by Rachel Stuppy and Carrie Adams

295713_251314814902327_100000714315848_838174_6096306_nAs you have heard, Hurricane Irene, the storm that threatened to cause major damage to the east coast, from the Carolinas to the Cape, took an unprecedented turn for the worst  – flooding the roads, damaging, and destroying the homes of thousands of east coasters. Who would’ve thought that the tail end of the storm would have created more damage to Vermont, than when it was a Class 3 hurricane hitting the beaches of North Carolina? The images are shocking and even more so, when they are taken from a place you call home.

The towns and communities who were hit hard by Irene need your help and we are graciously asking you for it!

Vermont is home to the Green Mountains, some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, and the world leader of obstacle races. Not only is Pittsfield, VT the home of the Spartan Death Race, it is also where Spartan Race’s HQ are located.   Our friends and family live, work and train here. And it feels as if it was yesterday that many of them were here for the Spartan Beast race that was held in Killington.  Killington’s terrain and our race directors provided our athletes with one of the most remarkable courses we have had to date!  It was a unique race and our athletes are already trying to sign up for next years! Unfortunately, the town is a mess and the lodge where the Killington Beast was, no longer stands.


Photo: Facebook/Luke Small

As you can see, the lodge at K1, where a thousand Spartans earned their green medal, collapsed due to the effects of Hurricane Irene.  The Pickel Barrel, where hundreds of athletes gathered with their turkey legs and celebrated their completion of the BEAST, has suffered flooding. The bridges up and down Route 100 have collapsed, making it impossible to travel through the heart of the Green Mountains, by car or by foot. In fact, Pittsfield has become an island because of the destroyed bridges, entering and exiting the town line.  The destruction of the bridges in Pittsfield has made the town unreachable, for there is absolutely no way to get in or out, except by helicopter!  In fact, one of these collapsed bridges was located just outside of our office.

According to an article in the New York Times:


Killington, VT

Because of the limited ground transportation options in the state, the Air National Guard deployed helicopters Tuesday to transport supplies to hundreds of residents who had been stranded in the 13 towns since Sunday.

Mark Bosma, a spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management, said the National Guard was ferrying in food, water, medicine, blankets, diapers, baby formula and tarps. Most of the towns have no electricity, and none has potable water because floodwaters have overwhelmed sewage and water treatment plants in the area.

“I think it’s probably a very scary thing to not know when you can get out of town and to have a water system that’s not working and a general store that has run out of bottled water,” Mr. Bosma said. “People are extremely nervous about being isolated.”

Mr. Bosma said each town would be responsible for determining how to distribute the supplies they are receiving.

“We are getting the assets out as fast as we can,” he said.

The 13 towns that had been isolated are: Cavendish; Granville; Hancock; Killington; Mendon; Marlboro; Pittsfield; Plymouth; Rochester; Stockbridge; Strafford; Stratton; and Wardsboro.


Photo from Joe DeSena, Spartan Race Owner

These towns and communities are devastated by Hurricane Irene and they need your attention!  We are getting reports that the people trapped inside Pittsfield are coming together to try to rebuild the town from the ground up.  They have been meeting every day at 7am for a town meeting, taking head counts, and are trying to make sure everyone is safe and accountable for.  They have come together and are trying to rebuild the roads and bridges by hand!  It is a beautiful thing to hear how the people have come together, to ensure the survival of others and to rebuild a town that once was.  However, they are still desperate need of your help!

Stories are emerging of harrowing acts of selflessness to get people what they need.  This video shows The Williams River flooded Route 103 in Rockingham, Vermont.  The closed road left the towns separated and without aid.  This horseback rider rode through the flood water to deliver a bag of medicine, and then went back across.


Photo from Joe DeSena, Spartan Race Owner

We have received an overwhelming response from our racers to help restore the town,where it all started!  People from all over the world have been expressing that they are willing to offer their time, energy and hands to rebuild our town. We are extremely grateful and we would love to organize a time where all of the Spartans to race to rebuild Vermont!

