John Yatsko doesn’t have a smartphone, doesn’t care for computers and sleeps under the trees the night before a big race. He’s no frills, no big show and all drive. He’s also the newest addition to the Spartan Race Pro Team.

Coming from nowhere to blaze an impressive trail of podium placings and courses that begged him for mercy, the runner from Flagstaff, Arizona is a fierce competitor with a no-holds-barred attitude is aiming his sights high and doesn’t have any distractions.

“I try to waste as little time as possible on the internet, which isn’t hard since I don’t own a computer or smart phone. I really don’t care what people have to say about the sport. I see a lot of chest pounding and machoism, but few serious athletes. Let the talkers have the internet – I’ll be up on the mountain.”

This focused determination from the long distance runner has already yielded many impressive results. His footprints are on the Spartan Race podium any time he is found at a race, but what is most surprising about him is that he never aimed to be on the Pro Team. Winning Spartan Races was merely his way of paying student debt. He replies honestly, “My aim from the start has been to win Vermont and pay off my student loans, but making the team is an added plus.”

He continues, “I am very hesitant to accept any kind of sponsorship. Accepting support from a company as a sponsored athlete carries with it the expectation of promoting that company and usually helping them to sell some kind of material product. I am decidedly not a salesman and have no interest in promoting consumer culture any more than I have to.

“Working with Spartan Race is different though. As a company, they don’t seem nearly so profit-driven and they’re not asking me to push any product on anyone. I have seen firsthand what an effect these races can have on people’s lives, middle-age women losing 100lbs in training, that sort of thing. Our values seem to be in close alignment, so signing a contract with Spartan feels like a partnership rather than a sell-out.

“I was also surprised at how welcoming the Spartan community has been to a newcomer in the sport, particularly the other top athletes. Signing with the Pro Team feels like making the roster for the first time in college (I was cut my first seven seasons).”

Bouncing back from these cuts shows the resilience and determination of the man whose background lies in running. “Up until the Austin race with Hobie, I wasn’t actually training for Spartan Races – I was training for ultra-marathons. After that, I decided to put trail racing on hold for a while and focus exclusively on OCR. So my training has changed considerably since then.

“I incorporate a lot more obstacle-specific training into my regimen now, with the largest emphasis on sandbags, bucket carries, and tractor pulls. Although, I still maintain my aerobic fitness with a good long run each week and a high emphasis on vertical gain.”

John Yatsko is a man with determination and the drive to win. We’ll be sure to see him in Vermont. He’s upped his game and may have what its take to find himself a cozy spot on the World Championship podium.

We’ll just have to wait and see. See you at the finish line John!

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Would it be fair to assume that having the opportunity to get something extra is a good thing?

Say, you expect ABC, but all of a sudden, D, E and F are there, wouldn’t you want to try those, too? Well Spartan Race believes that offering just that little bit more is something that all Spartan racers would like to embrace, and as such, we’re adding dates to already existing venues.

In September, when we come to Chicago, we’ll have a Super and a Sprint over that weekend. In October when we visit Carolinas, there’ll be a Sprint and a Beast. 

But that’s not all. Sacramento has a Sprint as well as a Super and we’ve also added another date to the event in Dallas. There’ll be a Beast and a Sprint for you to get your teeth stuck into. Go on! Take a bite!

Here are the updated races:

Chicago – September 27th – Super
Chicago – September 28th – Sprint

Carolinas – October 25th – Beast
Carolinas – October 26th – Super

Sacramento – October 25th – Super
Sacramento – October 26th – Sprint

Dallas – November 1st – Beast
Dallas – November 2nd – Sprint

If you needed more options to fulfill your Trifecta, then this will help you. Perhaps you’re even aiming a little higher? Some of you are going for Double and even Triple Trifectas! We can only stand back and admire the tenacity and focus you seem to possess. AROO!

With the addition of these extra races, you can now convince family and friends that feel they might not be ready for a Super or a Beast, to try out a Sprint. Once that mud and water hits their legs and the dirt goes under the fingernails, they’ll understand what you already know.

