Local Spartans continue rigorous work

The 2014-15 school year is just around the corner. And so is the second season of Spartan Race workouts continued at Phoenixville Area High School during the early morning hours.

Phoenixville health and physical education teachers Joe Youngblood and Gretchen Krueger began the club last winter and have had a strong response to the program. Youngsters from seventh through 12th grade participate in the two-hour sessions at the high school that begin at 6 a.m.

The boys and girls go through exercise sessions to prepare for special races, like the one held at Blue Mountain Ski Area in Palmerton, Pa., on July 12. A Spartan training session workout was held at Washington Field a few months ago.

More than 10,000 people participated in the race at Palmerton for a two-day competition. Phoenixville sent 15 kids, and some of their parents participated as well. This most recent event, considered a Spartan Sprint, covered 4.9 miles, while most races cover 3-5 miles.

The Phantoms have had between 20-60 kids at practice. Officials expect those numbers to keep growing now that word has spread. Other scholastic sports, like girls lacrosse, have used the Spartan work as conditioning to assist them with success on the field. More time can then be spent at practice developing skills at a particular sport, rather than devoting a lof of early time to conditioning drills.

“We hope that is the case,” said Youngblood.

Contestants cannot let up because the next Spartan race is scheduled for Sept. 20 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

“The schedule kicks right off after school starts,” said Youngblood. “We will have three weeks to practice and prepare for that race.”

On an individual note, Phoenixville’s Leeza Galli has been doing quite well at the sport, and she is in the 13-14-year-old age group. Galli finished first in her gender/age group out of 14 with a time of 2:21:46. She took fifth place for those females under 20 out of 154 and was No. 97 out of approximately 3,000 overall females in the race.