We will keep you posted about the situation of the home of Spartan Race! Thank you for thinking about us! Stay safe!

Here are several other ways you can help.

Information on donations from


  • Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.
  • You can donate to the United Way’s Vermont Disaster Relief Fundonline, or buy sending a donation to your local United Way. Just make sure your donation is marked for the “Vermont Disaster Relief Fund”.
  • You can also donate to the American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley. The Red Cross set up shelters immediately after Irene hit for flooded-out families to stay in.
  • The VT Irene Flood Relief Fundis raising money to help people and communities affected by flooding. 100% of all donations will be distributed to businesses and families. The fund is being administered by Todd K. Bailey.
  • Vermont Baseball Tourshas set up the 8/28 Fund to raise money. Donations of $20 or more get you a cool t-shirt.
  • The MRV Community Fundhas been reestablished to help Mad River Valley farmers who saw devastating crop losses due to the flooding.
  • Independent Vermont Clothingis selling a special “I’m With VT” t-shirt. All profits from sales of the shirt will go to relief efforts.
  • Across the lake, upstate New York got hit hard by Irene, too. Donations are being coordinated on the Irene Flood Drive Facebook page.


  • VTResponse.comis working to connect volunteers ready to help with those that need assistance. If you want to help clean up and rebuild, let the folks behind this site know.
  • Montpelier Aliveis coordinating volunteer efforts in that city through their Facebook page.
  • Volunteer and cleanup efforts are also being coordinated on Twitter via the #VTresponse hashtag.
  • The Vermont Flooding 2011 page on Facebookis functioning as a community bulletin board of sorts.
  • Vermont Helping Handsis also coordinating relief efforts via Facebook.
  • The Red Cross is in desperate need of blood donations. Stop by their donation center at 32 North Prospect Street in Burlington, or the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital Blood Donation Center at 125 Mascoma Street in Lebanon, NH.


  • If you need assistance or information from the state, dial 211 or visit
  • The Help VermontFacebook group is another place to share recovery information.
  • will provide free access for people who are displaced from their homes. Call their customer service line at 1-877-367-7368 for more information.
If you’d like to help on the ground in Pittsfield, please email  Access to town is nearly impossible and supplies are in short supply so volunteers will be welcome in a couple weeks.  Right now donations are preferred.

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by Khaled Allen

thebeast-59Whenever I have to drive through Pennsylvania, I always bring along a hunting knife and extra rations. You can drive for hours without even seeing a town, just impenetrable trees and looming ridges. It is a surprisingly wild state, home to thousands of square miles of forest, some of the most remote and rugged mountains in the Northeast, and highways that make Connecticut’s hiking trails look tame.

So of course we had to host a Spartan Race there. What’s really surprising is that we haven’t done so already.thebeast-17

On Saturday, September 10th, the first Spartan Race being held in Pennsylvania will kick off in Palmerton, a mere 75 miles from downtown Philly. The venue is the Blue Mountain Ski Resort; past experience has taught our race directors that ski resorts make great course locations, thanks to the extreme and rapid elevation changes, rough terrain, and plenty of mud. A lot of Spartan racers have come out of Pennsylvania to attend races in other states, according to Mike Morris, one of the race directors, and Blue Mountain provides a great opportunity to host a race in a state that so many Spartans call home. At 4.5 miles, this is a Spartan Sprint, making it a perfect opportunity to introduce new Philly-area racers to the Spartan brotherhood.

thebeast-53So what goes into the decision to pick a location? It’s pretty simple. Look for a big space near a big city. Of course, it also needs to have brutal terrain, some unreasonable elevation changes, lots of mud, plenty of potential for obstacles, and somewhere for racers to park. So, maybe not quite so simple. You can rest assured that our race team has picked a spot that will push you to your limits and pack those 3+ miles with plenty of challenges to test your Spartan determination.