Why not run with these first timers and guide them along?

Click on any of the links above and sign up today for extra races and the opportunity to not only get more race time under your belt, but more medals, more mud and perhaps best of all, the chance to run with someone and finally introduce them to something you could never explain with words.

Sometimes you just have to get under that barbed wire or up that rope to truly understand. Of course, there’s one sure fire way of “getting it.” You’ll know at the finish line.

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Spartan Race Logo Spartan.com Spartanrace.com Reebok Spartan If you’re from Pennsylvania, chances are you are already Spartan tough, just have a look at these eight signs that you’re a Pennsylvanian Spartan.

1. If there’s someone at the gym in a Redskins or Cowboys shirt, you WILL out-lift, out-jump and out-swim anything he or she does. And joggers wearing a Redskins or Cowboys shirt are just ASKING for a race.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint

2. You only carry cheesesteaks in your pack/ruck, usually at night close to 0300 as that is the optimum cheesesteak time of day.
3. When you see a staircase you absolutely must sprint to the top with your arms in a V, while humming the Eye of the Tiger.
Philadelphia Spartan Race Sprint4. Every single one of your runs passes at least 3 Wawa’s.Philadelphia Sparan Race Sprint Teamwork5. Your favorite workout song of all time is “High Hopes.”
6. You know precisely how many burpees a Tastykake requires.
Pennsylvania Spartan Race Palmerton Blue Ridge Mountains7. You only want Yuengling as your free beer. If that’s not available, you ask for Wooder Ice.
Pennsylvania Spartan Race Sprint Palmerton PA Finish
8. Even when it seems to be gloomy, it’s always sunny in Philadelphia.
So whether or not you are from Pennsylvania sign up for Spartan Sprint coming to Pennsylvania July 12th and we’ll see you at the finish line!

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By Pro Team Member Tiffanie Novakovich

One of the main aspects of the Spartan Race that is hammered home time after time is that if you choose to take part, you should expect the unexpected. You can watch past videos, you can check out the dozens of online photo albums and you could even talk to experienced racers. It will give you a vague idea of what to expect. Bring those expectations to the start line and you’ll immediately be on the back foot. If the race isn’t what you were expecting, the terrain wasn’t what you thought it would be or the obstacles are not how you envisioned them, you were not prepared for the unexpected.

Bearing that in mind, the inaugural Connecticut Spartan event, held in the beautiful town of Uncasville, is now in the books, with medals around the necks of thousands of competitors.  Hosted at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, the race seemed to stay more true to the resort’s lavish atmosphere, with just a modicum of Spartan torture.

The course started and ended in the resort parking lot, between zig-zagging through the parking garage, along flat stretches of small-town streets and highways, and through picturesque leaf-covered trails.  The course was mostly flat and favored speed runners, totally flying in the face of some events where mountains, hills and incline after painful incline tested the Spartans.

However,  many staple Spartan obstacles were present, including over & under walls, tire flip, atlas carry, rope climb, slick wall, barbed wire, herculean hoist, and traverse wall. Conspicuously absent was mud!  The barbed wire crawl was shorter than what is considered “normal” and was on grass. This surprised many racers who thought they knew what to expect. The water pits under the rope climb and the slick wall were lined with tarps, preventing any grime on the rope or mud in the eyes obstacles.

The course was no cake-walk though. The sand in the buckets/bags at the Herculean Hoist was saturated with water, making the obstacle significantly and surprisingly heavier than usual.  Several top racers failed this usually doable obstacle, resulting in unexpected burpees near the end of the race. Complacency and thinking you know what to expect again catching people out.

In the end, racers enjoyed a spectacular scenery in a beautiful place, but were still tested to their limits on a course that was a little different than most Spartan events, but just as grueling. In the men’s elite race, Matthew Kempson ran away with a narrow victory of only 7 seconds over Junyong Pak. Elliott Megquier completed the podium in third place. On the women’s side, Elise Fugowski bested the field by over two minutes, with Karlee Whipple finishing second and Orla Walsh in third.

