Spartan Race Founder Joe De Sena on Running Events During the Pandemic


3 years ago



Joe De Sena

1 appearance

Joe De Sena is the CEO and founder of "Spartan" and the "Death Race". He is also a NY Times best selling author of "Spartan Up", "Spartan Fit" and "The Spartan Way".


Write a comment...


But it crippled the whole world. Crippled the whole world, crippled our economy. Like that. And we are the worst at it. If you look at all the other countries, no one's done a worse job at dealing with this pandemic than us. You think it exposed, I think it exposed our weaknesses. Sure. Right. Our health weaknesses, our financial weaknesses, exposed a lot of our weaknesses. Yeah. A little riff now, right? Like, you know, is the shit going on? Well, you know, that was, there's, that's like a bunch of compounding factors, right? You know, you have the George Floyd murder, and then you have the protests afterwards, which ignite, most likely, is one of the factors in the kick up of the virus again, the second wave of it. You know, there's a lot going on, you know? And then also people don't like to be told what to do here. So, well, I fuck you. I'm going to go out. Fuck you. I'm going to spring break. Fuck you. I'm going to Florida. Fuck you. I'm not wearing a mask. I am. We got a call. I took the approach of we could put on a safe event. The second that I get a state or a country that allows us to put on an event, we're back on. And we're going to put protocols in place because I believe, I don't, fight me on it if, I don't know what your thoughts are, but I believe that you're more likely to get it like we're sitting right now, as opposed to being outside. And I want people healthy. Yes, that's pretty much established. You're more likely to get it inside. Sunlight kills it. And then the people have said, well, if sunlight kills it, it wouldn't have spread in the protests. Not so fast. You're talking about 50,000 people packed on top of each other screaming. The idea that the sunlight is going to kill all of it, it seems ridiculous. And it's also going to get into people, and they're going to bring it to their home. And it's going to get to them. They're going to go to work. They're going to give it to other people at work, or other people wherever gatherings that they get to. Whenever you get to, you're having like the way, someone described it recently, it's like a music festival in every city, all across the country for weeks at a time. And that's what the protests were like. I'm sure it had an impact. And if you looked at the numbers, like so many of the people that have it now are young people. I think bars had a big impact on it too. I think a lot of drunk talk and bars, you're right on top of each other, you're indoors. You're drinking, your inhibitions are down. You're not thinking, you're not washing your hands. You're yelling, you're talking loud. Sloppy. Sloppy, yeah. So we get a call from Florida. Florida doesn't give a fuck. Jacksonville. I was definitely on the side of, you said, Joe, what's your stance on the whole thing? My stance was, I think we should shut down for a period of time to get the hospitals and our medical system like in shape. But I'm just not a believer that you could shut down an economy for as long as we have, like it has some negative consequences. It's got a big negative consequence. It's got, right? Like people lose their shit sitting indoors. Like forget about money and everything else, you start to lose your mind. So I'm putting a race on, I decide. We're shooting down there. We put all the protocols in place. I'm a little annoyed because it's not gonna be the race I'm used to where everybody's like, like you're getting together in the festival area and I can't have like mud pits where we're mingling people. So I don't know how it's gonna go. I drive with my family, because I gotta be there. If I'm the leader of this organization, I gotta be there. Drive with my family down the East Coast. When I get to South Carolina, there's no virus. There's like corn dogs and partying and like beaches full of people, all the way to Florida. There was no, it was completely different than New York and everywhere else. Like it was game on. So it's not shocking that- The virus is huge down there. Yes. The virus in Florida. You know, they said Florida, if it was a country, would be the fourth highest rate of infection in the entire world? I gotta tell you, and I'm not self-serving. We put on a good, safe event, really good event. And so far, that knock on wood, no issues. But like, there was no protection, no protocol, nothing down in the States down there. Do you impose tests on the- We did tests, all of our employees, we tested with the swab, you know, touches your brain with the swab, unlike your rusty knife on my hand. Did you do temperature checks in the forest? We did temperature checks with everybody. We kept everybody distanced. I'm not just saying it, because like my team went overboard. It was annoying to me at how good they did it. And can't make money like that, because I can't get enough people in the event, right? I gotta space them out. How many people did you normally have in an event? Normally, we'd have 8,000 at that event, call it a couple of thousand. So I can't make those numbers work, but I thought it was important because there's 50,000 events around the world that are shut down, New York Marathon, Boston, go down the list. And if we could provide like a path to, hey, this could be done, it was important to do, but it's not. 50,000 events have been shut down? 50,000 around the world. Is that crazy? We are the hardest hit industry because we're not like a restaurant where I could deliver food. Like I'm dead. Dead, I'm out of business, right? I gotta keep paying people, but I, so. How many events do you normally run a year? 325, 45 countries, 325 events, I'll be lucky, I'll be lucky if we have 20 this year. 20 from 325. So 305 down. Down, tough year. Oof. Tough year. Oof. Oof. Oof. Oof. Oof. Oof. Oof.