Spartan warriors getting ready to take on the challenge.

It seems as though a fitness craze has truly hit the nation. It may be spawned by the President’s Challenge or a response to growing awareness about health and wellness. Or maybe good habits are contagious.  I abhorred running until one of my dearest friends started doing it. And after watching friends and colleagues train and then rave about some of the races they’ve run, I’ve also found their enthusiasm to be catching. Yes, I’m a little late to the game. I can just walk out of my office and watch person after person walking, running, and cycling on the W&OD trail. Marathons, extreme races, and endurance challenges are popping up everywhere for people to challenge themselves, compete with others, and have some healthy fun, while often raising money and awareness for charitable organizations. Instead of sitting on the couch watching actors dressed as Spartans reenact ancient battles on TV, more and more people are choosing to become Spartans themselves – playing out their battles on a muddy, obstacle covered course. And with The Olympics starting this summer, there’s no more inspiring time to get out there and challenge yourself with one of the extreme races or marathons hosted in Loudoun. Even if you’re not physically prepared for all the course entails, spectators are welcome at these events to cheer on the contestants, participate in the festival like atmosphere (or an actual festival depending on the race), and maybe find yourself a goal to work towards when the event rolls around again next year. Good health, good fun, and a good cause? Here’s hoping this is one good habit that we can all catch.

Upcoming Races in Loudoun

Super Spartan Obstacle Race Aug 25-26 Voted Best Obstacle Race 2012 by Outside Magazine, the mission of the Spartan Race is “To bring out the Spartan in you and to rip 1 million people off their couches!”  How do they do this? Eight plus miles of mud covered, obstacle strewn course makes it both fun (thousands of muddy people can’t be wrong!) and challenging.

2012 Audi Best Buddies Challenge Oct 20 The course for the 2012 Audi Best Buddies Challenge will run along closed roads through Washington, DC, offering views of the monuments, and will end at scenic Morven Park in Leesburg. Participants can choose from a 5K walk/run or cycle 20, 62, or 100 miles. Cyclists can ride the route with cycling legend George Hincapie while runners can beat the pavement with Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis. Best of all, The Best Buddies Challenge supports Best Buddies International, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.