As with all Spartan races, you never know what you might or might not encounter when you sign up, show up and never give up.

But one thing’s for sure: You’ll know at the finish line!

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Arguably one of the most anticipated, popular, and well-visited venues of the Spartan Race calendar is the glorious surroundings of Vail Lake, Temecula in Southern California. Boasting not only mountains and hills that simply refuse to quit, but a range of different types of terrain that will constantly keep you guessing. It’s the ideal place to test Spartans that are serious about their goals. Rocky trails, brush trails, sand, grass, swampy areas, even the beautiful lake from which it takes its name; even if you think you know the venue, it will always throw up surprises to make sure you don’t  – or can’t – become comfortable. Best of all, while all of this is going on, the famous Californian sun will kiss you while those wine valley zephyrs dance over your skin.

Running across the landscape of Temecula is a joy.

But priorities for the travelling Spartan are, as always the first thing one must consider – accommodation. Good rest the day before. Temecula is nestled north of San Diego, but much closer, you’ll find that it’s sandwiched between Hemet and Escondido. As such, you have the choice of three places all well within spitting distance of the venue that has ample parking, regardless of whether you are aiming for the Beast on Saturday or the Sprint on Sunday. Maybe you’re considering the 12-Hour Hurricane Heat. Either way, you’re covered.

One thing that is a nailed-down certainty is that after burning hundreds and possibly thousands of calories over the picturesque scenery, you’ll want to eat heartily .Thankfully, Temecula has more than its fair share of restaurants and diners. But as any knowledgeable Spartan will appreciate, Temecula is famous for something a little different. Set in the heartland of wine country, it would be remiss to not sample what it has to offer. When in Rome, as the expression goes. There are many places to see and visit in the area and thankfully, what could be a wealth of information that actually saturates to the point of confusion, is actually neatly arranged in this website right here. Check out the various activities, too, as well as places to stay, eat, and of course, tickle those taste buds with a nice glass of wine or two.

Of course, if wine isn’t your thing and you much prefer shorts, or maybe just a good old-fashioned beer, there are a wide range of places where your thirst can be quenched. Check out the range of places right here and choose which sounds best to you, based upon the reviews of past patrons and customers.  If you’d prefer to keep up with the big game, there are a range of Sports bars, too. Maybe you just want to shake your stuff after claiming your finishers medal and who could blame you? Check out this link for places to celebrate at. The folk of Temecula like to party, so why not join in with the festivities?

Temecula encompasses all types of terrain.

Regardless of whether you prefer the grape or the grain, the responsibility of any Spartan remains the same. If you’re drinking, don’t drive. Use one of the taxis in the area that will make sure you get back to your accommodation safely and without being a bother to road users or pedestrians alike. Remember that when you wear that finishers shirt, you set an example that other athletes look up to!

Remember that Temecula is renowned for having those warm winds whip up the sides of those hills, bringing the sand and dust with it, so prepare for a long, warm, dry race. Consider wearing a camelback as, while there will be water stations, some folk may find the need for more fluids than others. Remember to never leave a fellow racer wanting. Share fluids, gels and salt packets. No Spartan left behind.

See you at the finish line!

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By Elite Spartan Racer Cody Moat

Hills that don’t quit? Check. Relentless sun baking the venue? Check? Breathtaking scenery from the tops of aforementioned hills? Absolutely. The occasional curve ball thrown in to keep Spartan racers on their toes? Ah yes – we must be in Utah again.

Spartan Race’s annual visit to Soldier Hollow – venue of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games – is always a red letter day on the Spartan calender, so it’s no surprise to see the event village and starting corral heaving with smiling faces, fists in the air and the echoes of “AROO!” reverberating around the hills.

Cody Moat is all smiles at the start line.

