April joined us last year and has hardly skipped one of our run days ever since. She’s turned into quite a great runner and has been a big help to the Golden Triangle Strutters whenever the group needed some help. Check out her running story and also her story on how she became a SPARTAN!

AprilontheRun Spartan Super #2 Austin Race Review

For years, I’ve been a runner but never run in a race until I moved to Southeast Texas in late 2013. I hadn’t run since I graduated high school in 2001. I moved to Beaumont, a community big on running. I decided after months of searching for a 5K race that I’d give racing a shot just to see if I still had it in me to run, even a short distance. I registered for the Jingle Bell Run 5K for Habitat for Humanity of Jefferson County two weeks prior to race day. I trained for two weeks straight, first walking a mile and building my way up to running a mile without feeling as though I were going to die at the end. By the time the two weeks of training were up, I was ready for race day. My ultimate goal; run the entire race without having to stop to walk to catch my breath and to just finish. Well, I did just that and placed 3rd in my AG. I’ve been hooked with racing ever since my first 5k. Since December 2013, I’ve run 1 full marathon; placing 1st in my AG, 11 half-marathons, 1 25K, and a variety of 10Ks and 5Ks in honor of my son, Xander who is autistic. I run every race for him and represent The Organization for Autism Research and those affected by Autism. At this point, I’ve got my running routine down pretty well, and my body is pretty accustomed to the demands of a race.

Wanting a new Kind of Race

Early this Spring, a good friend and Golden Triangle Strutters friend of mine, Cody Hensley introduced me to OCR. He mentioned he had done several obstacle races in the past and suggested I do a little research with the Spartan Race being something I should consider. So I started doing a general search of upcoming obstacle races. I looked at Tough Mudder and Spartan Races along with a few other local OCR. After doing my research and watching countless videos, I decided Spartan Race would be my first OCR. I talked to Cody afterwards, he and a few other GTStrutters were already registered for the Spartan Super #2 Austin in May. I looked at the calendar and saw that actual race day would be May 15th. Which meant I had some demanding training to get done in a very short time. Distance running is completely different from obstacle course racing. This specific race was to be a 8+ mile distance with several obstacles I’ve never attempted.

Over the next few weeks leading up to race day, Cody held weekly Spartan training sessions at his home where he had built his very own Spartan training course in his backyard. Along with those training sessions, I did my daily cross training, solo runs and group runs. By the time race day rolled around, I was banged up, bruised, sore, and determined. I was ready to take on my first OCR.

Race Day at Spartan Super #2 Austin

The actual day of the race was exactly what I expected, and at other times much more than I could have ever imagined. The race was held at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnett, Texas. I was checked-in in a matter of minutes due to volunteering the day prior which left me with plenty of time to take in my surroundings and get mentally ready. While my teammates Cody, Brandi, Damien and William were getting checked in. I watched a wave of racers start ahead of us. Everyone was cheering them on and I started getting excited. Soon, my teammates and I were crossing over the first start wall. After crossing that first wall, I remember Cody saying, “there’s no turning back now!” At 11:15 a.m., our wave was released from the starting gate, and our race began. We started as a team and we were finishing as a team. Our motto for race day was, “NO STRUTTER LEFT BEHIND!” The first couple of obstacles were exactly what I had expected – walls to climb, walls to crawl under, barbed wire and so on. I was a bit caught off guard later on, though, by some of the obstacles.

No turning back once you climb the first wall

No turning back once you climb the first wall

...and we're off

…and we’re off


First "wall" jump

First “wall” jump

Nothing better then crawling in the dirt under barbed wire

Nothing better then crawling in the dirt under barbed wire


Afraid of heights?

Afraid of heights?

Had to get to the other end some how...

Had to get to the other end some how…

Nothing better then stomping through a cold creek carrying a bag of sand on your shoulder in 90+ degree weather to cool off lol

Nothing better then stomping through a cold creek carrying a bag of sand on your shoulder in 90+ degree weather



My biggest challenge was the monkey bars and rope swing combo, it was the first challenge I hit that really mentally pushed me and almost broke me mentally. I just couldn’t get past the first bar to the rope swing. I obviously didn’t work on my upper body strength as well as I thought I had in my cross training and it showed. I ended up doing 30 penalty burpees for that obstacle at which point I was beating myself up mentally. Each obstacle throughout the duration of the race seemed a bit more challenging than the last.

Hardest obstacle I've ever had to attempt

Hardest obstacle I’ve ever had to attempt

One pleasant surprise was the cargo high net towards the end. I’m not one who’s afraid of heights, if I’ve got something securing me if I were to fall to my death. I was a bit terrified as I climbed up the side and made my way to the top where I then had to crawl from one side to the other in what seemed hundreds of feet in the air with no safety net below, just spectators walking under you below. I slowly made my way across the shaky cargo net unharmed and alive, whew!

