We launched the Spartan Spirit Awards to celebrate people who truly embody the key Spartan values: grit, determination, and perseverance. Whether they’re a leader on the course or within their community, a relentlessly hard worker, or a passionate advocate for others, our award winners show what it really means to be a Spartan. Ricardo Quintos — a 23-year-old who overcame profound medical challenges to complete his first Spartan race this summer at the Mexico Stadion — is the latest to receive this honor.
For those with the toughness to see it through, training and ultimately crossing the finish in a Spartan becomes a lifetime source of pride. For Ricardo Quintos, that achievement carried even more weight: The athlete is completely paralyzed on his right side. He was born with a nervous system disorder known as hemiplegia, the most severe form of hemiparesis, which makes it difficult to walk, get dressed, eat, and do other daily tasks.
For patients like Quintos, who experience hemiparesis within the lower section of the brain, a condition known as ataxia occurs, which means a loss of both gross and fine motor skills, often manifesting as staggering and stumbling. With the help of his coach (Marcos Adrián Arrieta, who is SGX certified), his support team, and his family, Quintos trained to break through his limitations and rise above his illness, accomplishing a feat many of us can only dream of. We spoke with Quintos to uncover what it took for him to become a Spartan.
Q&A With Ricardo Quintos, Spartan Spirit Award Recipient
Spartan Race: Why did you choose Spartan to compete in? Ricardo Quintos: Spartan helps you take your body to the limit, and I wanted to prove that to myself.
SR: What excites you the most about Spartan, and how has it changed your life? RQ: I really enjoy the obstacles, and the way Spartan pushes you to exceed your limits all the time. It has helped me to have a stronger body despite my illness. It somehow motivated me further, to challenge myself more, and to think that my illness was not an excuse to not finish a Spartan or anything else.
SR: In your life and workouts, what motivates you to be better? RQ: My mom, my coach, and the people on the team.
SR: Is there anything special that you have worked on to improve with your coach? RQ: My coach and I worked on the strength of my legs, because in my therapies they only gave me rehabilitation to be able to walk, but I needed to strengthen my legs much more. Also, my mental strength: helping me to see that it was possible to achieve all that I wanted to.
SR: What would you like others to know about you or your condition? RQ: That when you propose something and you really want it, you can achieve everything with effort and dedication. That is the secret: Never stop trying and always believe that you are capable of achieving what you want.
SR: What other challenges are you preparing for? RQ: I finished the Spartan Stadion in large part with the help of my team, since they ran next to me or took me in my wheelchair, or charged me up the stairs. Now my goal is to continue training to finish a Spartan by myself.
SR: How did you feel about finishing? RQ: Since then, every day I feel very motivated. I know that if I set something as a goal, I can achieve it. I feel I can exceed the limits I put on myself.
SR: What was the hardest part of the Spartan Stadion? RQ: Definitely the stairs were very hard for me. My favorite part was when I was able to walk alone to the finish line, and also to see the real brotherhood environment along the course, at the festival, and everywhere.
SR: What would you say to someone who is thinking of doing a Spartan? RQ: Spartan is something that everyone should do in life. Living this great experience will definitely change the way you see things, because everyone here has the same possibility of going beyond their limits.