Women of Spartan are ambitious, tenacious, and determined when faced with tackling new challenges. Laura Plourde, well-respected Festival Director with Spartan Race, embodies exactly what being a Woman of Spartan is all about as she will confidently embark into a new and exciting role at the upcoming Chicago Sprint and Super this August. On this particular weekend, she will earn her place as first female Race Director for Reebok Spartan Race, and she is determined to prove that her experience, knowledge, and love for the sport will produce an amazing adventure for all participants.
When asked how Laura came to be involved with Spartan Race, she described her persistent determination to find an opportunity to meet Joe DeSena face-to-face. She sought him out, convinced that once they met she would be provided her opportunity to become part of the Spartan Race family.
“Having previously worked as a Director Of Operations at a Health Club, I knew I wanted to stay in the fitness industry. Spartan Race was intriguing to me, and if I want something I go after it. I dropped my resume at every possible location I knew of where Joe DeSena would possibly be at. I went to his store, and rode the mountain bike trails on his Mountain, until one day there he was at the head of the trail. Once we made introductions, I let him know who I was and what I wanted. He put me in contact with Peter Borden, and I blew him up until I got my chance to work with Spartan Race in Vermont. Once I received this opportunity, I worked my tail off to prove I would be an asset to the company, and here we are three years later!”
Eagerly anticipating this opportunity of a lifetime, Laura described how the opportunity to take the reigns as Race Director came about, “I have wanted the opportunity for a while and feel pretty lucky to be given a shot. I recently filled in for a Race DIrector who had to step away, and given that I had not lead the entire crew before, I was a bit nervous. But we are a family, and everyone was fantastic and supportive. I received some pretty cool comments from both men and women racers as well. I don’t think it was ever a man vs woman thing or that any one necessarily noticed there wasn’t a woman Race Director, but now that I have stepped in a few times, it is noted and the response has been really positive. Having been around for three years now, I have a good feel for the company and its goals. The build crew will continue to build an epic course as they always have, and festival will create an amazing experience there. We are all here to put on a great race no matter our gender. This is my second family, I don’t want to let any of them down and they will never show up with less than their best effort.”
Laura also brings a confidence to her new role, and she credits a part of this conviction to the many crew members who don the blue “Staff” shirt week in and week out, as they have become like family to her. She feels that this strong bond between the entire Spartan Race crew is what helps each event become a true success, and she knows that with their support, she will be as well.
“Often times when we get a new Race Director, it takes a little longer for things to gel. I have been around the company in different capacities so I have a view from all angles. I know how hard the crew works from first hand knowledge. I have worked with them in the mud, wind, ice, rain… you name it. I know that without the crews on the ground we don’t have a race, our brand is nothing, and they all know I have the utmost respect for the work that they do, and the hours they put in to pull off these events. We have a mutual respect and knowledge of our strong points, and we know where we need to support each other. But I was asked to do a job, I wanted to do it, and with the support of the crews we are getting it done.”
With Laura poised to officially move into a Spartan Race Director role, she admits that it hadn’t occurred to her that her position may provide inspiration to other Women of Spartan who aspire to reach for their own personal goals, whether it would be a faster finish time, conquering a previously failed obstacle, or perhaps simply taking the plunge and finally toeing the line at their first Spartan Race.
“Honestly, I hadn’t thought about that. In the back of my mind I know I am the first woman Race Director for Spartan Race, and I hope that it is a motivator for other women. I have always been of the mind frame that if I wanted to do something, I would do it. I don’t need to see another woman doing it to be motivated or to have the desire. If it gives women inspiration to try it, all the better. If you want something bad enough, you just have to put in the effort and don’t quit until you get it.”
On behalf of the entire Reebok Spartan Race team, we want to congratulate Laura on her new role as Race Director! We are thrilled to have her on our team, and cannot wait to see what she will do!