Obstacle course racing has become a popular endeavor in the last ten years. From Tough Mudder and Battle Frog to Rugged Maniac and Spartan, people from all races, genders, and beliefs are trading in their weekly attire for weekend warrior bliss. Masses gather at various locations across the world to collectively climb 20 foot ropes, scale 10 foot walls, endure treacherous terrains through mud and water, and jump over fire all for one reason… to win! Winning, in this context, is fluid for all. The Spartan Race is an organization that has been streamlined across the world and televised as one of the best obstacle course companies in the world. People travel from location to location every weekend to conquer the sprint (5+miles and 20 obstacles) super (8+ miles and 25 obstacles), or the beast (13+ miles and 30 obstacles). By completing all three in a calendar year, you earn a Trifecta honor, adding you to the ranks of other Spartans from around the world. This journey has been traveled by men and woman from all walks of life for various reasons. The Team Rugged Rabbis runs to prove to the world that they are more than just two Jewish teachers of the Torah but are also approachable and are not as conservative as the world may believe them to be. The former marine runs with their flag for the entire race to give hommage to his country and to honor those he or she has lost in battle. No matter what the story, all are unified with one race and are recognized with one cheer, “Aroo”. The cheer related to the embodiment of what defines a Spartan: to race, eat, train, and live with integrity. Spartans continually test their will and encourage others to do the same. They work tirelessly to achieve their goal, take on any challenge, and never quit. All of these qualities are recognized in others as they greet, encourage, and cheer on others with one simple word, “Aroo!”
As Seventh-day Adventists we have found ways to bring the health message to our various communities in different ways. In a time where most churches have chosen to work independently to spread our message, there is a new wave of Adventist’s who are crossing over conference lines to spread their message of health and wellness, together.
On Sunday, April 28th, 2019 the fitness mstry from Kingsboro Temple called Spartan Sundays joined the Team Epic’s fitness ministry from Restoration Praise Center and the Miracle City’s Get Fit Ministry to conquer the Mountain Creek Spartan Beast in Vernon, NJ. The states of New York and Maryland were well represented as the teams collectively conquered the 13 plus mile course in the rain and took the first step in their journey to earn a Spartan Trifecta.
Spartan Sunday is a branch of the Health Ministries Department at Kingsboro Temple located in Brooklyn, NY. Co-lead by Dr. Sean A Thomas and Ismael Torres. the group has held free workout classes for the Park Slope community every Sunday morning since 2012. They also are members of New York Road Runners, NYCs largest Running Club, where their Spartan Sunday Running Club participates in over 15 road races each year including the NYC marathon.
Miracle City’s Get Fit ministry is lead by co-leaders Fiona Robinson, Cheraldine Jean Pierre-McPherson, and Shanta Powell. Based in Baltimore, MD, the Get Fit group consists of all age groups from preschool through seniors and they too run 10-12 races each year including Spartans, 5ks, full marathons, and everything in between. At the time when Get Fit joined fitness leader Johnwood Raphael’s team from Restoration Praise Center in Bowie, MD, they were called Fit Bully. MCC’s Get Fit + Fit Billy combined to form non other than Team Epic and have been doing Spartan races for the past 3 years. Together, they hold monthly group workouts and monthly group runs.
thee groups have found ways to connect with their own communities by sharing the health message of fitness, healthy eating, and fellowship in non traditional ways. By connecting with their community and building relationships through team building activities, all three ministries have accomplished the true goal of the church at large: to show others Jesus Christ. Before the tract is given, before a baptism is proposed, a simple relationship is cultivated with every race, every helping hand to climb a wall, and every high five before the race begins. Building relationships before boasting religious practices has proven beneficial as all three ministries continue to minister to their communities in non-traditional methods that set the foundation for what we believe as a church.
The three groups will travel to various races throughout the year individually but will come together again in West Virginia on Sunday, August 25th, 2019 to complete their Trifecta journey as one team. Our prayer is that the world continues to spread love and share the passion we have to finish these races with the world to finish then bigger race of life with Jesus Christ.
Dr. Sean T.
Spartan Sunday’s Co-Leader