Ten-year-old Jaxon Moore of Bigfork recently qualified for the first-ever Kids Spartan World Championships in California, but he doesn’t train like a lot of other athletes at the global level.
The rising fifth-grader at Bigfork Elementary School followed a heavy regimen of soccer, basketball and spontaneously climbing playground equipment to achieve a first-place finish in his division at the Bigfork Spartan Race in May.
“We’re going to try and train for this one,” Moore’s mother, Dani Burrell, said of the upcoming World Championship event. While the competition in December will certainly be a big jump for the young athlete, Moore has some experience hopping over obstacles.
“I do a lot of running with soccer,” he said, “Hopping over walls and rope climbing are really easy. I love that. ”
Moore took first place in the Sunday event for 10-year-olds at the Bigfork Spartan Race in May.
“I was hoping I’d get near first,” he said, but he didn’t expect to win the inaugural competitive kids’ event outright. His top finish and time of 36:24 for the 2-mile obstacle course earned him a berth at the World Championships to be held this winter in Castaica, California. The championships are open to the top three finishers in the 10-and-up age group of Spartan Kids Races across the country.
Moore said he never imagined he would qualify for the World Championships, but you might not know that from talking to him. In addition to playing on the Bigfork Bandits soccer team—undefeated for two seasons—and being the “fastest in each camp” throughout the summer, Moore said he finds the shorter Spartan distances “too easy.”
“I asked to do the 2 mile,” he said. Unlike previous races, he said, “this one made me tired and it felt like I was going to puke. Thankfully they give you a banana and some water.”
His family has been competing in Spartan Races for the past three years. Burrell was the driving force behind inspiring every member of her six-person family to compete in Spartan Races, but Moore evidently needed little urging.
“I like doing courses because it’s kind of challenging and fun getting medals and proving you did it,” he said.
For Burrell, it’s tough to see Jaxon and his siblings — Json, 13, Abby, 10, and Thalia, 8, struggle through some of the obstacles, like hauling a sandbag in a bucket up and down a hill. “But once they complete it, the sense of accomplishment is huge,” she said. “I’d just encourage all families to do it.”
The physical preparation for the Dec. 7 event won’t be the only challenge that Moore and his family will face in the run-up to the World Championships. While the entry fee for the race is relatively low at $55, Burrell expressed concern over booking hotels for the weekend and travel costs for all of the family members, including Moore’s grandparents.
“We started a GoFund Me and we also started a savings account at Glacier Bank where people can hopefully make donations, or people can sponsor him to get him down there,” Burrell said.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 758-4459.