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The City Journals

Coworkers challenge each other to fitness trifecta

Aug 29, 2019 12:37PM ● By Greg James

Chic Evans, Dom Mirabelli and Travis Roberts completed the Spartan trifecta by completing three grueling races in one season. (Photo courtesy of Travis Roberts)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Coworkers at a local auto collision repair facility challenged each other to lose weight and eat healthier. Before they realized what they had done; a pull-up bar was installed in the corner, a climbing rope hung from the rafters and there were daily push-up challenges at lunch.

“It is about challenging and encouraging each other to be healthy,” Herriman resident Travis Roberts said. He was with his kids at the library and came across the widely popular book “Spartan Up” by Joe De Sena and Jeff O'Connell. Roberts decided to attempt to run a Spartan Race and convinced Dom Mirabelli and Chic Evans, his coworkers, to also try.

“I got the book on audio, and for me it was a game changer. I told these guys that they needed to listen to this book. We started to seek out extreme athletes then we committed to doing the trifecta,” Roberts said.

Not just one Spartan, they wanted to complete the trifecta, finishing a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year. Completing all three meant training and traveling to other Spartan events in other states.

To complete the goal they made trips to Boise, Idaho on June 29, Snowbasin on July 20 and Aspen, Colorado on Aug. 3 in order to complete all three race distances in the same year.

“We trained together three times a week,” Mirabelli, a West Valley resident, said. “We did 13-mile trail runs after work and practiced burpees (a four-step squat thrust) every day.”

A Spartan is a mountainous trail race broken up with physical obstacles. A Sprint is typically 3 miles and includes 20 obstacles, a Super is at least 8 miles with 25 or more obstacles and a Beast is 13 miles with more than 30 obstacles.

The obstacles are different at each event. They are designed to test participant’s mental and physical fortitude. They can include an atlas ball carry, tire flip, monkey bars and wall climbs. Each event has different types of challenges and may place them on a hill or flat ground depending on the event coordinator. 

“Some obstacles were tough for me, but easier for others,” Murray resident Chic Evans said. “If you can’t do the obstacles then you have to do 30 burpees. Spartan races are all about camaraderie.”

“We never would have gotten this far into it if we had not worked together. It gives us something to talk about at work. We are constantly trying to find motivation with another book or race to sign up for,” Mirabelli said. “There are races outside the Spartan realm like triathlons or half marathons or endurance races.”

Roberts said training changed things in his life.

“I cut out garbage candy. Any processed sugar. Dom went vegan for a while then tried keto diet. We have learned how important diet is,” Roberts said.

Taking care of their bodies became more of a priority as they trained.

“The further we got into it, the healthier we became. We were motivated to drink water and we have been pushing ourselves, all while learning what we need to do to become better,” Mirabelli said.

The experience was not without its funny moments. During the Colorado race they came across a bear about 30 feet off the trail.

“Dom thought it was a wolf, but the bear was right there. I yelled at Travis in front of us to come back. He had run right past it. We all laughed,” Evans said. “It is not really a competition between us, but we have helped each other improve. We try to beat our time and improve.”

They each thought about giving up. 

“This has been one of the hardest things physically and mentally I have ever done in my life. A year of training and at a point my legs were locked up and I did not think I could finish. There is a night and day difference in me since we have done this,” Evans said.

Mirabelli has signed up for an Ironman; Roberts wants to complete a 100-mile endurance race and Evans has signed up with his wife to try again next year.

“Everyone has a weakness somewhere. I might excel here and he might struggle here. I felt like I made people mad by trying to get my friends to do this. I felt like if everyone would try this it would change their lives,” Roberts said. “It gave me confidence and accomplishment. My neighbor tried it and had never done something like this.”