Written by guest writer and Elite Pro Teamer Amelia Boone

For the third year, Spartan Race will be back at Haspin Acres in Laurel, Indiana, setting the stage for a Midwest showdown. Located an hour and half from Indianapolis and an hour and a half from Cincinnati, don’t let the remoteness of this race venue fool you – it’s anything but cows, pastures, and spotty cell phone service.

Three years ago, Indiana was the site of the first-ever Spartan “Founder’s Race” – a race stripped down to it’s bare essentials. While the race now has all the trappings of modern-day Sparta that we know and love, expect a test of grit true to its Founder’s Race origins. An off-road park when it’s not invaded by Spartans, Haspin Acres promises 4+ miles of muddy trails through woods and fields scattered with 15-20+ Spartan obstacles. And don’t call the Midwest no flat land – plenty of quick hill climbs and scrambles will keep you on your toes.

Amelia and Todd Sedlak discuss the course.

Indiana has proven to be one of the longest Sprints out there – last year, course director Todd Sedlak promised that no one would finish in under an hour, and only 12 athletes managed to prove him wrong. With a new race director this year, it remains to be seen whether this challenge will stand.

For the elite waves, both male and female winners from last year, Spartan pro team members Brakken Krakker and Amelia Boone, are expected to race. And if he doesn’t get lost in the Chicago airport finding deep dish pizza, Elliott Megquier will be joining them. On the women’s side, fresh off her two-podium weekend at Citi Field, Laura Messner will be looking to extend her streak. And as we’ve seen of late, expect plenty of elite challengers when you least expect it.

The good times never end in Indiana.

Also of note, Danny Rodriguez will be making his 2014 Spartan Race debut. You all remember Danny as the Chicagoan who packed up his life, moved to Vermont to live and train in Pittsfield with Joe, and lost over 100 pounds in the process – his transformation of his life and his health served as inspiration to thousands of Spartans worldwide. Last we checked in with Danny, he’s back in the Midwest, training hard, with his sights set on, among other things, the Chicago Marathon this fall. Welcome back to Sparta, Danny!

With team showings by the Chicago Spartans, Corn Fed, and even some rumors of the NE Spahtens making the road trip, expect a great turn-out and a festive atmosphere.

See you in Indiana!

Are you ready for your Spartan Race? Sign up now and we’ll see you at the finish line… 

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You’ve no doubt seen the countless pictures and videos of folk running across hilly terrain, sometimes jumping into what looks like a moat or pit filled with muddy water. Nestled alongside these pictures are those of folk wading chest deep into another pit to get to the rope climb they have to conquer. Let’s not forget those barbed wire crawls – just look at them!

The obstacles you have no issue with, but what if you just don’t want to get as dirty as them? What if you just want to race and feel that delicious burn, but without the need for a pressure washer afterwards? What if it was all safely in a “dry” arena with thousands of other like-minded souls?

We can go one better. Why not make that arena of the most the most iconic sports stadiums in America today? What if we told you that you could run the bases of that park because it was actually required to complete the race? What if we said you could complete a Spartan Race – and one third of your Trifecta – at the home of the Phillies, Citizens Bank Park?

Well, it’s true. By signing up here, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime when you power through to the finish line, having first seen this famous landmark from a variety of angles.

Citizens Bank Park race is one of just a select few in the world where you can actually see and run through areas of elite sporting stadiums that would normally be out of bounds. Last year, Spartans ran through the dugouts, player’s tunnels and dressing rooms. Definitely not something everyone can say. The bragging rights associated with finishing a Sprint at C.B.P are high. Not only is it a unique event, but the medals are one of a kind, too.

Ever seen yourself on one of those huge screens at the baseball? No? Well you will at this race. Cameras will film runners going through their obstacles and burpees and have it shown around the stadium for all to see! Imagine that. You, on a screen 76 feet high and 97 feet wide. Not something that happens every day!

It’s not often you can say you conquered a venue that cost almost $500 million to build, but by signing up for the Sprint on September 20th, you’ll inherit bragging rights and memories that many of your friends will never experience. Play in the same venue that Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd rocked before you? How many people can say that?

