Spartan Race: 4 Women Share How It Changed Their Lives

The picture isn’t pretty: They’re covered in mud, heavily sweaty, bruised, and on the verge of giving up. They’ve been running, pushing, pulling, throwing and crawling, jumping over fire, hills, trees, and walking under barbed wire all day long — in addition to months of training.

A Spartan Race team going strong together.

Welcome to Spartan Race, the world’s most popular obstacle course challenge. After being introduced in 35 countries already, it made its debut in Japan earlier in May and is now coming back in October for a second — and bigger-scale — round. As we watched photos (and videos!), we couldn’t help but think that one must be insane to take part in it. But our assumptions are quickly brushed off with a laugh by organizers and participants:

“The person who crosses the finish line will be very different from the one who starts the race,” Spartan Race Japan Country Manager Emily Downey says in an interview with Japan Today. Race participants echoed this, saying that if others can make it, everyone can. After all, 5,000 people joined in May and about double of that are joining in October.

Inspired to know more (and why the heck they would do it?), Savvy Tokyo spoke to four women who have pushed themselves to the extremes at the race, but don’t regret a moment.

Finding that long-needed motivation boost: Tove Kinooka

For Tove, a director and co-owner of Leadership & Organizational Development company Global Perspectives, and a resident of Japan for over 19 years, the idea of joining the race was accidental. Earlier this year, she and her business partner, Gavin Dixon, had set up a goal to challenge themselves physically, intellectually, and professionally, and when one day the two were on a coffee break, Gavin suggested joining the Spartan Race. …continue reading