THE ENDURANCE PROJECT! What is it? What do we do? Why do we do it?
If you live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and are an avid runner, outdoor enthusiast, obstacle course racer, fitness junkie, looking for a support group, etc. Then perhaps you have heard about the Endurance Project, if not, then you will 😉
WHAT IS IT? – The DWEP (Dennis Welch Endurance Project), was founded by me, Dennis Welch and my wife, Crystle. Our intent was to provide workouts that were geared to all areas of fitness and not JUST RUNNING, not JUST CYCLING, not JUST WEIGHT LIFTING..blah, blah, blah! Because we were heavily involved with many other local and non-local athletic groups (Hampton Roads Runners, Tidewater Striders, New Energy Power, Running ETC, J&A Racing, Final Kick, Team Hoyt VB, Ainsley’s Angels of America, My Team Triumph, and Spartan Race.), we wanted to create our own group that was non-exclusive. Meaning, we wanted to break down any walls of “segregation” amongst the local groups and build ourselves as a group that was ALL INCLUSIVE. Instead of having a Hampton Roads Runners meetup, or a Final Kick meetup, or, or , or….we wanted to have an and, and, and approach. We wanted to have a “one stop shop” that encompassed all groups and any and all fitness levels. A group where a 2:30 marathoner could share the same path as a 8:30 marathoner. A group where a stay at home mom could come out and join a collegiate runner, etc. Ultimately, we wanted a TEAM!!
So, over the past several months, that is what we have focused on, bringing together as many as we can, with one common goal. INCLUSION!! Having been involved with Team Hoyt VB, Ainsley’s Angels and My Team Triumph the past few years, our main intent with those groups, is to develop the mindset of TOTAL INCLUSION. So, using that motto as a springboard, the DWEP was created in order to give that total inclusion feel on an even grandeur scale. Under one giant umbrella, we wanted to find a way to include everyone and that is exactly what we are doing.
WHAT DO WE DO? To put it simply, we improve the quality of life. Perhaps that sounds a bit overly confident but, I truly believe that is what we do. Using fitness as the vehicle, we help to improve the quality of life, across many facets. How can I say this? Well, I can’t even begin to tell you how many positive messages we receive, saying “Thank you for believing in me”, “Thank you for helping me achieve my goals”, “Thank you for helping me lose weight”, “Thank you for having my daughter come out of her shell”……and the list goes on.
Throughout the week, we host group workouts, we get involved with groups like New Energy POWER https://www.facebook.com/NewEnergyPower and use the uplifting spirits of the kids to get other adults/coaches involved with the special needs community. Currently there is 9 DWEP members who are POWER coaches and, they love it as much as the kids do 😉
Over the past few months, we have also put together a team of OCR athletes (Obstacle Course Racing), who have been traveling up and down the East Coast, racing in as many Spartan Race, Tough Mudders, Super Hero Scramble races as we can get to. For the Wintergreen Spartan, we had 20+ athletes, all hanging together for the weekend, racing hard and having lots of laughs and fun doing it. For the Spartan World Championships in Vermont last month, we had 15 athletes go up for the weekend, all staying in the same house and all building closer camaraderie. In the future, we want to start weekend and week long camps that focus on group training, camaraderie and adventure.
WHY DO WE DO IT? Everyone wants to be a part of something. It is part of our evolution as humans, that we seek out others of “our kind” to bond with. We all enjoy being around others who share similar interests. So, aside from the physical changes that are seen or the improved athletic performances, we also work to change the whole body experience.
If you improve fitness, then ultimately you can improve all other areas in the quality of life. When an individual is confident in themselves, they can tackle almost anything. Through continuous support and encouragement, results begin to surface. Once results begin to surface, the individual becomes more confident and then can build upon those results and thus carry that confidence into all other facets of their daily life.
All my life, coaching/teaching has been my passion. I have always wanted to coach youth and teenage athletes but, I just love coaching in any capacity. For me, seeing the joy on a runners face when they cross a finish line, set a PR or complete something they never thought possible, is the driving force behind the passion. I want to help others enjoy fitness and sport in the way that it should be. Naturally, whenever there is a sport of sorts, there is going to be some degree of competition but, I do my best to minimize that as much as possible. Rather than competing against others, I want to teach in a way that you are only competing against past versions of yourself. Medals and accolades are a bonus, but shouldn’t be the inspiration behind your drive. Your pursuit should be to be as great as you possibly can and in the process, do what you can to make others great..even if that means making them greater than yourself.
As athletes and persons, we should strive to lift others up on our way to the summit. If your only focus is to get to the top, it’s an awfully lonely podium once you get there, if you have no one standing beside you.
To conclude, The Endurance Project is a group of positive and motivating individuals, who work together to achieve a common goal.
Stay tuned for upcoming events, youth programs, “beginner” programs and team socials. Oh and by the way!! The Endurance Project IS a democracy! We are welcome to any and all ideas/suggestions/recommendations/concerns, etc. So if you have something to add, please do so. We need more organizers and more minds to continue spreading the message and getting the word out.
Check out our current site calendar for upcoming meetups. I would like to add more social stuff to this as well, so please shoot me any ideas on that.