It seemed as if we lost more celebrities than usual in 2016 - icons like David Bowie, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Mohammed Ali, Prince, and Debbie Reynolds. But there was one legend we lost in 2016 that stands out as being one of America's last true heroes: John Glenn.
I had the great honor and privilege of meeting the esteemed John Glenn a few years back. At 95 years old, Glenn had most certainly led an amazing career and life. He was an American hero, as in 1962 he became the very first American to orbit the Earth (and the third American in space). He also became the oldest person to ever fly in space in 1998 at the age of 77. He represented Ohio in the United States Senate from 1974-1999 and served in the United States Navy and Marines from 1941-1965. In 1998, he helped found the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. He was married to the wonderful Annie Glenn since 1943 (a lovely lady, whom I also had the honor to meet).
Upon his death, John Glenn became the 9th person whose body laid in state at the Ohio Statehouse since it opened int he 1850s (the others before him include Abraham Lincoln and former Ohio governors). It was a celestial ceremony as he took off on his "final mission."
From his birth in Cambridge, Ohio to his journeys in Outer Space to his time in Washington, DC and his continued service in Columbus at OSU, John Glenn was a true OHventurer in every form of the word. I am so humbled to have met him, and we should all be so honored to have had him lead so many frontiers in his long, illustrious life.
[Editor's Note: Make it to the end of this entry for details on how to win a FREE Spartan Race entry!]
The Spartan Race was one of the greatest challenges I have ever embarked on, and one that was unforgettable and incredibly fulfilling for the adventurous spirit within me. On May 8, OHventures traveled to Cumberland in Southeast Ohio with my high school friends Matt & Anthony to tackle all of the mud, obstacles, and burpees that make up the grueling course. I had previously run the Spartan Race in October 2014 with my brother Curt, but that was coupled with hail, snow, and a ton of unexpected twists and turns.
Showing off our finisher medals!
Our Spartan Sprint in May was a chance to redeem myself. Having nicer weather and a shorter course were certainly contributing factors. But, also a better understanding of what to expect, coupled with proper training and a great mindset, were the true reasons why this stab at the Spartan Race was a better success (plus the parking debacle that we dealt with last year was fixed - for the most part - this year).
Map of the Spartan Race Ohio from May 2016
For those that don't know, the Spartan Race is not just one event, but several events that you can mix and match. As mentioned, we chose the Spartan Sprint, which is the shortest distance offered in Ohio (the next highest is Spartan Super followed by the Spartan Beast). Just because it was the shortest did not mean it was easy! It was 6 miles, with over 1,000 feet of total climb in elevation (which was probably the most challenging part, since there were many steep hills that were caked in mud.We found ourselves grabbing roots and trees to claw our way to the top of these massive walls of dirt). In all, the course took us about 2.5 hours to complete (see map above for more detail).
The finish line of the Spartan Race Ohio
Some highlights of the course include:
The Javelin Throw: None of us successfully completed the javelin throw, but that's because you only get one chance! We all got pretty close, but alas we had to take the 30-burpee penalty.
The Rope Climb: I was so proud to have climbed the rope near the end of the course. I really didn't think I had it in me, but because of the support of my friends cheering me on, I gave it my all and made it up to the top of the muddy, 25-foot tall rope (which had NO knots to help me in my climb)
Sandbag Carry: I was absolutely drained by the time I reached this task. We had to heave a giant sandbag onto our shoulders and carry it for what seemed like an eternity! You can see in the photo below just how miserable it was. But it was a sign of strength being able to get through this!
Barbed Wire: This is a classic! We had to army crawl underneath a series of barbed wire. But, this honestly has to have been the longest barbed wire obstacle I have ever seen. It stretched for so long and it seemed like it would never end! Definitely got beat up on this one, but it was fun, in a weird way.
Fire Jump: Who DOESN'T love this part of the Spartan Race?! With the finish line in sight, me and my buddies leaped over the flames lining the course, and ran to victory (see photos above and below)!
We were so thrilled to finish the Spartan Race, we were all talking about someday tackling the BEAST! But first, we enjoyed a cold beer and a ton of celebrating!
So why am I bringing up the Spartan Race now, in December, when it happened months ago? For starters, it is one of my favorite events of 2016, and this is a time to look back on the year as it comes to a close. BUT, also, I am bringing it up because there are a ton of big things happening with Spartan Race in 2017!
For starters, there will be brand new medals, which you can see in the medal reveal video below!
