July 17, 2011

Hobie Call Gave Spartan Races a Run for Their Money

Today I found a hero from South Jordan, Utah!  It’s a cool story about determination…
Hobie Call is a 34 year old father of 5 children who services Air Conditioners In South Jordan for a living.  He also designs energy efficient houses, ones that will use less energy to heat and cool.  And he’s a runner.  He runs marathons and other events to keep himself in shape. 
He started running when he was just a boy and he was hooked.

Lee Benson wrote, “All his life Hobie has been running. He ran his first marathon in St. George when he was 9. His dad, Michel, was a 2:34 marathoner, and Hobie just picked up the pace. In high school in Star Valley, Wyo., where he grew up after being born in Provo, he used to win races by such a wide margin he'd cross the finish line backwards. He was state champion at 1,600 and 3,200 meters. At the College of Southern Idaho he was all-American in both track and cross country. He clocked a 3:57 mile, a 14-minute 5K and a sub-29 10K. In the 2007 Top of Utah Marathon in Logan he ran 2:16:39, at altitude no less, to qualify for the Olympic Trials. His lifelong goal has been to become the first human to run a sub-two-hour marathon, but jobs, moves, injuries, life, and somebody faster — obstacles, in other words — always got in the way."  (Benson)

He heard about a competition called ‘Spartan Races’ where you not only run, but jump through flames, crawl under barbed wire and solve Rubics Cubes, all mid race.  Sounded cool to him.  But when he heard about this years’ extra prize, he decided to compete.  This year, the founder of the races announced that if someone could win all of this year’s races, they’d award him $100,000.
Hobie wanted that $100,000 so he could build his energy efficient home for his family.  So in January, he entered his first race and won.  He won the first 6 of the 6 races he’d competed in so far.
After this 6th win, the founder got scared.  He offered $20,000 to the first competitor to beat Hobie in any of the upcoming races, so he can’t win the $100,000.  He said he doesn’t want to pay out that grand prize.  He never expected anyone to win it.  It just couldn’t be done.  That was before Hobie started competing in them!  It’s really was not fair that the founder is rooting against Hobie, but life isn’t fair.  Hobie said he didn’t mind that the odds were stacked against him.  He would meet the challenge.   He said, "Apparently, some time in high school or college, they sent out a memo saying 'no, you're not going to be great, you're just going to be regular like everybody else;' I must have missed that day of school because I still believe." (Kirkland)
In June, the hardest race—the Death Race came up.  He spent hours digging up a tree stumps, running while carrying them,  Last year it took 28 hours for the winner to finish.  This year, they expected only 10 of the 200 competitors to finish at all.  Several hours into the race, Hobie realized he wouldn’t win, therefore wouldn’t get the $100,000, and he was freezing.  His low body fat made it impossible for him to handle the freezing temperatures.  He dropped out.  He competed in the latest Spartan race on July 9th in Midway, Utah and won again.
One might argue that he has no reason to continue to participate in the Spartan Races, now that the cash prize is out of reach.  But Hobie enjoys them.  He said it’s like going to Disneyland!  And he’s now a celebrity; people all over the country root for him.  Spartan Race officials say that Hobie is their ‘superstar’ and that he is like an ambassador for them.   But he can also be an ambassador to all who set high goals for themselves, stumble, get up and keep going.
What I like about Hobie is that he is still pushing himself, succeeding in these challenging races, even though he can’t win the prize.  We can’t win all of our battles, or races.  But we can keep trying and win the ones we CAN win.   


Albergotti, Reed.  Grueling Race Puts Up Obstacles, Especially for One Man.  Utah Dad Wows 'Spartan' Circuit; Now $100,000 Hangs in Balance.”  Wall Street Journal June 25, 2011:  1A.  Print.

Benson, Lee.  “South Jordan’s Holbrook Hobie Call Gaining Notoriety by Being the Nations Best Obstacle Racer.”  Deseret News 3 July 2011: n. page. Web. 17 July 2011

Kirkland, Tom.  “Hobie Calls Looks to Conquer Spartan Races.”  KSL.com Sports  25 Apr 2011: n. pag. Webn. 17 July 2011.

See also www.HobieCall.com for all of the articles written about him.

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