I spoke with Theresa Hickey, the Northeast Regional Sales Manager for Spartan Race, to get an idea of what racers might be able to expect in this race. Theresa handles everything from race setup, to getting people to the race, to sending out congratulations afterwards.thebeast-84

So what can you Spartans expect? When I spoke to Theresa, over 2500 people had already signed up for the race, a month before it was set to start. There are also some Spartan veterans in the ranks for the Blue Mountain race.

According to Theresa, “We have a following. We are seeing some of the same faces at each race, it’s great. They come out to do a Sprint, after the Sprint they are curious about what the Super is about.  Then they are all geared up for the Beast.” The competition is fierce. But you already knew that.

Race Director Mike Morris was thrilled when he first scouted the location last winter.  Blue Mountain will be unique for a variety of factors “Blue Mountain has multiple water sources, high pressure water, elevation gain, epic obstacles, single track, gnarly descending, bushwhacking, and… well, the list goes on.”

thebeast-9He goes on to say, “I never knew PA could deliver such good terrain. I’m excited to get back out and scout a final course once the snow melts. In the meantime, the ideas are already flying around in my head for what promises to be an awesome event challenging our most competitive athletes while also creating an unforgettable experience for those of you who have never run a race before.”

As is always the case, get signed up early if you want to race with our competitive grouping.  Says Morris, “If you want to compete with the best then be sure to sign up for the 9am heat.”thebeast-32

So our first race in the untamed wilds of Pennsylvania is shaping up to be a pretty awesome event. If you have been considering getting in on the Spartan craziness, this is the perfect opportunity, since the distance is relatively short and the location is accessible to anyone from the areas around New York, Philadelphia, Washington, or Baltimore. For those of you who have been through a few races, this is your chance to sample what Pennsylvania has to offer, which seems like quite a lot.  There’s still time to sign up and take on the Spartan Sprint in Pennsylvania!


Race Details:

1660 Blue Mountain DR

Palmerton, PA 18071


ottawa-38All parking is on site or at very nearby satellite lots; you will be directed by mountain staff as you arrive. There will be a $5.00 per car (cash) parking fee collected by the venue when you park. Please don’t park on the roads or you will be ticketed. This applies to anyone (spectators, racers, King Leonidas, etc). Be prepared to have to park in one of the satellite lots and take one of the many busses we will have running throughout the day to and from the main event area.

See you in the Poconos! 

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by Carrie Adams

Picture5Spartan merchandise is now available for sale!  Go to our main page and click on the Shop link in the top right hand corner to get to the merchandise site!  We’ve now offer a full line of apparel and other products so our Spartan athletes can wear the gear with pride! 

Once you click on the Shop Link you are taken to the storefront of Spartan apparel.  The portal is user friendly and breaks down the merchandise and allows you to order Picture6any of our existing lines of products.  From hats, to shower kits (VERY useful after a race.)  We have t-shirts, our famous Spartan Chicked gear with the uniform, kids apparel, army themed gear, performance and rugged wear! 

Limited edition T’s like our Beast t-shirt, eco-friendly water bottles, flip flop, foam Spartan swords for the kids, tall socks, shorts and even Spartan dog tags will make you not only Spartan Tough, but Spartan fashion forward. 


Go get your gear, Spartans!


by Carrie Adams

309091_10150265216671479_58365611478_8043476_6660225_nSpartan HQ in Pittsfield, VT home of the infamous Death Race and a short drive from the recent Spartan Beast is under water.  Route 100 that runs into town is submerged, making travel into and out of the small town an impossibility.  It’s being reported that Pittsfield General Store is the only place with power and food and those who were not evacuated are set to wait out the storm and though the waters are beginning to recede, the state remains extensively flooded. 

To date, 20 people in the path of the storm have lost their lives to Hurricane Irene. 

A message from Vermont Emergency Management had the following details:

298867_10150265434401479_58365611478_8046332_4202198_nWATERBURY – Areas of Vermont are still under water but rivers are now receding.

