Mentor Firefighter Finishes Spartan Death Race
Antonio "T.J." DiDonato joins the proud few that have ever finished the death race
Mentor Firefighter Antonio "T.J." DiDonato did not die during the Spartan Death Race, nor did he quit.
In fact, DiDonato joined a rare fraternity of people who have finished the death race.
Of the 200-plus people who compete in this 3-day gauntlet of physical and psychological torment each year, only eight percent finish.
"Not bad for a normal guy from Cleveland!" DiDonato wrote on his wife's Facebook page after the race. "Aaand... it was the longest race to date, over 57 hours."
Competitors are disqualified if they sleep during the competition, but that's just the beginning of this meatgrinder.
They had to split trees, swim laps in a cold retention pond and -- who can say why? -- sew their race numbers onto their black compression shirts. And this was all technically before the race began.
DiDonato had to hike 46 miles through the mountains (most of it without food or water), carry buckets filled with gravel and canoes that were not allowed to touch the ground, find a hidden flag with his race number on it and so much more, all the while suffering from sleep and food deprivation.
Toward the end, one of the race staff even tricked DiDonato into thinking that he had been eliminated to see if he would quit. But, with some coaxing, he decided to finish.
Ultimately, DiDonato was one of the first two to finish the race in Pittsfield, VT, and had one of the seven best times overall.
His wife, Cara DiDonato, went with him to Pittsfield and kept people updated as to how he was doing during the competition.
"We are going to just relax the next few days and let him recover," Cara DiDonato said after the race via Facebook. "It was quite an experience."