Reebok Spartan Race is scheduled to invade the Entertainment Capital of the World in just ten short days. And what’s more entertaining than a former WEC lightweight champion currently fighting in the UFC taking on the Reebok Spartan Race course? Jamie Varner will be there April 6 to take on the first ever Reebok Spartan Race in Las Vegas.  The 28-year-old is recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of action since his UFC 155 victory over Melvin Guillard and will be facing his first, but not last Spartan Race course.

And he’s taking this race very seriously. “I’m a competitive person. I fight people for a living!” He goes on to say, “I was medically cleared  two weeks ago and this gives me motivation to train.  It’s a different kind of motivation and that’s exciting.”

The MMA fighter is no stranger to intense competition and has few worries about race day. “I don’t have to worry about someone punching me in the face,  but it is a bit more mileage than I’m used to running.  That might be the only thing in the back of my mind.”

To prepare for the Super Spartan Varner has added more mileage to his regular training regime. “I added more aerobic conditioning with long runs. I’m most looking forward to the finish line!”

Varner is proud of his Greek heritage and the Spartan Race is right up his alley, “My great-grandmother moved to the US from Sparta. This race is so fitting! To be in Vegas and do the event makes me proud to represent my family and my origin.” He even has a Spartan inspired tattoo on his arm.

After the Spartan Race April 6th Varner is looking for his first MMA match-up for 2013 but doesn’t count out more Spartan events. “I want the fastest road to the title spot. Looking forward to getting my chance.”

First stop on that road? A Spartan finish line in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll be sure to warn our Gladiators that he’s coming…

Meet and watch him in action on April 6th! Register today!

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“I am basically the healthiest fat guy you have ever seen in your life”
-Governor Christie-

This past February while serving as a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Governor Chris Christie stated, “I am basically the healthiest fat guy you have ever seen in your life.” In response to that, former White House Physician Dr. Connie Mariano stated, “I’m worried about this guy during in office.” Recognizing the brevity to which the governor devoted to the topic, the issue still begs for a solution.  Health begins on the inside and while Christie is obviously not a  picture of health, there is more to the story.

This past March, New York State courts halted Mayor Bloomberg’s policy of banning over-sized sugary drinks. Mayor Bloomberg stated, “If we are serious about fighting obesity, then we have to be honest about it and courageous about tackling it.”

Somewhere between these two politicians rests a very necessary campaign to improve the health of our country. On average, Americans are eating out a minimum of four to five times a week. The problem is that virtually no one knows what goes into your food. We don’t know if the restaurant used some dairy product as a binding agent, or if a gluten product was used as filler. We don’t know if the chicken’s feed was grown on a farm that violated EPA compliance for animal feeding operations. Short of having your own chicken coup, it is difficult to ensure a “healthy” chicken. However, we can take certain steps to improve what we put in our bodies.  It’s our responsibility.

Athletes who train for performance recognize the value of quality nutrition and how that improves the body’s output.  If a person wants to simply lose weight, caloric restriction can be an effective means but weight loss and a number on a scale are not necessarily reflective of a person’s overall health.  It is for these reasons that what you put into your mouth in terms of quality and quantity are critical to a person’s long-term health and well-being.

In short, you are what you eat.

Want to learn more?  Sign up to receive FREE recipes from Spartan HQ.  Click HERE.

 

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On March 23rd and 24th Reebok Spartan Race headed to North Carolina for a Sprint and it was a chilly weekend with rainy and cold temps Saturday and Sunday but that didn’t keep it from being one of the most competitive men’s event we’ve had in 2013!

For the men’s elite athletes it was a tight race. Check out these times – less than 2 minute between top 5 finishers!
Brakken Kraker (38:28.9)
David Magida (39:51.9)
Alec Blenis (40:15.5)
Elliott Megquier (43:07.0)
Stevven Anderson (44:24.6)

The women’s finish saw first and second-place separated by mere seconds!  It was an exciting race from start to finish!

Josh Fortenberry

Ella Kociuba (50:59.3)
Hannah Orders (51:11.7)
Elizabeth Law (54:27.8)
Laura Wyker (55:13.6)
Wendy McIntosh Norvell (56:50.6)

For the rest of the results, click HERE.

