Pulled from the millions of obstacle course racers worldwide, Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge assembled 36 teams of five to participate in this thrilling challenge. Two men and two women are partnered with an elite Spartan racer, and together they will tackle grueling, custom-designed courses. Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge will test both their physical and mental endurance, and only those who can work together as a team and are determined and tenacious enough will make it through.
Huffington Post‘s Deevra Norling recently talked with one of the contestants about participating in such an exciting and difficult challenge. Brendan Rabadi is a 31-year-old realtor from the Saratoga, NY, area. Rabadi’s team is comprised of Melissa Manzer, who is the co-owner of CrossFit Round Lake, and fellow CrossFit Round gym members Linda Larsen and Jared Manzer. All four were eager to put themselves to the test and didn’t hesitate to enter the challenge.
To get ready for this ultimate Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge, Rabadi told Norling that they only had six weeks’ notification that they were accepted before filming began. They had no idea what the course would be like until they arrived in Atlanta. With only six short weeks to prepare for the physical side of the Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge obstacle courses, they changed up their CrossFit routines to include a myriad of different exercises such as more running, lifting, and throwing objects. The mental aspects of the challenge was something he said they weren’t quite prepared for.
“The course was humbling to say the least,” says Rabadi. “It’s mentally difficult to struggle with things that you’d normally consider your strengths. It’s even more difficult in a team environment because you know you’re all relying on each other to perform.”
For fans of endurance and obstacle course races like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, this is one course that won’t disappoint. There’s plenty of mud, frigid waters, razor sharp barbed wire, and of course there’s the hated and feared slip wall. This 18-foot slanted wall is covered in mud and is almost impossible to climb. One Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge participant remarks in a preview clip for the show that he’s actually had nightmares about the slip wall.
— Spartan (@NBCSpartan) May 6, 2016
Mud Run Guide shared that each weekly episode of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge will feature six teams made up of best friends, brothers, parents, co-workers, teachers, fitness partners, and more. These teams will have to quickly learn how to work seamlessly together as they encourage and push each other because in this competition, no one triumphs alone, and they must start and finish the course as a team. Besides bragging rights, the Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge contestants are all competing for a lucrative cash prize of $250,000. Rabadi explained why he thinks participants and viewers find these competitions so appealing.
“Obstacle course racing has really exploded over the last few years among a wide array of demographics. People have slowly been figuring out that rolling in the mud, throwing spears, and working together with others to accomplish a difficult goal is fun for anyone, not just elite athletes. Add a team element and televise it and I think the show should resonate with a lot of people.”
NBC’s page for Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge states that this new series comes from the producers of American Ninja Warrior. Hosts of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge include former linebacker Dhani Jones and L.A. Galaxy star Kyle Martino. Course reporters include NBC news anchor MJ Acosta and TV host and American Ninja contestant Evan Dollard.
Executive producers for Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge are A. Smith & Co. Productions’ founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed (Hell’s Kitchen, Unsung, Ellen’s Design Challenge), along with Anthony Storm.
Will you be watching this exciting new series? Leave your thoughts, comments, and opinions below. Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge premieres on Monday, June 13, at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
[Image via Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge/Facebook]