Years ago, clean performance company EBOOST (a favorite of celebrities like Kelly Ripa and Shakira) began handing out its natural energy- and focus-boosting products to Spartan racers as they eyed the course and prepared for the starting line. By 2013, though, founder Josh Taekman and his crew of seven in-house EBOOST employees were ready to step off the sidelines and onto the course. Not sure how to build a team yourself? EBOOST’s success story will teach you how.
Starting A Spartan Team
For Taekman, getting the health-conscious, motivated and competitive EBOOST team to race a Spartan seemed like a no-brainer—so he got to work.
Taekman contacted trainers he knew, product ambassadors, EBOOST’s partners at the national retailer The Vitamin Shoppe, and just about anyone he could who might be interested in taking on a Spartan Race.
“From there, it just worked through word of mouth,” Taekman says. “Everyone told a friend, they told a friend, and it just went on and on.”
It worked. Roughly 120 people showed up to rep EBOOST in the company’s first official race at New York City’s Citi Field in 2013.
“The atmosphere was great; everyone was pushing each other and supporting each other, ”says EBOOST marketing director Thomas Ortis. “It was a race, but it was more about finishing the race together and less about straight-up winning.”
Since then, the EBOOST team has continued to participate in Spartan Races, and rolled up to the recent Tri-State New York Sprint Weekend at Tuxedo Ridge more than 100 deep.
How To Build A Team: Lessons Learned
Throughout their years competing together, EBOOST has learned a few key lessons about how to build a team—and spread the Spartan spirit!
1. Yes, Anyone Can Do It!
The biggest team-building challenge EBOOST encountered: convincing potential newcomers that, though Spartan races challenged the will, a committed novice could finish the race with the right attitude.
“You realize pretty quickly that you’re humanly capable of doing so much more than you think you are,” Takeman says of Spartan races. “I think everyone was surprised they were able to complete the race and didn’t have to quit. That was the biggest hurdle for most people. It might have been a challenge for them on their own, but when you’re part of a group you just rely on each other and get it done.”
Ortis agrees: “The main thing to realize is that it’s not as hard as you think it’s going to be.” Ortis says. “It really is possible for people of all shapes and sizes.”
2. But It Does Take Some Planning…
Sure, EBOOST may have learned how to build a team, but after that, they had to learn how to keep such a large group organized!
To keep their momentum going strong year after year, EBOOST learned to schedule the team’s race months in advance, and follow up with the proper training routines weeks ahead of time. (Especially during the summertime, when many people are in out-of-town on vacation.)
“We’ve had the most success when we plan ahead of time,” Ortis says. “When we build the hype, both mentally and physically, before the race, we’re more prepared.”
3. Adding A Social Element Ups The Fun
One of the EBOOST team’s keys to success: planning a celebratory event for the team after they complete a race. Think food, drinks, and lots of race recapping! What better way to celebrate such a profound accomplishment than with lots of beer and burgers at a local pub near the race? This way, the shared experience continues long beyond the finish line. The usual after-work drinks can’t even compare.
4. You’ll Truly See The Benefits In The Office
Perhaps EBOOST’s biggest takeaway from racing together: The shared experience does wonders for friendships and cooperation in the workplace.
Coworkers who didn’t normally spend time with one another found themselves carpooling to races together, and connecting long before the races even began. “Team-building is a huge part of why we participate,” Ortis says. “When people get to know each other before the race, they encourage and support each other on the course.”
From there, coworkers, friends, and other teammates charged through the Spartan courses together—and forged true bonds and friendships. “We’ve had people who had never really talked to each other laughing and having a great time, talking about the race,” Ortis says.
Long after the finish line, that sense of camaraderie continues—a major plus in the workplace.
For more information about starting a corporate team with your coworkers and competing in an upcoming Spartan race, check out Spartan’s corporate teams page.