Patrick Mies Is Obsessed with the Spartan Death Race. Is That a Bad Thing?
Patrick Mies II is a very intense individual, the kind who will barely let you get a word in edgewise in a conversation. I have called him to talk about his participation in something called the Spartan Death Race, and I have just inadvertently become a part of his first challenge.
Photo provided by Patrick Mies Mies at a smaller Spartan Race.
Mies, 33, is one of only four Houstonians competing in the 2013 Spartan Death Race, which will take place on June 21 in Pittsfield, Vermont. You know those "adventure" races like the Tough Mudder and the Warrior Dash? The Death Race is like the Ironman version of those. The entry fee is $600. The course is 50 miles long (or longer). Last year, the race's eighth year, 344 ran the course, but only 51 finished. That's less than 15 percent. And in addition to the physical challenges, which the contestants aren't informed of until they actually set foot on the course, there are also mental challenges. Past contestants have had to memorize the names of the first ten U.S. Presidents or a Bible verse, translate a Greek saying, and more.
That's where I come in. As a rookie, Mies' first challenge is to get an interview with a local media outlet. The interview has to be published or broadcast. I don't know about this until I talk to him, but by doing so, I am saving him the challenge of having to lift 50,000 pounds before he can even start the race on race day. (That's lifting a 50-lb weight 1,000 times.) Other rookies must complete this task in 5 hours, or earn a DNF -- "did not finish" -- on their race record.
Mies, who worked in construction for 12 years, has run all those other races, too. At 6 feet and 200 pounds, he's always been athletic. He first heard about the Warrior Dash from a secretary at his job.
"I really enjoyed running around in the woods and meeting people," he said. "It's like being a kid again. It's like learning to ride a bike then getting in a car and forgetting how to ride."
So-called mud runs quickly became an obsession for Mies. In 2012, he vowed to do as many as possible. Once, on his way to a race called the Tough Mudder, his vehicle broke down 40 miles before the race location. So he slept in his car, then hitchhiked the rest of the way the morning of the race.
On New Year's Eve of this year, he stayed up until midnight to register for the Death Race. Potential participants have to be accepted into the fold. As soon as he was accepted, he joined a Facebook group for fellow Spartans, where previous participants share race secrets and rookies trade rumors. One key behind the race's difficulty is that participants do not know what to train for. There are also moles on the Facebook page who have been known to use participants' weaknesses against them.
Here is how Mies is training: