Spartan Race is committed to being the world leader in the sport of Obstacle Racing. We recently announced that every one of our US races would have prize money to attract top talent to our races. Now we are pleased to announce the signing of the top athletes in the sport. These athletes are sponsored by Spartan Race and will represent Spartan Race at our events and other events across the globe.

Looking to find out more about these talented obstacle racers? Follow the Spartan Blog and Spartan Race Facebook page to see regular posts and advice from the team on the daily WODs and your general questions. Check out their profiles on Spartan Pages http://pages.spartanrace.com/teampro.php You can also follow them on their own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… Most importantly you will be seeing them at our races. You can line up next to them in our Elite heats, you can talk to them before and after the race in our festival area and at our host hotels. They are here to motivate and inspire you to reach your goals in the sport.

Obstacle Racing keeps getting better and better and Spartan Race continues to lead the way.

Spartan Race Pro Team for 2013

Men:

Alec Blenis, age 19 from Georgia

https://www.facebook.com/alecblenis

Shawn Feiock 35 Texas

https://www.facebook.com/shawnfeiockathlete

Brakken Kraker 25 Wisconsin

https://www.facebook.com/brakken.kraker

David Magida 27 Washington, DC – https://www.facebook.com/David.Magida.ObstacleRacer

Hunter McIntyre 24 California

http://pages.spartanrace.com/profile.php?spid=163

Miguel Medina 25 California

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miguel-Medina-Elite-Spartan-Racer/221828244627485

Elliott Megquier 25 New York

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elliott-Megquier-Spartan-Racer/161604850660945

Cody Moat 35 Utah

https://www.facebook.com/cody.moat.7

Alexander Nicholas 34 New York

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alexander-Nicholas-Elite-Athlete/420624024698201

Christopher Rutz 44 Arizona

https://www.facebook.com/livethetoughlife

Women:

TyAnn Clark 32 Utah

https://www.facebook.com/RunTyRun

Andi Hardy 43 Georgia

https://www.facebook.com/AndiHardyAthlete

Rose Marie Jarry 29 Quebec

http://pages.spartanrace.com/profile.php?spid=154

Ella Kociuba 20 Texas
www.facebook.com/EllaAnneKociuba

Corinne Kohlen 32 California

https://www.facebook.com/corinnekohlenmud

April Luu 34 Colorado

https://www.facebook.com/AprilLuuOCR

Hannah Orders 23 North Carolina

https://www.facebook.com/hannah.orders

Ang Reynolds 33 California

https://www.facebook.com/SpartanAthlete

Juliana Sproles 43 California

https://www.facebook.com/juliana.sproles

Leslie St. Louis 36 Colorado

https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoObstacleRacersPage

Jenny Tobin 45 Idaho

https://www.facebook.com/jenny.tobin.395

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Frank Fumich, (Spartan Death Racer) and Matt Nelson, two ultra-athletes, will run 450 miles non-stop from the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial to the Boston Marathon finish line. The 10 state route runs through the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, DC Monuments, Baltimore Harbor, Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Newark, Manhattan/Ground Zero/ Central Park in NYC, Connecticut, and finishing with the Boston Marathon course. The 24/7, 5 day run started Tuesday, May 28th, at 6:00 am EST, and is estimated to end Saturday, June 1st, 12:00 p.m.  They are currently in New York City and Fumich has finished out his fifth marathon.

“104.8 miles DONE!” says Fumich in an update. “My combined time running is about 21 hours and I’m working on about 6 hours of sleep since Monday. I’ve been trying to figure out what day it is for the last 5 minutes and I just can’t think straight…but apparently I couldn’t think straight before, because I came up with this idea in the first place! Ha Wow!

The idea was born after Nelson and Fumich witnessed the devestation of the bombings.  “After what we saw happen in Boston, Frank and I knew we had to show the world that the running community is a resilient, loving, and giving family. The truth is, I started The Endurance Trust back in 2005 on that premise.” says Nelson.  ”As athletes, we’re passionate about the causes we run for. We’re encouraging every runner to participate on our run to Boston. Join us for a block, join us for a day. We won’t turn family away.”

Having raised over $52,000 toward their original goal of $26,200, Fumich and Nelson have announced a new goal of $78,600, to be completed by the time they finish their run. The initial $52,000 was raised through a 78.6 mile, triple-marathon fundraiser, done using the online peer-to-peer fundraising platform, FirstGiving.

In order to complete the 450 mile run, Frank and Matt will alternate marathons. While one runs, the other will rest. The two will be escorted by local and State Police along the route from DC, Maryland, and all the way into Boston and carry a GPS device to provide live, location updates. In solidarity, local Bostonians plan to welcome the two by running the last 5K along their side.  Once in Boston, the pair will personally present checks to victims of the bombing attacks.  Follow the Twitter Chatter #DC2BOS

To learn more about their epic journey and to donate to the cause, please visit their page HERE.  We’ll update you as to their progress.

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by Josh Strakos

“Thing 1 and Thing 2” lined up before the Texas Spartan Beast in Glen Rose, December 8, 2012

Meet the Joneses. Andrew, Stephanie, Eston, Caymin, and Madison. They live outside of Houston, Texas. They are not your average American family…

Americans in general do not get enough exercise. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and being overweight is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Family time together is eroding as we work longer hours, endure more job related stress, strive for material success, and sacrifice our time, our health, and ultimately our well-being chasing after an upper-middle class dream. We live to work, and it shows. Think you can solve all these issues with one remedy? Well, maybe there’s no such thing as a silver bullet, but there is a “cure” for this American-made malady.

If you mention Thing 1 and Thing 2 to any Spartan racer who’s been around, he or she will know you’re not about to read them a children’s book, you’re talking about father and son Andrew and Eston Jones.

L to R: Stephanie, Andrew, Eston, Madison, and Caymin before the TX Sprint in Burnet, May 19, 2012

“The Unbreakable Joneses” as the family is known to their friends and Facebook fans, have been racing together for about two years now and in that time have run about 10 races between the five of them. These races include the Spartan Trifecta, local marathons, Obstacle Course Races, and the Iron Warrior Dash. Andrew and Eston compete in the elite waves, and Eston has placed as high as 7th in a Spartan Race and is still striving toward the podium.

An average day for the Jones family includes jobs for Mom and Dad and home-schooling the kids, with one exception: P.E. time is anything but average. The afternoon begins normally enough, then around 3 PM daily, the fun starts. Usually, an afternoon workout for the family consists of 1-1/2 to 2 hours of non-traditional strength training using routines the family has developed and tailored over the past 5 years. Exercises with names like the “body mauler” and “Bubkas” are used to build core, leg, and upper body strength. The heart of the workouts focuses on developing stamina needed for obstacle racing.

But it doesn’t end there. For over one year now, the Joneses have been conducting a boot camp…free for anyone who is willing to show up and take on the challenge. A grueling mix of circuit training keeps boot campers moving. From a simulated obstacle race including an 8 foot wall, 15 foot climbing ropes, and a traverse rope strung between two perfectly spaced trees outside their home, the 25+ obstacles on this 3/4 mile “track circuit” will challenge even the seasoned veteran…but it’s the newcomers who keep them going. Since they started the boot camp, over 100 people have passed through, and there are usually 25+ in attendance on any given Tuesday or Thursday night. The mix includes competitive obstacle racers and newbies who have never run a race. You’ll see fathers, sons, husbands, wives, old, and young at the boot camps – usually multiple members of the same families. People are being inspired to change their lives. They’re showing up, and then signing up for a Spartan race they never dreamed of doing until they see that everyone started just like they did – with a few burpees and a lot of determination. The obstacle race style training is just plain fun for everyone – just look at any child on a playground, and you’ll see “it’s the way we we’re intended to move”.

Andrew and Eston 5 years ago and then in December 2012

A neighbor even built a Spartan-style traverse wall in his garage to add to the fun. As boot campers come to the halfway point in the “track circuit” as it is affectionately known, they divert from the track and head into “David’s garage” to tackle the Spartan-style obstacle. Other circuits include tire flipping, low crawls, a tire drag (with my 6 year old riding in the tire, at no extra charge!), sledge hammers, and a particularly punishing workout appropriately dubbed “El Diablo” – the only way to describe it is “lots of core work”, and lots of soreness the day after, especially for first-timers. The boot camp happens twice a week every week, rain or shine…people learn about it through word-of mouth, Facebook posts, and the quirky but interesting videos posted on the “Unbreakable Joneses” YouTube channel.