Local road closures are too many to list.  It is estimated more than 250 roads around the state are damaged, many of them are impassable.  Every state road with the exception of Interstates 89 and 91 were closed at least for a time and many are still closed.

317707_10150265245051479_58365611478_8043707_2897963_nTransportation and emergency officials are out today ensuring citizens are accounted for, assessing damage, and determining what areas are safe.

All state offices are closed on Monday due to hazardous travel conditions.

Around 50,000 power customers are without service. 

logoA Vermont Flooding FB page has been set up that gives updates and details the aftermath.  So many have been affected by the flooding.  Spartans give generously.  Donate to the Red Cross to help those on the East Coast devastated by this storm to recover and rebuild. header-donate-now

For questions on how you can help onsite email: for details. 

by Carrie Adams

photo (8)When news of the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene began to circulate, Spartan HQ worked diligently to keep race doors open for the weekend.  When the State of Massachusetts shut down the site and the venue for Sunday’s August 28th day of racing, and declared a state of emergency we were forced to cancel the heats.  Amidst the disappointed racers and staffers, no one was more upset than our own owner, Joe DeSena and the crews, course designers, and builders ready to race in Amesbury. 

Plans for possible Sunday heats evaporated when we were notified that streets would be shut down and the Sunday permit would no longer be valid.  A new plan was necessary.  Phone calls, site visits, and last minute adjustments were made and SR staffers managed to negotiate an alternative for a few Spartan athletes brave enough to take on the challenge.  By noon on Friday, an invitation went out to all Sunday racers giving them the chance to try Spartan’s course with a unique twist.  An early morning run through the course led by some of the Founders of Spartan Race.  And just like that, Running with the Founders: The Hurricane Heat was born.

Running in teams with self-determined names like “Team Orange Hat”, “Team Death”, “Team Sandbag”  and without chips at 6 AM, Saturday, August 27th more than 150 people spent nearly 2 1/2 hours with Joe DeSena and other Spartan staff racing the course, doing burpees together, hauling sand bags and getting a taste of what motivates our company of athletes to do what we do with our races. 

The athletes, dubbed the Hurricane Heaters, earned their finisher medals and in their own words, told of their experience out in the woods, in the mud, and in the company of some other amazing runners who took part in the first heat of it’s kind. 

295983_10150268187534094_719939093_7734733_2197212_s“1st Spartan ever! Thanks to “Sandman” team! I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to the Founders and letting us race with you at 6AM! See you next year!!!” –Elizabeth Leonard

“Couldn’t let Irene get in the way! PROUD member of Team Orange 319538_184409291631773_100001881097696_452202_3039320_sHat! –Stacie Dufour

“Team Orange Hat Forever!! :) – Domenic Fernandes

“Running the Amesbury Race twice in one day was awesome! Hobie is def a damn Beast. Joe once again thanks for taking the 6 am Hurricane Heat and making it worth the 2 1/2 hour drive to the race. Team Disconnected rocked it.” – Nathan Holmes

“Team Green of the Hurricane Division. You all rule!! No questions.” – Jennifer Sullivan

307192_10150273015585866_544365865_8255628_2393416_s“Can’t thank Joe enough for making the Hurricane Heat happen! It was 2.5 hours of torture but we loved every minute of it! Thanks for designing such a challenging course, pushing us to our limits, and running along with us carrying a sandbag! Thanks to Team Orange Hat for killing it! And Mr. Orange Hat himself for dragging that sandbag under the barbed wire for the team!” –Alison Brown

“Thanks, Spartan organizers, for putting together this morning’s Hurricane Heat. Wish Irene would have let us have Sunday, but this was a great and perhaps more memorable alternative. Toughest course I’ve done (so far). Go Team North Shore!” – David Elston-Pollock

“The Amesbury course was awesome this year, even better than the last.. Thanks for lettling the Hurricane division run and Team Death kick axx!” – Jonathan Rheaume

