OK, but what are the *real* reasons people do Spartan Races?

It’s a question worth asking, and the answers are worth reading.

Every racer has a reason — a reason to sign up, a reason to show up, and a reason to push relentlessly to the finish line. The reason is always different, but it always needs to be strong if it’s going to carry you far.

We asked racers who crushed the 2015 Wintergreen Spartan Super for their big reasons. What they said will inspire you.

1. Joanna B. (31) — to feel strong.

“I love how strong I feel after tackling each obstacle and pushing past my limits. I also want to be an inspiration for my kids [so they can] learn that size and circumstances don’t matter — if you have a goal and give it your, all you can achieve it.” — Joanna

2. Amanda D. (44) — to cope with loss.

“Physical fitness was my coping mechanism after my mother lost her battle with breast cancer. I have always enjoyed running, and Spartan is a great challenge that forces me to work on my strength to excel.”
“I had a blast at the Ft. Bragg Sprint and placed first in my age group in the open [category]. I think all the strength training and trail running has paid off.” — Amanda

3. Ruth E. (42) — to hold myself accountable.

“I race first and foremost to hold myself accountable to consistent training and a healthy lifestyle. Then I race for family, friends, and strangers because it is my desire for others to see that Yes, you can. Yes, you can climb that rope, nail that spear throw, and accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.
“But there’s more to my story: a long enough battle with grief and depression after my sister died at 39 from colon cancer; then, poor health (headaches, migraines, and gastrointestinal issues) and weight gain. I finally found my way back to exercise, much healthier eating and then a trainer who did [Spartan] races.
“She said I could do one too.
“Completing my first Spartan TRIFECTA a couple of years ago was a huge symbol of what I had defeated. And last year I did a double TRIFECTA. Now I’m a personal trainer and I drag friends and family to do these races with me.” — Ruth

4. Pedro G. (27) — to have zero regrets later in life.

“I race because I want to be able to say someday that I pushed myself hard through all the pain, long hours of training, and injuries — and I don’t have any regrets. The day I stop training for anything in life will damn right be the day my body physically and mentally has had enough.
“But I pray that day never comes.” — Pedro

5. Ashley E. (33) — to know I did my best.

“No matter how old I am or where I may be in life, I want to know that I have performed and competed to the absolute best of my ability. I never want to give up on developing myself as an athlete and competitor.” — Ashley (pictured right)

(Learn more about racing in our Competitive Category.)

6. Mary K. (21) — to prove I can do great things.

“I race so I can prove to myself that I am capable of something great. Through racing I have achieved greater confidence, self-discipline, and self-motivation than I ever thought possible.” — Mary

7. Jaime R. (27) — to stay healthy; to amaze myself.

“I race because it keeps me motivated to stay healthy. I am also blown away every time I cross the finish line knowing that I am capable, mentally and physically, of putting myself through something like that.” — Jaime

How about you?

The reason you race says a lot about you. When we face obstacles in life, our minds have no difficulty finding reasons to quit. That’s the easy part. To keep moving forward, you have to dig deep.

Write your reason below as a response to this story.

Spartan Race exists to rip millions of people off the couch and teach them that anything is possible with hard work, dedication, and perseverance. It’s more than a race; it’s a lifestyle.

Learn more about Spartan Race:

This blog was originally published on Spartan.com.