Category - Spartan Experiences

My First Encounter With Corn Fed Spartans
A Mini Corn Fed’s adventure!
Lilo’s Tuggin’ along at the Clash of the Shields!
A Quick Primer to Glasses and Obstacle Course Racing
To Conquer All Fears

My First Encounter With Corn Fed Spartans

Corn Fed Spartans Atlanta Super Spartan 2015To date, there are over 3,700 members in the Corn Fed Spartan (CFS) family and we hail from all over the United States with a high concentration of members in the Midwest. During peak racing season (May – November), new friendships are made on the courses and we’re thrilled to welcome them into the CFS community.

Members? We’re often asked if there’s a fee to join. The answer is no. So what is the team about? Another great question! Read below as one recent friend and fellow racer shares his story of his 1st encounter with Corn Fed Spartans at the Atlanta Spartan Race a couple of months ago. JM FunkyCold Medina’s story offers a pretty good account of what CFS is all about =).

“My race at Atlanta Spartan Super did not start off as planned. Initially, I was part of a team but at the start line, I realized I was on the receiving end of the cold shoulder from the group. Luckily I met two very nice women at the start, and we had an opportunity to chat a bit about our races, etc. After the first few obstacles and just helping each other, one of the women asked if I was running alone. It was at that moment I realized I was. Without hesitation, the two women said, “okay you’re running with us.” Turns out their names were Megs and Katie, and they are part of the racing group called the Corn Fed Spartans (can’t miss those shirts).

As we approached the sled pull obstacle, we were told other Corn Fed Spartans were on their 2nd lap and catching up to us. That’s where I met Cliff, Todd, Jul, Olivia and a couple of others (sorry if I got your names wrong, I’m bad with names). Without hesitation, I was immediately treated as if we had been friends all along and my racing with them was normal. They even gave me a CFS wristband.

As we tackled the obstacles, I was motivated by all of the racers I met. Complete strangers were cheering and encouraging me. The support and camaraderie among this group was inspiring. One thing I think most racers not familiar with CFS don’t realize is the significance of the frequent yells heard throughout the course of – “CORN FED!” As other CFS members elsewhere on the course heard the call, they quickly responded with a hearty “CORN FED!” The call helped rally other CFS members and identified their location but more importantly it was a call filled with encouragement to others. Even something that small was a motivator. And with this “CORN FED” chant, more CFS members were found, and we continued to race together.

At no such point did they make me feel like I was holding the group back. I’ve seen other groups help strangers etc. during Spartan and other obstacle races but it almost seemed as if CFS members were helping everyone.

Simply put, this course was not easy, especially the mud. Many Spartans suffered from severe muscle cramping. One of the two women I first met, Katie, had to be pulled by medics. It was obvious Katie didn’t want to stop, but sometimes the body just won’t let you and you have to do what is right, especially for your health. Regardless, in my book Katie finished! One hell of a person and Corn Fed Spartan!

So with all this being said, I met some very awesome people yesterday, and I would without a doubt run with Corn Fed Spartans again!

Thanks! Aroo!”

~ JM FunkyCold Medina

A Mini Corn Fed’s adventure!

Saturday, September 28th, 2013 the Dirt Runner course had a new challenger ready to tackle whatever came her way.

This is mini Corn Fed Miss Grace Koronka and her Dad Adam and Mom Robin as they head in to face the mud, muck, and crazy obstacles that all Obstacle Course Racers love!

Family fun...Corn Fed style!

Family fun…Corn Fed style!

Adam and Robin recently started their OCR journey and Grace wanted in on the fun to, but not a “kid’s course” she wanted to do the 3+ miles that they were doing! Gotta love that spirit!

Note the flower…yeah, she got “Lilo’ed”

We talked a bit at the starting line and I watched as she proved she has what it takes to do what she sets her mind to.

Grace vs the tractor see who won!

Grace vs the tractor tire…you see who won!


The starting lineup was on and they were off. I was volunteering at one of the last obstacles of the day so I didn’t get to see her through the course. However, later on I did an interview with her and here’s what she had to say:

1) What was your favorite part of the day? – Finishing
2) What was your favorite obstacle? – The log obstacle at the end.   Why?  Because it was so much fun!
3) Were there any obstacles you didn’t like? – The culverts with water.
4) Do you want to do more of these? – Yes!  Who wouldn’t!
5) What do your friend’s think about you being an obstacle course racer? – (insert applause and big smile from her friend Sammy, here with us now)

all of the rest of obstacles she completed were awesome (she specifically called out these – monkey bars, cargo nets, rope hill climbs)


I personally look forward to seeing you (and your Mom and Dad) at more races Gracie! Thank you for being so awesome as to take the time to share your experience with everyone and show us your Corn Fed spirit! AROO!