The second hardest obstacle for me was the rope climb at the end. I thought for sure that I’d nail this obstacle because I never had any issues during training with it other then coming down too fast. I just couldn’t get my grip on the wet rope and the slip wall prior to this obstacle just drained me of all energy I had to pull me up to the top. I was motivated to do my best to finish each obstacle by my teammates cheering me on and the ones that I couldn’t resulted in 30 penalty burpees which were torture because they take up so much of your energy.

At the end of the day, Spartan Super #2 Austin was a great first OCR experience for me. In the end, we finished in under six hours and I’m extremely proud of that. I never in a million years would have thought I could run a marathon, let alone an obstacle course when I started my running journey a little over 18 moths ago. I’m reminded how fortunate I am to be part of an amazing run group that’s as supportive, caring, motivated, inspiring and driven as The Golden Triangle Strutters. To have fellow run mates along my side motivating me through every obstacle, hill, mud pit, and creek start to finish as a team is PRICELESS! Good people like the GTStrutters are hard to come by these days! I couldn’t have done the Spartan Super without them!

Jumping the fire pit to the finish as a team

Jumping the fire pit to the finish as a team


I am now officially addicted to the Spartan Races. I’ve already talked several strutters into running a Spartan Sprint , and my goal for 2015 is to complete a Spartan Trifecta (completing a Sprint, and Super, and a Beast in the same calendar year). I’ve got the Super down, just need to get the Sprint and Beast by year’s end!

GTS Represented Spartan Super #2 Austin

GTS Represented Spartan Super #2 Austin

#IRUN4Xander & #irunforautism

#IRUN4Xander & #irunforautism



Join April and the other Strutters on their journey by registering for a Spartan race! Right now they are having a great promotion for July 4th using Promo Code: AMERICA Offer expires 7/8

Check out the details in the picture below.




We will also be holding a contest for a free entry to any Spartan Race in the Continental USA. Enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter app.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wouldn’t it be great to have a member from our little running group participate in the Sausage Eating Contest at the Baytown Bud Heatwave 5 miler on Saturday? Right now we have 15 Strutters signed up for the race and are in 5th place. The top 4 teams with the most participants get to participate in the contest.

It really is a great race with a fun after party, so sign up and run with your fellow Strutters in Baytown.

Sign up here: www.budheatwave.org If you sign up put “GOLDEN TRIANGLE STRUTTERS” under club name.

See y’all there and Happy Running!

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.37.58 AM


GTS new run time!

June 10, 2015

For the summer we will be joining the SRS Summer Run Series for their Monday runs so our Monday runs will be cancelled. Wednesday runs will continue and our new run time will be at 7 pm. SRS Summer Run schedule can be found here: http://www.searimstriders.org/events.php

Read the full article →

Look Back at the Biggest Loser Half Marathon Beaumont Edition.

March 13, 2015

Biggest Loser Half Marathon Beaumont May 3rd, 2014 was a race that the Strutters had quite an impact on. Co-Founder of the Golden Triangle Strutters spoke at the event regarding why people should join a running group. He was speaking after some of the biggest loser alumni Bobby Saleem and Vinny Hickerson. We also heard […]

Read the full article →

New Meeting spot for the GTS runs!

March 11, 2015

We have a new parking and meeting spot. Check out the image above to find out where.

Read the full article →

GTS Taper Madness

March 5, 2015

The Gusher Marathon is coming up this weekend and that means its time for another GTS Taper Madness video!! It was a lot of fun making and although it was like pulling teeth trying to get some of the Strutters to participate in the video, I think it turned out pretty good. Don’t forget to […]

Read the full article →

Golden Triangle Spartans and Spartan Giveaway.

January 26, 2015

A group of Strutters last year participated in the Spartan race series headed by Strutter and Spartan extraordinaire Cody Hensley.  The Spartan race has a distance for everybody to challenge themselves in and the Golden Triangle Spartans chose to do the sprint, super, and the BEAST.  Distances ranging from 3 to 12 plus miles of […]

Read the full article →

Who are the Golden Triangle Strutters?

January 6, 2015

There are many times that a new runners will come up to us and confuse the GTS group with other organizations. While we love and support the Sea Rim Striders the Golden Triangle Strutters is a stand alone group separate from the SRS. We started a few years back as a way to get the […]

Read the full article →

GTS/Royal Court wins BB100 CLUB OF THE YEAR!

December 23, 2014

With the leadership of Dawn Burris the Golden Triangle Strutters – Royal Court was awarded the 2014 Brazos Bend 100 Club of the Year. We had over 30 Strutters at the run who were all sporting Royal Court themed shirts during the race. The race was held in the Brazos Bend State park which is […]

Read the full article →

GTS Runner’s Spotlight: Meg Baertl

December 11, 2014

The Golden Triangle running community has grown alot but it’s still small enough to where you can recognize runners from race to race. Meg is one of those that I’ve seen at many races but never really got to know, that is until she started coming to out to our runs. Now that’s she’s be […]

Read the full article →