By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, January 17, 2018

Squaw Valley Ski Resort holds a special place in the hearts of my daughters, Christina and Shane. They spent winter days skiing there growing up, and it remains a popular gathering spot for my family.

This fall, though, they got together at Squaw Valley for a different reason. Christina and Shane joined Shane’s boyfriend and his brother-in-law on a four-person team that competed in a Spartan Beast race at the Spartan World Championship at Squaw Valley, near Lake Tahoe in California.

The Spartan Beast is a type of obstacle-course race. This particular race officially measured at 16.8 miles and included nearly 40 obstacles. My daughters and their teammates finished the race in 10½ hours. They personally measured their distance traveled at nearly 20 miles.

Neither Christina nor Shane had competed in a Spartan Beast before. Christina had previously done a Tough Mudder obstacle race, which was shorter and less extreme. And Shane had completed a Spartan Sprint, which is a smaller version of the Beast.
They upped the ante with this race.

Shane organized her team and recruited Christina to participate. The race occurred on the weekend of Shane’s birthday.

As Christina learned more about the race and found out that it would be a more daunting challenge than the Tough Mudder, she started to wonder what she’d gotten herself into. But there was no way she was backing out – not on her sister’s birthday.

“I didn’t want to abandon my sister,” Christina said later. “This was on her birthday, and I knew she would be disappointed. That was the main reason I stuck with it.”

“I wasn’t afraid of not finishing,” she added. “I just didn’t want to disappoint my sister.”

For Shane, having her older sister on her team made the race more enjoyable.
“I always want to do things with her,” Shane said. “She’s like the coolest person. I love hanging out with her. I think that’s because I’m the second sibling. But she’s also just really fun to hang out with. She’s responsible. She’s funny. She’s sharp. She’s effective. She gets really excited about things, and that’s contagious. I loved doing it with my sister.”

Christina enjoyed her experience at the Tough Mudder. It challenged her a bit, but it was fun and didn’t push her beyond her limits. She worried that the Spartan Beast would be less about personal achievement and community building. But once she got in the midst of competition, she found out her concerns were unfounded.

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