By: Tony Matesi
Integrity — noun: Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
Integrity is a part of the embodiment of being a Spartan. Without it, we are nothing more than a bunch people striving to do better without actually holding ourselves accountable.
When it comes to finishing a Spartan Race there is an honor that comes with crossing that finish line and earning your piece of the Trifecta. We always say “You’ll know at the finish line” and that is more true then ever after you’ve given it your all. Maybe you fell off an obstacle and had to do 30 burpees before carrying yourself across that finish, but you did it. You EARNED it.
Finishing a Spartan Race means finishing every obstacle thrown in your path. It means completing the penalty burpees if you missed the obstacle. If you fall off the log hop, take pride in doing your thirty burpees. If you can’t handle the weight of the bucket carry, don’t just leave your bucket on the course. Take as long as you need to finish the challenge. If you fall off the rope, the traverse wall, or any other obstacle accept your fate and do your burpees. Your burpees are a way to strengthen yourself. A reminder that next time you won’t fail. Doing your burpees when you fail an obstacle is how you earn your medal.
Spartan Race does not just give medals out. Some races are okay with their participants skipping obstacles and still presenting them with the reward of “finishing.” Here at Spartan we hold ourselves and our participants to a higher standard. We, as a species, develop and grow through adversity. That’s why Spartans don’t skip obstacles or burpees. Spartans get back up after they’ve been knocked down. Spartans give it their all and earn their reward for doing so.
Spartan Races, in a lot of ways, mimic life. You’ll have successes and triumphs and you’ll have complete and utter failures. You might fall off one obstacle just to breeze through the next. You only get one chance at any obstacle in life. Only one chance to ace that exam. Only one chance to nail your dream job. You don’t get second chances at life and you don’t get second chances at obstacles. Most obstacles in a Spartan Race have the rule, one try to successfully complete the obstacle otherwise, it’s burpees.
If you think, “no one actually does their burpees” then you haven’t seen someone like Chris Davis, Amanda Sullivan, Danny Rodriguez, Ilen Boyar, or Earl Granville complete a Spartan Race. If you want to feel like you accomplished something and fully understand the meaning of “You’ll know at the finish line.” Sign up, show up, and never give up. Do your burpees and EARN your medal.
Remember, to finish a Spartan Race means you have earned that finisher medal and you earned that finisher shirt. That means finishing the course, the obstacles and any penalty burpees. These are not given out freely. They are earned through sweat, bruises, sometimes even blood and tears. If that means doing 90 burpees on top of the 8+ miles and 20+ obstacles at a Super Spartan, then so be it. These medals mean a lot to the people who come out and give it their all. Literally, everything they have got. To go through the course and respectfully finish, no one can take that honor away from you, because YOU are a Spartan.
If you come out to a race, make sure you have the integrity to hold yourself accountable. Don’t cheat yourself.
Spartan Up! Do your burpees. We’ll see you at the finish line.