“Thank you to all the organizers for pulling together and making the hurricane heat possible. It was above and beyond the call of duty, and something we all will never forget. For all those people who complained about the situation, I hope you were there to enjoy the heat with us, and recognize how hard they worked to make it happen. Special thanks to Joe for running with us at 6am with a sandbag for the entire race!” – Kevin Andrews

185366_10150267168401861_251061411860_8237135_5236174_nWe were thrilled to give some Spartans a memorable experience in Amesbury Running with the Founders. It should come as no surprise to you that Joe D and few Hurricane Heaters took to the trails on Sunday to get in a training run…

On a more serious note, our thoughts go out to all those still at the mercy of Hurricane Irene.  Our own HQ in Vermont has been hit hard and many people are without homes, power, and have been evacuated with no sure sign of when they can return.  We hope that Irene passes soon and the recovery can soon follow.  Stay safe until we race with you again, Spartans. 

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SPARTAN_RACE_LEVELS_SPRINTWhen we made the devastating announcement yesterday that Sunday racing would be cancelled, we were just as upset as our Sunday athletes.  After 48 hours and a lot of negotiating, we have an opportunity for some disappointed Spartans to experience race day glory and earn their coveted Spartan Finisher Medals.  This opportunity is extended ONLY to registered athletes for Sunday’s waves of racing.  Here is the letter from Joe DeSena, Spartan Race owner. 

Dear Sunday Amesbury Spartans,

This is Joe DeSena, owner of Spartan Race and one of the Founders.  We’ve heard your cries to run and we’re here to make it happen.  No one was more disappointed than we were at the forced cancellation of Sunday’s event.  And as Spartans, we take on challenges and overcome obstacles.  Irene is one tough obstacle but we are resilient.  We are Spartans!

I am emailing you directly regarding a special offer to run this weekend in response to the cancelled Sunday race.  After much deliberation and due to rising safety concerns, the State of Massachusetts is shutting down access into and out of the venue on Sunday making a race on that day impossible but we have come up with an additional opportunity we are offering to the first 250 responders from Sunday’s Race heats.

Race with the Founders Heat:  We are offering a one heat shot at a special Spartan Course and you’ll get to run with the Spartan Race Founders.  This heat was given some conditions we have to meet: 

1. We have managed to negotiate a single heat of racing to take place Saturday,August 27th at 6 AM.  There will be no volunteers available at this time and no bussing.  Be prepared to arrive at 5 AM sharp to ensure you are there on time.

2. Public Safety is allowing us entry of 250 people for this heat.  Only the racers on the list will be allowed entry.  Read all the instructions below to find out how to get on the list.


4. There is one heat broken into five groups of 50 spaced 5 minutes apart.  No chips will be available and it will be non-competitive.

6. Bring everything you might need.  Onsite at that hour, we can’t guarantee that we’ll have food, water, or any other common race amenities set up.  Volunteers will be limited if there are any.

7. We recommend you have a head lamp or a flashlight.

8. No one is required to run this heat as a condition of your original registration and the cancellation.  Safety is our primary concern.  You will still be entered into next year’s Sunday Race, so if you are unable or unwilling to join us at Saturday morning.

9.  Saturday 6 AM runners WILL get a finisher medal.

If you’re interested you have to email us: with the following information.  The first 250 to respond with the necessary information are in the heat.  No non-Sunday registrants qualify for this special event.  Please do not call Spartan HQ, our staff is onsite in Amesbury and won’t be able to answer your calls.

Emergency Contact:
Emergency Phone Number:

Come ready to run!  5 AM sharp meet at the parking lot.

Please note that in hurricane conditions we are experiencing, we are at the mercy of the State of Massachusetts and Public Service policy.  If they see fit to close down the venue and disallow racing, we have no options but to comply.


