By Spartan Pro Team Member: Amelia Boone

It may be short, but don’t call it sweet. There’s nothing quite like the Pacific Northwest, and this weekend all eyes will be on Washougal, WA, as Spartan hosts the Pacific Northwest Spartan Sprint for the third year running.

In previous years, the 3ish-mile, 15-20 obstacle course has been an all-out sprint for the Elite waves, with top finishing times last year in the mid-30 minute range. With an expected length of 4.75 miles this year, what twists and turns and added terrain can we expect from Spartan? Set on one of the most gorgeous motocross courses in the nation, the single track hills and short climbs will test racers legs and lungs.The legendary uphill barbed wire crawl will likely be out in full force, as well as the obstacle gauntlet at the finish line.

Barbedwire Crawl Sprint PacNW Spartan Race Washington WashougalSet to be the third Spartan Race special to be aired on NBC Sports, competition will be stiff as the Elite waves grapple for standing heading into the World Championship. On the men’s side, it looks to be a repeat battle from Pennsylvania a few weeks back, with John Yatsko, Brakken Kraker, and Matt Novakovich squaring off again, with the addition of the newest Spartan Pro Team member, local Chad Trammell, looking to chase them down. For the women, Spartan Pro Team members (and all with Northwest roots) Rose Wetzel-Sinnett, Amelia Boone, Tiffanie Novakovich and Jenny Tobin look to duke it out. All are familiar with this terrain, with this race last year being Rose’s first foray into the beginning of her domination on the Spartan circuit.

Because of the filming, all racers should note that the men’s elite wave will run at 7:30am, and the women will head off at 8:30am. No other waves will be affected.

As always, we’ll see you at the finish line. 

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By Spartan Pro Team Member: David Magida

The Washington, DC Spartan Sprint is in the books, and what a phenomenal race it was. Competitors encountered 4.8 miles of rocky trails, challenging obstacles and mud. Lots and lots of mud. The kind of mud with the consistency of wet peanut butter and clings to the shoes, making the feet slow and heavy.

The event featured a mud pit swim in the middle of the Over, Under, Through obstacle, followed by a long run through a creek bed. Just about a mile in racers encountered a gauntlet including the Inverted Wall, the Heavy Tire Drag, the muddiest barbed wire crawl in recent memory, a cargo net climb and the obstacle that gave people the most trouble all day, the Hercules Hoist.

David Magida First Place Finish Washington DCThe rest of the course was full of rocky, muddy trails with rolling hills, interspersed with a sandbag carry, a rugged tractor pull, and rolling mud pits that were nearly impossible to escape. Factor in a very muddy traverse wall and a spear throw right after and this course was a recipe for many, many burpees.

Spartan Pro Team Athlete, Orla Walsh, finished first in the women’s race, blazing through the course in a time of 53:03. Next across the line were rising star Corinna Coffin (54:31) and Amanda Auger (56:34). This was Orla’s first victory of the season and her 4th podium finish in 2014.

On the men’s side, Spartan Pro Team Athlete and local favorite David Magida crossed the line in first place. Magida completed the course in a time of 42:12 for his 3rd victory of the 2014 season. He was followed by McCauley Kraker  (46:00) and Kevin Donoghue (46:24).

Herc Hoist Spartan Race Sprint Washington DCWith the DC race a wrap, Spartan Race stops next in Washougal, WA for the Pacific NW Sprint this weekend for another NBC Sports televised event.

Think you have what it takes to get your trifecta? Go to www.Spartan.com to get full results and to see what Spartan Super and Beast events are near the DC area.

About the Author: David Magida is a DC native, a member of the Spartan Race Pro Team, and the General Manager of Elevate Interval Fitness. He has run over 60 obstacle races in his career. 

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As Spartan Race continues to grow, we are excited to announce the arrival of another new Pro Team member, Orla Walsh. Never actually believing she would be rubbing shoulders with established names like Amelia Boone and Rose Wetzell-Sinnett, Orla is a racer to be taken very seriously. A remarkable achievement when one considers the past year is her first in OCR.

Of the signing onto the Pro Team she said, To be on the Pro Team can mean many different things to a variety of people. Soon after I started OCR – less than a year ago – I figured out who was who and what athletes were on the Pro Team. I never thought my name would be on the team roster. In the past year I decided to commit my training and workouts towards OCR.  The hard work and dedication I have put in the last year is being slowly showcased in my performances in the races I have competed in.”

