The Spartan Race is meant to push participants to their utter limits -- both mentally and physically. The courses cover miles of intense terrain and are riddled with more than 75 different obstacles that force runners to scale walls, throw heavy objects and crawl through muddy berms.
The fact that 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Todd Love finished the punishing course is impressive, but the fact that the veteran completed the endurance test while missing both legs and and his left arm is nothing short of inspiring.
Love, a Georgia-born, third-generation Marine, nearly lost his life when he stepped on a pressure plate while on foot patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in October 2010, according to the Daily Mail.
On Aug. 25, Love participated in the Leesburg, Va., Super Spartan Race, which held its first ever Spartan Heroes Heat. He conquered the course as part of an eight-person team dubbed Team X-T.R.E.M.E., which included two other wounded warriors: Sgt. Noah Galloway, a double amputee, and Sgt. Jonathan Mozingo, who lost his left leg below the knee.
For 10.5 miles and nearly five and a half hours, members of Team X-T.R.E.M.E. took on obstacle after obstacle while wearing blacked-out gas masks that restrict 25 percent to 30 percent of oxygen intake --- comparable to running while "breathing through a straw," according to the group founder and Marine Corps veteran, Jeremy Soles.
Team X-T.R.E.M.E. is an organization dedicated to the empowerment and rehabilitation of wounded veterans. The team tackles intense direct focus to wounded service members of Iraq and Afghanistan and partners with organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project to act as "facilitators" to help the veterans achieve "extreme dreams," according to Soles.
"We want to represent these mean and women, we want to represent their sacrifice and show them that there truly are no limits," Soles said in a video featuring Love and Team X-T.R.E.M.E.
Since the explosion, Love has refused to let his injuries hold him back from doing the activities he loves.
In addition to participating in the Spartan Race, the tenacious veteran has gone white-water kayaking, gone skydiving and surfing in Hawaii, played Bach's Solfeggietto on the piano and wrestled an alligator.
Talking about his wounds on the Animal Planet program "Gator Boys" in July, Love displayed characteristic candor, mixed with optimism.
"I miss my legs," Love said. "But I have other things that I have gained from this: The power to influence people."
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