With the Spartan Beast 10-12 mile obstacle race coming up this Saturday and Sunday at Rough Creek Lodge and Resort, Lance Cathey is one of several Glen Rose residents set to push himself to the limit.
Cathey, a principal at a Joshua elementary school, entered the Spartan Race world last year in Burnet when he competed in the three-mile, 15-obstacle Spartan Sprint.
“I’ve always done athletic things, but you know as you get older – one day I realized I didn’t feel healthy,” Cathey said. “My wife is a teacher in Glen Rose, and the husband of one of her (fellow teachers) was teaching taekwondo classes in Stephenville. In that class, I made some friends and we used to joke about the Spartan Race pamphlet they had there. The more we talked about it, the idea of seeing what it’s all about became more serious, so I went down (to Burnet) with five friends.”
Cathey said while the Sprint made him feel like a kid again, by the time he got to the end he was totally exhausted. The details of Spartan Race courses are kept confidential going in, so there was plenty of intrigue on that drive to Burnet.
“We’d all seen different videos, but each course is kept secret beforehand, so we were talking about how we’d attack various obstacles,” Cathey said. “When we first started, I got an adrenaline rush, and then later on it’s like, ‘Man, I shouldn’t have run so fast at the beginning.’ At the same time, it was fun to pass people. It’s almost like a battlefield against your own mentality.”
Cathey recalled some of obstacles and the price paid when declining or failing to conquer a particular obstacle.
“There was a big, slick ramp where you pull yourself over with a rope and it gave a lot of people trouble, but I was able to get over on the first try,” he said. “There was a slim pipe buried underneath the ground and you had to crawl through with your elbows – a lot of people got claustrophobic or wouldn’t do it. There was barbwire very low to the ground for about five yards you have to crawl under, and right after you have to face the gladiators.
“They pound you with big jousting sticks right before the finish line. If you can’t or won’t complete an obstacle, you have to do 30 Burpees. You go from standing to doing a pushup to standing and jump in the air – that’s one.”
The sights and sounds of a Spartan Race are quite memorable.
“It’s an exciting atmosphere,” Cathey said. “There was a lady doing the race on her 60th birthday, and she had a lot of family members there to support her wearing customized T-shirts. There are a lot of active or ex-military people who take part in it, and my friends and I thanked many of them for what they do.”
While the eight-mile Super Spartan is the next step in the progression from the Sprint, Cathey believes he can pull off the jump straight to the 25-obstacle Beast, nearly four times longer than the Sprint.
“Once you complete the Sprint, then you are officially a Spartan,” Cathey said. “If I complete the Beast, I will qualify to attempt the Death Race. If the Beast was my first race, there’s probably no way I would finish it. You definitely need a strong mentality.”
Cathey said Dennis Funderburg, who was the taekwondo instructor in Stephenville, is the only one of his Spartan Sprint compadres going to battle the Beast with him.
“But several of the other guys are coming to Rough Creek to support us,” he said.
“I know the Beast will really push me physically, so I have to keep my fitness level up, but it will require a lot of mental toughness. Halfway through the Sprint, my body was telling me to quit.”
Wednesday is the last day for online registration, but participants may register at Rough Creek Lodge on the day of the race.
Individuals interested in tackling the Beast or any other Spartan Race, visit spartanrace.com.
Cathey will call on the inner warrior he discovered in Burnet last year, but he knows after conquering the Spartan Sprint that this Beast is a different animal.