By: Brian A. Shactman, Jessica Golden
CNBC Sports Business
Run for miles. Jump over fire. Crawl under barbed wire. Get pummeled in what's called a Gladiator Arena.
And you pay more than $100 to do it.
Welcome to the Spartan Race and the world of obstacle racing, one of the fastest growing sports — and businesses — in the United States.
Slaven Vlasic | Getty Images
Atmosphere at the Spartan Race 2013 Launch at Times Square on January 17, 2013 in New York City.
From that race came the Spartan Race because De Sena wanted to bring the experience to a wider audience.
"I think it feels good," said De Sena, describing why he thinks the races have hit a nerve among athletes. "I think that's the big appeal for people because they can get out there and drive themselves around the track they way they would with a Ferrari.
"This feels really good for the human body."
De Sena said he believes in the business, but he also believes in the legitimacy of the sport. He's investing millions to formalize it and eventually make a bid at it being included in the Olympics.
And the broader sports world has taken notice. Reebok, owned by Adidas, recently made a huge commitment to the sport. Already invested in the Cross Fit phenomenon, which is probably the Spartan equivalent in the gym, Reebok is designing a brand of clothing and sneakers specifically for obstacle racing.
"We are spending a lot of time and money focused on making this a true sport," De Sena said.
De Sena also wants to set the Spartan Race apart from its competition, races like the "Tough Mudder" and "Warrior Dash," which also have seen immense growth. He notes his race has a major corporate sponsor, a standard set of rules and Olympic aspirations.
"Everyone else in the crowd [is] really focused on having a beer at the end," said De Sena, referencing his sense that the other races focus on the social side of the experience. "A social gathering, that's good...Nightclubs do really well [too], but [Spartan] is the Olympics."
By the way, you can still have a beer at the end of a Spartan Race, too, but after the first one, you'll have to buy it.
—By CNBC's Brian Shactman; Follow him on Twitter: @bshactman
—By CNBC's Jessica Golden; Follow her on Twitter: @JGolden5
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