“Being a part of the Pro Team makes me want to work harder, train harder, be stronger. I feel so honored to be a part of an amazing group of athletes and hope to continue to grow as an athlete. Making the Pro Team is surely an honor and I will work hard to prove to the team, to Spartan, and all the obstacle racers out there I belong on the team for a long time.”

But she’s not assuming that she’s “made it.” Like a true professional, she’s taking this as a reason to step up the training and not rest on her laurels. With her training background one of being a sprinter, she’s adapting her training, looking at nutrition, adding weights and transitioning her skills into Spartan Races.

Orla’s explosion on the Spartan Race circuit has impressed many.

Bringing this skill set with her to the races has helped Orla podium at a 50% success rate. This incredible stat of landing a podium position in at least one of every two races she puts down to her strengths at short Sprints.

I believe my strengths are the short sprints, downhill running and I am pretty quick on the obstacles. To be honest, I am still learning techniques to get over obstacles quicker, but that will come with time. I couldn’t even climb a rope or do Monkey Bars my first race! My weaknesses are definitely hills and long endurance as I have a 5k background. Even fueling and hydrating during races is all fairly new to me. It has been a great education learning about all these training additions I was never aware of as a short distance runner! I am willing to push myself and get the miles under me I need to race in the future.”

Looking ahead, Orla is hoping to strike up some banter and fun with the other female elites. While competition is clearly the most important factor, the bond of the team makes the whole thing so much more fun. “I’d have to say we are all friendly rivalries!”, laughs the Vermont-born runner. “The women’s elite is an amazing group of talented and super athletic women! Not too long ago, I never thought I would be able to run and hang with these women. I may not be in the lead yet, but I am closing the gap between us.”

What advice does she have for those starting out in Spartan Race? To not listen to the word “quit.”

“For newbies out there…DONT GIVE UP! I went out for my first race with my friends, I had no idea how to climb a rope, monkey bars or rings. I did my 90 Burpees and vowed I would hit the gym and learn how to conquer them. Be strong mentally, love what you are doing, train for the goals you set in front of you. You can achieve your dreams and goals by believing in yourself and getting after it!”

We are excited to have Orla Walsh on the Spartan Pro Team, keep your eyes on her, she’s making big moves and fast.

See you at the finish line, Orla!

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After years of waiting, Washington, DC will finally host a Spartan Race. Well, actually, Maryland will, but the District is buzzing about the opportunity to compete in the “Washington, DC Spartan Sprint.”

The only other time DC had a race this close was the 2012 Super Spartan in Leesburg, VA, an extra long, 10.5-mile course featuring a 400 meter tractor pull and a mile that contained over 30 horse hurdles.

David Magida will look to add to his podium count.

The course this weekend, however, should be quite different. Hosted in Charlotte Hall, MD, the 4-5 mile course is expected to be hot, hilly and full of trail running. But if you’re reading this hoping for some clues as to what to expect this week, don’t hold your breath. Whether we get the twists of a super long tractor pull, an extended log carry, or even a surprise bucket brigade at the end of the course, like we had in Pennsylvania, is to be determined. At Spartan Race, prepare for the unexpected.

The one thing you can expect, of course, is top-notch competition. And this race is no exception. On the women’s side, look for up-and-coming stars Orla Walsh and Corinna Coffin to battle it out for victory. On the men’s side, Brakken Kraker, Elliott Megquier and Kevin Donoghue are prepared to challenge for the win. Stephen Vassallo, fresh off his 3rd place finish on Sunday in Pennsylvania, will be looking to contend for another spot on the podium. And look for DC local David Magida, the champion on Saturday and Sunday from the Atlanta race, to shoot for another victory on his home turf.

After the race Magida will be running the course again with Team Elevate, a group of Spartan Training clients from his Washington, DC training facility, Elevate Interval Fitness, who have spent the last three months preparing with him for this event. For most of them, this will be their first Spartan Race, but they have embraced the challenge and are eager to prove themselves and earn the title of “Spartan.”

Have what it takes to become a Spartan? Sign up now! And check out Spartan Coaching in your area!

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Spartan Race is proud to announce the latest addition to the Spartan Race Pro Team, Chad Trammell. Of 12 races, he has taken podium places 9 times. A highly enviable achievement.

Speaking of his signing onto the team, Chad said, “It feels great! I have so much respect for the athletes on the team, and am very proud to count them as teammates. I’ve always liked the team aspect of running, which many consider to be an individual sport, and it’s the same with OCR. Being part of the Spartan Pro Team gives that extra push, knowing that you’re representing The Spartan Pro Team, the organization, and most importantly everyone out there who races.”

