Southern Ute Tribal member and “Jungle Gym” business owner, Daniel Rohde has grown up in the southwest participating in various sports and training.
“I grew up around the rez, and found a love for fitness at a young age,” Rohde shared. Rohde has always had a passion for competition and drive to try new things. He has recently added Spartan Racing to his list of activities.
His mother, Linda Baker has supported Dan in his dedication to race and train. “It’s just amazing to me his level of endurance and dedication—he has made friends nationally and internationally through these races,” Baker shared.
Baker herself has found the races to be an inspirational and encouraging environment that she’s competed in the race as well. That’s where I saw complete strangers encouraging each other—it’s just such a great group to hang around,” Baker explained. “Dan is a positive person and I think his participation in the races just feed his positive nature” Spartan mom, Linda Baker shared.
The obstacle race was originally founded in 2007 by Joe De Sena. De Sena has since written books that guide and motivate individuals to overcome obstacles both in the race and in everyday life.
Spartan Racing is a race that ranges from three-mile distances to marathon lengths, the races feature a variety of obstacle courses that range in difficulty. The races are often held all over the United States. “It has been one of the fastest growing sports in the United States – maybe the world,” Rohde stated.
For fun, Rohde began entering Spartan Races in 2015 but quickly started competing in 2017. Since then his training regime has beefed up, Rohde currently trains with World’s Toughest Mudder Champion Miguel Medina. “My training became specific for this sport,” Rohde shared. “I began watching my heart rate, tactical runs, obstacle training, dieting, and retraining my body to run efficiently.”
While racing in West Virginia through “obstacles, long elevation climbs (3,700-foot gain) and steep downhill runs,” Rohde described. “I felt at home running it reminded me of the reservation like when I was kid.” At the race, he placed 6th in his age group and 12th in the overall division which qualified him for the Spartan World Championship in North Lake Tahoe, Calif.
During the World Championship race, Rohde ran 13.5 miles with people from all over the world. “At the starting line I was next to people from China, France and Hungary,” Rohde recalled. “We ran to the top of a ski resort, swam through an alpine lake which was taking people out because they got hypothermia – I had to tell myself just keep going don’t stop!”
At this race, all the participants were contending for a place to call theirs in the competition. “I ran, swam and climbed myself to 13th in my age group and 38th overall in my division,” Rohde stated.
At the Jungle Gym located in Durango, Colo. where equipment and trainers are available to help “I will continue to train hard and I am going to race next year,” Rohde shared. “I will be going head to head with the best.”