The cold weather was definitely a big story this weekend, but it not short of some inspirational moments. Joshua Swink ran the Spartan to raise money for Wounded Wear a total of four times! Josh Fortenberry, finished the North Carolina event in 3 hours and while using crutches because his legs don’t work like they used to. He’s had MS for 5 years.

We had some impressive women like Kristina Beville – Navy SEAL wife who finished her first Spartan Race seven and a half months pregnant along with other members of SEAL team FRG (family readiness group). They will be back for Leesburg!

We’d like to thank our incredible medical team who kept our racers safe and warm despite the unseasonably cold temps. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Want to see more photos?  Check out our FB page for albums from the weekend.

Did you finish the Sprint and feel ready for a Reebok Super Spartan?  We’ll be in Leesburg in August.  Sign up today!

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by Delaine Anderson, Spartan Chick

The Beginning

Call me Jane Doe. I was your average, … well, maybe never average, but I was definitely not what you’d refer to as an athletic “40-something” year old female. The year was 2010, and I decided I wanted to try running. It always seemed like something I might like to do, but I tended to be more of a “gym rat”, drawn to working out with weights. “Mix it up,” I thought; so I signed up for my first 5k.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was filling out my wish list for my personal Santa; and I came across a Mud Run ad and knew that sounded like something I needed to do. Running 5k’s and road running just didn’t hold a “thrill” for me. Santa came through in flying colors that year (thank you, Mark Giffune)! I couldn’t have been more excited nor more nervous and nauseous at the same time.  With that race, I got hooked into the world of Obstacle Course Racing! I had never experienced such an endorphin high as when I was taking on the obstacles, running the switchback trails, and encountering “teamwork” in the truest sense of my life.

Spartan Race

Still on the high from my introduction to my new obsession, I registered, along with my first team, for the 2011 GA Spartan Race. This race was different for me; I still had that “high” but I felt like Spartan Racing was “home”. The obstacles felt like more of a true challenge of my physical abilities, my determination, and my endurance. How could I not want to invite everyone I knew to run these races with me? I’ve worked in sales in the past and knew that if my heart wasn’t in it, it would be a hard sell. I am PASSIONATE about this!

When I heard about the opportunity to be a part of the Spartan Street Team and read about the cool swag and opportunities for promoting Spartan Race, I knew I had to be a part (who doesn’t like swag and free races, right?)!

Trifecta

As I continued on in my personal quest for the Trifecta Tribe in 2012, my travels took me to Virginia for the MidAtlantic Super where I had the opportunity to meet Spartan Race enthusiasts from around the country. I was also privileged to meet the Elite Runners in person who I had read about and admired (Hobie Call, Andi Hardy, Margaret Schlachter, and Alec Blenis) and to see the spectacular entrance of Team X-T.R.E.M.E. and progress through the final 3 obstacles. What I really started to learn at that race was the true sense of community in Spartan Racing.

Two months later, I journeyed on to complete the final leg of my Trifecta in South Carolina at the Beast. The thrill I felt at finishing that race and receiving that Trifecta Medal can be compared to few moments in my life. I had done it! And I made a lot of new friends in the process at the campsite, online through the Street Team FaceBook page, and at the venue.

My ride to the Carolina Beast was with Matt B. Davis. He told me something on that trip that has stuck with me. He told me how people in the Spartan Race community “pay it forward”; they help one another out, whether it’s through great discount codes, free races, carpooling, sharing hotel rooms, encouraging one another, and just being a team. I’ve come to truly understand that in the time since then…

Next week we’ll feature the rest of Delaine’s story.  Are you ready to find a Spartan finish line?  Register today. 

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by Paul Morin, Army Veteran and Spartan Athlete

While most people were prepping their livers for St Patrick’s Day or trying to finish a vacation, I took my son, and a few fellow Spartans and Team X-TREME members, to the Walter Reed National Medical Center. Our aim was to help get more of our wounded warriors out of the barracks and seeing what is possible.