At the starting line!

At the starting line!

making her way to the last obstacle before the finish line

making her way to the last obstacle before the finish line


View from the top after climbing though the logs

View from the top after climbing though the logs

A bottle of water and her very earned Bling! WTG!

A bottle of water and her very earned Bling! WTG!




Lilo’s Tuggin’ along at the Clash of the Shields!


It’s 6am on a cold Saturday morning as I climbed out from under the covers wondering what the Hell I was thinking by wanting to head out into the cold to get muddy. Then I remembered how much I love OCRs and my “mud therapy” as I call it.

Cranking up the music and putting the top down on the car even though it was still quite chilled out I headed out to Marseilles, IL to the Dirt Runner track for the Clash Of The Shields (police vs firefighters…being in Corrections I figure I fit in a little). Knowing that some of my fellow Corn Feds were going to be there made the 1 1/2 hour drive well worth it.

I arrived to see a few cars and some familiar faces lined up at registration. It didn’t take long to get situated and head in to see what we were facing. The Dirt Runner was part of the track for the Super Spartan a bit back so I knew there would be some awesome hills to tackle but I had never experienced the actually Dirt Runner itself.

We missed the heat we had planned to start with due to Don and Bret trying to decide how much weight in their weight vest truly equaled badass. Decisions were made at 50lbs for the vests and then Bret added on another 60lbs with his firefighter gear (well, the weight was around that After it was wet, but still…insane!).

"I'm going to do the 2nd time with 75lbs"...we didn't make it to the 2nd time!

“I’m going to do the 2nd time with 75lbs”…we didn’t make it to the 2nd time!

Finally suited and weighted up we headed to the start line. Looking over to my left I also realized that Bret and our lovely Princess Badass Heather were tethered as well. Crazy people, I love it! Looking to my right I smiled at Shannon and Christina who were doing their first OCR and Don aka Trouble who was in his weight vest and energized. I love this crew!

First time OCR..and addicted now! Christina and Shannon.

First time OCR..and addicted now! Christina and Shannon.

Being the Corn Feds we are the 6 of us decided to create our own starting time instead of waiting on the next heat so we headed out at a jog and away we went! As most of you know from previous posts, I SO do not like to jog or run or anything of that sort but I had 5 others with me and I wasn’t going to be a wuss and slack behind!

The terrain was, as predicted, awesome all the way through. The hills and the muck at this location absolutely rock!

Some of the best moments and highlights:

Monkey Bars! Every single race I have done so far I have not made it past the first bar without slipping off. The last couple of weeks I have busted my butt working on my upper body strength and with the cheers and encouragement of my team I made it almost to the end. I would have made it all the way but I got so excited I lost my grip!

Team of Two teamwork: Watching Bret and Heather tackle the obstacles while tethered was truly cool. This is the second time I seen team members do this (Jon & Candie at previous races) and it proves to me how well two people can work together when they have faith in one another. Never once did either get mad or pissy as they struggled over and under and up and down some intense obstacles and it was just awesome to watch. Way to go you two! And an extra kudo to Bret for the weight vest AND the gear added to this.

Team of Two

Team of Two

Team of Six teamwork: We paused halfway through the race to go back to the festival area and enter the Tug Of War contest. Myself, Trouble, Bret, Heather, and Christina formed a team with Shannon being our awesome cheerleader/photographer. There were only 4 teams total but the first team was challenging and gave us tug for tug before we finally pulled them over (We didn’t know at the time that we were also on the side that had an upward incline so we had that challenge as well). A quick break in between as some of our fellow Corn Feds took on another team that we defeated soon after. We were beaming as we took a few moments to enjoy our victory before heading back out.

Clash of the Shields

Heights and Fear of Falling: I don’t have a fear of heights, really. I don’t mind being up high…until I realize that I can fall! There were a couple of super high (to me) obstacles that we faced along the way and both Christina and myself were in the nervous zone while doing them. As always is the Corn Fed way our team talked us up and over cheering us along the way and we both successfully crossed heights we hadn’t.

Rolling Logs: It was not a huge obstacle but it was one that I liked the challenge of. Think balance beams made from logs and then add in that they rolled back and forth. It was crazy and I loved it!

