Team races for Robert Parcells

Kimberly, Robert and Nimfa Parcells after the Spartan race. (Provided photo/Stephanie Stibal)

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Robert’s Spartans against Lymphoma pose after the race on Sept. 17 in Snohomish. Front row: Justin Grillo, Kimberly Parcells, Robert Parcells, Cindy Raether, Jack Feeney, Elaina Thomsen, Nimfa Parcells, Ann Lewis and Kris Daratha; middle row: Jonathan Urmenita, Josh Barnes, Lexi Diesh,l Maria Bustos, Kelsey Browning, Stephanie Stibal and Mack Van Lith; back row: Kayden Browning, Connor Faulkner, Rafael Capi, Jacob Stibal, Kalah Toomey, Valerie Loebsack, Riely Stibal and Liz Bourton. (Provided photo/Andy Stibal)

An eclectic group of 25 Waterville residents raced, climbed and otherwise gave their all in a Spartan race Sept. 17 in Snohomish to raise money and show support for Robert Parcells, a 2014 Waterville High School graduate who has been battling lymphoma since April.

The team was called Robert’s Spartans against Lymphoma.

Spartan races are long distance races that include a variety of obstacles, such as walls, mud pits and barbed wire. This particular race was four miles long and included 21 obstacles.

The team from Waterville ranged in age from 14 to 61.

Parcells, who excelled in track and basketball at Waterville High School, completed 10 Spartan races in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and California in 2016. Last September, he placed in the Top 20 among about 3,000 competitors in a Spartan race. Parcells said one of his main goals is to become a professional obstacle course racer.

“They’re really a fun challenge,” he said of the Spartan races, adding that they build a variety of athletic skills in both the upper and lower body.

He had a group of four or five people involved in competing with him in 2016, and one of these was Riely Stibal, a 2015 Waterville High School graduate.

When Parcells got sick, Stibal’s mother Stephanie got the idea of getting a group together to do the Snohomish race to support him. Initially, she had moral support in mind, but gradually the idea of having the racers obtain pledges for each obstacle they completed developed. In addition to pledging per obstacle, some supporters paid the $100 entry fee to sponsor a team member to take part in the race.

Nimfa Parcells works to complete the “Olympus” obstacle during the Spartan race. (Provided photo/Stephanie Stibal)

Parcells’ family members were among those that turned out to support him. His sister Kimberly Parcells, who is a sophomore at Eastern Washington University, took first place out of 34 in the women’s 15-19 division. His mother Nimfa had never done anything like a Spartan race before, but through some persuasion she was convinced to do it for Robert.

“It was a crazy decision, but I’m really glad I did it,” Parcells said Sept. 19.

Parcells was able to complete 15 of the obstacles. Rules of the race demand that those who can’t complete obstacles need to do burpees — a challenging pushup and aerobic combination exercise. Parcells said that she completed the required burpees for all six obstacles that she could not negotiate.

Parcells said she was very grateful to Stibal for organizing the event; to Kimberly Gormley, who designed the team T-shirts; to Angie Dieshl, who helped gather participants and sponsors; to all those who sponsored team members and gave pledges; and to all the Waterville community for their support and prayers.

Robert Parcells recently had a PET scan after completing chemotherapy. The scan came out cancer-free, so he was able to make a decision with his doctors to not go through radiation treatments. Parcells said he almost could have competed in the race, but since this wasn’t quite possible, he was on the front lines cheering the team on and giving tips.

Asked how he felt about the team from Waterville competing, Parcells said he was excited and overwhelmed with happiness.

About 15 fans turned out to cheer the team on. Stibal said Sept. 21 that at least $5,000 was raised to help Parcells with his medical expenses and other costs involved in treatment.

The Waterville team had a lot of fun competing together. They also made their mark on the competition. Rafael Capi placed fourth out of 1,836 racers with a time of 56 minutes, 41 seconds. Jacob Stibal placed fifth with a time of 56 minutes, 49 seconds. Both Capi and Stibal placed first in their respective age groups. Team members took the first four places in the female 15-19 division. These included Kimberly Parcells, first; Kelsey Browning, second; Lexi Dieshl, third; and Liz Bourton, fourth.