CIU men give their all in Spartan Race

December 12, 2018

By Jordan Gottfried

“We believe that you can’t have a strong body without a strong mind, that you can’t grow without pressure, that obstacles help shift our frame of reference and make us more resilient.” ~ Spartan Race Inc.

I had the great opportunity to be a Spartan Ram, alongside fellow Columbia International University students Josiah Anzenberger, Abdoul Bala, Nathan Stewart, and Daniel Stroud in our first-ever Spartan Race as a CIU team.

The race was run on Nov. 18, 2018 in (where else?) Spartanburg, South Carolina. A Spartan Race is challenging and painful, but strengthening and fulfilling. The obstacles test your physical abilities and your agility: navigating mud, climbing huge walls, carrying heavy bags, and crawling under barbed wire. The race was four miles with 19 obstacles. It took us out of our comfort zones forcing us to push ourselves and persevere, both in training and in the actual race. Josiah was team captain, and Nathan organized our workout schedule two months prior to the race. The Spartan Race is more than just a race, it’s a lifestyle. We ran in this race, as we do in our lives, under CIU’s motto “To know Him and to make Him known.” I think we accomplished both aspects of that motto.  

First, discipline is a habit and therefore it must be developed. The discipline required to train for a Spartan Race carries over into other aspects of your life. Just as the organizers of Spartan Race claim, “obstacles help shift our frame of reference.” Furthermore, sometimes unexpected trials arise in a Spartan Race and you must adjust to cope with them. Josiah and I both lost a shoe to the mud in the first five minutes of the race. There was no quitting though, instead our teammates came alongside us and pushed us to keep going. Daniel gave me his shoes when I needed them and we all encouraged and pushed Josiah as he ran the rest of the race barefoot. At various points we all came up against obstacles and it would have been easier to quit, but we wouldn’t let them beat us. We placed in the top 15 percent of the race (350 out of 2500 runners). But the comradery and accountability are what I am most thankful for from this experience.

Earlier I mentioned that this race helped us both know God better and to make Him known better. The accountability and discipline helped with the former, so how did this help us make God known? We were blessed by CIU and the generous work of KJ Films, with custom-made t-shirts. We ran with “Spartan Rams” on the front and “To know Him and to make Him known” on the back. Throughout the race, people commented on our shirts and even asked about why we were running. The opportunity that God provided through this race was just as amazing as the race. I am proud to be a Spartan Ram and run alongside my brothers, representing the name of God and holding each other to a life that glorifies Him.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us … (Hebrews 12:1)

Excitement is building on the CIU campus with a dramatic increase in enrollment and on-campus expansion including the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business & IT Center and CIU’s first baseball program to begin in 2019. Information on enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.