I spent the next three hours chasing my son, talking to wounded warriors (or adaptive athletes) about what Spartan Race is and what Team X-TREME does, all while admiring the courage and resiliency of the men I met. How can you complain about anything when a soldier who has lost an eye, with severe damage to his face, says “I am doing great today, how are you?”

It was an amazing experience for me as an Army Veteran but as a father it meant even more to see my son there. To watch him lose that initial shyness and just start being a hyper five year old boy. To see the smiles he brought these men as he bounced around, ran into them, asked questions and threw them the t-shirts provided by Team X-TREME.

I was asked why I took my son to a hospital to interact with men who are severely wounded. My first response was that I wanted to teach my son that we are all equal. That potential resides inside each of us and what we do with that defines us. That we are all presented many obstacles in life and how we overcome them defines us. I wanted my son to know these men, and know them as men and not just as those who lost limbs to support our foundations of acceptance and citizenship. And that the look of the soldier who had my son jump in his lap was as priceless as the laughter he caused.

We were there to show them that through Spartan Race and Team X-TREME we can, as a unit and as a family, help them overcome their physical obstacles and start doing activities they would not have imagined. They helped me raise a better child. I think it is a fair trade.

What’s your excuse?  Sign up today.

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by Alec Blenis, Elite Spartan Athlete

My life is Spartan. Every day, I am dedicated to pushing myself both mentally and physically, seeing what I can achieve.

I cycle and run. I do yoga. I also train unconventionally; I flip tires, climb ropes, jump trenches, and throw spears. I eat healthy – no processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or gluten. I am a vegan.

I am a college student, working hard to maintain a high GPA to keep my scholarship. I am pursuing an engineering degree at Georgia Tech, a highly competitive university. I am a musician. I play both the piano and drums. Pursuing the highest level of personal growth and learning is the essence of who I am. I live every day to the fullest. I love life.

I believe the only limits are the limits we put on ourselves. I know that the discipline of ‘doing the work’ enables me to achieve all the goals I have set for myself. For Spartan Races, this means that working on my strengths and weaknesses permits me to go into a race fully prepared. Being ready for race day allows to run free, fully present in the experience. Some people may call this being in the zone. For me, it is sheer fun. It is the fun that keeps me going. I love it.

Reebok Spartan Race brings together so many things that matter to me: hard work, discipline, challenge, physical endurance, mental toughness, and most importantly, fun. To excel in this arena, many aspects of commitment are necessary. I enjoy the process. I cannot conceive of my life being any less active or challenging than I have made mine to be.

But back to fun…

The running; the obstacles! The traverse wall, the rope climb, and the monkey bars (all the gymnastic obstacles) are my favorite. But it is the sandbag carry, tractor pull, and the other obstacles requiring
brute force that make me sweat. I will not accept my current performance on these tough obstacles and am working tirelessly to improve.

Part of the fun also comes from the amazing people that I now call friends. The Spartan community continues to grow. These people understand me. They understand the rigors of living a Spartan life. It is notable that the people that identify with Spartan uphold high standards in other areas of their lives. You won’t find a better group of people anywhere. It is true that: “you will know at the finish line.”

My adventure continues. See you at the races.

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by Andi Hardy, Elite Spartan Athlete

One short year ago I attempted and accomplished my very first Spartan Race. What an adventure this past year has been since that life changing race. It has been an incredible journey that has not only changed my life, but saved my life.

I began the adventure for one simple reason, to find out what I was capable of accomplishing. I wanted to put my body and mind to the test. I wanted to know at the finish line if I had what it took to be a Spartan. I was also overweight and out of shape, I was miserable in my own skin and in my life. Circumstances had led me down a road I didn’t want to be on. I needed a change or I was going to snap. I knew at the finish line in GA on March 10, 2012 that I had found my life saver. I finished second overall woman in the competitive heat. I was handed a sword, and the ticket to a new life.

