Spartan Race next in fitness journey

Joel Valencia competes during the Crosstown Throwdown in Eagle in August 2015. Here he’s performing a series of moves known as the “bear complex” with 75 pounds. He says the bear complex includes the front squat, overhead and back squat. Valencia is competing in the Boise Sprint Spartan Race Saturday.

PAYETTE — Fitness wasn’t a priority in Joel Valencia’s life until three years ago when he started doing CrossFit. Now the Fruitland resident has his sights set on running the Spartan Race near Payette this weekend.

The Spartan Race, officially titled the Boise Sprint on the Spartan Race website, is a longer than 3-mile race with more than 20 obstacles. These obstacles include challenges such as the spear throw, rope climb and mud pits.

While this will be the first Spartan Race for Valencia, it isn’t his first tango with obstacle races. He has participated in the Dirty Dash in Boise the last two years. He was planning on running it again this month, but it was cancelled, which prompted him to sign up for the Spartan Race instead.

“I want to be able to finish the race this weekend. I want to conquer something that a lot of people told me I wouldn’t be able to do,” Valencia said.

Valencia’s commitment to exercise was sparked by a doctor’s visit for a bout of food poisoning in December 2013. The doctor didn’t mince words with him.

“When the doctor weighed me, he gave me 10 years or less to live if I kept going at the rate I was going,” Valencia said. “I decided that if I didn’t better myself, nobody was going to do it for me.”

Valencia tries to make it into the CrossFit gym four or five times a week, and he’s participated in obstacle races three years running. Following the Spartan Race, Valencia is planning to attend the Crosstown Throwdown in August. His ultimate goal is make it to a qualifier for the CrossFit Games.

The Boise Sprint Spartan Race will be held Saturday at the Thomas Pence Ranch near Payette. Race starts are staggered throughout the morning based on class, including a Spartan Kids Race at half-mile and mile distances.

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