Our History

A History Lesson

The Foundation

The year was 2011 and one of our founders, Jonathan Nolan, had caught the OCR bug. Jonathan was perusing Facebook one day and saw an advertisement for Spartan Race on the sidebar. He began training for the race and after a few trail races he ran the 2011 Midwest Spartan Sprint. In October of that year, Jonathan and one of our friends, Nathan Deaver, got to talking about ways they could get Spartan Race to bring a race to Indiana.

After several emails and phone calls to Spartan Race, Jonathan was provided with some direction. One of the founders of Spartan Race, Joe Desena, told Jonathan that if he and his team could get 1,000+ people to show interest in an Indiana race, Spartan Race would put it on the calendar for the 2012 schedule. So that’s exactly what Jonathan intended on doing!

The Early Days

October 20, 2011 is when the team officially began taking shape. The team needed a way to reach as many people as possible if this goal was ever going to be reached and a race ever brought to Indiana. Social media played a huge role in getting the word out to the masses.

In the early days, the team was known as the Corn Country Spartans.
After all, the team was tasked with generating enough interest to even get Spartan Race to consider a race coming to Indiana. On October 26, 2011, the Corn Fed Spartans took to Facebook to try getting the word spread that we wanted a race in Indiana. But the team didn’t start out with that name. In the early days, the team was known as the Corn Country Spartans. The Corn Country Spartans came up with a simple set of rules that would later become the foundation for the team as it is today. Those rules:

  1. Support and do what it takes to get a race to come to INDIANA!!
  2. If it’s your first time on Corn Country you must post!!
  3. Follow Rule #1
  4. Learn from each other and don’t be afraid to ask questions and put yourself out there.
  5. Never I mean NEVER leave a brother or sister behind!!
  6. If something is wrong it’s Jonathan Nolan’s fault!
  7. If something is right it’s Nathan or Mary’s Fault!
  8. DO NOT be afraid to just walk up and tell someone about Spartan Race!
  9. Never give up and Never quit!!
  10. Follow Rule #3

The name Corn Country Spartans didn’t last very long at all. It was quickly changed to the easily recognizable name that it is today – Corn Fed Spartans. As with any good team, discussions quickly ensued about all kinds of different things. Things from what workouts each team member was doing, ideas on how to spread the word and get Spartan Race to come to Indiana, and the inevitable discussion of “now that we’re a team, we need shirts and a logo.”

The Iconic Logo

On November 18, 2011 the idea for a contest to come up with a logo was proposed. Jonathan posted a picture that one of his friends drew and said, “We have been on the lookout for a logo and this is kind of what we had in mind. So, to enter this contest, $5 is the entry fee and your drawing. However, if your drawing is picked to be our “official” logo, you will get a free entry into the Indiana Spartan Race. The only requirements for this is it needs to be associated with Corn Fed Spartans. We are wanting a Corn Cob that looks like a Spartan. Any feedback is appreciated and a FREE ENTRY is up for grabs.”

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This is the concept drawing that started the contest. Several people drew what  they thought the Corn Fed Spartans logo should look like and submitted their ideas to the group. Two of the key players in the idea submissions were Erin Schwartz and Derrel Reese. Both of them submitted several different variations of their designs.

Here are a few of Erin’s ideas:

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Here are a few of Derrel’s ideas:

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As you can see, the team elected to go with Derrel’s idea for what has become one of the most recognizable logos in the sport today! Sadly, Derrel has retired from obstacle course racing.

Getting Spartan Race To Indiana

As we mentioned earlier, the Corn Fed Spartans were tasked with getting the emails of 1,000+ people who were interested in running a race in Indiana in order for Spartan Race to agree to open up pre-registration for an Indiana Spartan Race Sprint. By using the power of Facebook to network, team members were able to obtain all 1,000+ emails by November 18, 2011. Jonathan submitted all of those emails to Spartan Race and soon after, pre-registration was opened for the first ever Indiana Spartan Sprint!

The Corn Fed Spartans were able to overcome that first obstacle together and they were prepared to do whatever it took to make sure a race was brought to Indiana. They joined forces and created the Corn Fed Spartans Street Team. Each member of the CFSST was told that if they got 15 people to register for the race, they would get a free entry into the race.

As a team, the Corn Fed Spartans were able to get the word out enough to show Spartan Race that they were going to be heard.

Over 4,000 people converged on the tiny town of Laurel on a very cold Indiana morning.
The date was set for the first ever Spartan Founders Race to be held in Laurel, IN on April 21, 2012. Over 4,000 people converged on the tiny town of Laurel on a very cold Indiana morning. This race was unlike any other Spartan Race ever held. It was a no thrills kind of race. Simply back to the basics. Relying on the terrain quite a bit, there were a lot of the “standard” Spartan Race obstacles missing. But that didn’t make it any less tough. In fact, many participants said that this Sprint was tougher than some of the Spartan Supers in which they had participated.

“If you build it, they will come…”

One of our Spartan brothers, Steve Skidmore, passed away while training for the Indiana Spartan Sprint. Upon finding out this horrible news, Jonathan contacted Joe Desena to see if we could have a memorial or a moment of silence in Steve’s honor at the race. Joe went above and beyond that and purchased a 70 pound piece of Vermont marble and had it engraved with Steve’s name and bib #1. In true Corn Fed fashion, Jonathan decided that he was going to carry that memorial with him throughout the entire race, so Steve could be there in some way and complete the course with the team.


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