“Because of my gymnastics skills,
I was doing really well at the obstacles but I sucked
at running — and Spartan racing is a running sport,”
he explained. “The obstacles don’t take long.
The better runner that you are, the less the obstacles
gas you. I would catch up to people on the obstacles and
they would beat me on the run.”
Before long, Legault took notice of a 24-hour obstacle
race and began the process of finding teammates, to no
avail. So he did the next best logical illogical thing
and tackled the event solo.
“I found a coach and she put me
through some crazy training — but my racing went
through the roof,” he said.
Distances were clearly his thing. The
more, the better.
“If you put me in a 5K, I’m
not going to do well. I will do better in a 10, better
in a 20 and even better in a 50.”
More importantly, the notion of taxing
himself physically more than just appealed to Legault.
It spoke to the very core of his being.
“She worked me up to a six-hour
run, about 50 kilometres,” he recalled. “I
was out of water, out of food — but that’s
when you learn. That’s what I love about endurance
running. Once you are out there, you have to deal with
the pain and the suffering and still make it back.”
Unfortunately, it was also time to come back.
After working at a huge warehouse in Australia
that included quasi-Crossfit and endurance training and
then embraced the newly introduced Ninja Warrior TV series
down under, Legault could not get his work visa renewed.
Time to take his show on the road, back
to Sudbury, with a similar concept in mind.
“When I get back home, I am opening
a gym, I thought to myself,” Legault said. Some
four years ago or so, that dream became reality as the
graduate of Lasalle Secondary School opened Apex Warrior
Gym in the city’s south end.
“It has elements of Ninja and some
similar training to Crossfit, but we do more cardio: bike
While both Ninja Warrior competitions
and Spartan races incorporate the concept of overcoming
obstacles, there are some major differences.
“Ninja is a lot more flying through the air, a lot
more balance,” Legault suggested. “You spend
a lot of time hanging in Ninja.”
Sure, being gymnastically inclined, Legault
is not opposed to jumping and vaulting, running and climbing.
He simply has found an outdoor equivalent that speaks
to him more.
“Spartan (racing) is definitely
my sweet spot,” he said. “I love the challenge
of the hills, the trail running, the spear throw, the
competitiveness, the environment. I love how rugged it
is; they will put you through disgusting stuff. You come
through and you’re full of mud. You’re full
of scratches and you go as hard as you can.
“You feel like a warrior.”
While it was far more adventure race than
Spartan challenge, a 30-hour, 160-kilometre journey last
summer captures the very essence of the spirit of Dennis
“It was trekking, mountain biking
and canoeing in the Parry Sound area,” he noted,
acknowledging that it was a quest that was shared with
three teammates, all moving more or less in tandem with
one another, every step of the way.
“There was no course, no watches,
no phones, no GPS; just your map and your compass. It
was nuts, but it was one of the funnest things I have
ever done. I think the four of us really did not have
a very good idea of what we were getting into.”
To some extent, that also holds true of
his business, a venture he continues to embrace with a
smile each and every morning.
“It’s turned into way more
than I ever thought it would,” Legault said. “It’s
a community — and we have so much going on.”
Much of which is sometimes misunderstood
by the public in general.
“At first, we had a reputation that
this is a really intimidating gym, you had to be super
fit to be here. You don’t need to be the fittest
person on the planet to come here.
“This is where fitness starts.”
And maybe, just maybe, where ordinary
folks come to discover their inner warrior.
Randy Pascal’s That Sudbury Sports
Guy column runs regularly in The Sudbury Star.