Three guys walk into a park – one from Illinois, one from California, and the other from Wisconsin. Sounds like the start to a classic joke, right? But this is far from a joke. These three friends - Jesus Chavez (39 years old), Anthony Lazo (25 years old), and Chad Weberg (42 years old) – are about to embark on one of the toughest challenges that exist and hope to emerge as “unbreakable athletes”. In less than two weeks, these three amigos will be traveling to Monrovia Canyon Park (California) to take on the SISU Iron.
Left: Jesus Chavez, Top Right: Anthony Lazo, Bottom Right: Chad Weberg
When and where is the SISU Iron? April 29th – May 1st in Camp Trask in Monrovia Canyon Park in California.
What is the SISU Iron to you?
[Jesus]: SISU Iron is an extreme endurance race formed by people that have completed several of the toughest races around. Their mantra is "Forging Unbreakable Athletes".
[Anthony]: A 30+ hour endurance event, to test your true GRIT!
[Chad]: A 30+ hour endurance challenge. This includes both mental and physical challenges. A required gear list is supplied. A few of the items make you think “what did I sign up for?” 30 pack of diapers, baby doll, axe, saw, etc.
Is this your first event like this?
[Jesus]: No, I have finished multiple day races. For example the 66 hour Death Race, 36 hour Ultimate SUCK and a 24 hour Legend of the Death race – of which I won.
[Anthony]: No, I have competed in a Tough Mudder, a Death Race with Jesus and Chad, and the 2014 SISU Iron.
[Chad]: No. I’ve done two Death Races.
How have you trained for the SISU Iron?
[Jesus]: Crossfit Joliet / Undisputed Strength is where I train the most. It's collegiate style weight room, focusing on speed, strength and athleticism. Brandon "The Broiler" Kelly's programming has been the main factor in finishing these races. And Avery YMCA is my second home and where this journey first started.
[Anthony]: I honestly haven’t trained much, but I believe the SISU Iron to be more of a mental game more than anything else.
[Chad]: Trail running / hiking. I heat my farm with wood, so splitting wood all winter is a favorite activity. Hopefully, there will be a little of that at the IRON. I have also studied some of the US Presidents and Morse code, because there have been hints of needing to know a little about these topics for the event.
Are you doing this as a team or individually?
[Jesus]: Races like this are usually team oriented at first, but then it eventually splinters off into an individual race.
[Anthony]: The SISU Iron is a different beast in all! We will most likely start as a team, but as the hours add up it will turn into an individual battle.
[Chad]: I always start these events as a team. Not necessarily with a specific group, but you build a team as you go. If you see someone in need – you help them. This is how new friendships are formed at events like this.
What are you most looking forward to?
[Jesus]: I'm most looking forward to seeing friends that I usually only see once or twice a year. Although some of these people I have only met during these races, you created such a special bond that you look forward to embracing the suck together.
[Anthony]: Being out of my comfort zone, and meeting with all the athletes there. This OCR / Endurance community is really kick butt!
[Chad]: Seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
What are you least looking forward to?
[Jesus]: There's really nothing that I'm not looking forward to. If you have a negative mindset coming into this then you're not going to do well.
[Anthony]: The infamous camp trask pond <sigh> . . . that thing spawned the swamp thing, as well as, poison oak! Which I know 100% that I will be getting it! AGAIN!
[Chad]: Don Devaney . . . he’s an old friend, but he is helping to organize the race this year and will be there to put us through hell! He is a sick man and that’s why I love him. We’ll hug before the event starts and can continue being friends on Monday. <Grin>
What is your WHY for doing this event?
[Jesus]: My ”WHY” in anything I do is to be a better human being. If I strive to become a better version of myself, then I can become a better father, husband and friend. I need to be a stronger version of myself to raise my daughters to become amazing individuals.
[Anthony]: The first time I did the SISU Iron it was for my birthday since it landed on May 4th. This time will be to test myself. Also Jesus wanted me to run it with him, so I agreed and forced my friend, Daniel Kim, to join in on all the fun too!
[Chad]: To push myself both mentally and physically with a bunch of like-minded friends.
How do you define success of the SISU Iron?
[Jesus]: My success is not defined by finishing the race. I want to be known as the guy that gave everything he had, raced with integrity, and was an awesome teammate. Finishing would be nice, but not the determining factor in a success.
[Anthony]: I’m happy with just meeting and being around the community of people willing to torture themselves, pushing themselves to be the best they can be, and still standing around them at the 30 hour mark.
[Chad]: Starting the event and trying your best.
Do you have anything planned beyond this event?
[Jesus]: I'm signed up for the 36 hour Ultimate Suck in September 2016. Also, on my radar is the 12 hour Spartan Hurricane Heat and the 24 hour Catamount games.
[Anthony]: I do not. I tend to be more spontaneous with my events . . . I didn't even sign up for this event until April 15th!
[Chad]: A 50 mile trail ultra-marathon in July, and hopefully, a few longer races / events this coming Fall.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Nicknames: [Jesus]: Jesse and Mas Chingons, [Anthony]: Lazo, [Chad]: Cheeseburger Eddie
Home City / State: [Jesus]: Plainfield, Illinois, [Anthony]: Corona, California, [Chad]: Mazomanie, Wisconsin
Occupation: [Jesus]: Tech Engineer / Land Surveyor for Walsh Const., [Anthony]: Project Consultant, [Chad]: Manufacturing Manager for a Theatrical Lighting and Rigging Manufacturer
Most Favorite Food: [Jesus]: Tacos, [Anthony]: Burritos, [Chad]: Bacon Cheeseburger. Hence the nickname Cheeseburger Eddie. I’ve been known to carry McDonald’s cheeseburgers in my pack during ultra-races. Fuel for me and to help fellow racers.
Least Favorite Food: [Jesus]: Fish, [Anthony]: Green beans, [Chad]: Sushi
Favorite Music: [Jesus]: Metal (Bullet for My Valentine), [Anthony]: Oldies (Classic Rock), [Chad]: Country
Favorite Vacation Place: [Jesus]: Mexico – Cancun area, [Anthony]: Tennessee (Knoxville), [Chad]: Hayward, Wisconsin. Quiet time in the woods or out on the lake.
Favorite Color: [Jesus]: Blue, [Anthony]: Blue, [Chad]: Red
Favorite Mantra: [Jesus]: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always. [Anthony]: I can't stop, because I won't stop! [Chad]: I have to always go back to the old Death Race saying. “Every man dies but not every man lives”.
Top Left: Anthony Lazo and Jesus Chavez, Bottom Left: Jesus Chavez and Chad Weberg, Right: Chavez’s Medal Display
For more information on the SISU Iron, visit the website.