Meet The Athlete: Bubbles The Clown

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I get a lot of strange requests to freak certain people out. It always goes like this:
Random Racer “Hey, you see that guy/girl in the red (some defining characteristic)? 
They are deathly afraid of clowns.  Can you go sneak up on them and give them a hug for me?”  
My response: “Sure, what’s their name?”

The Beginning 2011:

I was a Post collegiate college Lacrosse player and Wrestler. Still living13466018_10157131428955038_263322239070231829_n in Oneonta, NY, where I went to college.  Was playing Semi-Pro Football working a retail job, dabbled in coaching high school lacrosse, but still looking for more.  Two of my college buddies, Joe and Tucker, talked me into running a Warrior Dash at a ski mountain about an hour from me.  It was perfect because it brought us back together and was pretty fun. During the Warrior Dash Festivities we learned of a much bigger, harder, and way more challenging race called a Tough Mudder.  It would be held 3 months later in November in NJ relatively close to Joe’s hometown in Staten Island. We decided over the next week to sign up and actually train for it because 13 miles was way more than any of us had ever run in our lives even throughout our athletic careers.

The night before Tough Mudder Tucker and I arrived at Joe’s house in Staten Island and headed right out to a Party City because we couldn’t be a team if we didn’t dress alike.  We picked out everything Christmas and became the Santa Mudders.  We dressed in Christmas accessories and were pretty fit Santas. Upon arriving and checking in we were encouraged to enter the costume contest, where we each won a Season Pass for the following year!  We ran together and aside from me losing my hat at Arctic Enema we completed the whole race with all of our holiday flare.  We were on cloud 9.  Joe and I immediately got the Tough Mudder Logo Tattooed on our legs, when they did that on site, and we were hooked.

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The following spring Tucker, Joe and I teamed up for another round of costumed Tough Mudders.  This time Tucker went rogue and chose his own costume while Joe and I matched.  So at the 2012 Poconos Tough Mudder, Joe and I dressed as clowns, won another costume contest and 2 more season passes for the 2012 season.  We got all the fun clown accessories like big wigs, face paint, bike horn, huge bow ties, rainbow tights for our arms and legs, clown noses, etc. Each race we did together we went to Party City and stared at all the costume options trying to top the last.  We always wished that one of the masks would actually have big enough holes to breathe and see out of so we didn’t need to keep buying so many items each time, but we never found one and just continued to be creative.  We reused some costumes when we ran out of time or just didn’t get to a Party City for new ones.

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As Joe and I got more competitive we discovered Spartan Race.  This one had timers and penalties and the obstacles just seemed that much harder.  We ate it up.  As time went on we did more Spartans and less Tough Mudders.  Having a time and a ranking at each race drove us to train harder.  We would run the open waves for time, but always in some sort of matching outfits.  We even joined up with a few other college friends and took on the Killington Beast.  That was the longest race, based on time, either of us had done.

As time went on Joe re entered school, a trade school, he had no expendable income to race anymore. So our races together became further and further apart.  Tucker followed his dream of being the best fisherman and hunter in Western NY and although he joined the Crossfit world and is still super fit, he no longer races.

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When Joe and I would meet on rare occasion to race again we continued our tradition of doing so in some sort of costume, but now that he’s in the FDNY he hasn’t been able to race since joining the academy so it’s been a while.

As I raced without Joe I tried to keep some of our tradition alive by dressing up.  I was doing so many races and not having a Party City within an hour of my house along with me starting to race competitively in the Elite waves I bought a Superman Under Armour top and wore that.  I also donned some American Flag Ranger Panties to go with my top.  That became my standard race outfit for a while until… the Halloween season of 2014 I was costume shopping for the holiday when dressing up is normal.  I came across the face known now as Bubbles the Clowne on a rack at Spirit Halloween on my lunch break.  It was love at first site.