Being on the Pro Team was something he has been working towards for some time. Noticing that he was sometimes finishing ahead of many recognized Elites since his first race in Arizona of 2013, he made the assumption that he’d be picked up immediately. When he wasn’t, his true character shone through and it only fueled him further to dig deeper, push harder and run faster. He understood he needed to prove himself over time. So that is what he did.

Now that he’s on board officially, he rubs his hands with glee, relishing the chance to pick up some friendly rivalries with members of the Pro Team.

“Absolutely!,” he beams, “one of my goals is to beat all the top racers in the sport at least once, and I have been able to best almost everyone at least once, including Hobie Call, Brakken Kraker, David Magida, Max King, James Appleton, Matt Murphy, Glenn Racz, John Yatzko, and Matt Novakovich. The two guys who are still on my list are Hunter McIntyre and Cody Moat, and I’ve come very close to both of them, so I’ll have a little extra motivation next time I’m in a race against them.”

Coming from a background where his strengths were running at pace with endurance, Chad quickly realized that he had weaknesses at some obstacles, especially around the heavy carries, such as the sandbag and bucket brigade. Such was his determination that he now considers them a strength, highlighted by wins in the heavy-obstacle driven race at Colorado and also in Monterey. His next target is to improve on his steep inclines so that he can compete with climbing specialists like Matt Novakovich.

Spartan welcomes Chad Trammell with open arms and looks forward to watching his growth as an athlete and member of the Spartan Pro Team. Congrats on your success so far Chad, we’ll see you at the finish line!

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Discussion came up recently around everyone’s favorite Spartan Race venues. We’ve *ALL* had this conversation, no doubt. But when you sit down and think about it, it’s really not that easy to keep it to a list of just five. Everyone around the office has their own favorites for various reasons, just as racers do. So, in no particular order, here is what we came up with. Our Top 13 Spartan Race venues with some commentary thrown in for fun;

1) Temecula, Southern CaliforniaVail Lake Temecula SoCal Spartan Race

 

Cookie – “It has so many nooks, crannies, little hidden away trails that don’t present themselves unless you go looking for them. It has a lake. A glorious, shimmering, beautifully cold lake that beckons you with a mischievous grin carved across its face. Hills as far as you can see. Terrain? You name it, they’ve got it. So good that it’s the home of an HH12HR, Sprint, Super, and Beast in 2014.”

John – “This is one of my favorites as well. The location of my first Super ever. It was amazing. I remember coming around the hill at mile 7 or so in 2013 thinking I was close to the end only to be greeted by what was essentially a scramble hand over foot to climb up further. I couldn’t believe when Hobie Call finished that race in something like an hour and 13 minutes.”

Tony - “One of the most gorgeous venues I’ve ever seen to date. The hills, the lake, the beautiful weather, the luscious green grass that covers the festival floor. If you are looking for a venue to really soak it all in, this is the one. Not only is the race demanding of all you’ve got but the rest of the venue gives you that reason to stay, hang out and enjoy the most important aspect of it all, the people.”

Jason – My first Spartan Race in 2011. I had just signed on as digital marketer and found myself with a fucking hammer trying to finish obstacles before race time, and breaking down stuff and loading a trailer with Matt M at end. Great hills – my first vision of rugged ridgelines lined with Spartans making their way across the landscape. This was our first Super. It was so brand new. People were like, what the fuck is going on.

2) Palmerton, Pennsylvania

Palmerton PA Spartan Race Sprint Blue Ridge Mountains
Cookie – “For anyone that knows it, let me just say this. The sandbag carry. If you’ve experienced it, then your body will have just sent psychosomatic shivers down your spine. Ever seen grown men in tears because an obstacle has beaten them down so harshly? I have. It was at Palmerton, PA.”

3) Midway, Utah

Midway UT Spartan Race Beast Utah Festival Mountains
John – “Utah is stunning. I had never really been before the Beast there last year. The hills were my favorite, and most hated, aspect of that race. Going up I couldn’t stand them. Once at the top and pausing to take in the view I didn’t want to head back down. It was really hard to leave Utah and I look forward to it now.”

Holly – “This race is awesome! The location provides captivating views to all racers while they trek up and down the mountains.  This helps create a welcome a distraction while the steep inclines seek to wear you out.  This event embodies what a Beast is all about, and dishes out an intense challenge.  I’d have to say this specifica venue boasts one of the most beautiful locations in the US.  It’s truly breathtaking!”

