the subject but are likely to regard the other person’s viewpoint with greater empathy. 

That’s what I’m doing now. I’m walking in the shoes of the elites: What’s the issue with the rule Spartan has put forth and how does it negatively impact the elite athletes we’ve helped develop over the past 7 years? I suspect they’re concerned that if they have to take a photo on our podium in standard Spartan gear, it will hurt their chances of earning sponsorship dollars. I suspect they also believe that being told what to wear is not American. 

These are valid concerns. I realize now that I should have fully explained this rule, along with the reasons for it, before we released it. I take complete responsibility and hope this message helps create clarity around these changes.

Here’s why we are putting this rule in effect: We believe obstacle racing is a sport. We also believe that for it to be recognized globally as a sport—not only by the elites, but by civilians, military, and the Olympic Committee itself—we need to start acting like a sport. 

This is not just an opinion. I have been working for 6-plus years trying to get us recognized by the Olympics, so that we can be included in the Games. I have had countless meetings with individuals who know what it requires, and several who are involved in decisions like this.  

The common themes in all these conversations: professionalism and consistency—in everything from how our elites dress to the branding of our events. To that end, it’s vital to the brand and our sponsors that we not allow our podium to be hijacked.

Your turn: Walk in Spartan management’s shoes for a minute. Imagine how taken aback we are when an elite quickly rips off his shirt to slip into one from another brand in front of our NBC cameras? Or how we feel when we get a call from one of our sponsors, which help finance 200 races in 30 countries annually, berating us. Lets be clear- there is NO Spartan Race without these sponsors. Luckily, we are Spartans. We move past it and don’t get upset. You can forgive in one minute or carry anger for a lifetime, that said- not everyone is like us.

The bottom line is this: We all want this to become a legitimately recognized sport, with participation and spectator rates as high as the other major sports. Together, we can continue to grow Spartan and make the world a healthier place along the way. We are well positioned to take that next step. Professionalism and consistency is a small price to pay. 

In fact, from my perspective, it is logical, and helps us all win. I hope this email will help you begin to see it in much the same way. Stay tuned for more updates. 

Joe- your friend in good times and bad.

Joe@spartan.com

We’d love to know your thoughts on Joe’s statements. Please comment below and let us know.

*Photo credit: Trek and Run

First Spartan Gym To Open In Miami

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Spartan Race is partnering with 1 Hotel in South Beach to open the first ever Spartan Gym. Since many gyms and boxes are moving toward specific OCR training, opening a fitness facility seems like the next logical step for the Spartan brand.

Since 2012, Spartan has been putting on the  Workout Tour at parks and gyms across America. These 3 hour events are a semi-intense workout and a thorough introduction to the Spartan Lifestyle with lots of burpees and Aroos.

Beginning in January, this first ever permanent facility will provide “14,000 square feet of gym space featuring dedicated fitness areas focused on stretch, active, weight, cardio and classroom. Two large classrooms and a private training room, as well as outdoor workout areas, an oceanfront yoga platform and beach space will accommodate any guests’ fitness needs”. The hotel’s website goes on to say that beginning in the Spring, they will offer specific Spartan “weeks and weekends”. It is unclear what those events are at this time. We surmise it could be specific training weekends at the facility, or perhaps something that revolves around an actual local or regional Spartan race.

We reached out to Joe Desena who told us “We are so excited to launch the first of its kind Spartan Gym at 1 Hotel South Beach. This is an exciting step for Spartan as we continue to expand our lifestyle and fitness presence around the globe and provide experiential opportunities for Spartans outside of the race.”

A complete press release can be read below:

MIAMI, FL – Debuting December 2016 as a first of its kind in the fitness world, 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach has announced it will be home to the first-ever Spartan Gym. Anticipated to open December 1, the 14,000-square foot indoor space will blend the famous Spartan Race, the leader in the sport of obstacle racing, with the mission-driven, wellness-focused luxury lifestyle brand of 1 Hotels. The one-of-a-kind gym will feature spaces designed with state-of the-art equipment and offer education from local, certified Spartan trainers dedicated to helping those of all fitness levels achieve strength and endurance. This unprecedented collaboration will cater to travelers looking to not only stay in fitness routines while on the road, but offer them access to trainers, equipment and targeted technique classes exclusively available at 1 Hotel South Beach.

“We are thrilled to partner with 1 Hotels to bring the first-ever Spartan Gym to 1 Hotel South Beach,” said John Gauch, Vice President of Spartan Training. “This new gym will set the bar for Spartan training, allowing guests to fully explore and reach their fitness potential.”

Available to hotel guests and residents of 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach, the gym will divide itself by Spartan’s core areas of fitness: athleticism, strength, endurance and mind. Each of these rooms are surrounded by a central area which will feature obstacle-inspired offerings including overhead ropes, nets, and pipes for traditional Spartan course training. Additionally, the gym will include three classrooms for group-style workouts, one of which can be used as a private training room for one-on-one Spartan training by certified trainers from the area. Outdoor areas surrounding the gym, a designated Spartan yoga deck, the property’s private beach, and the hotel’s grounds which, includes 600 feet of pristine beachfront, will also be utilized for specialty classes and challenges with sprawling ocean views.