Sign up now for what we expect to be an unforgettable day in Philadelphia, because baby, we were born to run.

See you at the finish line…

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All the signs are there. The Tri-state double header weekend is looking to be the biggest Spartan Race event of all time and arguably, the biggest OR of all time. As it stands, 17,000 people will witness the brutality that the Spartan staff have designed for them. So, not only would being there make you a part of history, but you’d have bragging rights amongst all your friends and relatives within the OR and running community.

Let’s have a closer look at the venue. The mountains alone stretch over 100 acres within the staggering 25,000 acres of Sterling Forest State Park. You could say it’s big. There are 4 double chairlifts, so if you want to get a bird’s eye view of how your husband, wife, brother, sister or whoever it may be, you can do so from the comfort of your chair and see below you as they sweat and grimace through the course that we’ve laid out for them.

But here’s the thing, why don’t you make a weekend of it? Tuxedo Ridge is less than an hour from Manhattan and realistically, why wouldn’t you want to take just one bite of The Big Apple while you have the chance? You’ve seen it in film, TV, magazines and online so many times. The Statue Of Liberty, Ground Zero, Madison Square Gardens, Wall Street, Coney Island… the landmarks and things to see are waiting for you and the list of things to see and do just go on and on. Why not check out Ellis Island and visit the immigration museum and learn about how immigration made the U.S. so great?

Only a hop and a skip further down the street from the ferry that lets you take in Lady Liberty and Ellis Island is the famous bull on Wall Street. Who cares if you’re clearly a tourist? These are landmarks worth noting. Broadway is another sight to behold and obviously, Times Square at night is something quite magical.

From Northern Manhattan all the way down to Brooklyn, there is simply so much to see and experience, whether it be Soho or Chinatown, to Little Italy or the world famous Central Park, there really isn’t time to get bored. There’s simply too much to see. Don’t worry if you start to flag or get tired, from personal experience, there seems to be a coffee shop on every block, so you’ll perk up in no time!

If accommodation is your first hurdle, then don’t worry. At the last count, Expedia.com tells us that there are over 600 hotels in the New York City area alone. Finding somewhere to rest your muddied head shouldn’t be a problem. Although we’re pretty sure that they’re prefer it if you showered first.

If you don’t have a car, there are still means of transportation to Tuxedo. This link will help those out that prefer not to drive. On that note, the subway system for getting around NYC, should you decide to stay before and after the race, is superb. Add the famous yellow cabs to that and you’re pretty much covered in the traveling stakes.

Nightlife? Where do you start? There are thousands. Literally, hundreds upon hundreds of places to eat, drink and be merry. It’s hard to even know where to start. Thankfully, TimeOut compiled a handy guide that even the grumpiest or hard-to-cater-for individual will find useful for finding a spot to try out.

Eating, drinking and dancing not your thing? Don’t care for historical landmarks? How about touring New York’s various movie landmarks? You could always check out Riverside Park in Manhattan, just north of 96th Street where in the meeting of all the gangs, Cyrus asked us in the movie “The Warriors”, “Can you dig it?”, as well as all the other landmarks from the classic. Here’s a link that gives you a heads-up. You could even visit the Ghostbusters HQ at what is the 8 Hook And Ladder fire station at 14 North Moore Street. Although we wouldn’t recommend driving like Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, you could always see where Gene Hackman played the famous role in that scene on Brooklyn’s 86th St. If you go down 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, be sure to strut your funky stuff like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Although, unlike the kids from Fame, dancing all over the hoods and roofs of cars in Times Square would probably have you arrested now. You may live forever and learn how to fly (high), but you’ll be doing it in jail. For the ultimate classic, how about going to 52nd St. and Lexington Ave? That’s where Marilyn Monroe had the skirt scene in The Seven Year Itch.
Naturally, it would be impossible to list every film ever shot on location in NYC, but for unashamed movie nerds, New York is a gold mine.

If not film, then how about music? Visit 53rd & 3rd if you’re a Ramones fan, sadly, CBGB’s – the classic music venue – doesn’t exist anymore at 315 Bowery, but you can see where Kiss took the album cover photo of ‘Dressed To Kill’ at 23rd & 8th or perhaps Led Zepplin’s ‘Physical Graffiti” at St. Mark’s Place between First Avenue & Avenue A. The Door’s got their picture from ‘Strange Days’ at 150-158 East 36th Street and let’s not forget The Who’s ‘The Kids Are Alright’ at the monument at 116th Street and Morningside Drive.

Simply put, the list just goes on and on. Theatre, indoor pursuits, outdoor pursuits, museums, parks… it’s hard to know where to begin and end, and making a long weekend of your Spartan Race here will be the beginning of a love affair with The Big Apple. Go on, have a nibble. They say it keeps the doctor away.

Credit: gru.edu,  dailyfilmdose

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How many times have you stared longingly at those people at Spartan Races that effortlessly scamper up those climbing ropes and ring the cowbell with effortless ease?

There you are, hugging that rope with your hands clenched around that knot, hoping that if you can get just above the one in front of you, you’re part of the way there. Then what happens? You slide back into that muddy water and curse the whole thing to Hades.

How do they do it? It looks so easy when they do it!

Never fear – the Spartan Race Pro Team are here!

In this episode of “How to…” the Barbed Wire Queen of Green, Andi Hardy, is going to show you how to employ the “J-Hook” technique when climbing a rope. Gone are those frustrating times of shaking an angry fist at that cowbell you can’t reach.

Just watch this tutorial video made on course at a Spartan Race and all will be revealed!

Learn the technique and sign up without fear of failing it again!

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Dear Joe,

I wanted to thank you and your team for the Spartan Races.

I have been in the Marine Corps for over 19 years and done a couple combat tours. After my last combat tour I came back with some heavy PTSD, amongst a myriad of other issues. It has been a daily struggle for 4 years to grind through migraines, daily cluster headaches and back pain, TBI, and the PTSD. I ran my first Spartan in Temecula this year. I got the whim to run it when I was researching 5k’s on Active.com. I have never been the same since. It really smoked me physically, but mentally I was alive! For the first time in 4 years I feel like I am in charge of my body and spirit. 

I have run one since with one of my sons in Phoenix and I signed up for the Vegas Super, Colorado Sprints (both days), Montana Sprint and Hurricane Heat, and the Monterey Beast to complete the trifecta. The annual pass is getting its use from me! I ran the Phoenix Sprint with my son and broke one of my toes about halfway through. I refused to quit or show any pain. It wasn’t till we were done that I told my son, because I was actually thinking about coming back the next day. After 4 years of grinding with the daily debilitating back pain and headaches I felt like a broken toe was not that big of a deal. I keep getting asked by my friends who know about my daily physical pain, why I run Spartans. I tell them proudly that I run them because they make me feel alive and show my body I am still in charge.

Thank you so much. Please share as much as you want. The races and the experiences have been therapeutic.

Semper Fidelis, Lonnie

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5 Ways you are a Spartan Chick – even if you’ve never raced

By  Heather Kokesch Del Castillo

1. You overcome obstacles every day. Whether you’ve set a new PR on your back squat, made a tough decision at work, or were faced with the challenge of having to be two places at once, Spartan Chicks overcome daily obstacles with the drive and courage that makes us strong in both body and spirit.

2. You think “I could never do that!” You, yes you, are a Spartan Chick! The Spartan Chicked community is backed by strong women not only physically, but also strong in will, heart, and willingness to lift up others. One woman in our Spartan Chicked community even defined the meaning of being a Spartan woman as “Doing things you never thought you could!” Even if you’ve never done an obstacle course race, you can work up to it with the encouragement of our empowering women’s community. There are plenty of Chicks who have yet to lose their sparkle and compete in their first Spartan Race.

3. You enjoy connecting with other women on all things female.  Camaraderie:  a feeling of good friendship among the people in a group. Among this group you can ask anything. Which shoes and calf sleeves are best for an OCR? What should I do if my partner doesn’t want to run a Spartan Race with me? How should I eat in preparation for a big race? You name it, and the Spartan Chicked group has discussed it. From racing, relationships, injuries and recoveries, to weight loss goals and accomplishments including some great before and after pictures and beyond, Chicks are here to showcase and share their powerful, smart, and capable attributes.

4. You’re driven by accomplishing goals. You are strong, competitive, fearless, and always looking for new ways to challenge yourself.  If in your workouts you are inspired by a variety of movements, a Spartan race will keep you guessing at every turn and ultimately test your limits. Exercise while setting the example that women are a force to be reckoned with as you pass men on the course; that is after all what it means to truly be “Chicked” – Spartan Chicks dedicated to passing dudes on the course, racing the planet, and promoting radness at every opportunity!

5. Life has handed you some serious personal challenges and you’ve lived to tell your story. Have you suffered through various health issues or injuries, survived beyond the end of a relationship, or witnessed a family member struggle with life’s ups and downs? Guaranteed you are not alone, the Spartan Chicked community has thousands of strong women who have endured all of life’s challenges, and in some cases many times over. These women share their stories daily and use their wisdom to guide others who’ve found themselves in the midst of a challenge. Whether you need some guidance or support, or have your own advice to share, you are welcome here.  When I’ve asked the group to define a Spartan woman, this response made me especially happy, “It’s simple. You say, ‘I think I can.’ Spartan chicks say, ‘You will.’ Then you do. Now you are part of the growing inspiration.” Join us and share your story too!

You can join the Chicked community by joining our Facebook group of more than 10,000 women. To register for a Spartan Race you can go to the website and challenge yourself to a race near you, or travel to one of many awesome destinations to race with other amazing Spartan Chicks.  I hope to see you on the course! Go Spartan Chicks!

 

Heather Kokesch Del Castillo – Spartan Chick, CrossFitter, Educator, and future Health Coach studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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On January 10th 2013, Brian Tanzer received a phone call that no son or daughter ever want to hear. Two days shy of his 92nd birthday, Brian’s father passed away. Not quite sure how he was going to tell his mother, Brian knew this news was going to hit harder than anything his mother had heard before. She had been suffering with emphysema for years and was actually in hospital with pneumonia at the time. The news was indeed too much to bear and three weeks later, she passed on, too.

“I knew I had to be strong for my family.  As was my typical for me, even as a kid, I found God and exercise to be my salvation. I prayed every day for God to help me turn my sadness and despair into strength and fortitude. Helping to take care of my parents for the last 4 years of their life was a great honor and pleasure. As a father of two wonderful daughters, I know that being a great parent takes a lot of energy and sacrifice. I wanted to do something significant to honor my parent’s memory, and all the sacrifices they made that helped me become the man, husband and father that I am today.”

“Everyone has moments sometimes when they question stuff or perhaps lose a little faith. There were times when my faith wavered, but my amazing wife and two wonderful daughters helped keep my faith strong. I think a lot of people have moments in their life when they question their faith in God. They become angry, want to blame someone or something, or, simply feel “abandoned” by God. Having these feelings is all part of our “walk” with God. We are faced with challenges, and our faith is always being tested. This is how our relationship with God is strengthened. Our faith may waiver, and we may slip and fall, but we have to get back up, stay strong and understand that life is not intended to be easy. We can’t just have faith when everything in our life is going well. It is during times of adversity that our faith in God must be strong.”

Brian found the Spartan Race blog not long after and read some of the stories some past participants shared. Stories of courage, defeating cancer, losing a limb, memories of loved ones, all channeled into acts of heroism and courage to overcome. At around that time, his work sent out an email challenging their employees with the Spartan Race in Vernon, NJ. Could this have been a coincidence, or was He talking to Brian and offering him an opportunity to do something?

Brian was a healthy man, but an accident in the days of his youth would cast a shadow of doubt over just how far he could push through this idea that was forming in his mind.

“My friends and I loved playing football, especially in the snow with no equipment. I was 15 years old when I had a collision with my older brother which resulted in a severe injury to my lower back.  After a visit to the ER and having no broken bones, I went home and was told to stay off my feet for a couple of weeks and to avoid contact sports. Being 15 and thinking I was indestructible, I went back to playing football, martial arts, and all the other sports and activities I enjoyed.”

“After 4 years of chiropractors and physicians telling me to limit my physical activity, I sought the advice of a surgeon who told me “I could fix your back, and you’ll be as good as new.” I had a severely herniated disc in my lower spine which was compressing nerves causing shooting pains, numbness and weakness in my legs. Following surgery and 10 weeks of rehabilitation, I was back to limited activity, and then within 6 months back to playing sports again. Since I had no aspirations of being a professional football player, I limited myself to touch football, but went back to all my other activities. As the years progressed the pain in my back continued to get worse.

When he was 26, he received a diagnosis of failed back surgery syndrome. He noticed that the pain was much different to that before the surgery. A few years rolled by in which 20 epidural injections were administered to his spine. Not really providing any help or relief, his physician suggested a spinal cord stimulator. This would be a small device that delivered electrical impulses along his spine which were designed to “block” pain signals. Sadly, this didn’t work. He awoke the very next morning in such pain that he was rushed to hospital to have the wire removed from his spine at once.

“For some reason, the wire shifted during the night and left me unable to move my legs. When I left the hospital I vowed to never have another procedure on my back. The past few years I have discovered the incredible benefits of yoga. It has helped my pain and increased my flexibility. Although I still fight chronic pain, the more active I am the better I feel. I use my pain as motivation, and not an excuse to sit around.”

Utilizing this mechanical-free way of staying physically active gave Brian the motivation and the tools he needed in order to convince him to tackle his first Spartan Race.

“Several colleagues and I signed up, showed up and completed the TriState New Jersey Super Spartan. It was about 8 miles long and it took me about 3 ½ hours to complete. It was physically and mentally challenging, but when it was over, I felt a real sense of accomplishment. After the race, I noticed some people were walking around with a different medal than the one I was given. I asked one of my fellow racers what it was and he described to me the Spartan Trifecta, and what he did to earn this medal. As I walked away I thought to myself what a great “gift” to give my parents.”

Brian didn’t really know how this was going to come to fruition. At this point in the year, there were only 3 months left and opportunities to check off the list what he needed were scarce. The day following the NJ Super, he registered for the Sprint at Citizen’s Bank Park that was only 3 weeks later. After that, a trip to South Carolina proved to seal his promise to his parents.

“It was a long, cold 13 miles that took over 5 hours to complete. Given the cold temperatures and frigid water, there were a few moments during the race when my legs cramped up so bad it made it extremely difficult to keep running; I did have a secret “weapon”. All I had to do was look down and there was my wristband with an old photo of my mom and dad sealed inside. It was caked with mud and I could barely see the photo, but it was enough to keep me going. Someone was going to have to chop my legs off for me to stop. I was doing this for them, and I said to myself, I’m not going to stop because my parents sacrificed so much for me that it would be a disgrace to their memory if I just didn’t keep pushing forward. I have to admit, when that race was over, and I crossed the finish line I was cold, soaked and tired, but really didn’t care.  Sixty days prior I set out to complete all three Spartan races in 60 days as a gift for my mother and father and when the Beast was conquered, I had accomplished my goal. It was a great day!”

Reflecting on what he sees in his life and in his line of work, he knows that the physical, while easy to see on the outside, is also very important on this inside whether it be the body or the mind.

“Most people think fitness and health is about having a six-pack, big biceps and looking good in a swimsuit. Health and fitness is about much more than appearance. It’s about having energy and vitality, endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility –the complete package. As a nutritionist and fitness advocate I find it very disturbing to see the impact of physical inactivity, particularly on our youth. Playing outdoors and being physically active has taken a backseat to cell phones, video games and TV. There are so many kids who can’t pass a basic physical fitness test, and live in an environment where physical activity is not encouraged. I know I like to challenge myself by training with people that are half my age, rather than being complacent with being able to keep up with people my own age. I credit my fitness with helping me get through the many physical and emotional challenges I’ve faced.”

Brian now intends to honor the memory of his parents with a Trifecta every year. Not put off with the various horror stories, myths and legends about the venue of Mount Killington in Vermont, he embraces the idea that the event is there to try and break him.