Mud, mud, mud: We don’t do this expecting to come out pretty and clean and this was no exception. Dirt Runner had some great mud hills and pits as well as some creek bed like trails that were filled with “suck your shoes off and pull you down” muck. Loved it! Add to that the trees that were over the beds that you had to climb over and it was a hell of a challenge at times. Just what we needed! Nothing like trying to unstick your foot from 10 inches of mud only to have to try and hike it over something 5 feet high.

Run, Jump, Ground: Then there were the log over and under challenges at which I may have bruised places I didn’t know I could. Climb over a log placed 4 feet high, ok I can do that. Now under a log with barely enough room to get my arse under (watching the guys try and navigate these with the weight vests was a treat). Now wait, ok this log is up 6 feet high. “I got this, I can do this without help or using the side for a grip”….run….spring up like Tigger on a good day….realized that Tigger really could bounce as I hit the log chest first and become grateful for my rear padding. Twice. Sometimes…sometimes you just take the help and let it go!

Trouble ~ he encourages and inspires (and makes me now want to work up to a weight vest)

Trouble ~ he encourages and inspires (and makes me now want to work up to a weight vest)

The finale: We made it! It’s been a while since we were in water and as we come up to the final obstacle, a long mud pit barbed wire crawl (usually my favorite obstacle) I have to convince myself to get in the cold water one more time, but I do it. This crawl was LONG and the pebbles in the mud were a little skin shattering but we’d made it to this so onward I went. Finally make it to the end to see these huge ass logs sticking out, a few ropes and a ladder with a broken rung and have to navigate up to the top. After a bit of struggle I’m standing at the top looking down at the finish line and remembering once again why I love this addiction!

There were more obstacles and hills and other things along the way but these were just some of my favorites! Wanna know more about the course then you need to come and do one with us!

Best part of the day: The feeling of accomplishment when you get the medal placed around your neck and the cold beer in hand. Seeing friends and teammates celebrate with you. Knowing you’ve challenged yourself and made it again!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure"

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”


Another reason I love doing these is everything in life just fades away as you’re out there challenging yourself to get through the mud, the obstacles, the challenges with people who understand the therapy of the mud just as you do. I thank Don, Heather, Bret, Shannon, and Christina for an amazing fun day…you all were awesome to work with and the laughs and moments will never be forgotten! WE ARE CORNFED!





A Quick Primer to Glasses and Obstacle Course Racing


by Daria P.

Obstacle course races are a fun way to spend your free time, while also getting tons of exercise. The idea is to push the limits of your physical capacity, but the races are designed to suit different types of people. For example, you might find a Warrior Dash to be just right for you (i.e. a 5k mud run with about 10 obstacles), while the Tough Mudder will be too much for a beginner (i.e. a tough challenge that includes swimming in frozen water and electroshocks).

One of the frequently asked questions about this activity is “what if I wear glasses?” Of course, this is a pertinent question because, on the one hand, obstacle course races imply getting your hands dirty – and by hands we mean your whole body – but, on the other hand, just because you wear glasses, you shouldn’t be deprived of your favorite sports. So the first thing you need to do is talk to your optician. In some cases, they might advise you to stay out of it, while others, might offer some good tips on what steps to follow.

If you decide not to consult your doctor about this, you can always do what other glasses wearers do: put protective goggles on top of them. This will help you keep your glasses (relatively) clean and will prevent breaking them. Remember to bring some wipes with you, because you’ll want to clean them up once the race is over (or even during, if required). Click here for more tips on the GlassesOnWeb EyeBlog.

Another option is to risk it and just use your regular glasses. This is not the ideal version, since your glasses will most definitely get covered in mud, blurring your vision. If you do decide to go with this version, use an athletic band to ensure your glasses stay on, and be extra careful during the race. Our recommendation is that you only do this if you’re an experienced racer.

Finally, if you’re wearing contacts, there shouldn’t be a problem during the race. And even if there is, there are designated medical stations that can help you out in need.

This guest post was written by Daria P. who also contributes for

To Conquer All Fears

At the starting line! Photo credit to Tina Basinger

At the starting line!
Photo credit to Tina Basinger

When Tonya Stogsdill asked me to do a Spartan race with her I thought she was out of her mind. I’ve been a runner for 12 years now, but this insane new type of race did not interest me in the least. Or, that’s what I told myself to keep from signing up. I watched the videos of runners throwing themselves into mud and slithering under barbed wire and a twinge of jealousy hit me. I wasn’t that good. So, I convinced myself I’d never finish and that I should just stick to flat road races. Six months later I was standing on the starting line of my first Spartan race in Virginia. What changed? I didn’t want to be afraid anymore.