With a capacity of up to 289 people, the Spartan Gym will boast cutting-edge workout equipment for each of its core focus areas. The athleticism area focuses on the body’s stability, coordination and balance through natural body movement with ample space and equipment for complex, skill-developing workouts. The strength area is designed for power with weight machines, free weights and other strength testing equipment. The endurance area targets aerobic and anaerobic training with brand new cardio equipment. Lastly, the mind area is meant for yoga and unique recovery experiences with foam rollers and yoga equipment for post-workout stretching and meditation.

As part of the Spartan Gym experience, 1 Hotel South Beach will offer specialty packages for guests to fully embrace their inner Spartan, including dedicated menus, class recommendations, spa treatments and more. In addition, 1 Hotel South Beach and Spartan Gym plan to offer Spartan Weekends and Weeks in 2017 to support those training for upcoming races across the country.

Designed by Gray Organschi Architecture, leaders in sustainable design and production, guests will enter an oversized industrial steel door into the world of Spartan – with raw steel, concrete walls and oversized signature Spartan imagery. Large open rooms will feature full floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the property’s South Pool. Incorporating the 1 Hotels’ brand mission of sustainability into its design, reclaimed and recycled wood will also be used throughout the space. The open and natural design features Gabion-style walls lined in brick and rebar, adding texture and luminosity to the space, a hallmark of the 1 Hotels’ brand.

Founded in 2010, Spartan Race has become the world’s leading obstacle race company, with more than 1 million racers participating in Spartan Races in over 25 countries in 2016.

Using Spartan-certified trainers from the local South Florida area, holistic training will be provided to all skills levels, from beginner Sprint Spartans to the more advanced Beast Spartans. Other notable features include men’s and women’s locker rooms – with materials made from reclaimed and recycled wood, men’s and women’s steam rooms, private showers and an exclusive Spartan retail store.

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About 1 Hotels

As a luxury lifestyle hotel brand inspired by nature, 1 Hotels cultivates the best of eco-conscious design and sustainable architecture, together with extraordinary comfort and an unrivaled level of service. 1 Hotels, which launched in 2015 with the opening of exclusive properties in Miami’s South Beach and Manhattan’s Central Park and is followed by the upcoming Brooklyn launch in early 2017, is inspired by a simple idea: those that travel the world also care about it. 1 Hotels upholds this vision by channeling nature through design and culinary partnerships, while connecting with the local community and taking sustainable steps to make a big difference. Additional information can be found at www.1hotels.com.

About Spartan Races, Inc.

Spartan Race is the world’s leading obstacle race company and the first of its kind to feature timing and global rankings. With more than 170 events in 25+ countries in 2016, Spartan Race has more than 1 million global participants, and offers open heats for all fitness levels as well as competitive and elite heats. With over 5 million passionate social media followers, health and wellness products, as well as the popular NBC television series, Spartan Race has made obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports—and lifestyles— in the world. Spartan Race features races at three distances, 3+Mile/20+ Obstacle “Sprint,” 8+ Mile/25+ Obstacle “Super” and 12+ Mile/30+ Obstacle “Beast,” culminating each year in the Spartan Race World Championship. Visit www.spartan.com for more information, a schedule of events, and to register for a race.

Tahoe 2016 aka Moss and Snow

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Today’s episode is an all timer. We discuss pretty much everything that went down in Tahoe last weekend at the Spartan World Championship.

Joe Desena takes us on his Tahoe Beast journey with Randy Moss and some other distinguished guests. We answer the questions about what Randy did or didn’t do, and how Joe feels about all of it.

We then talk to Joe Di about drug testing and how Spartan handled snow and wind mid race in Tahoe.

You know we never like to reveal too much in teasers so tune in to get the rest.

Today’s show is sponsored by:

Obstacle Guard – Code ORM gets you 10% off all orders in the U.S.

Rugged Maniac – $5 off when you use the code PODCAST on any 2016 race.

Click the play button below or click the iTunes or Stitcher links at the top of the page.

Joe Desena Talks Spartan Delta

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On today’s show, we talk to Joe Desena about the Spartan Delta.

What is it? Why did he create it? Who is it designed for? How do you earn one?

We attempt to answer all of those questions.

First up, however, is a new feature which will run from now through SuperBowl 50. Carlo Piscitello joins the show to discuss the previous weekend’s NFL playoffs and makes predictions for the upcoming weeks games. Enjoy.

Today’s show is sponsored by

Rugged Maniac – CODE ORM5 gets you $5.00 off registration to all 2016 events. 

Mad Anthony Mud Run-February 27th-Only $50 until February 10th.

Show Notes

The Pis and Cox Show

Spartan Delta

Podcast where Joe launched Agoge

You can use the player below to listen or use the iTunes or Stitcher buttons at the top of this post.