Agoge Facts: What happened at the Agoge 000?

By: David DeLuca

People ask what happened at the Spartan Agoge 000.

Whenever I hear that word, I’m brought back to that night in Vermont. I really want you to know.

But how much can I say?

Let’s start with the facts.

I observed the first 12 hours of the Agoge as a non-participant.
I arrived at Amee Farm at 4PM. I saw people chopping and carrying logs. I was told they had been doing this for some time. They were all smiles.

There were 25 participants, a mix of military cadets and civilians.

At 8PM, all participants had stopped chopping wood and entered the trails on the mountain, divided into teams. They were tasked with the protection of one of their team members, who was dressed in a Tyvek suit. It was pitch dark.

At 11PM, all participants stood at the top of a mountain, faced with a moral dilemma. The air was full of campfire smoke. They were getting hungry.

At midnight, they were burdened with heavy bags and heavier thoughts.

At 2AM, they created something nobody will ever know about.

At 4AM, they were between Stockbridge and Mt. Killington. My headlamp was dying. I knew where we were headed, but I didn’t know where we were.

At 7AM, all participants were waist-deep in water. They each called out two or three words that would shape their entire lives.

One participant did not finish.

No one was injured.

…I will stop there.

The Agoge (uh-GOH-ghee) is the final level of a long, arduous ascent of endurance events. It follows the Ultra Beast, the Hurricane Heat and the Hurricane Heat 12-Hour. Far off on the the other end of the spectrum are the races, the Sprint, Super and Beast — challenges, but not endurance events in the same way as the others. These highest four take a mind as strong as steel.

When people ask about the Agoge, the first thing I tell them is, compared to the other endurance events, it’s on an entirely different plane.

At the Ultra Beast, you know exactly where you’re going — the finish line. The only problem is getting there.

At the Hurricane Heat and Hurricane Heat 12-Hour, you have no idea where you’re going, and you’re not allowed to ask. You have to just figure it out.

At the Agoge, you find out where you are, where you’re going, and the questions are the reason you’re there in the first place.

One last thing that I can say about the Agoge is that it’s meant to transform you. During the event, participants are taken through a series of teambuilding and reflective exercises (I have kept this vague on purpose) that are based on Spartan’s educational program, SPARTAN X. Both Agoge and SPARTAN X dive deep into your values, morals, beliefs, fears, and physical limits.

Be warned: you do not come out of this event the same person. If you are not looking for change, please do not register. This is not the event for you.

If you are not looking to understand yourself in new ways, do not register.

If you are not looking to do things you have never done before, do not register.

As for everyone else, we invite you to commit to a new understanding.

For more information on the Agoge, see our event page.

For more information on our online educational program SPARTAN X, visit this page.