Joe DeSena

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by Carrie Adams


Andy Andras

Every day heroes often materialize at Spartan Races and we are often hearing stories of valor, courage, and selflessness, oftentimes from athletes and racers from the Public Service Sector.  We recently profiled Gerald Veneziano, a New Jersey based police officer who survived a horrific assault that resulted in multiple gun shot wounds.  He’ll be on hand in Staten Island cheering on the Spartan athletes!  We also introduced you to Andy Andras, a Paramedic/Fire Fighter of the Miami Dade Fire Department who raced in Miami and is gearing up for the 2012 Death Race.

The World Police and Fire Games are a unique opportunity for Police and Fire to come together in a back drop of competition and we headed to the games this week to support the men and women who do so much to protect us at home and who risk their lives ever day to keep us safe.

photo (3)

Spartan Employees Anthony and Theresa

Biennially, the World Police and Fire Games give Police and Fire athletes an opportunity to take to challenges, compete, and push their physical limits in sports. As we approach the ten year anniversary of 9/11, the World Police and Fire Games take on special significance in NYC in 2011.

According to their website, the concept to promote sport and fraternity within the Police and Firefighting communities began in 1967, with the staging of the first ever California Police Olympics. This concept continued to grow and culminated in 1983, with the creation of the World Police & Fire Games Federation. The first World Games were held in 1985, in San Jose, California, attracting almost 5,000 competitors. Held biennially, the Games have been hosted by numerous countries throughout the world, attracting as many as 8,000 world class athletes from over 70 countries. A total of 46 core sports are standard, ranging from angling to wrist wrestling. Additionally there are 24 optional sports that help to meet the requirements of 69 total sports. Each ten day event begins with a grand opening ceremony, and continues with numerous planned social events and a memorial service spread throughout the week. The festivities culminate with the passing of the flag to the following host at the closing ceremony.


New York City Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano Mets pitcher Bobby Parnell… (Howard Simmons/News)

Since the first Games in 1985, attendance has continued to grow, world records have been broken, and lasting friendships forged. Sport and friendly competition, as expressed through the World Police & Fire Games, has the ability to overcome national boundaries and political ideals, replacing it with a camaraderie that has no borders.

2011 is a noteworthy year and the 2011 World Police & Fire Games and Memorial Inc.  has been given the honor, privilege, and the responsibility to produce these World Police & Fire Games. Consisting of New York City Police Officers and Firefighters, the organization was responsible for preparing, presenting, and winning the bid to host this unprecedented event.The Games will respectfully coincide with the ten year remembrance of September 11, 2001. The 2011 World Police & Fire Games will be empowered by two themes: Remembrance (we will always remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001) and Gratitude (an opportunity for all New Yorkers to thank the world for the support that flooded into New York City after September 11, 2001).

Their Mission:

  • Provide the best possible sporting venues combined with world class officiating.
  • Integrate the multi-faceted cultural, entertainment, and historical experiences that New York City has to offer.
  • Remember those lost, and express gratitude for the support received from around the world.

The World Police & Fire Games are currently the second largest multi-sport event in the world, surpassed only by the Summer Olympics. Their goal is to make these Games the largest, most memorable sporting event the world has ever seen.

We are lucky to be a part of such a monumental and meaningful event.

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hurricane-irene-satellite-picture-mdnWhen Spartan Race Directors and course designers were plotting out the mayhem for the Amesbury, MA Spartan Race, they knew that they wanted to show the 8,000+ athletes the craziest race day of their lives. Spartan prides itself on designing the most insane obstacles and it appears Mother Nature wanted in on the action. Irene, currently a Level 3 looking to be upgraded to a Level 4 hurricane is predicted to make landfall in the Amesbury, New England area Sunday morning and despite all our best efforts (and impressive burpee demonstration) the State of Massachusetts has placed all emergency services on hurricane alert for Sunday requiring us to cancel Sunday’s event. In short, the decision was taken out of our hands.  Saturday heats will still be raced as scheduled.

Please know that this decision was not made lightly. Amesbury Emergency needs tonyc-bos-canes-history-082311-600x405 ensure all staff is ready to respond to those who may find themselves in need. Words like, “dangerous” and “calamity” and “devastating” are being thrown around and while Spartans don’t fear such things, Public Safety and Emergency crews can’t be kept from doing their jobs and we respect that.

