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Twenty-Six Miles of Torture

Maxton Preuninger, Writer

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A quarter mile of barbed wire, ten-foot walls, rope climbs, tire flips and hours of running. While this sounds like torture to most, for senior Hawkin Starke, this is a passion.

Starke’s mom started running when he was ten-years-old, and he soon picked up after her, running his first half-marathon at 13 and his first marathon at 15. He said his first marathon in rainy, 40-degree weather was “absolutely miserable.”

“[Marathoning is] just the worst thing ever,” Starke said. “It’s just 26 miles of running.  Marathons are a completely different level of ridiculous. It feels like it will never end.”

Running marathons led to the discovery of obstacle courses, like Gauntlet and Spartan races. Starke was interested in the variety of activities these courses offered and has now run two Gauntlet races and one Spartan race.

“Marathoning sucks, and I [didn’t] want to do it all the time,” Starke said. “Obstacle courses are more fun.”

After his first obstacle race at 15, he knew he would do more races like the Gauntlet. His latest obstacle race was a Spartan race in Asheville, North Carolina. Starke said the race required using more parts of your body, but marathons were still harder.

“I failed a lot of the obstacles, but I still finished,” Starke said. “It’s like I’m addicted to it now, even though it sucks.”

Sydney Boswell
In his runner’s stance, Hawkin Starke prepares to run the track.

Starke thinks that his addiction to running has positively impacted his personal life.

“I was kind of insecure when I was younger, because I was chubby and short,” Starke said.  “[Now that I’m not], it [makes] me feel better.”

Now, Starke does not run as much as he used to, but still enjoys the runner’s high that follows.

“It’s not the actual running part that’s fun,” Starke said. “One part of it’s the journey, and the other part’s when you feel really good. That’s why I’m always happy.”

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