Savage Race Ohio: The course that changed my life

    We all have one race that holds a special place in our hearts.  Savage Race Ohio is that race for me.  This venue is where I found my love for the sport in 2013.  My brother, who has been a runner his entire life, somehow talked me into doing this crazy sport called obstacle course racing.  At that point in my life, I was lucky if I could run a quarter mile without passing out.  But I agreed, and although the course and obstacles utterly destroyed me, I was hooked.  I failed the majority of the obstacles that day, and I struggled to even walk up all of the ski slopes Mad River Mountain had to offer.  However, my competitive fire had been lit, and I vowed to come back better than ever the next year.
     Well, then the setback came.  A week after Savage race, I decided to enter into my first motocross race at a local fairground.  I honestly had no business being on that course, but I had somehow convinced myself that I would take it easy and just use it as a learning experience.  That all changed when the group of us came through the first turn and the majority of the field went down in a pile up.  I somehow managed to get through unscathed, and found myself towards the front of the pack.  Being extremely competitive and equally foolish, I decided to go for it and tried to keep up with the much more experienced riders.  Long story short, this strategy didn’t work out two well.  I didn’t make it through lap two before I made a huge error, came off my bike, and heard a loud snap.  My femur was broken and I lay writhing in pain in the dirt, cursing myself for being such an idiot.
     I didn’t truly understand the severity of what I had done.  I assumed I would be up and at it in no time and back to my normal life.  I couldn’t have been more naïve.  I spent the next two weeks in the hospital, and following month rarely able to move from the couch at home.  Complications with compartment syndrome made things just that much worse.  With the help of my wife, I spent the next 6 months just learning to walk again.  It was the most painful process I have ever had to face in my life, and I have complications from it to this day.  The pain is a constant reminder of the accident and how a small decision can impact so much.  Throughout the process, one thing kept going through my mind and was a driving force in my recovery – “I will be ready for Savage Race 2014!”  This thought kept me pushing through the pain and I had a goal I was determined to reach.  Thankfully with the help of family and friends pushing me and offering their support, I was able to be back on that course a year later.  It was an awesome feeling to reach that goal, and just made me hungry for more.

     It sounds cliché sometimes when you hear someone say something like “Savage Race changed my life”, but that is exactly what happened.  Not only did it give me a reason to push and overcome my physical obstacles placed before me with my leg, but it also has led me to a much healthier lifestyle and also introduced me to a whole new family.

     I am so very fortunate and blessed to be captain of the OCR team MIT OCR.  What started as a small group of friends trying out a “mud run” in 2013, has developed into a team of over 225 members across 20 states.  The bonds and experiences we have shared as a group throughout the years have created life long memories and friendships.  We are more than a team, we are a family in every sense of the word.  We are there to motivate each other, support in good times and bad, push each other to our limits and beyond the racing, and just be there for one another in any situation needed.  When we towed the line at Savage Ohio 2019 and I looked around seeing 60-70 MIT members and family there, it made my heart swell with pride.  Like the LegendBorne moto says, “Define your Legacy”, and that’s exactly what I am trying to do with MIT.  I want our team to be seen by all not only as a great sports team, but as great people.
     Thank you, Savage Race for bringing this amazing sport into the lives of so many.  Your efforts have changed the lives of countless individuals and brought people from all walks of life together as one.
by: LegendBorne Ambassador and MIT Captain James Stangle
Follow James at: @MIT_OCR_James