Carl Shane Kistel is a regular competitor at Spartan Races across the country where he challenges himself to become both physically and mentally stronger. Along the way, he’s learned how Spartan Race events bring together communities of people and help each individual achieve a level of personal growth.
Spartan Races have drawn in crowds of competitors and spectators for over a decade where intense physical challenges put their strength, endurance, and determination to the test. Repeat competitors like Carl Shane Kistel attend local races (such as the Charlotte or Fayetteville Super and Sprint) and travel to other cities, states, and countries in some cases. Today, Spartan Races appear in over 30 countries and have collected an international fan base of millions.
Those interested in attending races get the chance to compete in a range of obstacle types and marathon levels based on difficulty and duration. In this way, every individual can build up their abilities on a scale that is most comfortable for them.
“Spartan Races provide opportunities for people to come together and to test their strength and willpower,” says Carl Shane Kistel. “They prepare for it with intense training and finish the race wanting to be better and stronger. It’s a unique way to unite people with common interests, and the competitors are very supportive and encourage everyone to perform their best.”
The goal of the Spartan Race is to unearth the Spartan inside each individual, no matter what background they come from or what profession they do for a living. The obstacles and challenges in each race help them connect to their “resilient warrior” within. The races teach their competitors to work hard, eat healthily, and never give up on learning. In this way, they push all who enter to be the best version of themselves with the help of competition and camaraderie.
“The Spartan pushes people to conquer their fears and doubts and teaches them to keep their bodies moving until the end of the race,” says Carl Shane Kistel. “This kind of thinking and perseverance leaks over into their everyday lives so that afterward, typical worries aren’t as overwhelming to them.”
This mental component to the Spartan Race is the central philosophy of the competition. The adversity in training and in their races makes each individual stronger, helping them better appreciate their life and present circumstances. After racing, many competitors report that the little things in life take on new meaning and that they find life’s obstacles easier to manage.
“People learn that they are strong, that they don’t have to fret as much,” says Carl Shane Kistel. “They learn their own personal limits and how to push past that with the help of other competitors and the community that surrounds the Spartan Races.”