Each year, thousands of teams join together to participate in Savage Race events around the country. We’d like to share some of their stories with you in this series on the teams of Savage Race.
James Stangle and a group of friends ventured in to the world of obstacle course racing (OCR) at Savage Race Ohio in 2013. To their surprise, they placed first in the team competition and were instantly hooked on OCR. Then, just over a year and a half ago, James broke his femur in a dirt bike accident.
He remembers, “It was an extremely long road to recovery just learning to walk again, let alone run. I had fallen in love with Savage Race from 2013 and I knew I didn’t want to miss it in 2014. This gave me motivation to push hard and keep working to get better so that I would be able to participate with my teammates.”
James was eventually able to run short distances… but even this caused pain. After months of focused effort to regain his strength and endurance, James signed up for Savage Race Ohio 2014 knowing he would have to take it easy and just focus on finishing.
“The first hill nearly killed me,” he said, “and all I kept thinking was there was no way I would ever complete the race. But then I started getting support from everyone around me! The staff at each obstacle; each racer that passed me… Offering up words of encouragement and support. Physically helping me on obstacles that required a lot of leg strength. I knew there was no way I was going to quit then! I managed to finish the race an hour after my team, but all of them lined up close to the finish line and yelled my name and encouraged me to finish strong!”
“It was the greatest feeling ever when I crossed that finish line and heard my name called. Savage Race holds a spot close to my heart, and nothing can ever take that experience away from me. Who knows where I would be today without the support of everyone that day! Would I have stuck with training and working out, or just given up? Today I am faster and stronger than I have ever been, and I look back on this day as the turning point. I love this race and I love my team.”
James’ team took second place at Savage Race that year, and went on to participate in other obstacle course races in 2014. Then James, his brother Chris Stangle, and their friend Seth Ash all qualified for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships where they met a group from Sweden known as MIT (Mixed Intensive Training) Tough Team. MIT Tough Team’s founder Camilo Lattof asked the three men if they would like to become the very first members of the MIT team in the United States, and they accepted. James is now the captain of MIT Tough Team USA and has helped to grow their branch from 3 members up to 16.
Many of MIT Tough Team USA members have competed in Savage Race events. James says, “Savage Race is where our team got its start, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts. I feel like Savage race has some of the absolute best obstacles in design and build.” This season their members will be at our Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, and Pennsylvania races. They prepare by focusing on trail running as well as a combination of traditional weight training, Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit. “We are all very competitive by nature and push each other to do our best, but we won’t let results of a race determine our success. Rule number one is to always have fun.”
MIT Tough Team USA is very fortunate to have some amazing sponsors, including Subsports for compression gear, Icebug for shoes, Hickies for an elastic shoe lace system, Swiftwick for socks, and NutriForce for all of their supplement needs during the season. Hylete also gives their team a discount on all of their products.
James Stangle and MIT Tough Team USA are proud to represent the MIT Tough Team name and they hope to become the most recognizable team in the sport of OCR. Their goal is to have all of their members qualify for OCRWC 2015. If you’re interested in learning more about MIT Tough Team USA or becoming a member of their team, you can send them a note via their website. They are looking for people who are excited about the sport of OCR, dedicated to training, and would like to be part of an OCR family. Keep an eye on what they are up to via their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
If your team would like to be featured on our blog, send a note to [email protected] with a short description and an interesting fact or two about your team! Featured teams will receive one free entry to Savage Race.