The Utah Beast started with a bang when John Yatsko started fast from the beginning. I knew he was going to go out fast and push the pace because that’s the way he likes to race. I was happy that I would be able to go out fast without having to push the pace myself. So I started out on John’s shoulder and within the first mile we had started up the mountain and had gotten a substantial lead on the field. I knew judging from the pace that it would be a battle the whole way.
And it was a battle through the first 4-5 miles at-least up until we hit the spear throw. John came into the spear throw first and picked up the spear and hit. I think maybe I was too concerned about whether he would hit or miss instead of about my own spear throwing or maybe I was a little  over-confident. My spear grazed the edge of the hay bale and broke out without sticking. So I did burpees while John ran away unscathed. Then throughout the rest of the race, John and I stayed pretty equal the whole way. So what should have been a great race was quickly turned sour with the spear throw. John finished in 1:41. and I finished in 1:43 and 3rd place went to Glenn Racz, who also brought an incredible element to the race. I would like to congratulate John Yatsko on an incredible victory.

The female elites also saw a dramatic race, with Alex Roudayna de la Huerta Susilla eventually managing to get a 3 minute gap on Rose Wetzell-Sinnet, with Jenny Tobin grabbing a well-deserved 3rd place after running an awesome race. With so many ebbs and flows in the race, it was hard to see a winner at certain sections throughout the race.

In the event village, it was all about the green medal, as some were proudly displaying their first and in some cases, their second Trifecta of the year. Muddy high-fives all around, as well as the obligatory muddy hugs. For some, it was their first time at a Spartan Race and choosing to start with the Utah Beast is a commendable feat. One racers at the finish line were overheard saying, “I’m broken and my body hates me, but I feel fantastic. How does that even work?”

As ever, the Spartans of the future rocked their stuff with a testing Kids Race. With the younger Spartans in the community growing ever more excited about emulating what they see from the adults, it’s comforting to know that there is another generation of  those pushing themselves.

I would like to thank Spartan for putting on such a great event.

See you at the next Spartan Race! 

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Meet Brian Duncanson.

One of the very few that initially sat around Joe Desena’s kitchen table with a handful of others when the idea of Spartan Race was born. Adventurer, tennis player, sports fan, all-round good guy. At the beginning of this year, he took his first steps on a trip that he neither asked for, nor wanted.

“It was back in November when I was the Race Director for the Miller Park event, then went to Salt Lake City for a tourism trade show, then almost right after to Fenway for the race. I could tell something was off, but it seemed much like a typical cold.  It stuck around through Christmas time and I was starting to get concerned. I started visiting a clinic to get some medicine and to have my lungs x-rayed. Everything was coming up negative, but the cold was not going away.”

It was towards the end of January that Brian Duncanson noticed things were a little off. Even his wife had commented that he had bags under his eyes and had bad breath. He was wearing a much paler complexion at times, too. A routine visit in the early afternoon of January 23rd to the dentist where both he and the tech noticed a lot of bleeding from the gums set alarm bells ringing.

“I happened to have a dentist appointment at the end of January where the illness boiled over and showed itself. This finally led to the blood test that showed that my white blood cell count was 10x the normal level and I needed to take immediate action or be at risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

A whirlwind of a visit to a clinic, a blood test and by 5pm the same day, Brian was reeling from the news that he had Leukemia.

A man with no history of cancer in the family, who ate well and was a veteran of endurance racing and love of sports, Brian wasn’t who you’d expect to be the target of such a horrific disease. But there he was, dealing with the news that would drastically alter his life.

“It was amazing how quickly a simple blood test popped up the result, it took us a while to process the shock. Even more to be told I had Leukemia as it’s something most people just don’t ever consider. With the results as high as they were, we drove immediately to the hospital to begin treatment. No one said it at the time, but I was likely within a few days of having a major health event.”

Before he knew what was happening, he was the newest resident at Florida Hospital, beginning his battle against cancer and taking his first tentative steps into chemotherapy. He quickly found, however, that his battles weren’t confined to just the disease. The crushing monotony of hospital life as a patient quickly began testing him. He even made comparisons to the film The Shawshank Redemption.

“Staying in a hospital is very much like a prison. Your room is your cell, plenty of time to be alone with your thoughts which are often dark. The nurses are like the guards, while they’re trying to help you, they’re constantly watching and interrupting you. Some are nice and others are more robotic. Time moves slowly here and frequently you don’t know when you will get out. Even the food reminds me of what it would be like in prison. Poor food served on trays. But perhaps the most direct parallel is the fact that you take on a new pattern of living, similar to what a soldier deployed overseas would experience. If it’s long enough, you become accustomed to that life and it becomes hard to reintegrate back into society, particularly if you carry over some disability back into your life.”

As the first round of chemotherapy started, Brian eventually began to understand and cope with the daily white blood cell count review, the sleep interruptions, and his bag stand. He not only had to learn to walk with it so it could continue to feed directly into his veins, but had become “friends” with it, even jokingly pointing out that he sometimes looked like Neo from The Matrix films.

On Tuesday February 4th, the first round was complete. While he could now look forward to cooked meals at home as opposed to relying on the generosity of his family to bring things in for him, going home after spending the previous 25 days in his “Shawshank” life, he knew it was bittersweet.

“I had to close my eyes a few times on my way home from the hospital. It felt great once I arrived home, but it was strange going out in public and seeing people for the first time after my diagnosis. It was easy to get into the groove of being home, but there was always the next treatment hanging over your head. Each trip back to the hospital was harder.”

What was also hard was the financial strain that was beginning to take it’s toll on him and his family. Friends organized a tennis day, with various fundraising elements added, but even with their huge support and help and including the insurance, Brian still had a $20,000 hole to plug.

Brian then went backwards and forwards many times throughout his 2nd and 3rd rounds of treatment. It was around now that his mental grit was tested. Waiting on results, tests to be taken, information from medical staff all took its toll. Waiting on tests, waiting on results and even waiting on individuals to get back to him with information that would allow him to get on with things, whether it was home visits or it was further procedures.

With his white blood cell counts high and favorable, it was around this time that Brian was dealt another unfavorable hand. Doctors began giving contradicting advice regarding how the treatment ball was to continue rolling. It was a choice – a gamble – that Brian finally took after seeking further advice. Would he continue with chemo, or take the bone marrow transplant that he was urged to.

“My decision came down to finishing the four rounds of chemo and going on with life, or tacking on another 6-months of treatment. Both feel somewhat like a gamble because there’s no clear path to a cure. I’m literally betting on which approach might work best”, he admits.

“I’m at the beginning of the marrow transplant. There is still risk with the graph not taking. With Graph vs. Host Disease and then there is still the possibility of a relapse. All of them are bad. In the best case, the next five to six weeks pass uneventfully and my new immune system will be ready to fight on its own. For me it’s three weeks in the hospital, 2-3 months of three times per week doctor visits to keep my blood levels proper. As time goes on, the visits will get further and further apart.”

Brian still has a fight on his hands, but with his family, friends and Spartan community behind him, this terrible disease is picking fights with the wrong person.

Click here to see how you can help Brian in his fight.

Brian has gone on to write about his decision in his own words and goes on to urge others to join a registry of possible bone marrow donors. All it requires is a cheek swab and takes minutes to do.

“Besides wanting to build a successful company, we stated early on in the company’s development that we wanted to change people’s lives.  This started as a pure fitness goal, but then evolved quickly into a set of principles known as the Spartan Code. It was a cool way to personify the ancient warriors and allow people to apply this code to their life’s obstacles.  It’s been amazing to see how many people identified with the brand and made profound changes in their lives. Those stories are always the most interesting for me.”

“As I sit here in my hospital room awaiting stem cells from someone I don’t even know, I think about what motivated them. My donor was identified through the bone marrow registry and all I know about this person is that he is a 22-year-old US citizen. A pretty youthful age to have such philanthropic ideals. Was someone he knew touched by Leukemia? He’s obviously a youthful, strong-spirited person, with great awareness of the world beyond himself. And there it is – the Code. Then I start to wonder if this person has ever been to a Spartan Race and how great it would be if Spartan had caused a change in him that lead to this selfless act.”

“No matter what changes you are striving to make in your life, please allow me to encourage all of you to SPARTAN UP and join the bone marrow database. The larger the number of donors, the better odds for everyone. It’s a simple cheek swap and little time.”

