Father (Age 63) and Son (Age 16) complete their first Spartan Sprint Race Together.
This is a photo from the last major obstacle. This was my first Spartan Race and it was extremely difficult for me. Should someone over 60 do a Spartan Race? It depends on your condition, training and doctor's advice
My name is Stephen Melnick and I am 63 years old. I had never heard of the Reebok Spartan Races or even thought of running one until my son came to me one evening and said “Dad we need to run a Spartan Race together”. My son was having an extremely difficult time and needed something positive to happen in his life, so I said YES. We looked at the Spartan schedule for our country (Austria) and found a race which allowed for us to both train for four months.
I had osteoarthritis in my shoulders and could only do 2 pushups when I started training. I started Wim Hof training also in hopes that the arthritis would be better. Wim Hof training helped me immensely to prepare for the race. We ran in 10-degree Celsius cold, rainy weather. We were wet the entire race and there was a wind blowing. Wim Hof training also helped increase upper body strength with the pushups which increased to 25. I increased my running to 35 minutes three times a week. I did an upper body workout three times a week, but I really needed more upper body strength during the race.
Whether it was age or a lack of endurance or upper body strength, the race was a tremendous challenge for me. The first half of the race went extremely well and I had no difficulties with the obstacles or running through the mud, the creek, up and down the hills or crawling. It all went smoothly. However, after 1 hour of racing I was starting to feel tired. Suddenly the obstacles seemed harder and I was starting to feel cold. By the time I got to 1.5 hours of racing I was at my end. I could see the finish line and knew I was too close to finishing to quit. I really pushed myself to finish the race. I have my pictures of the last obstacle on the course. I was tired and worn out.
A few minutes after the race was over, I started shaking and a Red Cross Volunteer wrapped me in a blanket. It was extremely tough but I made it. In all my racing I had never pushed myself as I did in the Spartan Race. That evening I collapsed in the bed and passed out, the next day I stayed in bed. It took a good 3 or 4 days to recover.
After a few weeks, I really reviewed the race and thought should I run another Spartan Race. One day I looked in the mirror and realized if I did not run another Spartan Race I would not train and develop to my full potential. I had the arthritis for 6 years and I had lost a tremendous amount of strength and muscle. With Spartan Training I could recover both the strength and the muscle which had been lost.
I lost 32 pounds training for the Spartan Race, people at work commented that I suddenly had muscles. I had to buy a new wardrobe. People were guessing my age at 20 years younger. I was tougher both inside and outside.
I ended up signing up for 2 Spartan Sprint Races in 2020. I want to do a Super and a Beast, but I want to build up more upper body strength and endurance. I also signed up for a half marathon and 4 training runs. 3 of the training runs will be half marathons. So, my endurance should be much better. Burpees and pushups are now part of my daily training routine.
If I had not trained for a Spartan Race, I would just be another 63 year old man who had osteoarthritis and could only do 2 pushups. Now I am a Spartan. These changes were worth working for.
Stefan told me about the Spartan race and convinced me to train and run the race with him. Stefan had a trainer and trained for 4 months. By race time, he could do over 200 pushups and 20 chin ups. He was extremely well trained and after a slow start in the race, he got a second wind and easily completed the race. He will do a Super for his next race. If the Super goes well, he will try the Beast.
In terms of life changes, Stefan went back to school and became the student he always had the potential to become. His school is very competitive, and Stefan favorite remark is “No matter how hard it gets, I am not quitting”. Sounds like a Spartan Slogan to me.
I believe the discipline which Stefan learned from training and overcoming the physical, mental and emotional barriers which come with ultra-endurance athletics have made Stefan a better person and are preparing him for a better life.
Student, Son, Spartan Finisher and Party Animal
Father, Entrepreneur and Adventurer
3 active amazing, fun loving Boys! As the saying goes "Boys will be Boys" no matter how old or how young!