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Melanie Chargualaf: Athleticism, Enthusiasm and Burnout at 26

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There is no obstacle course racer more enthusiastic than 26-year-old Melanie Chargualaf. Tagged as the Burpee Princess for her 100-burpee-per-day regimen, Melanie attacks Spartan Racing with a passion that has propelled her to the top levels of competition. We ran along behind her and got the story in her own words.

I have always been crazy competitive and active, starting in high school, where I played basketball, soccer, volleyball and ran cross country and track. In college, I played flag football and basketball off campus. Now I hold down three jobs, train, compete, and keep up with my five-year-old daughter Scarlett. I never stop going.

My brother ran obstacle course and Spartan races, and he introduced me to my first Warrior Dash in 2014. I ran with a bunch of my cousins and their friends, and got addicted instantly. I loved playing in the mud, carrying heavy sandbags and buckets, climbing ropes and walls, crawling under barbed wire and pushing myself to my limits. What was once a hobby became my passion.

By the end of 2014, I ran 13 races. My racing career really took off in 2015, when I began running in the Elite heats for Spartan Races. I started to place in the top 10 and top 5 of every race – and even standing on the podium a few times – qualifying for the OCR and Spartan World Championships.

In 2016, I began to compete in endurance events – completing two 12-hour and a 6-hour endurance event. I’m constantly pushing myself past my limits and testing my mind and body. I’ve completed over 60 races including 60ks, 50-miler ultramarathons, endurance events, and obstacle course races.

To train, I usually go to Power Park Fitness and run the fitness obstacle course. My training also includes long runs, tons of pull-ups and burpees. I am constantly hiking or rock climbing to help make myself a better athlete. But my body started to quit on me this year – I would start a race, and my body was telling me to stop. I was shutting down at the beginning of my workouts, and just getting so tired –I needed something to help me with my recovery. That’s where Play Again Now came in. Now I can go a lot longer – my training is so much better, and I feel amazing.

In 2017, I want to be on the podium more than last year. I am competing at the SISU Iron 30-hour endurance event, and want to complete my first 100-miler in December – and I’ve applied for American Ninja Warrior. The OCR community is so big and supportive – they’re willing to help you with whatever you need. With their help, I just know 2017 can be my biggest year yet.

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