Bone Marrow Transplant

After much discussion with my medical team, I made the decision to proceed with a bone marrow transplant. As previously discussed, I have a type of Leukemia called AML. When the doctors run initial tests they run your cytogentics, which are indicators of abnormal cell behavior and thus predict if your cancer will relapse. The cytogenetics sort out three classes: Favorable – who do not receive transplants; unfavorable – who must receive transplants; and Intermediate risk who have been a point of controversy. Some Oncologists feel that people with intermediate risk AML can obtain long-term survival with chemo only treatments. Cellular doctors believe intermediate risk requires a transplant.

I should clear up at the front of a Bone Marrow Transplant and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant. Bone marrow is obtained by aspirating the marrow from the pelvis bone. This is the process the doctors use to verify remission in cancer patients as well. Local anesthesia is given, but it’s a slightly painful procedure and a few days of recovery time.

The good news is that Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant (PBSCT) is much less invasive and it is the preferred method of donating for blood cancers. PBSCT is a method of collecting the stem cells from the bloodstream called apheresis. The donor is given medicine to increase the blood levels, then the blood is drawn out of a large vein, goes through a machine that removes the stem cells, then the blood is returned to the donor. The process takes 4 to 6 hours.

Finding a match for the transplant is typically one of the hardest parts of the process. Siblings are typically tested first, but each one of them has only a 25% of matching. There’s only about a 50% chance for causations to find a match through the world-wide registry. That number goes down to 7% if you’re African American. Your health care professional can scan the database once they develop your Human leukocyte-associated antigens (HLA) matching through some expensive blood testing. The better the match, the least likely complications will develop like graph-vs-host disease.

Once you’ve found your match, there are still several weeks of work to do. The donor gets to pick their donation date, and your schedule will be set once that date is defined. You still have to pass a battery of tests on your heart, lungs, and a final marrow biopsy to make sure you’re ready to begin the process.

Check in at the hospital to begin with a central line insertion that will serve to draw blood from your body and insert medicines. After being treated with high-dose anticancer drugs and anti-rejection drugs (one called the Rabbit), then the patient receives the stem cells through an intravenous (IV) line just like a blood transfusion. This part of the transplant takes 1 to 5 hours. All measurements are taken from this Day “0.” You can expect to be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks after Day 0 to ensure the engraftment has taken place and that the new cells are creating your new blood. You will continue to follow up closely with your doctor for up to 100 days after the transplant to verify and correct any blood levels.

If you can make it one year without a relapse your chances are 55% it will never come back. At two years, it’s 70%, and at three years, it’s 80+%. But suffering a relapse before those time markers typically spell a negative prognosis.

The entire process is only possible based on the large registries that are helping to match up potential donors to those in need. In the U.S., Bethematch.org has all the information for people looking to donate marrow. It’s only a cheek swab to get into the registry with only about a 1 in 500 chance that you’ll match with someone who needs your marrow. People 18-44 are most desirable.

Read Brian’s blog as he fights cancer right here.

 

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Spartans like a challenge. Of that, there is no doubt. That’s why you are here, reading this page and preparing yourself mentally and physically for the next race. Spartan Race will always continue to push boundaries and that’s why we’re challenging those who are aiming for a Trifecta, to do it in one day.

That’s right. Think you can run a Beast, a Super and a Sprint all in one day? Then Ohio is the location for you. Held at The Wilds Safari Park and Conservation Centre, the terrain will not only be testing, but beautiful, too.

As you grapple with the obstacles and gnarly surfaces with that goal in mind, stay focused and that holy grail of a Trifecta in a day could be yours! If you need a heads-up of the day, here’s a full guide of what’s in store and how you can set about tackling what could be a very exhausting day for you. But that’s what the training is for, right?

Naturally, planning is key. Establish yourself a base at one of the many hotels and places of accommodation Columbus has to offer. Expedia has a great site that means you can filter your search to best suit your needs. Additionally, it also lists local points of interest, should the inclination take you to visit some historic landmarks or other places to see.

