Joe De Sena – Who Are You Sports Interview


Joe De Sena: Spartan Race founder shares the history of Spartan Race as well as his own life. Mindset, attitude, perspective and a never quit mentality is A big reason over 1,000,000 participate in Spartan Races today.

Spartan Race Cofounder Joe De Sena
Spartan Race Cofounder Joe De Sena


All too often we spend our waking hours trying to find and stay comfortable in our own lives.  We look for short cuts, gadgets, and processes to make things easier, seeking what we consider personal fulfillment.   We believe that there are things we can do and things that we can’t, and we become conditioned to that distinction.  It creates our everyday reality and it makes us feel secure, because we think we know what to expect of the world and what to expect of ourselves. Enter Joe De Sena, the man who will turn that world upside down.

Growing up in Queens, Joe’s mother valued healthy eating and living and passed on that value system to Joe. It’s been well-documented that he worked hard growing up and ultimately got to “Wall Street“, where he made his mark and made himself a small fortune.  He moved his family to Pittsfield, Vermont and quickly entrenched himself and his family in the local landscape.  Joe moved to Vermont in an attempt to get back to the way things used to be. It’s also well documented that Joe turned an interest in endurance racing into a passion.  His racing resume is the stuff of legends – over 50 ultra-events overall and 12 “Ironman“ Events in one year alone.  Most of his races are 100 miles or more with a few traditional marathons in the mix.  (He once said that my running a 26.2 marathon distance was “adorable.”)

Spartan intends to wake up the world up and save humanity, one racer at a time if need be.  It’s a race meant to challenge, to push, to intimidate, to test and even to break those brave enough to try, and it was designed by seven people who know what that feels like.  “Fun run” doesn’t apply here.  It’s about being uncomfortable, overcoming obstacles and finding out what’s possible when what you expect of yourself is everything.  In the words of Joe himself: “The phrase ‘I can’t’ doesn’t mean anything to me anymore, not because of my ego but because I know anything is possible.”

An entrepreneur since childhood, Joe built a successful pool cleaning business. Persistent and determined “live the dream” Joe attended ” and later worked on “Wall Street“. However over time he found that “the dream” was not what he wanted.

Joe Moved to Vermont, started the “Death Race” and ultimately the “Spartan Race” series. Joe also wrote a book called “Spartan UP!” which is on the “NY Times Best Seller list“. Spartan Race is now running 40+ races this year in the “United States” and dozens of races in 17 other countries around the world including “Canada“, “Mexico“, “England“, “Australia“, “South Korea“, “Germany“, “Italy” and more.

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Rob Elwood
When I am not dedicating my time to my family or the podcast Who Are You: The Life Lessons of Sports I oversee Atlas Innovators (AI) as Founder and CEO. AI is an operational think tank that owns, oversees, consults, and interacts with multiple businesses around the world. I have 20+ years of working in Major League Baseball, youth sports & camps, organizational management, consulting and customer service. I am also the owner of various summer camp businesses such as the official MLB summer camps of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.


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