Oh, and did I mention the boot camp is not a substitute for their daily workout – its extra family fun. On the non-circuit days, their normal workout is typically followed by a 5-7 mile trail run in the state forest conveniently located behind their home!

In the end, though, it’s about more than the fitness and competition. This is the way the family spends time together. The fitness is a side effect of a strong bond and family togetherness. So, if you think you don’t have time to work out, or spend time with your family, maybe it’s time to re-prioritize. Maybe it’s time to try a Spartan Race…just get off the couch and do it. You’ll be glad you did. And if you need an example of how it’s done, look no further than the Joneses. Whether it’s training, racing, skateboarding, wave riding, playing paintball, or helping others to achieve their fitness goals, the Jones family is “Unbreakable”.

Follow the Joneses on their Facebook page.  Click HERE. 

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by April Luu, Spartan Pro Athlete

It’s hard to believe that this adventure started one year ago today! I went to that start line at the Ft. Carson Military Sprint not knowing anything that was going to be put before me. I was scared and excited at the same time. I was challenged both physically and mentally to complete this race. It was unlike any other race I had ever been in. When I crossed that finish line I was exhausted and elated at the same time. My efforts earned me the top spot. I had won the race, unbelievable! The sense of accomplishment I felt when I got to stand up on stage with that badass helmet was like no other! That was it, I was hooked.

After I got home I started researching about Spartan Race and who all of these crazy people were that were competing. I finished up the fun OCR races that I was doing that year just in the state of Colorado. After that I decided that I wanted to compete in the Spartan Circuit. I thought why not? During this process I actually got some people to sponsor me on this adventure because of my performance in my local races. It was incredible how the sport was taking off and how many were paying attention.

Yes, some people thought I was out of my mind but others could not help but be infected with my enthusiasm. As a personal trainer I started inspiring others to train and reach their goals. Some of those goals being to race in a Spartan Race! And so it began. My family in tow heading to Glen Rose, Texas, my first race in the circuit. A Beast in Texas was 13.5 miles with 20 some obstacles. It was a brutal race. There was a 100 meter swim, Tyrolean traverse, bucket brigade, Hercules hoist, two rope climbs, and of course the spear throw.

I thought, “They are throwing everything at us! Get through this and make it to that finish line!” That I did with my husband and kids standing there cheering me on and so proud of my accomplishment. I did something no other Spartan athlete had done that weekend; I won a Beast back to back!

And the journey continues to grow as my family and I set off for each race through the season. We look forward to meeting new people and meeting up with our friends. I take the time at each race to talk to the people who work for Spartan and have now became a part of my family.  My kids are always excited about the next place we will be going to race. I take great pride in setting an example to my kids and others and inspiring them to reach for their goals. Those crazy people that I was talking about at the beginning of this story ? Well I guess I am one of them now. My family and I have had the honor and privilege to get to know them. Our race weekend in Colorado alone we had 10-12 Spartan racers at our house (you know who you are) and had the honor to a part of Mike and DiAne Santos wedding at the Spartan Race.

This has and will continue to be an epic journey and I want to say thank you to my family for all of their support on this crazy train. And thank you to my sponsors Adam Way Racing, Eco Vessel, Sol Survivor, Colorado Running Company, Open Fences, Kronobar, and last but not least, my coach Aaron Knutson from Max Performance for keeping me healthy and strong!! Thank you all for believing in me and taking that chance. It means a lot! Live everyday as if it were your last!

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Elliot Megquier

by Elliot Megquier, Spartan Pro Athlete

After a weekend off for Memorial Day the Reebok Spartan Race Series roars back into action with back to back race weekends for the very first time in Tuxedo, New York just 45 minutes from New York City (June 1st, 2nd, and 8th). Set in beautiful Ramapo Mountains, Tuxedo serves as a fresh breath of air from the hectic energy of the Big Apple. This is one of the most challenging sprints on the circuit and the barb wire crawl is certainly one of the hardest, going straight uphill near the finish for a seemingly endless distance. Racers will climb multiple ski trails and try to descend them without wiping out.

