Brett Mazza

When my college lacrosse career ended in 2018, I had so much left to prove as an athlete. I had not lived up to my athletic potential and lost some of my competitive spirit. I needed a chance to redeem myself. Because of this, I decided to sign up for a half marathon with virtually no training. While my performance was nothing special, I not only proved that I was capable of completing the race but I learned that I may be capable of even more.

That half marathon was the first time I ever competed in a race longer than a 5k, and although I enjoyed it, I really didn’t catch the running bug until my first competitive Spartan Race. Obstacle course racing (OCR) was the perfect combination of my newfound love for running, my years of strength training for team sports, and outdoor adventuring. I found some success in the shorter races but the longer races still seemed far out of reach. Building from my confidence of completing a half marathon, I decided to take a shot at Spartan’s hardest race: the Killington Beast. This race covered over 13 miles and included over 6,000 feet of climbing which adds up to one awful sufferfest. Having witnessed me survive this obstacle-packed half marathon, my friends and family asked “What’s next? A marathon?” To which I confidently replied, “Never. I’m not crazy!” Turns out I was crazy after all; I ran my first marathon about a year later, just months after doing the Killington Beast for the second time.

Since that marathon, I have become a student of running and spend most of my free time reading running books, listening to running podcasts, and writing training plans. I’ve fallen in love with seeing how far I can take myself and I love living the “grind” lifestyle. Although my main focus is becoming the best OCR athlete I can be and I love the feeling of getting up on the podium, nothing beats overcoming a challenge that really tests your toughness – these are what make you feel invincible. Exactly one year after running my first marathon and promising myself that I would never do one again, I set out on the snow-covered trails of Massachusetts in January to run one again all by myself. Although I had mapped my own trail, turned my car into a water station, and had no cheering crowd or medal waiting for me at the finish line, I still felt invincible.

Evidently, running has been incredibly empowering for me and has carried over into every aspect of my life. It has shown me that limits only exist in my mind and I am always capable of more. My ultimate goal is that, in pursuing my best self, I may inspire those around me to test and crush their own limits to attain their true potential. I hope that everyone finds the confidence and self-pride that I have discovered along this journey. Nothing compares to helping someone accomplish something they never thought possible – not even winning.