Trueform Fitness club a hit at Reebok Spartan obstacle race

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Sunday, April 20, 2014    

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THE Trueform Fitness club became the Jamaican aggregation to have defied the odds and made their mark when they placed 150th out of 500 teams at the Reebok Spartan obstacle race in Miami last weekend.

The gruelling 8K Spartan series of races that have taken fitness to a new level are becoming extremely popular worldwide and a 25-member team of mostly Jamaicans quickly became fan favourites in this their first time as a team.

The team was headed by organisers Jair Lyon and Chad Hammond, who participated last year as individuals, but this year as a more organised unit.

Imru James, Heineken assistant brand manager, who was a part of the Trueform Fitness team of approximately eight men and 15 women, told the Jamaica Observer they left a lasting impression.

"It was a lot of fun. We had persons from all over the world showing up and our Jamaican team was a fan favourite because we came with our flags, the vibes and the singing," James revealed.

"It was a good experience. Out of about 500 teams, our team came about 150th, so that was very good," he added.

The Spartan race was run over eight kilometres and, according to James, the course had about 21 obstacles, which involved swimming, running, jumping walls about 10 feet high, tyre dragging, monkey bars, rope climbing, spear throwing and mud crawling.

Teams of four or more were eligible for team timing in which the times from the team's top four racers were used to configure the team's finishing time.

"We did well. Everybody finished not at the same time based on fitness and endurance, but we all waited and basically made sure they got their medals."

James himself finished the course in two hours and 40 minutes. Hammond was the best-placed Jamaican, finishing in two hours and 10 minutes. The overall winner stopped the clock at one hour and 30 minutes.

"Eight miles of running 21 obstacles; it seems like a very daunting task. But at the end of day, when you are in the mix doing it with your friends... the team camaraderie, the chemistry, you realised how manageable it is and how each team member is looking out for each other," said James, who was proud after placing 3,000th out of approximately 10,000 participants.

Upon their return to the island, the team was surprised by Carlo Redwood, vice-president, marketing at LIME, welcomed the team with gifts and Samsung S5 smartphones for their efforts.

"It was a gruelling course so it was a kind of celebration party that I hosted for them, having gone and everybody completed the course," said Redwood.

He continued: "It was a pretty unique experience and I just wanted everyone to talk about their experience, and LIME wanted to give them some additional reward for achieving that."

With the Trueform Fitness club earmarking October for their next excursion into Miami, Redwood, who works out with the club, is also hoping to make his mark.

Meanwhile, the event, which is relatively unknown in Jamaica, is taking on traction and Trueform Fitness leader Lyon had indicated that they wanted to get at least 3,000 signatures to be able to bring the event to Jamaican shores.

It's the same sentiments being echoed by James and they promote another form of healthy lifestyle in Jamaica other than the usual 5K events.

"I went to the gym this morning and I was approached by two persons who were asking about it and that they really want to do it next year. Everybody loves it... and there are plans to introduce it to non-believers, to bring them along the journey," he said.

"It is not just going to the gym and lifting heavy weights. There is a lot of climbing and pulling. Before the race, we saw guys that looked like they could lift up a house, but when the race started and the obstacles kicked in, you realised that these guys were fading away because the endurance is not there. It really puts everything into perspective about a healthy lifestyle. Everything has to be on point," he reiterated.





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