The eyes were plenty big enough to see, the mask fit tight enough that it didn’t move around when I moved, and most importantly mouth was fully exposed which meant I could breathe! I hole punched some slightly bigger holes in the nostrils for some air or what turned out to be for sweat drainage and I was all set.  Bubbles made the trip out to Ohio for the Spartan Trifecta, the day where you could run the Beast, then, Super, then Sprint all in one day and get your Trifecta.  I wasn’t sure if I would wear it during the race at all, but the temperature and weather was much worse than expected so I figured I’d give it a go.  It was so cold and the addition of hail and other precipitation ended up making Bubbles the best idea ever that day.

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Since then Bubbles has come to almost every race I’ve run.  I usually don’t wear it during Elite heats as I’m an aspiring Elite who is training to win and place in the top 50 in the Spartan Points Series.  I do love running these races especially alongside the open runners as they laugh at my jokes I usually finish the Elite, go to bag check and put on Bubbles then head back to the starting corral to get back out on the course.

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Over the last two years as I’ve greatly improved my average finishing placement and been fortunate to get picked up by the Nor’Easter OCR Pro-Team.  Competing on this team with these guys and girls has really driven me to improve as every race we are at we have many top 10s and have owned the team competition.  Our team has great balance as each week it seems like someone new is representing us on the Podium.  Getting onto the Spartan Podium has been my #1 goal over the last two years and although it still eludes me I have qualified for Spartan World Championships each year and driven my average placement down from outside the top 100 per race to the top 25 consistently.  Taking part in the 2015 Spartan Combine built me some connections with some top contenders and several other athletes that are aspiring to be there.  That even really opened my eyes to my potential in the sport.  I know I will get there soon.

I’ve always been a contact sports guy.  This endurance racing stuff is still so new.  I’m constantly looking for ways to be more competitive with the guys with the “runner” body types, when I’m weighing in as a lean 225 lber. Since adding Crossfit to my training I’ve gotten a lot stronger and really been able to complete all obstacles without any issues because of my strength and skill set.  I’m currently transitioning into a training plan of following Yancy Camp 100% with some supplemental Crossfit as opposed to Crossfit with Yancy Camp sprinkled in.  My body fat percentage is quite low, but I’m still not winning so making this change should make a big difference as I can eliminate some unnecessary muscle bulk and get more efficient as a runner.

 

Overall, Bubbles is a fan favorite as many people stop me and want pictures to which I love doing so I can relive the moments later on.  Kids are split 50-50 on love or hate.  Some run up to me and wave so I let them honk my horn.  Others are scared and hide behind their mom or dad. 12219585_10156272691435038_7302657915456690408_n

I get a lot of strange requests to freak certain people out. It always goes like this:

Random Racer “Hey, you see that guy/girl in the red (some defining characteristic)? 

They are deathly afraid of clowns.  Can you go sneak up on them and give them a hug for me?”  

My response: “Sure, what’s their name?”

Bubbles has made appearances at many major OCR events:

Bubbles has run multiple laps at World’s Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas including an interview in 2014 during the sandstorm.

Bubbles was caught napping in the festival are at OCRWC after the individual race on Saturday

Bubbles was told not to appear during Spartan WC in Lake Tahoe as the Olympic Committee was going to be there so as not to make a mockery of the level of competition, but was invited to come out on Sunday.  So Bubbles ran the Tahoe Ultra Beast in under 11 hours after I ran the Coin Holder Heat Saturday without him.

The Future of Bubbles:

I’m actually currently on mask number 2 as the latex deteriorated last year and certain parts broke off.  A friend secured a new mask, identical as number 1, in the Halloween season of 2015.  As long as these things hold up I’d like to keep the character going.  I would absolutely love to get onto Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge as the pro team coach.  That would be epic.  Favorite Spartan Pro -Hunter McIntyre (even if he thinks my name is Chuckles)

The Future of Kevin Gregory:

I’m going to keep training and competing.  I have an excellent team around me to learn from and keep improving.  I love the sport and of all the Spartan Pro Team athletes and other top tier elites have been so humble and I’m very happy to be such a big part of it.  I left my retail career over a year ago to pursue my true passion of fitness and healthy lifestyle.  I’ve been able to race nearly every weekend while making an income as an Advocare Distributor, Fitness Trainer and Collegiate and Scholastic Referee. I have to say that I love the life I have and wouldn’t change anything.

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Kevin Gregory, CSCS SGX