Q&A with Joe De Sena

Joe De Sena is the CEO and co-founder of the Spartan Race.

In addition to his successful career as an equities and derivatives trader on Wall Street, De Sena is a fierce athlete having competed in many elite challenges including multiple IronMan races and the Iditarod — by foot. In early 2000, De Sena moved his family to Pittsfield, Vt., to operate a farm, a bed and breakfast, and a general store, and that is where he first developed The Death Race in 2005 and four years later, the Spartan Race series. De Sena says he was inspired to create an obstacle course race that was available to the masses, not just the elite Death Race crowd.

The Mountain Times had a chance to catch up with De Sena when he was home this past week.

Mountain Times: What is your favorite obstacle? Least favorite obstacle? Why?

Joe De Sena: Barbed wire because it hurts.

MT: When completing a race like the Spartan Beast, what advice would you give a first-time competitor? What advice would you give elite racers?

JD: One step in front of the other is the only way to the finish line.

MT: In terms of advice, what do you think is the most (and least) helpful information that is often repeated among athletes in training?

JD: There is no need for protein powders etc. Most helpful is stretch! Do yoga!

MT: In your book “Spartan Up! “and in many other interviews, you’ve spoken a lot about work ethic and how it is the single trait that can get a person pretty much anything they want regardless of all other factors. In your opinion, how is a strong work ethic developed? Can it be taught?

JD: A work ethic can be taught but it requires struggle. I like to call it purposeful suffering. Strip away the easy things in your life, wake up earlier, take cold showers, do burpees.

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