#MeToo Hits OCR

Update 10.22.19 4:15PM ESTSpartan Race Bans Ameer Haroun

Ameer Haroun

Spartan 4-0 is a Facebook group for obstacle racing enthusiasts. With more than 16,500 at the time of this writing, it’s the largest OCR Facebook Group not officially run by Spartan Race HQ.

Like most groups of it’s kind, 4-0 is a place where people that love Spartan Races and OCR can find friends to train and race with. It’s also a great resource where people new to the sport can learn everything from what gear to buy, to which races are coming up in their area. It’s a true community, that has helped thousands of people stay connected and live healthier, stronger lives.

The group’s undisputed leader is Ameer Haroun, a married, father of 2, who is undoubtedly one of the main reasons the group has reached its current size. He has a large personality and is extremely active on social media. He boasts of 4-0 landing the coveted “Biggest Team Award” at countless races and waves the 4-0 banner figuratively and literally everywhere he can. Ameer (who’s last name is actually Krass) has been interviewed for multiple articles and podcasts to speak about 4-0 the many  things that the group has accomplished.  In a recent article Ameer was quoted as saying  “We win because we lift and support one another. Our goal is to continue to grow and inspire while still feeling like a close-knit community. We are excited to see our family grow, and the lives we will change along the way”

Earlier this year, Ameer was even invited by Facebook HQ to appear at their Facebook Communities Summit.

Ameer Haroun at Facebook Community Summit

However, we have been speaking with several men and women in the obstacle racing community who have a very different view of Ameer. Obstacle Racing Media has been speaking to sources since January of 2016 to shine a light on some very troubling accusations.

Many we spoke to were not willing to go public until now, and there are those still not willing to give their full names names for fear of reprisals.

Not many know that the Facebook group “Spartan 4-0” was actually started by two women in the Fall of 2015.  J Clark and Alicia (how they asked to be referred to for this story) created the Facebook group with a simple post in another group, Spartans Of The Northeast.

“I’m starting a 40+ Spartan/OCR men and women’s private group tonight, reply below so I can invite you”.

The group quickly gained traction and began adding hundreds of members. The two women were approached by Ameer shortly afterwards to work together to grow the group. When we reached out to the two, J Clark told us:  “I wanted to trademark the 4-0 name and was told that I would be sorry if I went off and did this on my own.”  Ameer wanted the three of us to go into business together and that is not something that we wanted to do. He pretty much bullied me out of that group. I did all of the work when starting it and then got pushed out. I am a 40 year old mother of two. I just didn’t need his bullshit and didn’t need to be bullied by an aggressor like him, so I left.”

“He started texting me and threatening me. I ended up blocking his number on my phone, and blocked him on FB and Instagram.  To be completely honest with you…I was scared for my family after all of this. I truly was. That’s why I am hesitant on talking.”

By 2017, it began to be known in some OCR circles that Ameer was using his role as Spartan 4-0 Administrator to consistently and aggressively reach out to women. Some began to share pictures that Ameer had sent them. However, if anyone shared these images in Spartan 4-0, the posts would immediately be deleted and the poster  kicked out the group. If any man or woman questioned why people were kicked out, they too, would be removed.

Two polarizing camps began to build. One camp calling out Ameer as a predator who cheats on his wife. The other defending his actions stating some version of  “These women were complicit, and he’s doing something many men, married or otherwise, do every single day”.

As we researched this story, we heard tale after tale of Ameer Haroun’s inappropriate behavior. Several women who joined Spartan 4-0 with the hopes of connecting to a positive and supportive OCR community, were met with direct messages from Ameer looking for more than friendship.Our goal was to distinguish fact from rumor, and to get information direct from victims whenever possible.

A woman who did not want to be identified told us “He would ask me of photos of my nether regions. He would say no one would know. He’d also tell me how to take them so he’d get the best angle. After that, and after all the other women in 4-0 started talking about what he had done to them, I pretty much blocked him and left that Facebook group.”

Ameer Haroun Bathroom Pic

Another woman who began a flirtatious relationship with Ameer posted her story in a private facebook group and allowed us to share some of it.  Her communication with Ameer quickly grew from messages to phone calls. “He used to talk about all the things he wanted to do to me sexually, he would call me at work and tell me these things. He would then get mad when I wanted nothing to do with the conversations. He had offered on multiple occasions for me to fly out to New Jersey to see him. He told me to buy a package deal and he would pay me back for the hotel if I got myself out there. Once I learned he was doing this with so many other women, I called it off. I never want this to happen to another woman so long as I live. Coming from the abusive relationship I was in, he preyed on me in the worst possible time of my life.”

Amy joined Spartan 4-0 after doing her first Spartan trifecta. Shortly thereafter, Ameer began wooing her through messages on Facebook. Ameer told Amy that he was separated from his wife and asked to meet for dinner. Amy admits now that she was naive. “I thought it was cool to be hanging out with the leader of the Spartan 4-0 group. Little did I know that he was sleeping around with other women in the group”

She continued, “After dinner, he drove me back to my house and insisted on walking me to the door. He saw all my Spartan stuff on the wall and let himself into my house. He picked up my Atlas ball put it down, turned around and attempted to kiss me. I asked him to leave. He called me two minutes from his car. He told me he had driven over an hour for the date and that we would just talk if I let him sleep over. I had to tell him no, repeatedly before he got off the phone. That man does not like taking no for an answer.”

We got another example from a woman who became friendly with Ameer and his wife in 2017. They completed a race together with a large group from Spartan 4-0. Shortly after the race, she told us that Ameer pulled her behind a wall.  “He started trying to make out with me. He was shoving his hand down my pants and putting my hand on his d**k, on the outside of his pants.”  She was in shock as this was happening and did not know what to do.  “Your wife is literally just around the corner and I ran the whole race with her!”

Then we heard the most disturbing story of all from a woman named Kerstin. She joined 4-0 in 2015 and was excited to be part of a fitness community which supported her and allowed her to thrive in her new passion of OCR. Shortly after joining the group she was pursued by Ameer and was charmed. She agreed to meet Ameer at the Hilton in East Brunswick NJ off I-95 in November of 2015. She admittedly knew there would be some “fooling around”, but had no idea what would transpire.

Shortly after Ameer entered the room, it became physical right away. He brought wine and began forcibly kissing her. She tried to slow things down, but was not successful.  Ameer would drink from the bottle, then kiss her so the alcohol would go down her throat.

“He started getting aggressive and I said to stop, repeatedly. He then then slapped me in the face. He got a look on his face like this was going to happen no matter what and I knew I was in trouble. He grabbed the back of my head and aggressively forced his d**k in my mouth. I was crying and tried to push him back but he was smiling and loving it.”

Hilton New Brunswick New Jersey

”At that moment I laid on the bed and let him do whatever he wanted to. I just mentally checked out. I knew it was gonna happen and I couldn’t fight him, so I let him. I fell asleep and he woke me up and he did it again. Again I just laid there. This whole thing was only a few hours. Then we got dressed and left. He had a hoodie on and put his face down. He freaked out when he saw the cameras in the garage of the hotel.”

She told us that she posted her story in the 4-0 group in hopes of getting some help. Ameer would delete her posts as soon as they went up.  She told us “Ameer said to stop talking. He said he would donate to a charity if I would shut my mouth. He ended up donating $200 a few weeks later, and sent me a screenshot to prove it”.

Ameer Donation $200

In the last 3 years, many men in powerful positions in politics and entertainment have taken down because of the #MeToo movement.  The bravery of the women that have come forward, whom Time Magazine called The Silence Breakers, has forever changed our culture.

Like the woman in our story, they risked ridicule, shame and their privacy. Our hope is that more women will come forward if they have had experiences like this in the obstacle racing industry.

We are so grateful to the men and women who had the courage to tell us their stories. We hope that we can help facilitate some changes.

