Imagine, if you will, a mid-June day in Pittsfield, VT.
Imagine, now, that you are 12 hours into a race, and have another 24 hours to go. Imagine that it is 4 p.m.
Imagine that this race is no ordinary race. Imagine that elements will include crawling under barbed wire, trekking through pits of mud, assembling a jigsaw puzzle in ice cold water. Imagine that you have no idea what will still stand ahead of you if you are to complete the race.
Sounds fun, huh?
"Oh, yeah," says West Roxbury resident Thom Miller. "I kind of feel like this is my element."
Miller, 33, a former Marine Corps Reserve, has a slew of experience in the world of racing and physical challenges. He's twice completed the Boston Marathon, and has also run two others. He's also completed Iron Man challenges and triathlons. Obstacle races are not foreign too him, either.
But the 2012 Spartan Death Race, whose website URL reads plainly youmaydie.com, will be something else.
The race will take place on June 15 in Pittsfield. Put on by adventure sports company PEAK, the race has seen only 57 people complete the challenge over three years, according to its website. Participants don't know the challenges they'll face until the race begins; they don't even know what time the race will begin. They do know that they'll be in for a series of mental and physical challenges designed to test endurance, strength and make-up in whichever way the race directors see fit.
Miller is confident in his physical ability to complete the race. The mental elements -- which include, in addition to the outright exhaustion the race requires, challenges like being tasked to remember a Bible passage, hike a large hill, and recite it -- are a bit more tricky to prepare for, the Bellevue Hill resident said.
"I think doing some really long endurance challenges may help me prepare for that," he said.
Plans for that sort of training include 30-mile non-stop hikes in the White Mountains, 5 a.m. runs, and a snowshoe marathon (yes, that's 26.2 miles in snowshoes). Though these self-prescribed challenges are physical in nature, the sheer exhaustion brought on by them figures to serve as mentally challenging as well.
His training is already in full-swing despite the race being eight months away. That's what the ridiculousness of the challenge requires. A 24-hour race through all forms of terrain and challenges, by definition, is far from a walk in the park.
That, though, is the appeal to Miller. That alone, he thinks, may be an advantage.
"That kind of a positive attitude," he said, "will hopefully help."