Ever since he was a child, Hobie Call has loved to run.
"When I was 10, I decided that I wanted to be a great runner," said the 34-year-old South Jordan resident.
Call has made that happen by participating in Spartan Races, a series of marathons with obstacles that test skill and endurance.
Call once attempted to make the U.S. Olympic team, but at the trials he had what he calls the worst race of his life.
The Spartan Races are a better fit, he says, "because I naturally have a lot of upper-body strength."
This year, to bring attention to the 2011 series, Spartan Race organizers offered $100,000 to anyone who could win 14 events and the Death Race in Pittsfield, Vt.
Call won the six races leading up to the June 25 Death Race, a 48-hour marathon that included six hours of rock lifting, a mile walk through an icy-cold river, chopping wood and climbing 2,000 feet up a heavily forested hillside.
But the cold and rain got the best of Call, and he was forced to pull out of the race, losing a chance at the prize. Still, he has been the face of the Spartan Race with his vibrant personality and ability to dominate the field.
"Hobie's become our superstar," said Brian Duncanson, a public-relations director for the Spartan Race. "He's gone through a lot to do what he does, and he's been an ambassador for us."
On July 9, the South Jordan resident dominated again, winning the Spartan Race at Soldier Hollow.
When he's not racing, Call is a heating and air-conditioning technician with a wife and five children. The family has sacrificed a lot to keep his racing career alive. They have held fundraisers and even sold furniture to pay for race fees and expenses.
As his fame has grown, so have the number of fans, many of whom have pitched in and provided lodging in race cities.
It's been a difficult road. At times, his wife, Irene, would implore Hobie to quit and move on with life. But the will to race was too strong.
Irene Call said she isn't sure whether her husband will race again next season.
"At this point, he's finishing out the season for the fans," she said. "He loves what he's doing, and I'm always going to support him in what he wants to do."
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