The venue is only a short car ride away from the city of Columbus, whether it be your own vehicle, taxi or hire car. Despite the huge sprawling event area, the road and traffic network in the area is very good. Naturally, the taxi option will also come in very useful for when you accept that free beer at the finish line! Spartans don’t drink and drive; they set an example!

Regardless of whether you feel like attacking the Trifecta or not, one decision that you may like to consider is making a longer stay of the area. Columbus is teeming with life and vibrancy and it would well be worth taking in another day or two to take in this beautiful city.

Dining isn’t an issue as restaurants are heavy in number and the range of choices is wide. By using this site put out by Urban Spoon, you can adjust your search to the specifics that tickle your fancy. Whether it be a steakhouse, pizza or one of the many vegetarian or vegan options, there is something to satisfy everyone’s palate.

Of course, celebrating your finish – or finishes, as the case may be – is only natural, so it will be useful to take note of the reviews on Yelp in the area. Find a bar near your hotel or wherever you are staying and you can check out the nearest and most reasonable or appealing settings to toast your latest addition to the medal hanger.

But the adults can’t have all the fun. If the kids are with you and still have energy to burn up after conquering the Kids Race, why not treat them to a visit to one of the amusement parks in the area? Fun for all the family and a pretty sure-fire way to get them exhausted for the evening, meaning you get a good night’s sleep!

Of course, you may be without children or younger ones, which means that if bars and other types of nightlife aren’t your thing, you could always see if Lady Luck is by your side and check out a casino. Remember to gamble responsibly! But when all is said and done, if you’ve finished a Spartan Race, it’s pretty much a guarantee that your body will by a little sore and you may have developed all manner of knots and pulls in those muscles. Why not treat yourself to a massage? Crossing a Spartan Race finish line is an award in itself, but why not indulge yourself with a prize of a nice, long pampering? You know you deserve it!

Whatever you decide to do at Ohio in terms of taking on all three levels, or whether you are happy with less than that, have a great time, watch your footing and we’ll see you at the finish line!

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Could there possibly be a more glorious background for a stadium Spartan Sprint in the US?

When you’re on the course, you can drink in the view of the San Francisco Bay to the east, historic Alcatraz to the North and the epic Golden Gate Bridge a little over 2 miles away. You’d have to pinch yourself to remind you that you’re on the clock. You’re being timed, so savor it by all means, but keep moving!

Getting ready for this race will have you making sure that steps – lots and lots of climbing steps – will be part of your on-going training. Aside from that, we won’t tell you a great deal other than to be ready for the usual and perhaps the not-so usual Spartan shenanigans. Spartans are prepared for anything!

This will be a fantastic opportunity to visit the beautiful city of San Francisco and naturally, for those that are planning a road trip, accommodation is the first point of order, so make sure to hit up TripAdvisor’s list of around 240 hotels in the area. Be sure to refine your search to the means that suit you best. Whether it be a cheap and cheerful stay or whether you think you deserve something a little more luxurious, there’ll be something there for you.

Don’t worry too much about getting around. The metro system will look after you as well as the thousands of taxis in the city. Of course, Joe would expect you to jog to the venue. Spartan up, folks!

But what and where to eat? All those obstacles, steps and perhaps just a few burpees are going to make you hungry. The second dilemma is choosing which of the hundreds of eateries there are in the area will be the ones to feed you. The choice is staggering, so it comes as a very welcome relief that the San Francisco Chronicle has compiled the best 100 places to dine. Check here and you’ll be pleased to see that the restaurants listed include extremely affordable choices, ranging from American to Mexican, Italian to French and even some off-the-beaten-track options like Moroccan and Scandinavian.

Naturally, as a failsafe, one website to keep handy is this one put out by the city themselves. Having handy tabs to use regarding food, accommodation, travel and most things in between, it’s very useful to have. Make a note of it!

While you are there, can you give up the chance to visit the Golden Gate Bridge? Tours are available and any self-respecting selfie fan should surely have this ticked off the list.

