The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

Joe de Sena, “Spartan Tough”

March 12, 2020

Spartan Tough - Amazing insights and awesome “raw” sharing by Mr Spartan himself, Joe de Sena.  His mindset and philosophies for business and life are perfect for the current climate and global challenges.

You have to be “Spartan Tough” to make it through all the obstacles which are currently out there.  Business is a “Combat sport” (surprised he didn’t say “Spartan Race”) and he prepares for it with that in mind.

When I asked him after the interview about the Corona Virus and the impact on his events, he just said “what Virus”.  “Where your focus goes, energy flows”, famous words by my mentor Tony Robbins.

Hope you enjoy the podcast as much as I do.


Key Highlights

  1. Joe’s very early days (pre-teen), growing up in a crime infested neighbourhood and his tough life lessons (be indispensable, be early and don’t ask for money)
  2. From his Pool cleaning business to Wall Street
  3. His mum’s impact on his life from Yoga to running
  4. In his mid-20s, transition from running his Pool cleaning business to working on Wall Street  
  5. How life style changes also changed his business, Vermont and family  
  6. The first races started from his farm in Vermont
  7. Tough love – “no one cares, work harder”
  8. Spartan Races, big ambitions, burning money for 15 years to get where the business is now
  9. Business is a “combat sport”
  10. Challenges for Spartan (being an analog business) is “digital”, promoting something which makes people “uncomfortable”
  11. Brand building in the digital age
  12. Tough Mudder vs Spartan Race – competition made both stronger
  13. Purchase of Tough Mudder a week ago – his vision for both brands and how to fix Tough Mudder’s problems
  14. Spartan’s future and current state
  15. His time in Asia and Spartan’s growth here
  16. At the core human beings are all “Spartans”
  17. His Ultimate goal “change 100 million lives”
  18. Olympic dream
  19. His advise to young entrepreneurs
  20. A day in Joe’s life



Joe De Sena – Founder and CEO of Spartan, the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand – has demonstrated his entrepreneurial drive since his pre-teens. Following a successful career on Wall Street De Sena set his sights on ripping people off their couches by creating the Spartan lifestyle.

With more than one million annual global participants at more than 250 events across more than 40 countries, Spartan offers heats for all fitness levels and ages, from beginner to elite and Kids as young as four-years-old. The brand has transformed more than seven million lives since it was founded in 2010.

De Sena is also the host of the Spartan Up! podcast and is a New York Times Best Selling Author having written three books: “Spartan Up,” “Spartan Fit” and “The Spartan Way.”

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