For those of you in NWI who run, compete in obstacle races, or just all around workout, you have more than likely seen the loud and rowdy group in red. They are a friendly bunch, and their main goal is health and fitness with a bit of fun mixed in. This group is appropriately dubbed: the Cornfed Spartans.
"Cornfed Spartans is a group of like-minded individuals whose primary goal is to get people off the couch and into a healthy lifestyle through fun and challenging activities," fellow Spartan Joshua Waytovich said. "We strive to lead by example and provide unwavering support and motivation to encourage both our members and the community at large to become a better version of themselves, be that in life or on the race course."
A group that doesn't accept excuses, the Cornfed Spartans is in full support of obstacle course races everywhere. The Indiana conglomerate was formed in October 2011, and ever since they have helped family, friends, and others get up off the couch and get out and experience what it's like to live a healthy and active life.
Case in point, Waytovich joined the Cornfed Spartans to get a new and fun challenge into his life.
"I joined the group because I was in a need of challenging myself out of my comfort zone. And I witnessed many different talents of many different people coming together to help one another whether it was during a race or with everyday life," Waytovich said.
The Cornfed Spartans participate in many different types of races. The group that tips the scales at over 3,000 members participates in 5ks, 10ks, half, full, and ultra marathons, triathlons, obstacle course races or mud runs, goruck and many endurance military type events. Waytovich competed in 20 different races in 2014 alone.
But it's more than just running a race with the Cornfed Spartans. They run and act like a family, encouraging members, training together, and helping everyone complete a race.
"The most recent good memory I have is a fellow team member, named Diane, who had complications with a heart surgery and has been in the hospital for a few weeks. When the team found out how serious it was and that there was a chance she wouldn't make it, we came up with a fundraising idea to do a virtual ruck. Nationwide wherever you were, you would donate $25 via PayPal and ruck (military back pack or ruck sack with various weight) 10 miles," Waytovich said.
Groups all over the country took part; Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, and right here in Indiana - they all stepped up to help Diane. Other teams besides the Spartans got in on it as well. Diane's plight happened near Christmas and no one wanted to see her child go without presents during the holidays.
And on the subject of ruck sack, Waytovich and fellow Spartan Adam Koronka toted these heavy sacks during the Valpo Turkey Trot. Koronka wanted to honor the military men and women who didn't get to be home with their families during the holidays, so he, Waytovich, and others loaded the ruck sacks until they weighed 60 lbs, and carried them throughout the entire 10k.
"He wanted to honor those that are serving. He brought the idea to the local group of Cornfeds and a few of us agreed to help him honor these men and women," Waytovich said. "We also 'rucked' on my birthday. 15 of us rucked the Duneland Prairie Trail from Chesterton to Hobart and back. A round trip of 23 miles with 20 lbs in our rucks. The catch was everyone donated to the charity of my mom's choice. She picked the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. We raised $250 for them."
Carrying these ruck sacks is a form of training for the Spartans. They do other things to add some spice to the routine like push-up challenges and sing-offs.
"Whatever it is, we like to have fun while making a better healthier lifestyle for ourselves and families," Waytovich said.
The Warrior Ethos that all Spartans heed is:
"I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade."