by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Racer
This weekend, Reebok Spartan Race arrives in the Arizona desert. The 2013 Arizona Spartan Sprint moves to a new venue that captures the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and ramps up the difficulty level of the course. McDowell Mountain Regional Park is located northeast of Phoenix and provides a rolling terrain with miles of tight single track for the elite racers to challenge one another.
This is the first Spartan Sprint distance race since the Reebok/Spartan Race partnership was announced in late January in New York City. Two weeks ago the SoCal Super went off at Vail Creek Lodge in Temecula, CA.
Many of the top athletes from the 2012 Season will be racing in Arizona this weekend for their share of the $7,500 cash purse generously provided by our partners at Navy Federal Credit Union for the Saturday Elite wave. We asked a few of them how they feel the Navy Federal Credit Union prize money impacts the sport of Obstacle Course Racing?
Hobie Call, resident Spartan elite racer said, “…I want NFCU to know that I truly appreciate their sponsorship. Every little bit helps, and this year is looking even better than last.” and “As cool as the helmets and swords are, elite athletes follow the money. End of story.”
Female elite racer Corinne Kohlen noted how it’s drawing new talent to the field, “I think the money is great. It is luring in exceptional athletes and runners such as TyAnn Clark (and many others) who may not have been as interested in this kind of sport before.”
That sentiment was also noted by elite female Andi Hardy when she was quoted as saying, “Money brings more elite competition.”
Last year’s female point’s winner Jenny Tobin also had something to say about the infusion of cash prizes, “I’m all about making money for my exercise habit, I’d still do it but it is nice to make a little money and see different parts of the country.”
The field is ripe with talent. Male elites Hobie Call and Hunter McIntyre, first and third respectfully in the SoCal Super are scheduled to be at the race. In addition, look for the 2013 debut of Christopher Rutz, Elliott Megquier and Nick Maynard. Christopher and Nick, along with Arizona native Chase Stewart have the home trail advantage and will be ready to tear up their desert. Beyond the Arizonans, watch out for 2012 Top 10 Spartan Racers Dallas Bessette and Shawn Feoick.
On the women’s side, SoCal winner TyAnn Clark, multiple 2012 Spartan race winner Rose-Marie Jarry and winner of the 2012 Texas Sprint Ella Kociuba are schedule to race. Those three alone will make the race for the podium very interesting. By no means do they have a lock on the top three places. Expect to see some of the top names in the sport including Juliana Sproles, Ang Reynolds, Andi Hardy, Corinne Kohlen, Sue Luck and Shaun Provost literally give them a run for their money. As usual, the women’s race will be exciting to watch.
Get out to the Arizona Spartan Sprint this weekend and watch these athletes smoke through the course. After the finish, they would welcome the opportunity to share their passion for obstacle course racing (OCR) with you in the festival area.
2013 has Spartan stepping up the game considerable. With prize money, Reebok, and an incredible crop of top racers, it is shaping up to be another exciting weekend of obstacle course racing. See you at the races!
Not registered yet? What are you waiting for? Join the expected 500,000 Spartans that will cross one of our finish lines this year. Find an event near you HERE.
Tags: Andy Hardy, Arizona Sprint, Chris Rutz, hobie call, Hunter McIntyre, Jenny Tobin, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Navy Federal Credit Union, Reebok, Reebok Spartan Race, SoCal Super Spartan, Sonoran Desert, Spartan 300, Times Square