Joe De Sena: Spartan Race CEO, Built The Biggest Brand in Obstacle Racing


Manage episode 246405047 series 2342396
By Rob Moore. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Are the things we do really that hard? What would you do if you knew you were going to fail anyway? These are just some of the questions today’s interviewee, the multi-millionaire founder of Spartan & Death Race, Joe DeSena asked himself when growing the worlds leading obstacle race. Today it’s easier than ever before to start, grow and scale a business if you know what you’re doing and you’re passionate about you will succeed you just need to find your ‘True North”. Discover the success behind Spartan Race, what it takes to merge your passion and profession and the business lessons learnt along the way.


  • Spartan is in 45 countries running over 275 events with 1.3million people taking part each year and over 6.5million completing a race since we started. The business makes revenue from merchandise, revenue, sponsorship and nutrition. However, the big hole in our business is training, a Spartan gym or physical training course so we’re looking to work with partners to launch this.
  • “We invented hard when it comes to modern-day events sp we went back to basics and threw the hammer down and really showed people what hard is but the race is more than just a race, it’s hard but everyone that completed it transformed their lives. In life, you only meet yourself when your backs against the wall and in a strenuous situation you find out what you’re made of.”
  • Most people are waiting for their purpose to find them but you need to be active and moving in order to find your purpose and make it your profession. If you’re moving and get things done you will bump into things and opportunities will happen and you’ll discover that changing people’s lives and help people out is much more valuable than money.
  • True North is finding that thing that’s going to pull you through life and this can change. In the beginning, your True North could be money but for myself and Spartan now my True North is changing people’s lives and now I’m actually trying to measure my business’s success by how many lives we change.
  • As long as you’re putting yourself in the right location over and over again you’ll make your own luck and to the untrained eye, it looks like you’re just lucky. However, with Spartan I wasn’t actually looking for a new business I just wanted to put on a race but I ran it into debt and I realised that the entrepreneurs that succeed are the ones that have no choice, their backs against the wall and they need to make a change.
  • If you’re looking to start a business don’t get distracted, If you’re going to do something do it, don’t only offer your new venture 10% of your time because if you do that you deserve to lose money. Additionally, you need to gain the right knowledge and you need to know how to hustle in order to be creative.

Business Lessons

  • Always be on time.
  • Make yourself invaluable as a service provider and go above and beyond.
  • Never have your hand out asking for money, if you do a good job the money will find you.
  • Make your customers your best friends.
  • Be authentic and be passionate about your business.
  • Have a great name.


“We all have it so easy in today’s society”

“How is the kid supposed to survive outside the house if you don’t let him out of the house”

“We’re all animals”

“The brain and the body is wired to thrive when you do hard things”

“The brain and the body is wired to thrive when you do hard things”

“I had to test myself and find out if I could build a business, walk a thousand miles or make it on wall-street and what I found was I wasn’t the toughest or fastest but I didn’t quit”

“Everyone wants to quit a little less and get a little more done”

“If you want to turn iron into steel you’ve got to heat it, pound it and drown it”

“I love being under the gun, it’s amazing how resourceful humans can be”

“I think what would an ordinary person do and I don’t want to be ordinary”



Rob Moore is an author of 9 business books, 5 UK bestsellers, holds 3 world records for public speaking, entrepreneur, property investor, and property educator. Author of global bestseller “Life Leverage” Host of UK’s No.1 business podcast “The Disruptive Entrepreneur” 

“If you don't risk anything, you risk everything” 



Joseph De Sena, has been an entrepreneur since his pre-teens. From selling fireworks at age eight to starting a t-shirt business in high school, to building a multimillion-dollar pool business in college, to creating a Wall Street trading firm, De Sena is a living definition of the word "entrepreneur." De Sena knows what it feels like to succeed outside the office, too - and that's the feeling he seeks to bring to the world's athletes with the Spartan Race series. Spartan Race, voted Outside Magazine's Best Obstacle Race, is the world's leading obstacle racing series and the first of its kind to have global rankings making this one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

452 episodes