Three Miles that will change your life

My name is Greg O'Keefe, and I have Parkinson's Disease.  I was diagnosed nearly three years ago, in April 2016, at age 46.  Almost immediately, I started exercising more, but I did not understand that more vigorous exercise is better.  My neurologist recommended Rock Steady Boxing (RSB), and I quickly came to enjoy that.  Through RSB I attended the first Movement Fair, where I learned about Pedaling for Parkinson's and the concept of high intensity, forced exercise.  Each of us has our own interests--some pedal across Iowa, or climb mountains.  I like the gym, so I started spending more time there (Tony Cress Training Center).  My new friends there invited me to a Spartan Race.

What is a Spartan race?  The web site ( says this:

"Three miles that will change your life. Our mission is to change 100 million lives by motivating people to get out of their comfort zones and learn about, experience, and embrace the Spartan lifestyle."

I would simply call it a combination trail run and obstacle course.  There are three main categories:  Sprint (short), Super (medium), and Beast (long).  Together, they make up the Spartan Trifecta.

That bit on the web site about "three miles" is a bit misleading.  I participated in the Arizona Sprint on 2/9/19, and it was 4 miles.  No matter--each course is unique, with varying distance, terrain, and mix of obstacles.

What's it like?  Why would I (or anyone else) want to do it?  The answer to the first question can be found in any of a plethora of youtube videos . . . or by doing it.  The second question probably has as many answers as there are competitors in the races.  There are some very competitive athletes who may be trying to improve their time, but I just wanted to see if I could do it.  My goals were simple:  finish, and don't come in last.  In addition to raising money for the Michael J Fox Foundation (, I achieved both goals, finishing 4560 out of 4849 people. 

Greg O'Keefe

Parkinson's Place