Agoge: A New Chapter of Spartan Grit

By: Tony Matesi

The word has been popping up all over the website. It’s appearing in your email. For some reason, it was all people were talking about at your last race. What is the Agoge, and why is everyone talking about it?

The Agoge is a new Spartan endurance event based in legend and inspired by grit.

In the 7th century BC, the Spartans wanted to produce the strongest and most mentally tough citizens on earth. To do this, they created their “Agoge,” a system of training that became the envy of the known world. While Ancient Spartans took 23 years to complete their Agoge, we do ours in a matter of days.

The Agoge (uh-GO-ghee) is holistic. It tests not only mental and physical strength but also courage, integrity, teamwork, and morals. For up to 60 hours, participants persevere together in a common struggle, plunge into deeper self-understanding and forge new bonds of friendship that last a lifetime.

Learning during the Agoge training centers around:

  • Purpose: Having a clear intention or objective in one’s life.
  • Commitment: Being dedicated to a fulfilling, healthy, meaningful life through one’s actions.
  • Resilience: Adapting to change and overcoming adversity, repeatedly.
  • Knowledge: Gaining information, facts and situational awareness through lived experiences.

As the highest peak in the Spartan ascent, the Agoge is the culmination of everything a person has learned in life. Finishers become innovative thinkers, prudent risk-takers, and expert decision-makers. They will embody the Spartan Code, a code of honor and respect that breeds trust and inspires action. Most importantly, they become masters of themselves.

Has anyone done it before?

This past September, five civilian Spartans and 15 cadets from West Point volunteered to test Agoge 000. The cadets thought it was a piece of cake. Here’s what the civilians thought:

  • “Agoge helped me to define myself and what my purpose is.” — Dylan
  • “[The Agoge] turned me into a more patient and positive person.” — Scott
  • “I realized that I am stronger physically and mentally than I ever thought. It gave me a new level of confidence. Weaknesses don’t have to be failures, just obstacles to overcome.” — Andi
  • “When it’s over, you don’t celebrate the conclusion of 60 hours of reality check. Instead, you wish you had more time to discover.” — Nelson

When and where does the Agoge take place?

The Spartan Agoge will start off being held at Amee Farm in Pittsfield, Vermont twice a year — once in summer and once in winter — with special sessions for US military units. After the first few events the Spartan Agoge will travel to international markets including, Singapore, Australia, and beyond.

How long is it?

At registration, participants commit to an Agoge of up to 60 hours with the option to complete their training at 24- and 48-hour marks. Those that make it 24 hours will have completed “The Agoge 24,” and those who complete 48 hours will be credited with “The Agoge 48.” Those who complete the Spartan Agoge in its entirety will achieve “The Agoge 60.”

What do I get at the end?

If finishers are deemed worthy by their peers and cadre, they will receive a coin to represent their impressive accomplishment. All finishers receive an Agoge t-shirt and hoodie.

How do I register?

Register for Agoge 001 or 002 by visiting the event page.

What is the difference between the Agoge in February and the Agoge in June?

The Agoge in February will only have a maximum option of 48 hours. (Trust us on this.) The one in June will run for the full 60.

What happened to the application process?

The application process was to ensure we had some of the best endurance athletes in attendance at Agoge 000 to test the program alongside several West Point cadets. The event was a complete success, and now we are accepting participants who believe themselves ready to take on the Agoge. It is highly recommended you’ve completed an Ultra Beast, an HH12HR, or an event of similar intensity and duration. The Agoge will push you further than you’ve ever gone before. You must be ready.