By Kathleen “Katniss” Callahan

Now that the dust has settled (or mud), I wanted to share some details of our Chicago Spartan adventure with the 110 Fitness gang. For those who are unfamiliar with the Spartan event, it involves multiple obstacles: rope climbing, wall climbing, rings, monkey bars, carrying fun buckets of rocks and sand, jumping over fire and running. Typically, it does NOT involve mud but if you saw the photos then you know we were extremely lucky.

It was an extraordinary experience because of 12 amazing team members all of whom have Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease along with our support team. All of us were drawn to the beacon of inspiration that is athlete Jimmy Tsai. People came from MA, FL, CA, IN, WV, and IL just to be a part of this group. For the vast majority, it was their first time competing in a Spartan event.

As I climbed out of the shower later that night, cleaning mud out of places I didn’t know I had, I was reminded of the importance of continuing to try new things and the importance of achievements like these.

Each of us had our own story to tell. One team member finished with no shoes, another, diagnosed with PD at 20 would finish the race and head to the ER for several stitches in her knee! However, we were one team together, showing Parkinson’s who was boss. We started as a team and finished as a team.

Jimmy was kind enough to host Kris, Don and me at his home. He cooked for us, took us to his favorite restaurants with family, brought us to his Ninja gym and trained us for the Spartan obstacles we would see the following day. Kris, Don and I all made the 12-foot Ninja warped wall with his tutelage! We felt privileged to have been included in this adventure.

Several of us are ramping up now for the New England Parkinson’s Ride in Old Orchard Beach on September 7th. There are different distances for every ability. You can even ride a tandem. Join us for your next adventure? Yes you can!