This June local Thurles resident Rory O’Grady (31) will take part in one of the worlds toughest sporting events, an endurance race known as “The Spartan Death Race”.
The event is held on the 27th of June in Vermont, USA and is set to see over 300 participants from around the world attempt to complete the course. Participants comprise of military personal, special forces, elite soldiers and amateur athletes. The event is classed as an elite level obstacle course race which lasts a total of three days, it requires months of hard training and even then proves difficult for those taking part. The hard nature of the course is reflective of the number of people who finish, only 10% of those who start the course walk away victorious.
Rory who is participating in the event for the first time has entered the competition in the hopes of raising aid for three charitable causes, Temple Street Children’s hospital, the Central Remedial Clinic and Erbs Palsy Ireland. O’Grady who as of the moment is the only Irish participant registered to participate in the event. His participation in the event is primarily driven for his son Callan who suffers from the condition Erbs Palsy, Rory is wishing to fundraise for these charities and help raise awareness for their cause. Not only does he want to raise awareness for these charities he also wants to show his son the importance of overcoming obstacles that life presents saying “I want to be able to show him in later life no matter what obstacles are put in your way, you can overcome them, its about getting back up despite the odds.”
Training methods undertaken by the 31 year old Ballinasloe born Rory involve strength and endurance regimes most of us are not capable of. His methods involve strict training regimes including flipping truck tires, long hikes while carrying a 50kg backpack, chopping large logs of wood, to regular gym work and also anything difficult that he can think of. His training will see him push his body to its limits in the attempts to ready himself for the challenging three day obstacle course set in front of him.
The race was first created in 2005, using different themes each year with this years theme being “explorers”. Competitors are urged to read up about past explorers such as Edmund Hillary, and Shackleton to gain an idea of what they may face. Competitors are also given a list of random items which they must bring to the competition and carry for the majority of the race with some items weighing in excess of 50 pounds. The idea of this is to puzzle participants, they will not only be competing physically but will see their intelligence tested also, by answering questions relating to the theme while performing physical tasks. Failure to answer correctly will lead to further physical punishment in the form of 2,500 burpess while wearing a weighted vest.
The race itself takes place in the gruelling terrain of the Green mountains in and around Pittsfield, Vermont with previous events having lasted well past the 70 hours mark. Contenders will face the elements from navigating dense forest land, to scaling mountainous regions and swimming through ice cold water. The event not only challenges the individual physically but also mentally. “They provide no support for contenders, they don’t tell you when it starts, or when it ends and what type of course you will face entails, they want participates to fail and encourage them to quit” says Rory. It involves participants to be at the height of their physical fitness and will certainly test their mental resolve.
Rory who serves as a member of An Garda Siochana based in Limerick certainly holds the mentality and credentials necessary to finish the race.
His participation in the “Spartan Death Race” will hopefully encourage more Irish athletes to participate in similar events and raise awareness for charities important to them. The Tipperary Star wishes Rory the best of luck and looks forward to reporting on Rory’s hard fought victory.