**Update 10.21.19 5:28pm EST. Obstacle Racing Media received the following from a spokesperson at Spartan Race.

“The safety of our community is our number one priority. Spartan is taking these allegations very seriously and we are working with multiple parties to investigate further to ensure swift and appropriate action where available.  We pride ourselves on creating an open, welcoming environment for everyone and won’t stand for anything to the contrary.”

Update 10.22.19 4:15PM ESTSpartan Race Bans Ameer Haroun

 

Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.

Comments

  1. Well I will say I’m another angry woman victim from 4-0. He did the exactly same to me. When I told him I wasn’t interested he wanted nothing to do with me. He treats me like dirt at the races. Pushed me out of his way with so new girl.

    • I’m so sorry! He’s the reason I left OCR and Spartan. Seems like Spartan Always rewarded him for his cruel behavior. It’s quite sickening how many of us he’s victimized.

      • I am so sorry for all you ladies have been through. Don’t leave something you love because of a depraved individual. You deserve better than that.

    • This bastard needs to be thrown in jail

  2. I am so sorry racers had to endure this kind of treatment! That is not what joining a team is suppose to be about :-(. Please don’t leave the sport, find a better team! There are so many teams out there that aren’t like that!

  3. Please remember that many thousands of people joined 4-0 because of the amazing regular members they met out on the course, not because of one person. The majority of the people on the team are amazing wonderfully Spartans.

    • James R Mitchell says

      I completely believe that most members are wonderful people, but the good people need to take down the rotten people.

      • Have you seen the group over the past 12 hrs? Hard to still think that most of the members are “wonderful”….

  4. I only know of him because I know people on the team. This year I ran my first OCR and although it was hard and took me forever to finish, I had strangers cheering me on and helping me out. I have never met a group of more positive and supportive people in my life. if anyone quits racing because of him then he has won his nasty game. Let everyone see him for who he really is, let him be shamed for his actions to the point where he can’t show up at races anymore. But don’t let him chase you away from your passion just because he’s so insecure in his own manhood that he needs constant female attention to the point of having to take it when it is not freely given. Narcissism at it’s best to say the least.

    • I’m horrified by this story! If what these women stated is true (and there’s no reason to believe otherwise), this man is at best a narcissistic, misogynist asshole, and at worst, a rapist whose ass needs to be handed to him, in prison. Bravo to the courageous women who continue to speak up about this person. I hope this story will lead to an investigation and justice for these women. This scumbag should be banned from Spartan for life.

  5. I spoke up about his actions and I was almost pushed out of the sport altogether maybe now something will be done

  6. Kudos to Matt Davis for interviewing the victims and publishing this. I hope this piece of shit is fully investigated and brought to justice.

  7. The original advocate says

    I can only speak for other women when I say: do not feel ashamed, do not be afraid, feel confident to come forward and expose this man for who he really is. Everything brought up in the FB group that points to other instances has been instantly removed and those users are being banned. We know there are more and we are all here for you

  8. Ryan Meade (Rem6a) says

    This is so sad and sorry to hear it’s turned people (men and women) away from OCR events. As someone who works to build the community and ahead light on our awesome culture. I am saddened by this person and hope all hurt by this guy come forward. Please don’t think it’s out and you don’t need to say something. Thank you Matt Davis and ORM for taking the time to put this together over four years. Love everything you do and truly one of the good people out here.

  9. I can’t believe this is still going on. The same complaints have been brought up against him since 2015.

  10. Don’t leave a great community because of a rotten apple that needs to be investigated!! Have the confidence to speak up because the OCR community will stand with you. I love the OCR community and it has become a family event for me and my family building good habits for my children and it should a great place for everyone who wants to participate and grow as a community! These behaviors have no place in the OCR community and who ever engages in these behaviors needs to be held accountable! We feel so sorry for the victims in our great community and hope they do not let this stop them from being part of this great community and achieving their goals!!

