by Job Abraria
In 2012, themed racing garnered athletes looking to push their physical abilities while including aspects of creativity, fantasy, and pure athletic challenge. Hitting obstacles designed to push comfort zones, face opposition, and overcome fears, racers drive themselves forward. They drive themselves forward, knowing that this alone puts them closer to reaching their goal. The finish line.
Of all of the themed racing events, the Spartan Race is the pinnacle. Holding four different levels of racing from beginner (the Spartan Sprint) to intermediate (The Super Spartan) to advanced (the Spartan Beast) the 30-event nationwide series is held throughout the year. While these events are held in numerous venues across the world, there is only one “Death Race”.
Racers encounter mud lakes, navigate barbwire ceilings 18” off the ground. Spartan races challenge racers to crawl, climb, jump, dive, dodge, carry, slide, and think on his or her feet, not knowing what is coming next. Total athleticism, absolute discipline, and mental toughness are demanded.
So how does one train for an event of this nature? In Central Illinois, many athletes turn to Lee Biga through Peoria Athletic Club. Biga is a multiple time finisher of many Spartan races, including competing in the Spartan Death Race many time, which is the pinnacle Spartan event lasting up to 48 hours.
Mr. Biga’s knowledge and demeanor truly make the class work. His humble, yet demanding leadership keeps the room of 30-40 athletes engaged. Each understanding to pace himself or herself as needed. Mr. Biga looks like non-CGI version of a warrior from the movie “300.”
His unpretentious attitude makes you want to participate and succeed.
The class is truly a family affair; throughout the ranks there are many siblings, spouses, and even parents with teens. They build a very supportive, yet challenging atmosphere. I counted as many smiles as beads of sweat during the 60 minute workout.
The free classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Peoria Athletic Club on Main Street in Peoria.
It is definitely hard exercise. That being said, all body types are present in these classes. Those with harder physiques find these classes challenging with workouts built for well-toned, endurance focused athletes.
Fitness impact: Five stars – The class leadership is so good that you are getting a thought-out workout twice a week that will thoroughly push your body.
Learning Curve: Three stars – Some of the movements and exercises will be difficult. If you want to push yourself, this is a great class. Not for the lazy. Use this class as an adjunct to the rest of your physical regime.
Social Aspect: Four stars – Friendly. Everyone is happy to be there and encouraging. Great family atmosphere.
Availability/Cost: Four stars – Class remains free but is only held twice per week.
Lee Biga and The Peoria Athletic Club can be found at 1231 West Main Street next to One World Coffee. Connect with them on Facebook.