Georgia was just the beginning of my journey. As I crossed finish line after finish line, my confidence grew, my weight dropped, endurance was gained, and I began to feel alive once again. Nine months, 14 venues, back-to-back races on weekends, and countless adventures later, I had become the person I had always wished I could be. I changed from a quiet, withdrawn individual to someone who could talk to strangers giving them motivation, encouragement, and advice. I came out of my shell and gained confidence that I’ve never known before. I no longer made excuses; I learned to give everything at every workout. I learned to tolerate pain. I learned how to be a winner and how to graciously accept not being on the top of the podium. I felt incredible happiness for the first time in years. I have had the privilege to race all over the country on untamed terrain with amazing views. I was running on knees that specialists had told me wouldn’t make it one month. I developed friendships with fellow Spartan athletes that are second to none, amazingly compassionate people who simply understand and accept me. My two best friends ever are people I met through RSR.

I was not ever very talented athletically. Yes, I was a high school ball player, and played a little at the collegiate level, but was neither a superstar nor even a standout. I always loved sports of all kinds, I enjoyed the competitiveness and physical and mental aspects of sports, but wasn’t great at or committed to anything, until I found obstacle course racing. I now had the drive to push incredibly hard and to give my training, racing, and clean eating habits all I could.

I accomplished that goal from a year ago; after years of searching I now know what I am made of and what my passions are in life. I embrace each and every day. Thank you Reebok Spartan Race for changing and saving my life.

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We sat down with Mitch H., Navy Federal Credit Union User Experience and Design Manager and his daughter Lucy, 1st grade student to get the inside scoop on how they stumbled upon the obstacle course style race and their training tips.

Navy Federal: What got you interested in running the Spartan Race?
Mitch: The end of 2011 started my fascination with obstacle course racing, and the Spartan race series easily bubbled to the top of my list. I admire the comraderie and motivation you find in the Spartan community and from the people you run along side. They also have kids races, which lead me to the idea of having my daughter, Lucy, partake in a race too.
Lucy: I like mud!!

Navy Federal: How many Spartan Races have you both run?
Mitch: My first Spartan race, and only one I have completed thus far in my racing endeavors, was the 10.5 mile Mid-Atlantic Super in Virginia. The course was littered with what felt like over 50 horse jumps on top of the typical 20+ obstacles of a normal Super. I have already signed up to run this event again this year. My goal is to complete the trifecta, which includes running a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year
Lucy: Just one, I was 6 then.

Navy Federal: How far out from a race do you start training?
Mitch: Training for these types of races becomes more of a lifestyle. The races challenge you both physically and mentally. Keeping yourself motivated and in relatively good shape is hard to do on a moment’s notice, so adapting your training to your normal routine is the best approach.
Training doesn’t always mean hours in the gym, it can be as simple as staying active as much as possible. I did make an effort to better condition myself for the challenge of the Super Spartan due to the longer distance and more physically challenging obstacles.
Lucy: I sometimes train, but I play all the time. Playing on the playground really helps me get ready for the race.

Navy Federal: What are your training tips for those new to the obstacle course style race?
Mitch: After competing in 12 races, I have found the most important thing to have in your training routine is cardio. Endurance easily will outweigh strength in the longer races. Many obstacles are about moving your own body, so strength is important, but being able to complete the races require endurance.
My personal tip is to have a wonderful significant other, like mine, who will keep you motivated and enjoy training and racing together.
Navy Federal: awwwwww
Lucy: You have to train and be strong. Don’t give up, you’ll miss out on the fun and mud if you give up!

Navy Federal: What’s been the hardest obstacle during a race?
Mitch: For me the hardest obstacle has been the rope climb. The Spartan rope climb (at the final obstacle) was the first obstacle I was unable to complete. After 10.5 miles of running and obstacles I had very little strength left and was unable to make the rope climb. It has become my goal to accomplish in my next Super Spartan this year.
Lucy: The mud pit. But it was also my favorite.

Navy Federal: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to prepare for a race?
Mitch: I think many would consider doing these races to be weird on its own. Grown adults romping around in mud and pushing our bodies to the limits even more than we did as kids, with no fear of death. I don’t partake in any ritual aside from trying to get sleep the night before. Oddly enough that’s weird for me.
Lucy: I practice wrestling to stay strong. My dad said that’s a good answer. I don’t think it’s that weird to practice wrestling though.

