Spartan Racer Turns Obstacles Into Opportunities

Spartan Racer Turns Obstacles Into Opportunities

When Adriane Warren embraced the truth of having two life-changing medical diagnoses, she knew that plenty of obstacles were going to lie ahead. However, as a Spartan obstacle course warrior, Adriane was unfazed. Instead of being defeated, she saw an opportunity to change her lifestyle and embark on a journey to become her healthiest self.

Officially diagnosed with facet arthropathy and spinal stenosis at age 33, the Pennsylvania native decided to focus on what she could control – her weight. “I decided it was time to make some major changes,” she said. “I set a goal to drop a huge amount of weight and get healthy. By the end of the year I had lost about 65 pounds, started running, and completed a few 5Ks.”

Adriane’s feats didn’t stop there; after her diagnoses she began competing in challenging Spartan obstacle course races. Spartan races are three miles or longer and feature various obstacles such as barbed wire crawls, wall climbs, and heavy object lifting. By age 35 Adriane had completed four of these obstacle races, a marathon relay, a 10K, a 5-mile trail race, and several 5Ks.

Inspired by professional triathlete and fellow Racing for a Cure teammate, Angela, Adriane has continued to support the Racing For A Cure team by raising money and awareness for arthritis research. “In the world of health and research, even a very small finding can make a huge impact,” she said. She hopes that research findings will be pieced together over time to develop improved medications and then possibly a cure for arthritis.

Click here to support Adriane’s next Spartan obstacle course to benefit Racing For a Cure!

However, throughout her weight loss and racing journey, Adriane began experiencing new symptoms. The fiercely tough Spartan racer continued to power through her daily life, work, and training until she was eventually diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. And although the diagnosis came as a dose of bad news, it also provided some answers about her health. “[There was] relief in knowing there was finally a reason for the way I felt,” she said.

Despite her RA diagnosis, Adriane tried to remain committed to living an active lifestyle, but her weight loss journey was constantly interrupted by several shoulder surgeries. One procedure in particular required Adriane to use crutches during her recovery. After six weeks of relying on crutches as her main form of transportation, she took her first steps on her own and never looked back. The Couch to 5K program helped to ease Adriane back into running and she also learned how to adapt her training to the way her body was feeling.

Adriane Races For A Cure

Post surgery, Adriane was scheduled to compete in another Spartan obstacle race, but she knew her body needed more time to recover. “Never knowing how you will wake up feeling is very frustrating,” she said. “[I had] to draw back a little and listen to my body.”

Still, she was motivated her to find a new way to get to the finish line. Her training regimen was adjusted according to her body’s needs, and consisted of circuit training, body weight exercises, and cross training on a stationary bike.

Adriane had always been highly independent, but when her work days began feeling like “marathons” she knew she needed assistance. Whether it was her best day or her toughest, her husband was there to support her through it all. And along with Adriane’s training to be a better athlete, she also continues to strive for personal growth. Throughout her obstacles on and off the race course, she refuses to stop moving.

“[The disease] forced me to ask for help and it forced me to change my goals,” Adriane said. “You need to surround yourself with positive people, people that inspire you, and people that are better than you. The worst thing you can do is sit still. Don’t stop putting one foot in front of the other.”

The Racing For a Cure athlete’s incredible weight loss and athletic pursuits have already motivated her family, friends and fans to be active. “My biggest goal is to keep inspiring others, which in turn inspires me to keep going.”

Are you inspired by Adriane’s story? Have you embarked on your own weight loss journey? Tell us in the comments below!

Do you have an arthritis awareness story to share? We share your arthritis stories in an effort to make a difference by giving arthritis patients a voice, raising arthritis awareness and raising awareness about the need for more funds for research. Awareness of arthritis and the need for research are key components to the quest to finding a cure for arthritis. Please consider making a donation today in support of this critical research. To share your arthritis story, contact us.

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

  • Avatar
    Ivonne Macewen
    Posted at 16:44h, 02 October Reply

    I have started to make changes in my life for weight loss and more exercise. I even
    Purchased a bike! I had a set back but reading this story I was jumping out of my skin. It inspired me to not allow little set backs to ruin my goal. Cant wait to share my success story one day 😉 Thank you so much. You are awesome Adriane!

    • admin
      Posted at 09:43h, 06 October Reply

      We can’t wait to hear your story Ivonne! Keep at it!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 17:52h, 03 October Reply

    My husband was diagnosed with RA several years ago. It was a big blow as he was just recovering from hip surgery, and he knew his running career was over-but now this? He was enjoying cycling and swimming until his ankles and wrists swelled up to where he could not do either activity put him in the doldrums and he was depressed. Always an active guy since he started running at age 15 and being on a water polo team also, he found a way to get back into it by swimming in cold water, lifting light weights and responding to medication. He is now back to open water swim training, walking three days a week and cycling two to three days a week also. He has his life back and I have my husband back! Keep at it Adriane!

    • admin
      Posted at 09:42h, 06 October Reply

      Wow! You’re husband is also very inspiring! Have him contact us if he’d like to share his story and we’d love to have him on the Racing For A Cure team!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 12:55h, 05 September Reply


    I found this article by googling “Spartan Race training for osteoarthritis.” Is there any guide book or article that you publish for those who wish to train despite having minor aches due to osteoarthritis? I have bone spurring on the thumb proximal phalanx (just recently). Thank you.

    • admin
      Posted at 14:05h, 05 September Reply

      Hi there, Lucy!
      Unfortunately, we do not have any published books.
      Try checking out It’s a group of athletes training for different races and events to raise funds and awareness for arthritis research. Many of the athletes have some form of arthritis, so you may be able to find some helpful information or tips from the community. You can connect with the community members by searching the #RacingForACure and #R4C hashtags on social media.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 11:20h, 27 December Reply

    I found this after googling the same thing as Lucy. Thanks…I’m glad to know I still have a chance!

Post A Comment