Not only will money be on the line this weekend, but the top five male and female finishers will win Yankees-Red Sox tickets and be recognized during the game at Yankee Stadium. On the men’s side look for last year’s runner up, Elliott Megquier and third place Andrew Hostetler to battle it out with David Magida the unofficial winner of the 2013 Spartan Miami Super for bragging rights and victory.

Rose-Marie

Other men racing include local New Yorkers Patrick Grevelding, Kevin Donoghue, Alexander Nicholas, and Brad Fredricks. Grevelding finished third in the 2011 Vermont Beast, Donoghue has been a top ten finisher at multiple races, Nicholas won the Fenway Stadium Sprint. Fredricks is knocking at the door of becoming a top Spartan Racer. Look for Army Captain and two time Best Ranger Competition finisher Ian Kent to debut on his birthday and make some noise representing the 10th Mountain Light Infantry Division. Kent is the top Ranger on Fort Drum and Megquier’s commander. The two recently combined to win the Spring Mountain Challenge on Fort Drum which included two obstacle courses, ruck marching, the mountain fitness test, and shooting. The pair won by almost 10 minutes.

On the women’s side look for the crazy lady in green Andi Hardy to defend her title from last year with Jillian Kenney and Rose Marie Jarry possibly returning from injury to challenge. Kenney is coming off a third place and first place finishes in Burnet, TX. Jarry came off of a long injury absence last weekend in the Montreal Sprint and will certainly challenge for victory. Other female racers to look out for include Shaun Provost who won the Fenway and Citi Field Stadium Sprint, Melinda Branch who finish 4th in the 2012 points series, Gretchen Krueger the 2011 Pennsylvania Sprint champion, and Juliana Sproles. This is a weekend not to be missed so if you can’t race come be a spectator or volunteer, you will not regret it. Registration is still open for June 8th too so hurry up because it will sell out.  Register HERE.

[Editor's note: Elliott Megquier will celebrate his third anniversary of Spartan Racing this weekend. Since his debut at Tuxedo he was he has finished 38 Spartan Races. He has 5 podium finishes in 2013, 10 podiums in 2012, and one in 2011. Megquier is honored to be a part of the inaugural Reebok Spartan Pro Team in 2013.]

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by Andi Hardy, Spartan Elite Athlete

Tucked among the steep, wooded mountains, two hour’s drive from Mexico City, lies a beautiful, small, colonial city called Valle de Bravo. Just outside that city the first Mexico Super Spartan Race was hosted on May 17, 18, and 19, 2013. And a SUPER race it was. The venue was amazing, getting to it was an adventure. The people of Mexico were so accommodating and supportive. The competition was strong.

Eight American Spartan Race elite athletes had the opportunity to experience this superb Super. Hunter McIntyre, Christopher Rutz, Miguel Medina, David Megida, Brad Fredricks, Dave Huckle, Margaret Schlacter, and Andi Hardy were the contenders all hoping for a taste of Mexican podium and the money that went with it. All they were promised was an experience of a lifetime.

After the first ever Mexican Spartan Race in February 2013, a sprint, the Mexican nation had fallen for this sport. Once announced, this Super sold out in less than 48 hours. In fact, another day had to be added to the already two day event just to accommodate the overflow of registrations. 9:00 Saturday AM was the elite heat start time for men and 9:30 AM for women. And elite competitors they brought, Olympians, major marathon winners, tough local athletes to name a few.

The Mexican atmosphere was crazy intense. Spartan Race held back nothing. The festival area was filled with sponsors and vendors, companies like Salomon, Chevrolet, Sport Beans, Garmin, Monster Energy, Coleman, WODBOX, Jumex Sport, City Express Hotel. There were many food/drink choices, festival challenges, merchandise, race information and registration to name a few. Costumed Spartan gladiators were all over the venue adding flavor to the photo ops. Volunteers were everywhere, all with huge smiles on their faces. Race officials were all patient and upbeat.

