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Athlete of the Month: Tom Licciardello

16 Jul 2012

Hello everyone! Today’s post is hopefully the first one of many. To celebrate obstacle racing and fitness achievements, I’m starting a regular installment featuring profiles of obstacle racers and other athletes. You don’t have to be a seasoned Spartan Race winner to be here. You may have just tried one or two 5k races. Maybe you’re new to exercise, working on a fitness program and now developing an interest in obstacle racing.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you! Complete my contact form if you would like to be considered an “Athlete of the Month.”

This month’s athlete is Tom Licciardello of North Andover, Massachusetts. I first heard of Tom from a story he wrote on obstacle races and other unconventional runs. He is a founding member of the Merrimack Valley Striders, an avid runner, and an active obstacle athlete. Fitness runs in the family as Tom’s wife and daughter are also runners and obstacle racing fans. His wife, Lyn, has competed in every Tufts 10k for women (that’s 35 consecutive races!).

Athletic Experience

High school track (2 mile) and Cross-Country runner
Runner for 35+ years
Boston Marathon (35 consecutive)
88 Total Marathons (personal best of 2:33 in 1981)
Mt Washington Race (13 times)
Jay Mountain Challenge (trail ultra) (3 times)
Stonecat 50 miler

2004 TREK USA Member (10 person relay team that raised $300,000 for children’s charities)
2007 Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kona (13:37)

Obstacle racing
Muddy Buddy
Rugged Maniac
Warrior Dash
Spartan Sprint
Super Spartan
Tough Mudder

Color Run
Spartan time trial (in Fenway Park)
Spartan Beast

Why do you race?
I have been blessed with good health. When you’re given a gift like that, it would be a shame to not take full advantage of it. My goal is to be an athlete my entire (hopefully loooong) life.

What has been your favorite obstacle race so far?
I love the Spartan events, and so far, the best has been the Super Spartan in Chandler, Arizona. I have the suspicion that the Spartan Beast will move to the head of the list.

What is the most challenging obstacle you’ve encountered in an obstacle race?
I think I would have to say it was in the Tough Mudder held in the beginning of May at Mt. Snow, Vermont. The temperature at the start was not quite 50, and there was still some snow left on the ski area. Perhaps the most shocking was the plunge into the dumpster filled with ice and water, but the one that challenge my nerve was the jump off the 15-foot platform into the 43 degree pond. The jump was high enough so that I had plenty of time to think about the craziness as I headed to the water below. As a triathlete, I wouldn’t swim open water WITH a wetsuit in temperatures below 55!

How did you train for an obstacle race?
Running is my core activity, but it is heavily supplemented with triathlon training – biking and swimming – as well as P90X. Strength training is very important, and I love it!

Any words of wisdom for new obstacle athletes?
The great thing about obstacle racing is that you never HAVE to do anything more than you are capable of doing. But these events give a wonderful opportunity to explore what your outer boundaries are, and you’ll be shocked at how much more you can accomplish than you ever believed.

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