“I’m planning on completing the Vermont Spartan Beast in 2014. I’ve heard about how incredibly difficult and challenging the course was last year for the World Championship, but I never let anything stop me from accomplishing my goals before, so I’m not going to start now. I’ll be 46 years old in July, so I’m not sure how many more “good” years I have left. I have no plans to slow down any time soon, so as long as my mind says yes, I’ll figure out how to get my body to follow!”

Thankful for what Spartan Race has done, Brian has become a new man. New in that he now has a channel, a conduit to which he can aim the gamut of emotions with him into a positive.

“Spartan Race has been a great way for me to turn my pain and sadness into strength and fortitude. Life is challenging, and there are so many obstacles along the way. We must meet those obstacles head on, as doing so makes you stronger and able to push forward. We’re all going to stumble and, on occasions even fall down. What matters is how quickly you get back up and push forward. We must surround ourselves with those we love most and treasure each and every day. At 45 years old, I’m not sure how long I can keep racing.”

“In memory of my loving mother and father.  Thank you Spartan Race!”

See you at the finish line…

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All those stories you hear about the course at Vermont are true. There’s a reason Spartan Race’s home is in the mountains of Killington. There are runs and there are trails and that’s all very cute, but when it comes to the absolute premier place to really test your mettle, the Beast – and of course, the Ultra Beast – in Joe De Sena’s back yard is where you need to come.

As such, this is why the World Championship race is such a special event. The course, when running it, feels like it makes absolutely no sense. Why are you constantly going upwards? The laws of physics state that surely at some point, you have to go down? But it never feels that way. Almost the entire course is on either an incline or a minimal decline, which further begs the question, how the heck is there a lake in the middle of it? Yes, you’ll get wet. Why are you surprised? This is not a jolly 5K. Look out for one of the hardest obstacles on the circuit there. You’ll know it when you see it. Don’t worry, there’s a burpee station not far away. Get comfortable, you’ll be there a while.

Also be prepared for everything to be scaled up just a notch or two. Everything will seem longer, heavier or colder. There’s a reason for that. But is it actually that way, or are the mountains playing with you? Remember that mental resilience is every bit as important as physical strength.

The World Championship Race will naturally attract the finest trail runners, speed hikers and even Olympic athletes to the event. With people from England, Australia, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Italy and numerous other countries all vying for the enormous prize pool, it’s easy to understand why this event is the carrot dangling on the end of a very long, painful and punishing stick. No pain, no gain, right?

With the biggest, BADDEST Beast of the year comes the biggest cash prize purse in all of Obstacle Racing! The Vermont hosted World Championship Beast will award over $300,000 in cash prizes. Top Male and Female Finishers, Top Points in the Series, and Age Group awards will be dispersed to those who earn the spotlight for their accomplishments.

Get out there and claim your stake! The awards will be grand and that feeling when you cross the finish line even grander.

You won’t want to miss this! See you at the World Championship finish line.

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Jim MacLaren was an outstanding athlete at Yale University, especially in lacrosse and football. Running was a something of a gift of his, but after a motorcycle accident in 1985, he lost his left leg below the knee and nearly died. Remarkably, he went on not only to recover, but to run a marathon in 3 hours and 16 minutes and to complete the Hawaiian Ironman in 10 hours and 42 minutes.

However, his resilience would be tested again in 1993 when, during the Orange County Triathlon, a van hit him during the cycle portion of the race and he collided with a sign post, rendering him a quadriplegic.

A few members of the endurance sports community raised funds so that he could buy a vehicle – a van – that he could drive with his hands. This fundraiser raised far more than expected and from this drive, the Challenged Athletes Foundation was born and to date has grown so big that it has raised over $53 million in aiding athletes with similar physical challenges continue or progress in active sporting life. 

Today, Spartan Race announced its official charity partnership with Challenged Athletes Foundation.

“When you meet a CAF athlete, you can’t help and feel their determination to face their adversity with pride and a smile….this is inspiring beyond belief” said Joe De Sena, Founder and CEO of Spartan Race. “We see challenged athletes on our course more and more; we are not only honored to assist in raising funds for CAF but also happy to have a partner that shares in our philosophy that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.”