And surely any movie buff will want to check out the historic movie scenes and locations. Naturally, Bullitt with Steve McQueen springs to mind. Or how about Mrs Doubtfire – everyone’s favorite scary cross-dressing Irish nanny? Many other films used San Francisco as their backdrop, so be sure to check them out here.

Naturally, two films used the very real location of Alcatraz (“Escape From Alcatraz” and “The Birdman Of Alcatraz”) and if your itinerary includes the time, then you should visit Alcatraz Island. There are many boat tours available.

No visit to San Francisco could be complete without checking two of the most famous streets in America, namely, Filbert Street and Lombard Street. You’ve seen them many times on T.V., why not check them out? Try running up Filbert Street. See how you get on.

Just in case you would like to take in a musical legend while you are there, Tom Petty plays San Francisco the same weekend. See here.

All in all, there is so much to do and so much to see that you’ll rue that there’s only so many hours in a day. One thing we can assure you of is that we’ll be sure to see you at the finish line…

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Run for a Reason!

Tired of just running another race for a medal and t-shirt?  Spartan is providing an opportunity to race for MORE….  Sign up for the Charity Challenge and you can support your favorite charity …oh and you still get the medal, t-shirt and bragging rights!

How do you get involved?  Gather your friends together that want to support a great cause and create a team in that charity’s name for the 10am Charity Challenge Heat on September 21, 2014 in Killington, VT.   In terms of the course itself, expect the usual Spartan shenanigans, but just because it’s for charity, don’t expect the course to be any less challenging. While the course may be a sprint distance at 4 miles or so, there are still all manner of obstacles, terrain and burpees on offer.

A prize pool of $10,000 is up for grabs that will be shared amongst the top teams, so now is the time to sign up and be a part of something special.  Once your team is registered you should start your fundraising page at CrowdRise to start the race to win the prize for top fundraiser.

Last year, teams from all over the country took part in the challenge, raising money for a variety of causes. If the urge grabs you, why not contact these teams and join them for this year?

The team that won last year, Team Livestrong, was led by Iram Leon who has an inoperable brain cancer. Along with his team mates, which included Pro Teamer Alexander Nicholas, Iram’s team won. Recalling the day, Iram said, “We were awarded a check for $2500 which Alexander without hesitation or pause said should be directed to the charities that have helped along the course of my journey. Like with the Spartans, I started pretty poorly along the course on cancer and had to have better more experienced people help guide me on how to do some things better. The Livestrong Cancer navigation center pointed me to Imerman Angels and connected me to someone else who had the same cancer (who while we’ve been in touch we had not met in person until the Spartan in Chicago), they pointed me to Wonders and Worries who provided Kiana counseling about the situation and me on how to share it with her, and together Seton hospital and Livestrong have created a committee which I help with that helps young adult cancer survivors, a group that because of various gets less attention than childhood and old age cancers.”

Also racing was Team Winter, led by Winter Vinecki, the incredible young girl who at only 14 years of age, had already completed numerous long distance events including the Antarctica and Inca Trail marathons. Despite being in the middle of a schedule that saw her run seven marathons on seven continents, she took time out from her busy schedule to take part. Running for her charity Team Winter, inspired by the tragic loss of her father to prostate cancer, she now honors his memory by raising money through incredible feats of endurance including triathlons and marathons. Winter’s story can be seen here.

Naturally many other teams were involved too. Team One Spirit, the Cornfed Spartans (who supported All for Hope Charity) and also Team You Cannot Fail who supported the Boomer Esiason Foundation, all of whom attacked the course with an added sense of urgency.

Don’t miss all the action and of course it’s the ONLY race you can get a yellow finisher’s medal and Charity t-shirt! 
The breakdown of prize money goes like this:

Top 3 fastest teams win for their charity:

1st place = $4,000
2nd place = $2,000
3rd place = $1,000

But we will also award the top 3 fundraisers win for their charity:

1st place = $1,500
2nd place = $1,000
3rd place = $500

So what are you waiting for? Get a team together and we’ll see you in Vermont!

See you at the finish line!

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