MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- Before he joined the Marine Corps, Cpl. Keith Elliott, administration chief for company office, Tenant Activities Company, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, believed that putting his name and the word “run” in the same sentence was a contradiction. Now, he plans to leave that reputation behind and prove he can do what very few have been able to accomplish: Be a part of the Spartan Trifecta Tribe.
Spartan Races are the self-proclaimed “world’s leading obstacle race series.” Races come in all shapes, sizes, and difficulties. Unlike most marathons, there are obstacles such as walls of fire, barbed wire crawls and cement block carries that test runners physically and mentally. To become a member of the Spartan Trifecta Tribe, one has to finish three different Spartan events in a calendar year anywhere in the world.
“I think that my struggle in running is the main reason that I want to do this,” said Elliott. I want to overcome that and show myself that I can really push past what I think my physical limit is.”
Elliott has not been a stranger to challenging himself to do better. As a civilian accountant, in 2009, Elliott was well paid and had a comfortable life. Yet, he still yearned to be a part of something where he felt appreciated and could be challenged on a mental, physical and spiritual level.
“He is self motivated, and once he sets his mind to do something, no one can deter him from that goal,” said Elliott’s mother, Rhonda. “I remember Keith and his uncle would always train together and, even though Keith would be hurting at times, he would still keep going. He has always been tough, and I’m very proud of him.”
This year, Elliott has participated in the 911 Heroes 5k run, the Marine Corps Marathon 10k, the Blood and Guts 5k Zombie Run and the Marine Corps Marathon Turkey Trot 10k. While looking for other races to compete in, Elliott stumbled onto information about the Spartan races.
“My mind was blown when I found out about the Spartan Races,” Elliott said. “This is tough and no joke all about athleticism and fitness. This is not something I can just walk in and do. I have to really put some time and effort into training up to it.”
After the Turkey Trot in November, Elliott decided to take a break from being in races to focus on the training for the Spartan race, and lessen the chances of injury. His workouts vary in style, but his focus had been on building up his endurance.
So far, Elliott has been on a 12-week exercise program that involves high-intensity interval training, running, plyometrics ‘a type of exercise designed to produce fast and powerful movements’ and workouts from the P90X program.
“It’s a lot of training, but it is worth it to see the results as quickly as I do,” Ellott said.
The three races Elliott will compete in next year are the Spartan Sprint, Super Spartan and Spartan Beast.
The Sprint is a muddy three-mile course with 15 obstacles that will be held on Feb. 10., in Chandler, Ariz. The Super Spartan obstacle race is eight miles with 20 obstacles on Feb. 23., in Miami. The Spartan Beast in April and It will consist of a 10 to 12-mile course that holds more than 25 obstacles on April 20., in California.
Out of millions of participants, just more than 70 people have been able to run their way into the Spartan record books and be a part of the Spartan Trifecta Tribe. Elliott understands what it takes hold that title and he is determined to do what he has to get there.
“I’m looking forward to competing in the races, but I know it’s going to be rough. I don’t expect to just walk away uninjured. I have never run that far while jumping through hurdles, swimming and climbing at the same time, but I can imagine the feeling I will get when I cross that last finish line. I want that feeling.”