The start line was grand. Roman columns lined the gates, the announcer made the anticipation nerve-wracking as could be, interviewing competitors, and making Spartan speeches. A large clock counted down the seconds and minutes til the start. Several tubes of Spartan smoke were thrown out there to create even more of a dramatic beginning.

Once the last Aroo had gone off, we were on our way for our experience of a lifetime. Right off the start, the terrain posed to be an obstacle within itself. Grassy clumps arose some 2-3 inches off of the ground. One had to watch every step as a face-plant was not out of the question. The first mud crawl was like none I’d ever experienced. The mud –so black, its density – so thick, the smell was so foul. And it sucked you in and didn’t want to spit you back out. Crawling out of 3 ½ feet of sucking mud was a challenge, and then round the corner, more of this followed, then shortly after a nice, mucky barbed wire crawl. Out of the barbs and up what would be a series of steep mountain slopes. The mountains were over 9300 feet in elevation. If that alone didn’t shut racers down, the obstacles would finish them off. Needless to say, burpee penalties were not in anyone’s plan.

Obstacles as we know and love were placed at all the right places throughout the race. Not once could you get into a comfortable running pace because a wall would appear or a bag of sand to haul through an uneven single track circle, or a dusty, bumpy upgrade of a tractor pull, another slope that had to be bear crawled. Looking up was not a great option as the discouragement took over at the size of the incline. Through a river, up more inclines, wall after wall, rope climb, traverse wall, log presses, balance beams, and the biggest obstacle; the thin air for us Americans who train at sea level. This caused oxygen deprivation that made our legs feel like cement blocks. Dizzy spells and muscle cramping added to the pain. “Vamonos, vamonos” was common encouragement from the volunteers and fans.

Finally, up the final clumpy hill to the spear throw. Mexican spears were a bit different from our well-practiced familiar ones in the states. But burpees this far into the race would be a killer at this elevation. After spearman, another muck crossing had to be conquered, then a wall to slide down while being doused with a fire hose. Lucky for those who came through alone, the highly pressured water didn’t leave your face even for a breath of air. High pressure water followed loners through th

e slippery wall climb until you made a mad dash to jump the fire and on to the cargo bridge. Once across the cargo, six hard hitting gladiators stood between your tired gasping body and that hard earned medal.

At the end of the day, we got what we were promised and more. Not only was this Mexican Super Spartan an experience of a lifetime, we found meaning way beyond a podium placement and a check in Mexico. Smiles of achievement and bonds of camaraderie don’t need translation either.But a Spartan Race wouldn’t be complete without a Kid’s Race. And because we are just big kids, several of us joined in the excitement. One grabbed a pugil stick, his job was to stay on his feet while being targeted by water balloons. Another rabbited the races and loudly cheered on every single child. Yet another grabbed the hands of scared, crying tots and helped bring smiles of joy to these young faces. Others cheered from the sidelines.

Want to learn more about our international races?  Click HERE to see our line-up.

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Number 1: Barefoot Single Leg Squat with Reach, or the Bowler Squat.

 

 

Q: Why?

A:  (short version)  It will save your knees.

Q:  Why?

A: (long version)

First, compared to men, women genetically have a larger “Q-angle” and a more anteriorly (or forward) tilted pelvis. The increased Q-angle predisposes them to chronic knee instability and higher risk for ACL injuries due to the angle that the femur ascends to the knee joint. Having a more anteriorly tilted pelvis can lead to more weight being carried in the ball of the foot when compared to the heels and also more strength in the quads than in the glutes. More on this later.

Secondly, women also wear more high heeled shoes. High heels offer a quick way to trick your brain into thinking you’ve been walking down a really steep mountainside all day. Before long, your calves tighten to pull your feet up onto the toes. The pelvis also tends to tilt even more forward in an effort to work more synergistically with the awkward ankle position. The end result is dramatically decreased ankle mobility (dorsiflexion), tight and dysfunctional hips, a weak butt, increased risk for low back pain, and even more knee instability than you may have been born with.

