by Grace Talusan
When a colleague invited Casey Finch to a Spartan race, Casey said, "Let's do it." He had no idea what he was in for. The Spartan Beast Obstacle Course Race includes 13-15 miles of running and more than 30 obstacles over challenging terrain. Casey is an athlete who hates running and as soon as he got onto the course for the first time, he felt he had made a mistake. But as a teacher and coach, he encourages his students to push beyond their comfort zone. So he ran and swam and hauled hundred-pound pails of rocks, climbed hand over hand on the ropes course, and flung a spear into the air towards a target on a bale of hay thirty feet away. He wanted to quit several times, but he finished his first race. And then he was hooked.
Since that first race, Casey has participated in a half dozen Spartans and most recently, finished in the top 3%. This year alone has run in the Greek Peak Winter Sprint in New York, the Montreal Super, and the Boston Sprint. In the near future, he plans to run the Quebec Beast and, for the second time, the Killington Beast.
"After a race, you always think, I'm never doing this again, but a few days later, you sign up for the next one," Casey says. His arms are still scratched from his latest race in Vermont. "It's a good excuse to get off the couch and get dirty."
Because of his Spartan hobby, Casey travels to beautiful venues and reconnects with family and friends who join him.
"The human body is an amazing machine," Casey says. "We don't often see how much we're capable of. People have false barriers, but we can always go beyond our perceived limits."
If a student is stuck on a paper or an athlete hits a barrier, Casey brings what he's learned from the Spartan Beast to motivate them. He says, "You can push yourself beyond what you thought was possible."