At least nine para athletes with connections to Disabled Sports USA competed in the inaugural “Para Spartan” Obstacle Race in Laughlin, Nevada on Saturday, November 17th. The event was hosted by Spartan, which is advertised as the world’s largest obstacle course and endurance brand. The debut of the “Para Spartan” adaptive race was part of the company’s continued mission to inspire millions across the globe to live healthy and active lifestyles.
The Para Spartan event drew more than 40 athletes competing in teams of four on a signature Spartan “Sprint” race course with more than 20 signature Spartan obstacles, and with the winning team taking home $10,000 in cash prizes. Team “Some Assembly Required” took home the top prize with athletesJoe Fonseca, Trevor Battah, Jeremy Ogle, Caitlin Conner collectively beating out the competition.
Para Spartan was designed to minimize the impact of impairments on sport performance to ensure the success of participating athletes is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. The race is open to male and female athletes who have an impairment which gives them a competitive disadvantage in Spartan’s traditional race heats. Para athletes faced the regulation obstacles Spartan is known for including the Rope Climb, Barbed Wire Crawl, Spear Throw, Dunk Wall and Monkey Bars. The results were:
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Of the nine athletes with connections to Disabled Sports USA, a number of them have participated in the organization’s Warfighter Sports program, which helps to rebuilt the lives of the most severely injured through sports. Over 1600 veterans are served annually by providing free adaptive sports opportunities to the severely wounded or injured service members and family members. Through the Warfighter Sports program, Disabled Sports USA has served more than 13,000 active duty military and veterans by offering programs nationwide in more than 50 adaptive sports. “Sports have cultivated an attitude of possibility in me,” said retired Army Sergeant Matt Melancon, one of the athletes that competed in the inaugural “Para Spartan” race. While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, Melancon’s vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device causing severe injuries to both of his legs and his lungs. After attempting limb salvage, Melancon had his first leg amputated below the knee in 2013 and his second leg amputated a year later. Melancon has received numerous military awards for his service, including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Purple Heart.
The race is expected to be broadcast on ESPN at a later date.