Doing single leg exercises such as this one, can reduce risk for injuries for women in three different ways. First, it awakens the body and exposes it to this knee instability in a safe and controlled manner. Training this exercise will help recruit the muscles in the hips, thighs, and lower legs that previously had not been used adequately and therefor were not working at full capacity. Second, doing this squat as shown creates a more “hip dominant” squat pattern that strengthens precisely the areas many women are weakest; the deep rotators of the hip, the glutes, and the hamstrings. Third, exercises like this performed on a single leg can help decrease the extent of asymmetries in strength or flexibility between the limbs. Asymmetry is a leading cause of non-contact related injuries, second only previous injury at the same joint.

Riley Stephens

On such a somber day, Memorial Day, we are honoring Spartan heroes.  Two men who gave their lives to maintain the freedom that we enjoy in the United States.

Team Riley

On September 28, 2012, SFC Riley Stephens was killed in action serving his country in Wardak, Afghanistan with the 1/3 Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a senior Medic.  One of the last things Riley did before his deployment was run a Spartan Race in South Carolina.

As a tribute, friends and family took on the Spartan Beast in Glen Rose at the end of 2012 as “Team Riley” to honor him and to reconnect.  It was a cathartic experience for family and friends and they came together to remember a brother, a son, and a best friend.

At the 2013 Socal Super Spartan, we proudly supported the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation in honor of Spartan

Glen Doherty, photo courtesy of http://www.glendohertyfoundation.org/

Glen Doherty, who was one of the four Americans killed in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 12, 2012. According to the Foundation website, The Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation is our way to honor Glen’s life and his beliefs. Doherty took part in the Socal Super in 2011 before his tragic death in Benghazi.

In 2012, over 350,000 Spartans crossed our finish line we expect over half a million in 2013.  Many of our participants are military or first responders and we are always thankful to have so many experience a Spartan Race.  The loss of these two men and so many others are deeply felt.

Men of honor, conviction, and courage, we mourn their passing and are thankful for their service and sacrifice.  As you spend your time at BBQ’s and out enjoying this holiday, do not lose its significance.  Please spend this Memorial Day remembering the bravery of these and so many others that are no longer here to enjoy the freedom they’ve ensured.

We will never forget.

To learn more about the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation, click HERE.

 

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by Stephen Reid aka Steve-o Bones

Memorial Day is a holiday that takes on a special meaning for me. It is a day that is meant to honor and remember those who served our country with military service. Some lost lives. Others lost limbs. Many others lost their youth and innocence to the horrors of war. This is a debt that can never be repaid. Yet their sacrifice can be remembered and our gratitude and respect can be displayed even through small gestures like putting out the flag or attending a parade.

I hail from a family of veterans. My father served in the US Navy on the USS Croaker during Vietnam. His father was a decorated MP in the US Army during WWII who saw action in Germany. My mother’s father was an Army Captain who was killed in action in Germany during WWII. At that time my mom was a year old and my uncle was a newborn. Here is a summary of his military achievement:

REILLY, WALTER J. (KIA) The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Walter J. Reilly (0-400672), Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company K, 71st Infantry Regiment, in action against enemy forces on 18 November 1944. Captain Reilly’s outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

I joined the NYPD at age 21. I felt it was my calling and enjoyed police work. By the time I was 28, I was promoted to Detective. A few years later, on September 11, 2001, our country was attacked right in front of my eyes and my life was changed forever. Since this day our military has ceaselessly fought a War on Terror. So many young men and women have since gone off to fight this war and defend our country from those that do not appreciate our way of life. Many have come back forever changed. They have given so much of themselves.

I have a very strong bond with the Men and Women of Operation Enduring Warrior, formerly Team X-T.R.E.M.E., a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor, empower and motivate America’s wounded military service members. These warriors took the time to bring me to Ground Zero after the NYC Spartan Demo. Many enlisted post 9/11 and these are the ties that bind us. I have forged a great relationship and have a lifelong bond with many of them.

This Memorial Day, I implore you to take the time out from your barbecues, your pool parties, and your trips to the beach to reflect on the gravity of this day.  Thank a Veteran.  But please, remember the reason for this day.  Take a moment to think of all those who didn’t come back when they left home for hostile battles in foreign lands, those brave men and women who made it possible for you to have your freedom; it has been paid for through their blood, sweat, and tears.

