While more than 6,000 Spartans conquered the 23-obstacle course at Washougal Motocross Park Saturday, Angi and Joey Josephson tied the knot for life.
“We’ve been doing these races the whole time we’ve been in a relationship,” Angi said of the two-year courtship. “Why not get married at the end of a finish line?”
The Josephson’s completed their first Spartan Trifecta in 2015, by mastering the sprint, super and beast format. They are one race away from their trifecta this year.
“Instead of everybody just being focused on their race, they’re like, ‘Hey, you guys are getting married. That’s great,'” Joey said. “That’s the thing about Spartan, everybody’s family on the course. If you see somebody struggling, you don’t hesitate to help.
“It’s teamwork,” he added. “That’s what the foundation of marriage is about.”
The couple from Vancouver was easy to spot because they wore their wedding attire in the race. Joining them were Joey’s 15-year-old twin sons, Brett and Grant. Both boys are also one race away from their first trifecta this year. After the ceremony, Joey’s two daughters, Natalie, 11, and Rebecca, 8, entered their first Spartan Kids Race. By the end of the day, all six Josephson’s earned medals.
“It’s in our blood now,” Joey said.
Angi digs the challenge Spartan Race provides, both physical and mental.
“You climb high. It’s scary, but you get over it and it’s awesome,” she said. “And the camaraderie with everybody else out on the field. They help you get over the obstacles and they encourage you to keep going.”
All the natural elements find their place in a Spartan Race. There’s earth, wind, fire and water. Spartans crawl under barbed wire, climb over walls, tug a rope, swing on rings, throw a spear, and run up and slide down hills.
“I like them all,” Joey said. “Every Spartan Race is different. Any chance we get to try something new, it’s awesome.”
Joey enjoys being the center of attention. None of the obstacles he faced Saturday compared to the thrill of standing on the podium with his muddy bride-to-be.
“How often do you get thousands of people at one time to watch you?” He said. “A chance to embarrass her, it’s all good.”
Angi wasn’t a bit surprised. She said the whole thing was her idea. And it’s a day this Spartan family will never forget.
“Of course, I’ll remember the getting married part,” Angi said. “Watching the girls race for the first time and get muddy, that was pretty cool.”
The Spartan oath
“The day may come when the courage of Sparta fails, where we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. This day, we fight!”
Master of Ceremonies JJ O’Malley repeated this speech to as many as 250 Spartans leaving the start line every 15 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Look to the Spartan on your left,” he said. “Look to the Spartan on your right. You will draw strength for them and they will draw strength from you. You will not let them fail.
“Who am I?” O’Malley shouted to the combatants.
“I am a Spartan!” They shouted before climbing 1,100 feet, completing 4.3 miles of obstacles and crossing the finish line.
O’Malley was a contestant on “The Biggest Loser” television show, and lost 167 pounds. While trying a variety of exercises to keep the weight off, he discovered Spartan Race. After completing six Spartans in a year, O’Malley was approached by the staff and offered a job as an M.C.
“What better way to stay accountable than by being in the fitness industry,” he said. “I’m one of these crazy people.”
Eight months into the job, and O’Malley already has a plethora of stories about Spartans.
“It’s the woman who came back from breast cancer, or the amputee that finished the race,” O’Malley said. “Those are the stories that inspire us to keep putting these events on.”