  11. Sounds like he needs a trip down the hill and educated on how to treat women properly!!

  12. I am a member of another OCR team and have heard many stories from victims about him… They shared screen shots of harrassing conversations and photos from him, to try and warn others… Ugh. What a piece of garbage!

  13. I’m wonderful and most are. Out of 16k plus members, you cant judge all of us based on some.

    • “Unnamed woman” says

      But there are more rotten apples than just him. You try getting an onslaught of unsolicited dick pics from men you’ve never had conversations with. It’s a hell of a lot of fun let me tell you.

    • Ashamed of 4-0 says

      Nobody is judging members that had no idea it was occurring. I think we ARE judging every member that stays in the group that has been running under the guise of assault, threats, and worse yet RAPE for the past 3-4 years.

      • Disappointed says

        I AM judging the hell out of all of these people that supposedly knew for the past 4-5 years and never once helped advocate or do something. There is just NO way one man silenced all of these people who “knew”.
        It was more complicit behavior and turning a blind eye.. and now that its out in a blog post (and wasn’t sent to authorities immediately) everyone is all up in arms.

        I do NOT condone what he did AT ALL.. .but everyone who just kept to themselves and let more women be victimized should be ashamed of themselves.

      • He has stepped down as the leader and moderator of the group until this situation has been cleared. I don’t see any reason to leave the Spartan 4-0 and disconnect with hundreds of other people that have nothing to do with that and that have been a positive influence in my life. I am not ashamed of 4-0, but I would be ashamed if I decided to take sides, judge, condemn or even absolve someone without evidence and due process.

  14. A Concerned Spartan says

    Great! Finally Spartan is taking notice and hopefully action. Spartan was made aware of this years ago. Ameer was even banned from the Spartan sanctioned social media group. But since he’s the leader of the 40 team and they bring so many people to the races, Spartan sort of decided to look the other way and not pay attention.

  15. Disappointed says

    How could so many have people supposedly known about this and NOT done anything. I am seeing so many comments on social media about how these allegations have been happening for years, or “finally”, etc. etc.
    How could any of you be so complicit and turn a blind eye regarding such a serious issue?! You’re high up on the list of people at fault too. If someone would have done something immediately, this wouldn’t have happened for years. How did no one take this to the authorities when it happened? Why didn’t these women feel supported THEN when so many are coming out in support NOW?!

    What he did is absolutely unacceptable. But all of these people who knew and did nothing to stop it aren’t any better.

  16. I was an early member of 4-0, when it was fun, uplifting and had purpose. When Ameer took over by pushing out the originating women (FACT), it just turned into a “if I think you are hot- tits and ass show” oh and all the infidelity (it really left a bad taste in my mouth AND one of the reasons I left the OCR world)… when I wouldn’t comply with his requests for naked photos or the topless Tuesdays… I left or maybe I was kicked out for not complying, I don’t remember. He is the quintessential narcissist predator. I was lucky to have someone stand up to him (with me) and squash it pretty quick. Some ladies were not so lucky. I am proud of them to speak their truth. He definitely should not be put on a pedestal, unfortunately accountability is not high on peoples life goals.
    #believethem

  17. Another one says

    When I first joined 4-0 he immediately started messaging me with the same behavior – pictures, asking what I liked, to send him pictures, to come to NJ to be with him etc. When I saw him at a (non Spartan) event he immediately kissed me the second he had a chance, although he did stop when I told him no.

  18. 1.21 Gigawatts says

    I love how that idiot is trying to lawyer up for “libel” Dude is guilty as shit and thinks he did nothing wrong. Dude needs to disappear a la Harvey Weinstein. Go away, dude. Also, everyone in that Fb group still defending that scumbag, are just as bad as that rapey bald fuck.

  19. I met Ameer before spartan 4-0 was even started, on a loosely organized hike with several other Spartans. He tried to make a move on both me and my best friend on several occasions after that first hike. He is a def someone who doesn’t like to hear the word no. I’ve always had a problem with him and always kept a wide berth of spartan 4-0 because of his association.