405 — Joe De Sena

Podcast Summary

Joe is as real as it gets. He is a Founder and CEO who tells it like it is and pushes himself to get better and be better…every day. What I truly appreciate about Joe is his embrace of the idea that, “The obstacle is the way.”

As Founders, we know this, practice this, and embrace this…everyday.

So, I was super excited to have Joe on the podcast to share his experiences and his biggest obstacles.

Spartan came from Joe’s mind as a former equities and derivatives trader on Wall Street. He turned his passion for extreme sports into a lifestyle for his family — and then into a business.

He started the multi-day Death Race in 2007, which evolved into Spartan in 2010. It has since grown into a $60 million business and a global wellness brand with 250 events across 40-plus countries. More than 7 million people have competed in a Spartan Race, heeding De Sena’s call to overcome obstacles — literally and figuratively.

In 2020, the pandemic forced a pause on a vast majority of the signature events that drove Spartan culture. Just as Spartan is a means of reinvention for everyday athletes, De Sena had to reinvent his business.

He discovered what was possible with a pivot from competitive events to redefining the Spartan culture through content and community building. The brand maintained its swagger, experienced growth, and demonstrated how to put the lessons of resiliency into business practice.

Spartan now includes eight brands. Joe grew the business by acquiring competitor Tough Mudder in February 2020, and event series in the Spartan portfolio now include trail running (Spartan Trail), functional fitness (Spartan Training and DEKA), mountain biking (La Ruta), long-distance adventure hiking (HIGHLANDER), and wrestling (Spartan Combat).

Joe is the host of the NEW CNBC primetime series “No Retreat: Business Bootcamp,” premiering in March 2022.

But, you can hear Joe here, first, before the show goes live.


Name: Joe De Sena

Company: Spartan Race, Inc.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Powerful Promise of Value: Spartan is the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, with more than 200 global events annually. The Spartan lifestyle spans more than 40 countries and encompasses a global championship series, training and nutrition programs, health and wellness products and a range of media entities. It’s a sport, mindset, community and way of life. 

Joe’s Books:


Joe on LinkedIn

Joe’s Company’s Website

Joe’s Personal Website

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