Spartan Race 4 Tristan's Education

Dear Friends, Family, & Fellow Spartans,

I’m starting this campaign, soliciting donors to sponsor my Spartan OCR race on August 26, 2017 in order to raise funds for starting a 529 college fund for Tristan Hastings, son of my dear late friend Alexandra Hastings.

That’s the mission statement.  Here’s the story.

In March of this year, I lost a friend I’ve known and loved for 17 years.  The lovely, ever-optimistic Alexandra; one of the few, precious  people in this world with genuine joie de vivre.   She was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, mere months after her son Tristan was born, and she fought it with the tenacity and spirit of one who truly loves life and would never quit on anything.  To the END she didn’t give up.  I won’t go into how many surgeries, and complication of surgeries; of experimental treatments, and side effects of treatments, of endless hours in hospitals and phone calls with insurance agents she endured.  She overcame SO MANY obstacles.  In the end the foe proved stronger; she left behind her young son and her amazing husband, David- a close personal friend and colleague of mine.   We as a community are staring at the hole in our lives everyday where she once was and wondering how to fill it back up again.

In June of this year, fellow parent and friend Edouard Portelette introduced me to the wonderful world of the Spartan Race.  If you’re not familiar with it, Spartan Obstacle Course Race (name taken from the ancient Greek warriors who were the penultimate fighting machines- watch the film 300!) is a franchise in the US that sponsors events for adults and kids.  These races test an individual’s mettle and push the limits of what’s possible.  They have several obstacles one must overcome to finish the race—think basic training for the armed forces- and if one fails to complete an obstacle, they must do 30 burpees- an exercise that was made by the Devil himself-in order to continue.

 Any of you that know me must be scratching your head, saying—that does NOT sound like Judi AT ALL.

At the time, I wanted to make a change in my life.  This past year has been full of heartache, and stress, and as an athlete and performer, I was not in the best shape.  As a matter of fact, I was in the worst physical shape of my life.  But- Edouard is persuasive!  So- I said I would do it. 

 Any of you that know me must be saying… oh… she said she would do it.  IT’s ON.

 And so I began to train for this Spartan Race.  I had no idea how ill prepared I was.  I have faced a lot of fears that I would never be able to do this. The last 6 weeks have really shown me the simplicity of putting in hours towards a goal will produce results. So simple, so overly-preached, so ignored… but so TRUE.

 In July of this year, I mentioned to David Hastings that I was training for this crazy Spartan OCR, and was researching stopwatches and FitBits to help me with all my fitness goals.  David offered me Alexandra’s FitBit to help me train.  I was floored and overcome with emotion of actually wearing something of hers- it was overwhelming to think of at the time.

 But then I thought about it.

The Spartan Code states Spartans push their minds and bodies to their limits. Spartans learn continuously. Spartans give generously. Spartans stand up for their beliefs, no matter the cost. Spartans know their flaws as well as their strengths.  Spartans prove themselves through actions, not words.  Spartans live every day as if it were their last.  Spartans laugh in the face of failure and continue forward.  They welcome challenges and embrace discomfort. They are strong.

 And I thought about Alexandra.   If there’s ANYBODY I know that could propel me to the finish line- anyone who embodies the Spartan spirit--it’s her.  And David gave me an opportunity to literally have a piece of her (I’m sure there’s Alexandra DNA on this FitBit) with me as I train and prepare to do this crazy unthinkable, uncomfortable, potentially catastrophic thing.  And with that thought and that gift of incentive, the next idea I had was to give it right back to her and her family.

 I am running this race for myself, to use my energy to build a more positive self- image of my health, and my own idea of what’s possible.  But I am motivated to that by helping my dear friends.  I want to raise money through this race to start a college seed fund for Tristan Hastings.  Every donation collected here will go into a state sponsored 529 fund that will accrue interest over time, and be available to Tristan to start his education goals.  I’m hoping (and with your generous donation, it may come true) that he will be motivated to become an orthopedic surgeon; I’ll be needing one after this race. 

The more I can help Tristan, David, and the memory of my dear friend Alexandra, the more I am motivated to meet this challenge.  The more you encourage me, the further I’ll go.  We are Sparta.
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Judi Lewis Ockler 
Brooklyn, NY