BIGFORK – Rhonda Hughes was diagnosed as bipolar and suffered from thoughts of suicide in 2007.
She gained 80 pounds and was losing relationships with her husband and children, so it was time to make a change.
Hughes moved to Bigfork in 2011 and in 2015 she discovered the Spartan races that happen all over the country.
A Spartan Race is made up of mile-long courses with different obstacles. Hughes’ tells MTN that her first race changed her life.
During Hughes’ first race she was exhausted and struggling to finish but after miles and hurdles, Hughes had a breakthrough.
“I’m leaving everything here on this mountain, I will not punish myself anymore. I’m going to find a way to use this to succeed,” Hughes said.
Since that first race in 2015 Hughes has succeeded. She tells MTN News that she no longer has suicidal thoughts or needs medication.
The race even brought her children back in her life as three of Hughes kids participate in Spartan races. They race and train together.
“When they come to visit we train together, we go to the gym together we hike the mountain together. And those were things we never did together before,” explains Hughes.
If you want to start training for a Spartan Race, it’s easy to train with tools around your home that simulate some of the obstacles. Hughes suggests finding a log or a rock to work out with.
Hughes will compete in the Spartan race on Saturday and after she’s done with competitions in Montana she will move to a race in Boise, Idaho.
The Spartan Race is held outside of Bigfork with races starting as early as 7 a.m. Click here to learn more about the event.
Reporting by Maren Siu for MTN News