There are also brand new "Open" and "Elite" Season Passes available for the 2017 season, which allow you to run again and again at as many venues you want - all for one easy price. So, not only do you get to Spartan Up in Ohio (May 20, 2017), but you can visit any other place in the US! You might want to consider some of the early races in 2017 that are fast approaching: So Cal (Jan. 28-29), Houston (Mar. 11), Atlanta (Mar. 18), Las Vegas (Mar. 18), and Arizona (Feb. 25-26)!
Now that you made it this far, it's time to offer all readers of OHventures a chance to win a FREE entry to ANY 2017 Spartan Race (in the US)! Here's how: just go on Twitter and Tweet to @OHventures between now and Christmas Day with the hashtag #SpartanUpOHand a reason why you want to tackle this challenge! Everyone who does this will be entered to win a free entry and will be contacted via Twitter on Christmas Day at Noon!
While many people will look back on 2016 as being one they wish the could forget (all of the celebrity deaths, the contentious and controversial Presidential race, the national and international catastrophes), it's more important than ever to try to find the light within the darkness! We had a great deal of excitement (both good and bad) happening at OHventures, that we didn't even get to post as much as we typically do. But, it's not the amount of times we post that counts, it's the quality of the posts - and this year, we have a lot of high quality adventures to look back on.
As with every year (see 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), I give to you the Top 10 OHventures of 2016. There were many to choose from, but if you needed to see the best of the best, here they are (in no particular order)!
Use this list to start planning some awesome bucket list items to do in 2017.
1. BrewBoat Cleveland: Part bike, part boat, and part bar, the BrewBoat in Cleveland is a one-of-a-kind experience that will guarantee to be a hit for you and your adventure-and-beer-loving friends.When trying to find a perfect birthday gift for some family members who "have it all," I decided to get creative and book a reservation aboard the BrewBoat! Follow us on the adventure on the Cuyahoga River.
2. Escape Room Downtown: While I am usually posting about adventures that exercise the body, escape rooms exercise the mind. They bring people together to use their brains to accomplish the goal under the given time limit, which is a huge adrenaline rush! Join us as we head to the Escape Room Downtown in Canton to tackle "The Missing Detective's Office"!
3. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: ALL ABOARD! The CVSR can be found in Northeast Ohio, running through the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park(the one and only national park in the state of Ohio). The main portion of the railway runs northbound from Akron in Summit County, all the way to Independence in Cuyahoga County.
4. Red Maple Inn: This summer, I was invited to stay at the Red Maple Inn, a beautiful boutique hotel located in the small town of Burton in the heart of Geauga County's Amish Country. With unbeatable views of lush green fields, a selection of spacious rooms, and hearty Amish-style breakfast buffets, the offer to stay was impossible to pass up.
5. HalloWeekends at Cedar Point: For the past 20 years, Cedar Point has been hosting HalloWeekends, on the weekends that fall between Labor Day and Halloween. The entire 365-acre park transforms into a spookier, scarier, and more thrilling experience for guests, with pumpkins and cobwebs decorating the queue lines, and ghosts, goblins, and ghouls roaming the midway. For the first time EVER, I finally went to HalloWeekends!
Photos by OHventures
6. SegAway Tours of Columbus: SegAway Tours of Columbus offers a series of tours for anyone interested in uncovering hidden secrets about the city while leisurely gliding through the parkways, riversides, and sidewalks of downtown, Arena District, Short North, and Victorian Village. It was a challenging experience, but one I will never forget. I am hooked on Segways!
7. Findlay Market Cincinnati: Even on a Sunday afternoon, the Findlay Market located in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is booming with activity. As Ohio's oldest public market (having been established in 1852), the Market shows no signs of slowing down. With the brightly colored Italian-style architecture, you'll immediately feel in a cheerful mood, ready to explore the Market head on!
8. Spartan Race Ohio: The Spartan Race was one of the greatest challenges I have ever embarked on, and one that was unforgettable and incredibly fulfilling for the adventurous spirit within me. On May 8, OHventures traveled to Cumberland with our friends Matt & Anthony to tackle all of the mud, obstacles, and burpees that make up the grueling course.
9. Winans Chocolates + Coffees: Two things that most everyone can agree on is delicious chocolate and quality coffee. Winans Chocolates + Coffees, based in Piqua in Miami County,has got you covered! I had the pleasure of receiving some Winans products to review, and it wasn't long until all of my chocolate and treats were gobbled up, and all of my coffee was gulped up! I also got to visit the Winans to Winans Half Marathon in September!
10. RNC in CLE: This year marked an historic time for the City of Cleveland. The Republican National Convention (RNC) was held in town for the first time since the 1930s, bringing in thousands and thousands of visitors from across the country and the globe. No matter your politics, you can enjoy some of the photos that we were able to take during this week in July.