Live Life to the Fullest- The Story behind The Gauntlet with Coach Matthew Waller

 
 
I have teamed up with the driving forces behind The Gauntlet to host a one of a kind giveaway to compete in this extreme endurance event. Not only will one person win a free entry, but two more people will win discounted entries. I have enjoyed being able to host this opportunity for 2 reasons. One – I love to host giveaways to provide people with an opportunity to try something that they may not ordinarily have the opportunity to experience. Second and the most important is the very human aspect. I have been inspired, motivated, and moved by the stories of those who have competed in the debut of this event. I hope you all have too.
 
To continue on with this journey, I interviewed Matthew Waller and Tanya Bickham about the reasons behind their desire to create their own endurance event. Matthew and Tanya bring a lot of heart and soul in everything they do. They are both Spartan SGX coaches at The Compound in Macon Georgia.
 
First up is Matthew’s story. If you are familiar with obstacle course racing, then you may already know Matthew. His trademark Santa hat, smile, and encouraging words are always present when he is out on the course. 
Warrior Dash 2013- Matthew helping me overcome my fear. This was my first successful huge wall climb.

Photo Credit- The Compound 2014 Death Race

1) What impacted your desire to put on The Gauntlet?

Matthew- “The Gauntlet had been in the works for many years. Very few people know this, but I had Spartan Race on my property before they ever went to Conyers. They wound up pulling from using my property and going for with where everyone runs today. I had slowly started working on my own OCR and then about three years ago I started researching endurance races, from World’s Toughest Mudder to Spartan Death Race and many in between.  I decided to aim at Death Race and started doing research on other events to get to there. Petrified, not knowing what to expect as every race is different, I went in and took on Winter Death Race 2014 and was successful. I walked away from the event extremely emotional, proud, and feeling something new had been lit under me. Every time I participate in an endurance event such as these, I gain new awareness of myself. That is the same gift we are trying to pass on to others with The Gauntlet. We want everyone to find that wall, where they believe they cannot physically go anymore or mentally go anymore and we want to encourage them to keep moving forward. One weekend experience can change the perspective on some people’s lives to where they realize the day to day grind its not as bad as they once thought it was. We want them to be inspired to live life to its fullest.”


2) What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about registering?


Matthew- “Funny you should ask that. I actually posted a quote today that many people should take to heart, not just about deciding on clicking the register button, but in life everyday,  here it is again for you to share:

 “Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”    ~Pope Paul VI
“I’ve had many people contact me with interest on The Gauntlet and yet they still say ‘I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of an event’. I always reply back with, ‘well how do you know unless you try?’ which is symbolic with many of life’s challenges. If you’re still on the bubble on racing come on down and join in with every one at the start line. Feel free to withdraw when you had enough and hang out at base camp and perhaps support the other racers.”


3) What did you learn about yourself as a coach/Race Director after the first event was all said and done?
Matthew- “I learned that the position we have can be very magical to other participants. To see someone stop sit down and cry to only get back up and keep moving forward is a very moving experience for anyone to witness. Everyone who came out said they had a great time and learned so much about themselves.However it was reading the stuff they wrote many days later on the internet that let us know we were on the right track of changing some lives.”


4) Any other wise words that you have?
Matthew- “As of now we are limited to only 25 participants. This never started to be about making any huge profit, but was about sharing personal experiences that I had gained on my own path. When I’m participating in an endurance event I am on a mental vacation and nothing else matters except for what’s in front of me. So call your agent and come on down to Macon Georgia on August 14th”.


So what are YOU waiting for? Enter the giveaway and make your plans to come to Macon on August 14.

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