Let’s just go ahead and say it, the women of Reebok Spartan Race are total badasses. (Can I get an “AROO”?!) We love to test our strength and to push our physical limits. We gain a deep sense of pride in showing off just how strong, fast, and truly awesome we can be; all while looking damn good in the process. We aren’t afraid to get dirty, we think bruises are badges of honor, and we don’t mind if we break a nail. Spartan women totally rock.
The Spartan women of today are amazing, but a big part of why we are able to be both badass and beautiful is due to some incredible women who weren’t afraid to go against society’s expectations to make a difference in the world. Here is a list of inspiring women who weren’t afraid to STFU to pursue their passions.
Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935)
Annie discovered a passion for mountaineering in 1885, and proceeded to scale all of the major mountains of Europe. Not long after she began to explore other countries, travelling to Mexico and the United States to take on new adventures. She then went on to become the first person to scale Mount Nevado Huscaran, Peru’s highest peak (22,205 feet) in 1908. Annie, a true adrenaline junkie, had no inclination of ever slowing down, and continued climbing new peaks until the ripe old age of 82.
Nellie Bly (1864-1922)
Nellie was an adventurous investigative journalist who spent her time exposing political corruption while doing her best to create an awareness of poverty in society. At one point, she even lead others to believe she was insane so she could go undercover at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum in New York City in order to witness firsthand and document the brutality and neglect which was rumored to occur. Not only that, in 1888 she decided to embark on a mission to prove that one could, in fact, travel around the world in 80 days (or less!). She became the first person to make this trip a reality, finishing in 72 days. Nellie was a Spartan in every aspect of the word, never backing down to a challenge she embodied the true essence of STFU!
Lilian Bland (1878-1971)
Inspired by her uncle, Lilian aspired to pursue aviation and built her own airplane in Ireland in 1910. Despite societal pressure telling her that flying was not something a woman should be doing, Lilian was determined to succeed. Even when she encountered obstacles and setbacks, she improvised. No fuel tank? No problem! She fashioned her own fuel tank out of an empty whisky bottle and an ear trumpet. Her airplane, the Mayfly, flew a full 30 yards which was an epic accomplishment at the time.
Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
We all know the story of Rosa Parks. Her refusal to give up her seat at the back of the bus helped gain a massive amount of awareness of the civil rights movement. Dubbed the “Mother of the Freedom Movement”, she didn’t back down despite a massive amount of adversity. Her defiance against segregation set her apart as an icon of the civil rights movement, and she is still revered today for her bravery.
Tegla Loroupe (1973 – )
Tegla grew up in a small village outside of Nairobi, and despite a lack of support from family, friends, and peers, she was determined to pursue a career in running. Her dedication to and love for running has led to her now hold world records in the 20, 25, and 30 kilometer distances. She also held a past world record in the women’s marathon. In addition to being a total beast when it comes to running, Tegla has devoted her spare time to promoting peace, education and women’s rights. She also created a series of Peace Marathons which occur annually in Kenya and aid in ending tribal conflict as it brings rivaling tribes together to race for peace.
Katherine Switzer (1947 – )
In 1967, Katherine entered herself into the Boston Marathon under the name “K.V. Switzer”, a gender-neutral name as women were not yet allowed to compete in this event. It was the common belief that women were too fragile to endure the distance of a marathon, and would tarnish the integrity of the event. While running, she dug deep and progressed through each mile despite men trying to chase her off of the course. It wasn’t until 1972 that the ban on women competing in the Boston Marathon was lifted. Katherine went on to win the women’s division of the New York City Marathon in 1974, and has spent her life inspiring women to chase their dreams against all odds.
These women are amazing, inspiring, and were not afraid to take the road less traveled. We commend them for their bravery, and for choosing to STFU even when the going got tough. They have truly paved the way for women today to be able to stand up and be strong, proud, fierce, Spartan women. AROO!