SUPER WOMAN: Auburn preschool teacher competes in grueling Spartan Races

By: Ike Dodson of the Auburn Journal
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Auburn’s Nichole Root is a daytime superhero.

The founder of Lolli Totts Preschool flies over fire, plods through lakes of mud and scales 10-foot walls, monkey bars and ropes like a ninja.

She doesn’t wear a cape or hide her face, but not everyone can finish a Spartan Race — it takes a super human.

Root, a 1997 graduate of Colfax High, competed in the SoCal Spartan “Super” Race Saturday in Temecula, her third Spartan Race in just eight days.

It’s maddening, and even worse… “It’s absolutely horrible,” Root said with a laugh Monday. “No, really, it’s a lot of fun, but it pushes you.”

No kidding.

On Jan. 17, Root finished the Spartan “Beast” course featuring more than 25 obstacles across over 12 miles in just 2 hours and 47 minutes. She was fifth among 903 female racers, second in the 35-39 age group.

A day later, she crossed the muddy three-mile course of the Spartan “Sprint” despite 15 obstacles. She ended in 11th place overall with a 1:12.49 time.

Saturday’s “Super” surpassed eight miles of a Spartan battlefield with a ridiculous terrain, intense physical challenges and 20 obstacles.

These obstacles are no joke.

Between the walls, ropes, mud pits, buckets of gravel to hoist, jumps, tires, and even spear tossing, it’s a nightmare, but the competitors can’t get enough.

“It’s very hard, but fun, and just knowing that you did it is amazing,” Root said. “Everybody who runs Spartan Races is really nice, and they encourage you, people being active in all shapes and sizes just enjoying fitness and helping each other.”

Root played soccer in high school, but soon after gave birth to her oldest daughter, Naomi, who runs track and cross country for Placer High. Naomi is already a talented athlete, and does distance running with her mom. Both participated in the 10-mile Auburn Resolution Run this month.

The two also run alongside Nichole’s husband, Robert, also a Colfax graduate and Spartan Runner. The couple are two of several area athletes to compete in Spartan Races.

Nichole is one of the fastest, and she makes for quite the inspiration for area preschoolers.

“I love it,” Nichole said of being a preschool teacher. “Little people are so much more fun than adults to work with.

“I get to play in high heels and glitter, nail polish and they treat me like a super star now that I do Spartan Races.”

Nichole admits the challenges are tremendous, but she’s found serenity in the reward, even if her costume is always getting muddy.

Email Ike Dodson at Follow him on Twitter, @Ike_Dodson.