6. JOE DE SENA: THE SPARTAN MAN
When Joe De Sena left Wall Street and bought Riverside Farm in Pittsfield, few people could have predicted what would happen next. Joe not only bought the farm, but he bought the Pittsfield general store, and an inn.
De Sena credits his move to Vermont for fostering his passion for ultra and endurance events. He soon began building trails behind his house (now the Green Mountain Trails) and, in 2007 hosted his first Death Race there. Middlebury native and former Olympic downhill racer Doug Lewis won that beyond-grueling event.
Since then, De Sena has founded an empire built around testing your physical and mental limits with the Spartan brand, Peak events, and Agoge. More than 7 million have competed in his events (which have numbered 260 in 40 countries, annually). The Spartan events alone have brought as many as 10,000 to Killington each year (this year’s events were cancelled due to Covid-19) and established a new level of endurance competitions. His mission? “To get 100 million people off the couch and healthy.”