Gail Guido jumps over the wall of fire at the finish line of the Spartan Sprint Race in Perkinston Oct. 19. Guido finished first in the 50 and over age group. (Submitted Photo)
Gail Guido jumps over the wall of fire at the finish line of the Spartan Sprint Race in Perkinston Oct. 19. Guido finished first in the 50 and over age group. (Submitted Photo)

Guido wins first place, McKnights compete in Spartan Race

Published 12:01am Sunday, November 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — There is no better way to prove to oneself how mentally and physically strong one is than competing in the Reebok Spartan Race.

The Spartan Sprint Race is a military-style obstacle course that is four miles long and features 12 different obstacles ranging from climbing 8-feet walls, crawling under barbed wire in the mud and tire flipping.

This year’s race was Oct. 19 in Perkinston, and three locals, Gail Guido, Lena McKnight and Tim McKnight, not only competed, but they placed.

Though they didn’t enter the race as a team, they stuck together to finish the rigorous competition.

“We went into this with the mindset that we were going to stick together,” Lena said. “Some of us are stronger in some areas than somebody else, and instead of running off and leaving, we helped each other.”

Lena said her weakness was the 8-feet wall and the monkey bars. Because of the rain, the monkey bars were so slippery.

To make it more difficult, every time Lena slipped off the monkey bars, she was forced to do 30 burpee exercises.

Tim said he was weaker when it came to the running, but he said he was happy Lena and Gail were there to push him.

Guido finished first in her 50 and over age group and 22nd overall in the women’s division. Lena finished third in her 40-49 age group, and 20th in women’s division. Tim finished 28th in his 40-49 age group out of thousands of participants.

Guido said she is thrilled to place first in her age group, but she said she was also proud to finish before younger people as well.

“Well it’s sort of a shock and a hit in the face because I’m not used to being older,” Guido said. “I’m in an older age group and it shocks me that I’m there.

“But it also says something that I can still come out and compete and beat several people younger than me, as well.”

Guido said the race was not only strenuous, but dangerous as well.

“You can get hurt,” she said. “There’s barbwire, and I actually got popped in the eye with it. I didn’t know it until later when my eye was bleeding.”

Tim McKnight leads the way as Lena McKnight and Gail Guido follow in a barbed wired field at Spartan Race. Guido said the barbed wire poked her in the eye during the race.
Tim McKnight leads the way as Lena McKnight and Gail Guido follow in a barbed wired field at Spartan Race. Guido said the barbed wire poked her in the eye during the race.

The hardest thing about the obstacle course, Tim said, was that the trail was designed to work the muscle to be used in the next obstacle.

“If we had to run a lot, we knew the next obstacle would require your legs,” Tim said. “If you crawled a while, we knew the next obstacle would deal with arms.”

But despite the many challenges they faced, Tim said they were determined to make it to the finish line.

“I don’t think any one of us would’ve quit,” he said. “We wanted to finish this.”

Guido said the end of the race was a bit scary as well.

“At the end, you have to jump over this wall of fire,” Guido said. “And that’s where the Spartan Race’s motto comes in, ‘You’ll know at the finish line.’”

The trio plans to compete in more Spartan races in the future, and possibly moving up to a bigger race when they feel they’re up to the challenge.