In the new NBC show “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge” participants push through the most difficult obstacle course race ever designed for a shot at $250,000.
They must push through what’s been labeled the “murderous mile” as they crawl under barbed wire through thick mud, climb, swim, run and jump through obstacles that seem impossible to overcome all for a chance at glory.
But is all that money worth putting yourself through these physically demanding conditions?
For those involved in the obstacle course racing community here in San Diego the answer is always “yes!”
The obstacle course race or OCR phenomenon has been around for years, but with the growing trend of boot camp style workouts, more and more people, from all walks of life are jumping in on the sport.
So how do you prepare for an OCR?
Trainers like Dan Hark and Hannibal Smith of NXPT Fitness in Kearny Mesa hold OCR boot camp classes on the beach to help gym members prepare for upcoming races.
“It’s all about pushing yourself to the next level” says Hark. “We always tell our members their minds will quit before their bodies will. They just have to keep pushing.”
In Oceanside, MROC (Mud Run Obstacle Course) Training facility is designed exclusively for OCR training. Owner Mike Cofner and his team, which includes his wife Krista, were cast on Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge. Unfortunately, because of unforeseen circumstances, they were unable to participate this season.
Once you meet them it’s easy to see why they were selected. They know it takes much more than physical ability to be a Spartan; it’s all about resilience and being strong as a team.
DeeAnn Smith is also on Confer’s Spartan team. The all-American triathlete is also a marathon runner and elite OCR racer. She faces the race course with determination and relentless drive. When you compare those obstacles to what she’s already conquered, there is no comparison.
Smith fought and beat breast cancer and then pushed to get her life back. She went on to dominate in the OCR community, and motivate those she met along the way.
“She’s been through so much in her life and she’s not satisfied with that. She wants more and she always pushes herself,” says Confer of his friend and teammate.
The final member of the MRCO team is local pro golfer Brian Smith. Yes, a Spartan Golfer. Walker says his first love is golf but “there’s something about a Spartan race that just gets me going.”
Even though things didn’t work out this season, Confer and the MROC squad are always ready to compete and hope they get the call next season, even with a mini Spartan on the way for Confer and his wife.
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.