By Brenda Maguire
For Journal Register News Service
Jeff McBride was not always an athlete.
“I couldn’t even stand gym class,” he said via e-mail, reminiscing on his high school days. He later added, “It became a huge passion of mine when I joined the Army right after high school.”
Now, at the age of 27, McBride will be participating in The Spartan Death Race on June 15 in Pittsfield, VT.
The Spartan Death Race, which has been held every year since 2005, involves a mix of mud runs, obstacles, trail racings and mental challenges that could go over 48 hours. The obstacles change every year, so runners do not know what to expect.
McBride, an Elverson resident, found out about the race from the best man in his wedding.
“Since then we would joke about doing it then it just wouldn’t happen since we would forget… Then each year seeing it online I decided I’d actually really want to do it,” he said.
“The main reason I decided to do it is [because] I love to be mentally and physically tested to see if I have what it takes to do what most can’t.”
After high school, McBride enlisted in the Army as Airborne Infantry in 2003. He was only in the Army until 2004 due to a health condition. When he was first released, he was not doing any physical activity and it made him restless.
“I started to workout at the gym a lot, got really into mountain biking, hiking, etc. Eventually I picked that up and got certified as a personal trainer and sports nutritionist which I did part time for quick awhile,” said McBride who now works as a computer engineer.
The Spartan Death race will be the first official race McBride participates in, however, he has run a full marathon on his own.
“I was at Dunkin Donuts getting breakfast, then I saw a car with a “26.2” bumper sticker and thought to myself, ‘I wonder if I could run a marathon?’ About 30 minutes later, after Googling a 26.5 mile route I started my run to find out,” he said.
McBride finished the run in about six hours.
He said he has not been doing anything extra to train for the death race and is just sticking to his regular routine, which includes trail running, mountain biking and power lifting.
“The biggest challenge for me is finding out if my mental strength is strong enough to keep me going even if I haven’t “trained,’” McBride said.
According to the race website, only 15 percent of participants are able to finish the race, but McBride isn’t worried.
“As long as I don’t break any bones that prevent me from walking, I’ll be good to go until the finish line,” he said.
McBride is not nervous for the race at all, but rather excited for the challenge of completing in the race.
“Being able to play outside in the mountains, with a bunch of other people that also love to play outside in the mountains, shouldn’t be anything but a good time. Then after the 24, 36, 48 or however many hours long the race is – My dad said he’ll make sure he has an ice cold beer for me at the end.”