We exhausted every avenue and looked for every possible alternative, but cancelling Sunday is the only option. We sincerely apologize to all the Sunday athletes who have been looking forward to their chance at Spartan finisher glory; we simply cannot override the local and state Emergency authorities and their judgment.  We do hope to see you in PA or SI and most definitely next year in Amesbury!
So…now what?

  • Saturday race heats are on as scheduled. If you are scheduled for a Saturday heat, you’re not affected by this announcement.
  • Saturday‘s Amesbury heats are SOLD OUT so we can’t move Sunday athletes to Saturday’s race.
  • While our official policy is that we don’t issue refunds or credits for canceled events, we are making an exception to this policy in this case.  ALL Sunday racers are being automatically moved to our 2012 event at no cost so you’ll get your shot to take on Amesbury! You don’t need to do anything for this transfer – we’ll take care of it for you. For transfers we are using same heat times, same place, same set up on our Sunday Sprint next year.

If you need a quicker fix, we have one more bonus for you. PA and Staten Island are just around the corner and we want to see you there!

  • To show you how much we want to see your Spartan faces before 2012, register for PA or Staten Island this week and use Promo code IRENE for 20% off! AND you’ll still get to race in next year’s Amesbury Sprint! Double bonus!

Pennsylvania 9/10/2011 Register Now!

Staten Island 9/24/2011 Register Now!

Stay safe out there, Spartans! Irene is going to hit hard and while it hasn’t been confirmed, initial reports are indicating that Hurricane Irene just wanted her own Spartan Sprint finisher medal. 

- The Spartan Race Team

by Robert Decillis

logoObstacle course racing may be new in its inception but there is one thing that does not in one bit feel new, and that is the healthy dose of competition that these races bring. This  man vs. obstacle beast is not for the boys club only but the ladies are lining up for obstacle victory just as fast. On race day you will be among hoards of male racers but there are almost just as many woman competitors ready to face the mud, push themselves and leap some obstacles.

Being an active participant in these races and a male, I wondered what the woman racers thought about the Spartan races and if they found the same mental as well as physical aspects challenging. Why sit and wonder when your time would be better spent asking, so that is what I did. The greatest part of the Spartan community is how ready racers are to share their experiences as well as tips and advice. This was no more true than when I interviewed Spartan Race enthusiast and athlete, Melanie Gentry.

RD: Psychologically, what is the hardest aspect of these races for you?

MG: The hardest part psychologically to get over is any obstacle that involves

heights. As long as I don’t look down, I can get through it without having a

panic attack.

RD: Physically, what is the most difficult aspect of these races?

MG: The most difficult part physically is any obstacle that involves arm strength.

I now have added training at the playground monkey bars to help with my

next races.

RD: What strengths did you bring with you to the races?

MG: The two strengths I bring with me to the races are my positive attitude and

determination. Being able to embrace the believer and never quit.

RD: Can you share some strategies with us that you use during the races?

MG: My best strategy is to ignore the clock and those speeding past me. Focus

on putting one foot in front of the other and hoping the finish line is right

around the corner.

RD: How does your training become altered depending on the specific race

ahead of you?

MG: I increase my running distance depending on the length of my race. I like to

be able to run a mile longer than the course.

RD: What peeked your interest in these races to begin with?

MG: The obstacles are what intrigued me to compete in these races. Running

alone is just so mind numbing. Throw in a challenge such as climb

ing over an eight foot wooden wall keeps my mind engaged.

RD: What motivates you at the moments in the race that can be very


MG: My motivation during the questionable moments of the race is my

daughter. I want to be a strong role model for her. Show her that we

can do anything we set our minds to. She’s my drive to continue pushing


RD: What advice do you have for someone thinking of entering their first race?

MG: The hardest part of entering your first race will be registering. Once you

sign up for a race, it gives you a goal to train for and achieve.

