An Interview with Joe De Sena, Co-Founder of the Spartan Races

Joe De Sena.  Photo credit: Barrie Fisher

Joe De Sena. Photo credit: Barrie Fisher

“Hi Joe, thanks for talking with me today.  I’m very excited to be doing my first Spartan Run in two weeks.  Full disclosure:  I chickened out once before, ‘cause, let’s face it, the Spartan Run looks crazy, and I have fear of little things like burpees and jumping over fire…which begs the question: in our society of instant gratification and ongoing pursuit of easy answers, why do you choose to do things the hard way, like creating the Spartan Runs?”

“I’m a freak regarding delaying gratification.  Almost 80 percent of our personal mistakes, problems, country’s problems, and global problems are all related to taking the cookie now…most of us just want what we want now.  The Spartan way is waiting, and possibly getting two later.”

“Why did you decide to create sporting events instead of just opening a gym?”

“Gyms don’t work..they are only a tool to use to get in shape..people need a life altering experience to “force them” to get into the gym.”

Joe training in Staten Island

Joe training in Staten Island

“How much of finishing the Spartan Run is physical, and how much of it is mental?”

80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.”

(Whew!  I can think myself over that fire!)

“I’m a Jersey girl and lived in Queens, NYC after college.  How did growing up in New York City impact you and the races you create?”

“It makes you tougher, and that DNA is woven into the race series.  You know what I mean here.”

“Yes 🙂  Lots of people have great ideas.  You actually put them into action, like starting your own pool business at 13.  What advice would you give to people to make their vision a reality?”

Just commit to it publicly and do it.  It’s so easy just to talk about it; it’s hard to do it. “

“As a Tiger Mom, I was fascinated to read that you are as tough on your four kids as you are on people who run your races; making them watch cartoons in Mandarin!   What lessons to you want your children to carry with them into adulthood?”

They will have two rules to carry the family name:  all our descendants must speak 3 languages;  and every descendant must master a fighting art.  Those are the only rules…oh and take your shoes off before coming in the house 🙂 “

“Where do you see yourself ten years from now?”

Living with the family in different parts of the world…traveling and growing the mission.”

Thanks, Joe, and I can’t wait to read your book. 

If you are interested in pre-ordering a copy of his new book, “Spartan Up,” here is the link to the Amazon page:

How about you?  Do you do things the easy way or the Spartan way?

Lisa ;) (c) 2014 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.






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  • […] De Sena, co-creator of the Spartan Run events, said in a recent interview that finishing the race is 80% mental and 20% physical.  That’s good, because I’ve […]

  • […] De Sena, the co-creator of the Spartan Races, said in a recent interview with me that the race was 80% mental, 20% physical.  I think it might be more like 70/30 though, […]

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