I raced in high school and college and the pressure and constant reality of never being quite good enough ruined it for me. I avoided improving as a runner because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to meet my own standards. But, when my running hit a plateau in improvement the disappointment I felt woke me up. Running means to

o much to me to be afraid of being the best I can. So, I started racing again. This time, I picked the races I wanted to do and I forced myself to relax, to actually enjoy it. Soon, staring me in the face was the challenge of a half marathon, and again I was terrified. I didn’t want to lose the freedom I had in running if I failed and couldn’t finish. I remembered how Tonya raved about her love for the Spartan race and I figured that if I could complete a Spartan I could do just about anything. I jumped on the website and much to my dismay found that in my state, just an hour away, was a Super Spartan. Now I was stuck.

I trained hard, ran hard, and found myself doing more miles than I’d ever imagined. I passed the mileage of a half marathon a week before the race. I didn’t want to admit yet that the Spartan Race had already pushed me past my limits and I hadn’t even made it to the course.

The day of the race was a gorgeous 75 degrees and sunny. I met up with the Corn Fed Spartans that morning and they told me how hard this course would be. All of the anxiety from every race I’d done flooded into my mind. I’d fail. I wouldn’t finish. My mind was stuck on repeat. I trudged to the starting line, shaking in my running shoes, surrounded by the Corn Fed Spartans who I’d joined to force me to finish. We took off and as I tackled the first obstacle I begrudgingly admitted I was having fun. I was actually laughing. The Virginia Super Spartan was just starting with me though, as I left the open fields and ducked into the muddy woods of Wintergreen Resort. The trails were treacherous and narrow with mud-covered rocks, hidden holes, and impossibly steep hills. In the first 2 miles, we went uphill four times. It was like déjà vu each time we stared up an endless slope.

I broke away from the group with Kevin, who would end up kept me on pace and sane for the first 5 miles. As we pulled ahead a bit, I realized that I’d conquered another fear: being last. Through racing in school, the word had become something of a curse to me. Coaches warned us just to never be the last runner. By the time I did finish, it occurred to me what a meaningless concept in running that is anyway. No one who finishes is ever last. Watching the Corn Fed Spartans never leave a man behind, and the Wounded Warrior Team carrying their own across the finish line, revolutionized the way I think about racing and winning.

The hills in the last 2 miles made the ones before seem like bunny hills. I hiked up the mountainside what felt like 10 times and I dragged my tired legs past other Spartans who had sat down to rest. I discovered I was not alone out there. I dared myself not to stop until the finish line. After destroying the first two walls, 6 then 7 feet high, the 8-foot wall loomed above me. The tallest men around me hesitated, and some missed the top. After nearly 4 miles of hills, I felt more like it was climbing over the Hoover Dam. I had a vision in my mind of jumping but just slamming my entire body into the wall and sliding down. Comical in hindsight, but a serious concern at the time! My jump barely got me off the ground and I caught the edge of the wall with just my right hand.  But, after 30 sadistic burpees at the spear throw, my mental determination lifted my left hand to the top of the wall… then my leg. I was over. At that point, I knew I would finish.

The brutal hills finally gave way to a cluster of obstacles at the end. I made it through each one until I found myself staring straight up at over 10 feet of rope to climb. Here, I faced another fear: heights. As a hiker, it’s my dirty little secret. But, this obstacle, out of all, would be the hardest. I pushed up with my legs, one knot at a time, coming closer to the bell. But, there wasn’t a knot in the 4 feet before the bell. I stood on that very last knot, shaking, pleading with myself not to look down. I closed my eyes and hit the bell. It was done.

Over one more wall, through the fire and I was across the finish line. I overheard runners saying they’d finished the Spartan Beast in less time than this Super. I’d finished in about 4 hours. I stumbled to find my husband and despite my bruised, battered, exhausted legs I felt light. I not only finished, I missed only one obstacle. Now, a marathon would seem the less challenging race this year, a half marathon would be dessert! Crossing the finish line wasn’t my victory- it was that I wasn’t afraid anymore. My time didn’t really matter and racing wasn’t to win. I met and passed my own standards and I found strength I didn’t know I had. I’m hooked now and I’ll definitely be at another race this year. The Spartan Race freed my running from expectations and pressure, and gave me back the joy I lost in racing. The next time I think I can’t finish a run, or anything else I face, it’s the absolutely brutal course of the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan and my Corn Fed teammates that will remind me: I can, I will, and I will only be better.

Corn Fed Family Photo Credit: Tina Basinger

Corn Fed Family
Photo Credit: Tina Basinger

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