To suggest that CAF changes people’s lives would be an understatement. Supporting all walks of life from wounded troops to children and first responders, CAF has it covered. In actual fact, Challenged Athletes Foundation supported 33% of the USA Paralympic Team in Sochi for the 2014 winter games, in which they won 18 medals, two of which were gold.

Another feather in the CAF cap is its program, Operation Rebound. This program is the premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities.  It provides unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment, training, competition expenses, sports clinics and mentoring activities. This helps troops and first responders to harness the healing power of sport, whether the goal is podium gold or riding a bike around the block with their kids.

This partnership, which starts today, will see Spartan Race raise funds for CAF through various means including the online registration pages, event activations and various media and marketing campaigns. Naturally, raising awareness and funding of the charity and those it helps is the main intention of the partnership. Spartan Race is very excited to share the news that CAF will coordinate not only grant presentations at a selected number of Spartan Race events, but will help in bringing athletes to the events to compete.

So far, just from that one small fundraiser to buy a van, CAF has gone on to raise some $53 million, has helped with  over 9,500 funding requests across not just all states of America, but in dozens of countries, too.

CAF’s signature event – The San Diego Triathlon Challenge – last year attracted over 5,000 visitors and boasted a fantastic 1 mile swim, 44 mile ride and 10 mile run for the competitors to test their mettle.

“It was an important goal in seeking a charity partner to find an organization that was aligned with our mission to change people’s lives through physical activity” said Coleen McManus, Charity Development Director at Spartan.

So we’d like the Spartan Race community to welcome Challenge Athlete Foundation to the family and urge you to check out their website here.

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Last year, Spartan Race was embraced by the infinite warmth and hospitality of Kalispell. The inaugural Spartan Sprint that year will forever be remembered by not just the mountains, trees and views that just wouldn’t quit, but also by the generosity and friendliness of the community that welcomed Spartan racers from across the country into its heart.

This is why Spartan Race is so excited to return to Flathead Lodge Road and do it all over again. Arguably the most scenic Sprint on the schedule, but by no means the easiest. Many argued that Montana belied its beauty and hid one of the hardest – and therefore “ugliest” – Sprints in 2013. Remember that the terrain is there to break you. It’s beautiful, but it’s still your enemy.

Never was the term “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” more apt. Study your history, folks.

So what to expect? Hills. Lots of hills. They never seem to end, but it’s balanced out beautifully with that fantastic, lush smell of the trees as they wave to the gentle zephyrs that dance through the branches. Weather-wise, you can expect highs of around the mid 60’s, while lows can give you a sharp slap with a cheeky 39 degrees. Pack accordingly, as it can be a bit of a lottery. You didn’t expect this to be easy now, did you?

There are plenty of hotels to choose from if accommodation is proving to be a headache for you. In Kalispell you have the likes of Best Western, Hilton Garden, Aero Inn and countless others. Some of these hotels may even welcome Spartan Racers with a slight discount, although you’d have to check with them to be sure.

But given that you’ve traveled all the way to Montana, why not savor one or two tastes of the cultural stew that simmers away there? Check out this link for a site that will guide you through Kalispell’s downtown, including the museums, historical interest and what’s going on.

All that running around and rolling through mud mixed with forest debris will make you hungry and as such, you’ll need to know where to eat. Well, you are absolutely spoilt for choice. A quick check on Tripadvisor.com lists nearly 140 in Kalispell and there are no excuses for somewhere to replace everything you burnt off, or, should you need to carb-up the day before.

Are the kids with you? Well how about you take them to Family Fun Center in Kalispell? With Lazer Tag, bowling, inflatables, and everything in between, you can watch the kids wear themselves out and give you a quiet night as they recover. Check out this link that will give you all the information you need. Playing in a Bounce Zone with various inflatable shapes counts as Spartan training, doesn’t it?

This fine town also boasts a number of casinos if you feel that your luck is in. Why not try out a poker room or spin the roulette wheel?

A vast number of bars are also available, so there are no excuses for boredom when the race is over. Check here for a list to get you started!

All in all, if you miss this gem of a race, don’t say we didn’t warn you. One of the most underrated races on the circuit is offering you its hand. It’s down to you to accept and Spartan on.

See you at the finish line…

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