[Editor's Note: Spartan Race wishes to say a collective thank you to all those who have served and who serve still.  Thank you.   And this Memorial Day we honor those who have given everything and paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all breathe free.   Flag Photo courtesy of Kevin High Photography.]

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by Jennifer Jarvi, Spartan Street Team

In January of this year, a fellow Spartan Chick posted about a contest with a prize of a week for two at the Biggest Loser resort. “Wouldn’t it be cool if a Spartan Chick won?” Yeah, sure it would.  Nobody ever wins these things or there is always a catch. I entered and totally forgot about it. Weeks later, on a day I was beaten and battered by the world, I was informed that I won a week with a friend to the Biggest Loser Resort of my choice. When that certified letter arrived though, it really did hit home. I didn’t deserve this spectacular awesome prize.

As the date of my first ever Spartan Race in Indiana approached, I learned of the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge heat. I was already signed up for the standard race, but I wanted to help out with this event somehow so I volunteered. It seemed appropriate. It was the least I could do. The Biggest Loser Resort gifted me a week at their resort (minus the usual expense of transportation and taxes) that I will be taking next month. I worked for months losing nearly 100 pounds of weight and getting healthier for my first Spartan Race. What better way to give back to both a little for what they did. I could pay it forward a little. I was very sad I would miss running the heat with the CornFed Spartans, Spartan Race’s largest team to date, but somehow felt that volunteering was just as important. These CornFed Spartans are like family and they live by the Spartan Code. I would run on my own later in the day.

What I witnessed and what transpired from this decision was more inspiring and incredible than I could ever imagine. After participants got a pep talk from Dan and Jackie from Biggest Loser’s Season 5 and some shared their personal stories, we set off to the start line. At 9:15am, my friend Chris Davis, my friend Bridget, and I headed out with backpacks of water bottles to support the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge heat participants. Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge competes as a team. Everyone helps everyone, participants are encouraged them to try obstacles without penalty. As we started along the course, I had the opportunity to share my own struggles with some of the participants.

Just before we got to the ‘playground portion’ of the Indiana Course, I saw Cornfed Spartan jerseys passing by. I called out to the CornFeds and I smiled brightly because I knew in my heart what was about to happen. This couldn’t have worked out better. You see, CornFed Spartans take great pride in helping not only one another, but also everyone out there on the course; making sure there is no one left behind!

I saw Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants become Spartans. I saw Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants step outside their comfort zone with determination, pushing their bodies and minds to the limit and conquering their fears. I saw CornFed Spartans reach out a hand of assistance instantly to anyone struggling, taking action to back up their words of support and encouragement. I saw Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants push CornFed Spartans up the barb wire crawl hills and vice versa. I saw lots of hugs and smiles. The amount of pure grit, determination, encouragement, teamwork, and acceptance on that course was astounding.

I used those memories and inspiration to power me through my own heat later. I was by no means fast, but like the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge participants, I did the hardest part on my own – I got to the start line. It was all down hill from there. And with all that, my first Spartan Race is in the books, and it could not have been more epic. I highly suggest all Spartan Racers run or volunteer with the Biggest Loser Off Road Challenge heat at least once. I know I will any chance I get.I promise it will be simply incredible and inspiring. Check out their next stop!

Spartan Code

A Spartan pushes their mind and body to their limits.
A Spartan masters their emotions.
A Spartan learns continuously.
A Spartan gives generously.
A Spartan leads.
A Spartan stands up for what they believe in, no matter the cost.
A Spartan knows their flaws as well as they know their strengths.
A Spartan proves themselves through actions, not words.
A Spartan lives every day as if it were their last.

[Editor's Note: Author - Jennifer Jarvi is an aspiring mud-athlete who hopes to some day defeat her worst enemy, the rope climb. When not found on the course cursing burpees, she can be found working as a Network Engineer for a large MSO, practicing her spear throwing in her backyard, or trying not to roll an ankle on a trail run. Her favorite obstacles include barb wire crawl and long walks off the beach and into a lake. "A Spartan gives generously"
LINKS:

http://www.biggestloserresort.com/

http://www.biggestloserrunwalk.com/challenge

http://cornfedspartans.com/]

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