By Benjamin H. Bledsoe ’24

For two years, the SpartanDogs faced an obstacle they couldn’t go over, under or around.

The Spartan race team, started in 2019, competed in one event before COVID-19 shut them down. The team returned to action in November and has another event coming up April 10 in Concord, North Carolina.

Harrison Chase ’22, Leah Wilson ’20 and Liesel Rutland ’20 started the team. They shared an interest in running and competing in triathlons and Spartan races and wanted to create a club that focused on strenuous physical feats in a team setting.

Spartan Races are physically demanding, ranging in length from 3 miles to 26 miles. Throughout the race, runners must complete difficult obstacles to get to the finish line.

Chase, Wilson and Rutland opened the club to people of all fitness levels.

“Most of us (original and current members) were not high school athletes,” says Chase, a biology major from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The club currently has 20 members, 15 men and five women. Chase’s goal is to boost the membership to 30 by the end of the academic year.

The team trains twice a week on campus, going on runs, improvising obstacles and participating in body-weight workouts. In November, eight SpartanDogs put their training to the test in a race at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.

“We ran to finish as a team and had a blast conquering the obstacles together,” Chase says.

Grace Gorton ’23, a sociology and anthropology major from Aiken, South Carolina, says the team stuck together and helped pull each other through when the race got difficult.

“The best part was when we jumped over the burning finish line together as a team,” she says.

Chase says the team members should be proud of the effort they put in to prepare for and compete in the race.

“Pushing as hard as you can makes you realize that you can always give more effort,” Chase says. “Each race is a success whether the outcome is good or bad because the race itself is a great feat.”