The Crossfit Thermopylae Spartan Farm Course
Sparta – the famous Greek city-state that demanded unflinching commitment to military preparedness from its citizens – set a standard for “duty to unit” that remains a cornerstone principle for elite fighting forces worldwide. Mothers gave up their children at 7 years old into a punishing training academy that prepared young men for a life of service. The Spartan warrior was expected return carrying his shield or upon it. The famous 300 of Leonidas supported by 6000 Greek conscripts held off the mighty Persian army – 100,000 strong – at the narrow pass of Thermopylae for three days in 479 BC. When Xerxes offered the Spartans terms for surrender suggesting that his archers’ volleys would “block out the sun”, the great leader opined that his troops would be content to fight in the shade. They were betrayed by a local Greek who showed the Persians an alternate route on a hidden goat path over the mountain. The Spartans found themselves surrounded. Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the unit. The Spartans guarded their retreat and famously fought to the last man standing. Athens was subsequently burned but the courage of those selfless patriots inspired actions that expelled the invaders the following year.
Their gift continues to inspire us today and is evident in the gritty determination of folks who seek their best effort and train with discipline for an exciting obstacle course race series started in the mountains of Vermont a few years ago. Spartan Races are held all over the country today. They involve running with your friends on hilly terrain at 5K, 10K or half marathon distance and negotiating challenges designed to test your physical stamina, mental toughness and ability to banish the demons that might give you permission to quit along the way. Weekend warriors and elite competitors scale walls, climb ropes, carry buckets of gravel, encounter agility tests, throw spears, crawl through mud under barbed wire and jump over fire in pursuit of the purposeful life – the fitness and strength to tackle any obstacle with perseverance and faith in the people around you. As someone who has completed two 5K Spartan Races (several years ago when I was in shape) I can attest to the euphoric sense of accomplishment and community experienced at the finish line.
We are excited that our friends at Crossfit Thermopylae – www.spartanfitness360.com in Middletown, RI will be building a Spartan training course around the perimeter of our sloping 100-acre Cloverbud Ranch property to be utilized as an occasional weekend satellite gym location for would-be Spartans. Coaches help each member work toward his or her personal goals in a supportive environment that values hard work and the understanding that nobody ever drowned in a puddle of sweat. We toughen ourselves with the knowledge that “the only person you are better than is the person you were yesterday”. Head coach and reigning Minister of Discomfort John Viveiros will be organizing a number of work details in the coming weeks building obstacles that replicate Spartan Race challenges along the scenic 3-mile course abutting two ponds and surrounding our rotationally grazed beef cattle and broiler hens. We will grill up some of our grass-fed burgers at day’s end and share a beverage in fellowship reflecting on a job well done.
Only gym members will have access to the course and only with a coach at pre-determined group training session due to safety and liability concerns (scheduling details TBD). Crossfit Thermopylae gym members can always purchase our grass-fed beef and heritage pork at 10% savings with a 10 pound order. I’ve been back on a moderate and sustainable fitness regimen with one weekly class for a while now and feel a world better than the sagging & self-loathing pile of shame that entered the building 7 weeks ago. Thank you for choosing to eat well and support local agriculture.
Respecting the Protein, MB