So, there you have it! Hopefully Mitch and Lucy have helped give you some ideas on training for race day.

As a proud sponsor for Spartan Race this year we look forward to seeing you out on the course!  Sign up TODAY!

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by Johnny Waite

Spartan Heads Down Under

This month changed the face of obstacle racing in Australia. While they’ve had a strong OCR culture building over the past few years, the arrival of Reebok Spartan Race has changed everything. Sprints were held in both Melbourne (March 2) and Sydney (March 16th), attracting nearly 10,000 racers, and the feedback has been loud and clear. The perception of Spartan summed up by Australia’s leading female obstacle racer, Deanna Blegg, “It’s the most grueling obstacle race I’ve ever completed!”

Melbourne

The Melbourne race was held at a motocross facility, taking advantage of both the twisting, rolling track and the surrounding

Melbourne

countryside. Participants traveled from all over the country to compete and enjoy the Spartan Race experience. They were not disappointed! Several stars quickly emerged; with Deanna Blegg dominating the women’s field (with many other strong female racers competing for the remaining podium steps) and Matt Murphy besting Shawn Phelps to be crowned Men’s Champion. There was some high drama on the men’s side, as Murphy came into the home stretch with a big lead only to see it evaporate with a missed spear throw and a fail on the monkey bars. It took sixty of the world’s fastest burpees, in full view of the crowd while Phelps sprinted towards the finish, to hold onto the win.

Sydney

Then Spartan Race outdid itself with their sophomore effort just outside Sydney. Bringing many of the same challenging obstacles, and introducing some new ones, they took over Razorback Ridge with its brutal hills and plentiful water. From the moment participants entered the grounds, passing under the overhead cargo net crawl between two 20 foot high stacks of shipping containers, they knew this was the real deal. Four deep water crossings and a tortuous sand bag carry up an endless hill were the signature trials of Sydney, and at the end the same two racers came out golden, with Matt Murphy and Deanna Blegg remaining undefeated in Spartan Race Australia competition.

What’s Next

And this is just the beginning. Spartan Race next heads to Brisbane, June 22, to host the first Super (14km), before returning to Melbourne for a Super, on October 6th, followed by the inaugural Beast (21km) in November back in Sydney. As one participant noted, “Spartan’s Kids Course is harder than most other obstacle races I have done!! I can’t wait to see what your next races will be like!!”

As is Spartan-like to say, “You’ll Know at The Finish Line”.

Want to learn more about Spartan Races down under?  Click HERE.

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

Eric Matta

Reebok Spartan Racing is heading to the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC. This weekend’s Sprint race will take place both Saturday and Sunday. Over 10,000 athletes are scheduled to be there. The weather forecast is calling rain and cool temperatures but the Spartan’s will be ready.

On the men’s side look for Alec Blenis who finished second in Georgia two weeks ago. He has his that #1 position in his mind. Looking to battle him for it and a spot on the podium are other perennial top Spartan Racers David Magida and David Chandler. Also making their 2013 Spartan Race debut are Eric Matta and David Mick.

Speaking of David Mick. David has invited his running coach, Dennis Welch, to join him in the elite heat. They each just completed the Shamrock Marathon this past weekend. David ran a 3:03 and his coach, ran a 2:56. They met when David joined the Hampton Roads Runners, both started running as a way to lose some weight and get in shape. They are now lining up together on the Elite wave at the Spartan Race.

Dennis is excited about the Spartan Race “David extended the challenge of competing in a Spartan Race and I accepted. I

David Mick

really am eager to see not only how I can do, but I have been wanting to see David in action as well.” He went on to say, ”I am most excited to see how I can do in these types of races, how my running and strength combination will fare against some of the best athletes in the country. I know I can continue to improve as I go, but I am very eager to see how that first race is going to go.” Look for Dennis and David at the start line.

For the women, top Spartan Racers Ella Anne Kociuba and Hannah Orders, will be making a run for the top spot. These are two great runners with the strength, speed and determination to make it to the podium in Charlotte.

Stay tuned to find out who makes it to the top!

Ready to take on your own Spartan Race? Find an event HERE!

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