On a sunny Monday in December 3-Seconds had a meeting with two of the founders of Spartan Race: Selica Sevigny et Richard Lee. Today, they are in charge of the Spartan Race- Eastern Canada/UK division.
Selica, please explain how everything started.
met Joe De Sena in summer 2009. He invited us to participate in a race he’s been organising for a few years already, the Death Race. We just finished the « Appalachian Trail »* when we arrived at Kilington, Vermont to participate in the race. We knew nothing about the Death Race and it’s only once we met the other contestants that we realised what we signed up for.
year, Richard’s victory was a tie with a US « marine ». As for me, I had to give up after 7 hours due to a problem of hypothermia. At that time, I was the last woman still in the race. A few months later, at the first winter edition of the Death Race, I finished in the third place behind a triathlon athlete and a man who had already participated 7 times. That race changed me. I actually found a new passion, the desire to pass on to others the drive to excel and make them move.
few months after the race, Richard and I started to think about ideas for a more reachable concept. A race of a few kilometers including obstacles along the way. A hard race, but it would reach more people compared to the 400 contestants of the Death Race organized by Joe De Sena. Together we have forged what would become the foundation and values of the sport we know today as the Spartan Race.
What led you to found the Spartan Race Canada division?
Race was founded by a small group of people from 3 countries. Richard is English, Jos De Sena and Andy Weinberg are both from the United States and I am Canadian.
first, we only had four races: two in the United States, one in Quebec and one in England. We decided to try a limited number of events to see how people would react. A few years later, we had created an international sport.
In 2014, we will celebrate our 5th anniversary and I can confirm that we will have many surprises for our community.
Do you think you will add more events to the calendar in 2014 for Eastern Canada?
the races have already been announced, there will be no other event added to the calendar. However, in 2015 we are planning two to three additional events, including a race like the “Beast” to be held in Quebec.
Rumor has it that there will be cash prizes awarded to winners in 2014. Is this true?
, there will be cash prizes in 2014! However, we have not yet decided on neither the amounts to be distributed nor in which events it will be given.
Will you form a Canadian elite team?
the moment, the Reebok company is in charge of an elite team pilot project in the United States. Reebok has expressed a desire to expand the program to other countries. However, if Reebok was not going forward, Spartan Race Canada will initiate the project. We are beginning to see exceptional talent in Canada and we want to help these athletes to perform better.
Will you organize a Spartan World Championship in Canada or elsewhere in the world someday?
the very beginning Joe De Sena has made it a personal mission to turn Killington, Vermont into the capital of obstacle racing. This is the reason why the World Championship will remain in Vermont in the short term.
Moreover, having started planning the future of the sport, our goal is already to develop it as an Olympic sport. The World Championship will be led in a few years, to be played in various countries much like the international events.
Have you ever thought about creating national championships like a Canadian Championship which will lead to the World Championship at the end of the season?
… It could be interesting! Not for the 2014 season, but probably in 2015. I think this formula works very well in our concept
regards to this question, I will be crystal clear. At the very beginning, as the founders of Spartan Race, Richard, myself, Joe, Andy and a few others, have begun to develop this sport together. Since the explosion of popularity for the Spartan Race, we decided to separate markets. Joe De Sena was left in charge of the U.S. market while Richard and I took responsibility for the Canadian and English markets.
the American side, Jos De Sena works in finance on Wall Street and he has a personal fortune estimated at several hundred million dollars. Moreover, his business contacts generate a lot of sponsorships that are not available in our market in Canada. Our methods are completely different.
Accordingly, since the beginning we have always been two years behind the U.S. series in terms of the budget allocated for each race. However, Richard and me have always strived for excellence to achieve good events within our budget.
In our fifth year of existence, we can now say that Spartan Race has reached a high level of credibility which ensures that international attention and spotlights are constantly on us. We set ourselves the responsibility to raise the level of quality from year to year. It is our priority to make Spartan Race more and more outstanding.
Moreover, we work for the future development of international standards which will be the stepping stone for the development of courses , choice of obstacles as well as the general appearance of the races. These norms will help to standardize the events from one country to another.
Crédit Photo: Epic action imagery