October 4, 2013

Team Burgh offers network, motivation for exercise

By AMY HEGGEN Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — A Team Burgh training session isn’t an average workout at the gym.

Push-ups, pull-ups, a run up Lyon Mountain while carrying sandbags or multiple climbs up Poke-O-Moonshine are just a few of the exercises the team tackles each week.

Team Burgh, founded by Sue Phillips-Leclerc and her husband, John Leclerc, meets for local weekly training sessions and competes in races such as the Tough Mudder and the Spartan Beast. 

The close-knit team offers motivation and a network among participants.

Team member Melanie Faville says that while the team sets goals to work toward, everyone can go at his or her own pace. 

“Every workout is different; we have a recommendation,” she said. “Everyone has different abilities, and we encourage everybody to take part. There’s no pressure to perform.”

Some members come to work out with the team because it’s fun and free, she said. No gym membership is necessary. 

“We’ve had people who have just joined us that said they’ve never felt so motivated to do something like this,” she said. “It’s unbelievable.”


Exercising together creates a motivational atmosphere that’s inspiring, Faville said.

“There’s something about seeing other people perform that helps you want to perform better,” she said. “It’s just something about training as a group.”

One Team Burgh participant has cystic fibrosis, while another who walks with a cane is a paraplegic. Other members have asthma.

They are always supportive of each other, offering help or support, Faville said.

The training sessions are often family friendly, and members bring their children, who can help out, chat or even join in the fun.

Team Burgh began by word of mouth, when locals who attended similar races decided to get together for workouts. Later, they started a Facebook page, and it grew from there.

The page shares pictures and advice, or even the week’s workout plan for those who can’t make it to the training.

“We like to call ourselves a grassroots team. We built this team; we know all the people,” Faville said.


Team Burgh has quadrupled membership in the last year, which means the group has enough to sign up as a team at races, which allows the members a discount. Twenty-eight signed up to compete in the Spartan Beast contest held recently in Killington, Vt. 

Running as a team can also have benefits on the course.

“You can partner up with people on your team who run the same pace as you. Everyone on our team has a different pace,” Faville said.

Having a partner is helpful, especially for a hand up an 8- or 10-foot wall.

“Sometimes, no matter how hard you train, you need a boost,” Faville said.


The group is looking for sponsors, as entry fees can be upward of $200 per person. Gear for running obstacle-course races can also rack up bills.

“There’s a lot of fitted gear involved in doing a lot of these races,” Faville said.

Runners need trail-specific shoes that can survive mud and a variety of intense obstacles.

The Spartan Beast, for example, has only one water station throughout the race, and it takes the average person about seven hours to complete the race. So a hydration pack is necessary and possibly a headlamp. 

“Everybody has their own goals,” Faville said. “Some people have a time goal, and some people just want to finish.”

For more information, call Phillips-Leclerc at 593-3525 or search for Spartan Team Burgh on Facebook.