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“This is madness!” – THIS. IS. DUKAAAAAAL!

The Spartan Sprint by Danielle Pan

Sparta was an ancient city-state of Greece (home to the Spartans) and well known for its fierce warriors with six pack abs like Gerard Butler…Okay, that’s from the movie 300 but the point here is that those Spartans were powerful! They were fighters! DUKAL Corporation? Yeah, fierce is our middle name.

It didn’t sound so scary when my supervisor approached me for the first time and said “Hey, Danielle, Chris is doing the Spartan Sprint on April 13th, want to join? You’ll have plenty of time to train.”

“SURE!” (As a new hire at DUKAL I am practically overflowing with enthusiasm at all times of the day)

This exchange happened in January, which left me, along with my Supervisor, our Marketing Assistant, and one of the Operations Managers about 3 months to train (ample time I thought). Plus according to the official race page this was a 5k distance, so how bad could it possibly be?

You know those people who get a cough and a runny nose, and then they look up their symptoms on WebMD and determine that they actually have contracted Ebola? That’s essentially what happened when I started researching this event… 8 ft walls? Box jumps? Ropes? Rowing machines? Javelins? BURPEES?!!!!!! I was more and more grateful that I was working at DUKAL with every passing day – I figured I’d need all the medical supplies we sell to cover my wounds come race day.

3 months passes by surprisingly quickly and the big day we piled into my supervisor’s car and headed out to Citifield. We were hampered by weekend traffic and arrived at the venue slightly later than anticipated but we got through registration successfully. (Did I mention that you have to sign and hand in a death waiver? A DEATH WAIVER…but I digress.)

We waded into the throng of racers waiting for their heats to begin, the temperature was surprisingly cold for April, and even though we were technically indoors you could feel the frigid air seeping in. They released us in groups of 15 and after just a few minute pause and the signal to start…We were off!

Among some of the more memorable obstacles included wooden climbing walls, jumping up flights of stair with an elastic band around your legs, rowing 500 meters in 2 minutes, and navigating treacherous monkey bar contraptions. Of course, all that pales in comparison to that wonderful moment when you finish that last obstacle and wobble to the finish line on noodle legs. I felt such a great sense of camaraderie as we joined each other at the finish… breathing heavily but still alive.

The team catalogued our collective injuries post-race and the results were thus: · Bruises in an assortment of sizes and locations

· Scrapes ranging from barely there to lightly bleeding

· Sore muscles

· Pulverized palms

· Stubbed toes

· Stinging forehead from being smacked in the face by my own pigtails (Just me)

Resisting the urge to swath myself in adhesive bandages, I displayed my wounds proudly in the office on Monday. I’d say this would have to be one of DUKAL’s more memorable competitive moments, it was pretty glorious, and we’d totally do it again…I think.

Maybe one of you dear readers would like to join us next year in this ultimate feat of athletic prowess? We’ll be waiting for you at the start line J