Average Man’s Spartan Death Race… For Life


A few weeks ago I completed a GORUCK Challenge in Princeton NJ. I met a person there who wished me luck. I thanked him. He explained to me that he couldn’t do the Challenge due to an injury he had. I didn’t get a chance to speak to him in detail due to the fact that the Cadre called us into the field to start PT.

After the GORUCK one of my teammates from Class 1031 contacted me asking if I could write a blog for his friend. He explained that his friend was looking to enter the Death Race. His friend needed an athlete profile published, or else he’d have to start the Death Race with 2,500 burpees. This was the same person who wished me luck right before the GORUCK. I jumped at the opportunity because of how modest and laid back he is. Today we have Nelson “Runaway” Diaz here to give us his race background, what motivates him, and why he’s doing the Death Race.


~So Nelson, how did you become involved with obstacle course racing? Were you involved with athletics before the advent of the sport?

I ran track until I was diagnosed with heart murmur in the 9th grade so as soon as we heard about Tough Mudder, my son & I were immediately interested in completing it as a father/son bonding experience. I’ve always had a big heart trapped in a little man’s body so I wasn’t really built for contact sports whereas my son has the family rights to the chiseled, agile, & more durable physique so he would excel in just about all things athletically. I think that if we were somehow merged together we would be superhuman but for now it’s just me taking the beatings 1 OCR at a time.


~To date what does your race resume look like? What are some of your more memorable races?

Aside from a local 5k last year, I’ve only raced in 2 WTMs & just started running against the Spartan elites this year.  I am 1 average man running an uphill battle but I think I’m learning pretty quickly.

69th – 2014 Tri-State Spartan Sprint #2 Elites (5th in 40-44 age group)

44th – 2014 Citi Field Spartan Sprint Elites (2nd in 40-44 age group)

39th – 2013 World’s Toughest Mudder (70 miles 6th in 40-44 age group)

118th – 2012 World’s Toughest Mudder (50 miles 8th in 40-44 age group)

3rd – 2013 October Beerfest – Rahway, NJ

My favorite milestone thus far was running a 5:51 mile on my 41st birthday last year, which clocked me at 14 seconds faster at 41 yrs old than when I was 14 years old.


~What is “Team Believe”? Why are you doing this upcoming Death Race?

Team Believe is a group of people that are motivated by compassion & willing to do some pretty amazing things to help others in their life’s journey. We have a core of 5 with others floating in & out based on the cause that we are championing for. In the past we’ve have NY Giants Super Bowl Champ David Tyree run a Tough Mudder with us to help raise funds for paralyzed Rutgers football player @EricLegrand. We have raised a little over $15k of the $52k we are looking to raise for Eric.

I’m running the 2014 Death Race under the “Death Race For Life” campaign to raise funds & awareness for the life support mission of Gateway Pregnancy Center.

~Can you tell us what this organization does? How do you believe this will help them?

Gateway Pregnancy Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 that provides free sonograms, counseling, and other pregnancy services for women in need in the inner cities & surrounding areas of Elizabeth & Irvington, NJ. Visit


~Do you always run races for organizations such as these? If so, which races have you participated in, and for what organizations?

Team Believe & I are always looking to help additional organizations. However, 3 things must happen for me to run in any obstacle course race or event:

  1. My wife & children have to be ok with it,
  2. My generous sponsors must cover the registration fees,
  3. Someone must benefit from my torture or it’s just not worth it.

So I run Tough Mudders to raise funds for Eric Legrand, Death Race for Gateway.org, & will be carrying paralyzed CSCC Tim Morris of NH for his Spartan Trifecta this year. Tim crawls where he can & we carry him where he can’t but he does all of the obstacles on his own (though some obstacles may be modified). We conquered the Sprint so we’re off to the Canada Beast & the NJ Super to help him reach his goal.

Here’s the Spartan Race Citi Field Official Race Video featuring Tim Morris & Team Believe (we are the work horses for Next Step Fitness-NE)

~Why the Death Race? Is this your 1st Death Race?

During a DNF while trying to carry Tim through the 2013 Vermont Beast I began asking questions about the Death Race. Long story short, Spartan Joe DeSena accepted my request to attempt the DR in an email where he replies “Thats fine but not a chance you’ll finish.” Yes, I still have his March 1, 2014 email & I plan on carrying it all the way to the finish line!

~When it comes to an event like the Death Race what does your training/workout schedule look like? Your diet?

I’m truly not sure how one can prepare for 3 days of unknown torture. However, I attended the 24 hour 2014 Death Camp as part of my training but my right hand was in a cast due to a boxer’s fracture (the name is by far the only manly thing about that injury). Now that the cast is gone, I do 2 a-day CrossFit workouts 3 days a week, I run 3 days a week with only 1 day over 6 miles, & I work hard at living life on God’s terms. I also run a minimum of 2 laps at every event especially Tough Mudders to help me get those miles in. I’ll be rucking & adding more at home workouts now that we’re 3 weeks away from DR. My nutritionist & wife are really helping me commit to a Paleo diet coupled with AdvoCare supplements.


~What’s your game plan going into the Death Race? How will someone like you handle the stresses of the element of the “unknown” that the Death Race likes to throw at competitors?

I will leave for the Summer Death Race with the prayers & support of my family & friends. I am content knowing that my DR journey is to raise funds to help others in their life’s journey. For me, it’s just 1 mile & 1 obstacle at a time regardless of how frustrating & painful that 1 may be. I plan to arrive well rested, well fed, & well stocked with nutrients & hydration. I plan on leaving with Spartan Joe’s skull or the DR Finishers skull…whichever I see 1st at the finish line J


~Are you involved with Music in anyway? Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Yes, I am a Gospel Rapper who enjoys bringing the message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ to the youth. I create positive original songs for every fundraiser as a perk for donors.

“Loud Whispers” created for “Death Race For Life Campaign”



“bELieve” created for the Eric Legrand fundraiser



~Do you have any closing thoughts for the readers?

“Love like you’re not scared; Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another; Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones; Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle; Stand tall but above it all
Fix your eyes on the prize!!” For King & Country (modified)
Life works on God’s terms so fight for your eternity!!
God Bless & Keep Running II TIM. II:XXII

I am grateful for the support of these sponsors who allow me to enrich the lives of others by funding my OCR.
BigDogCrossfit.com, HCMnutrition.com, SkylarkDiner.com, MikesWeBuyGold.com, & CSAVsystem.com

Team Believe

Hanging my suit @ Big Dog Crossfit-Oakhurst, NJ ☺
Nelson “Runaway” Diaz hanging in his suit at Big Dog Crossfit-Oakhurst, NJ ☺
2014 Tri State Spartan Sprint with Tim Morris
2014 Tri State Spartan Sprint with Tim Morris
2013 World’s Toughest Mudder
Nelson “Runaway” Diaz at the 2013 World’s Toughest Mudder
2014 Tri State Spartan Sprint #2
2014 Tri State Spartan Sprint #2

Upstream crawling with cast on right hand - 2014 Death Camp


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