It is easy to see that the reasons that Melanie races are much like the reasons that I and any racer may race, male or female. The challenge to push your mind and body, to teach a young person in your life that things can be done and overcome seem to be universal reasons to race. Altering your training to overcome your weaknesses and highlight your strengths is also a theme of adaptation that rings familiar, as do a love of surprises.

So, at the next Spartan Race, look over to the man or woman next to you, wish them luck and be assured that they are racing for many of the same reasons you are. Warriors and woman warriors alike, line up to conquer their own race.

What is Obstacle Racing? Obstacle Racing is  an emerging sport and for Spartan, it’s a series of  races held internationally to give racers the chance to push themselves and find their finish line in one of the most challenging series on the planet. It’s a race. That means different things to different people. A  race  motivates, sets goals, allows for healthy competition and like the finisher medals serves as a badge of honor for all who are willing to take up the challenge.  But most importantly, it’s about finishing what you start.

Our races include two forms of competition. When registering you have two options: Individual and Team.

SBVT_BD_0090Individual: Each individual is given a racing chip where their official race time is captured. There are established competitive heats where times are used to award prizes and for the most competitive in the field but not every wave of competitors is showing up to compete. We have a place for everyone.

Teams: You can race with a team – build it as big and as bad as you like – your team’s SR-Facebook-103first four finishers will be your official team time. You still get to race as an individual so you get your own time established as well. Fastest teams can race in any heat and their award will be determined at the end of the day once all teams have had a chance to race.

The Ultimate Spartan Challenge: The Spartan Trifecta
Take on each of our three obstacle racing distances in a year proving that you are the Ultimate Spartan!

There are three distances: Sprint, Super, and Beast.

clip_image001Red Spartan Sprint: A Spartan Sprint is a 5K (3.1+ mile) race with a dozen or more obstacles designed to test your speed, agility, and strength. This is your Spartan Gateway. It’s an opportunity to see how quickly you can get through the race, or a first step into obstacle racing. You’ll never look at a 5K fun run the same way again after our Spartan Sprint.

clip_image002Blue Spartan Olympic Distance (Super): The Spartan Olympic is an 8+ mile race with roughly 15 or more obstacles throughout designed to test your endurance and strength as you transition through even more obstacles. This is the second step in the Spartan Trifecta. It’s a chance to see how far your training has brought you and the added mileage will make you really push through and find the finish line.

clip_image003Green Spartan Beast (Ultra Distance): The Spartan Beast is a 10 – 12+ mile race with roughly 20 or more obstacles throughout designed to test your endurance, your mental strength, and your ability to persevere. The Beast is considered our Ultra distance and is the third step in the Spartan Trifecta. The World Championship for Obstacle Racing will be a Beast, held in Vermont in September in 2012. This race will show you your weaknesses, your strengths, and your commitment to finishing what you start.

SPARTAN_RACE_LEVELS_DEATHSpartan Race does have one more challenge for those of you bad enough and committed enough to face it: The Spartan Death Race. There is only one Death Race and it’s not a distance event but an ultimate test of endurance. Not an official part of the obstacle racing series, the Death Race is a pure mental, physical, and emotional challenge that seeks to break over 80% of the field to failure. It’s not for the faint of heart and the most recent event held in 2011 took 45 hours to finish with only 35/155 finishing and 6/155 finishing with all the required challenges completed. Please only consider this race if you have lived a full life.

Each Region of the United States will have a Sprint, Super, and Beast in 2012 giving Spartans a chance to race in their distance of choice, work towards a Spartan Trifecta, or even qualify for our World Championship. The Top 10 male and Top 10 Female Racers from each race will earn an invite to World Championships.

Want to join the Spartan movement that’s sweeping the globe and find your own Spartan Glory?  You’ll know at the Finish Line.


Here is our most up-to-date 2012 Calendar of Races.

Spartan Obstacle Racing 2012 Season

Questions?  Check out our FAQ page or Contact page for more information.

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