4) Malibu, California

Spartan Race Sprint Malibu California Calamigos Ranch
Cookie – “How about that barbed wire crawl the goes up and around? And when that mist rolls in over the hills and the monkey bars become so wet that gripping them is a challenge in itself? Yeah, Malibu is everything you want it to be. It’s beautiful, but ugly. It’s a great course, but it’ll punish you. The air may be warm, but the water is oh-so cold. Malibu is a total contradiction which, on paper, shouldn’t work, but it does and it’s a superb race.”

John – “Whoever thinks they are going to show up for a ‘fun in the sun’ run is way off base. I don’t think I have seen the sun once in Malibu at a Spartan Race…and I loved every minute of it. The mud on the trails stole a guys shoe off his foot right in front me. The water was cold as hell, and the finish left you feeling like you accomplished something big.”

Tony - “When you think Malibu you think palm trees and sunshine. Someway somehow year after year, the weather has been anything but. However this venue is one of the most challenging and riveting ones you can encounter. The endless climbs will leave you breathless, especially when you get to the top of that cargo climb and look out at all the beauty that Malibu has to offer.”

5) Bigfork, Montana

Spartan Race Bigfork Montana Spartan Sprint Founders Race
Cookie – “You could argue that Montana is the most beautiful race in America today. You could also argue that it’s the hardest Sprint, too. I believe it’s both. There’s something about running through acres and acres of mountains and dense forest that soothes the soul. You might see an osprey, eagle, deer or some other furry or feathered friend. This is the hidden x factor of the Montana Sprint. It’s a little bit special.”

John – “The Founders race was there this year and over 5,000 people showed up to race in Montana. If you’ve been you know why. It’s picturesque on every level. The course is a butt kicker too so if you want a solid challenge Montana is a can’t miss experience. Nicest people EVER.”

6) Washougal Park, Washington – Pacific Northwest

Spartan Race Washington Pacific Northwest Sprint


Cookie – “It will generally take around three or four hours for the barbed wire crawl to reach the point where it becomes like a sheet of glass. The barbed wire crawl – one of the most infamous ones on the circuit – goes upwards at a steep angle. Conquering this crawl is immensely satisfying and a joy that should be shared by everyone. Set in the hills just outside Portland dancing along the Oregon/Washington border, this is another course that boasts beautiful scenery, nature and more trees that you can shake a lumberjack’s axe at.”

John – “Home sweet home. I grew up out here. My family is all still in the PNW. The tall green trees, fresh clean air, and terrain that will keep you honest. Its surprising how many of our female Elites are from this area at first, then you run the course, realize how technical the terrain out in the Northwest is and you gain an understanding of why they are such talented athletes.”

Tony – “What an incredible venue this is. One of my favorites of all time. You arrive and everywhere you looks it’s just green, you’re surrounded by it. When you arrive you realize quickly that there will be a lot of ups and downs on this course, it is built partly on a motocross track of course. The wooded areas are what make this place come to life, birds chirping, wild life running all about. As you drive to the location you can even pull over on the side of the road and pick the freshest blackberries to eat. It’s a gorgeous location that will test you physically and treat you mentally.”

8) Burnet, Texas

Super Spartan Race Texas Sprint Burnet Austin TX
Cookie – “Arguably one of the flatter, ‘easier’ courses on the circuit, but don’t let that fool you into believing it’s one you’ll just waltz through without difficulty. The rocks and tree roots making running very technical and while the surroundings are very easy on the eye, it order to run safely, you spend a lot of time looking at your feet! The jewel in the crown of this site is the river that flows through part of it and water in any course is a surefire winner with any Spartan fan, especially when the course is actually navigating the river. “

John – “There is a reason we have been to this venue for 3 years in a row. Its EPIC. This last year we expanded to both a Sprint and a Super in the same weekend to the tune of 12,500 racers and over 5,000 spectators. The hill top with the cross that over looks the valley provides one of the most amazing views ever. I’m definitely looking forward to going back to Texas.”

Tony - “Texas has become my new home and with that this location has become one I truly cherish. The venue is incredible, held on a ranch that provides you with all types of terrain, from rocks, to grass, to wooded areas, single track trails and sand-filled stretches. Here you can find out what you’re really made of as the terrain will always keep you guessing.”

9) Fort Carson, Colorado

Spartan Race Sprint CO
Cookie – “The thing about Colorado is that the weather is a bit of a crap shoot and that makes for a great race. One day can be gloriously warm and the next the temperature drops 30 degrees and racers will find they’ve suddenly lost the ability to grip and the cold water in the rope climb obstacle steals your breath. If you manage to steal a second and let your eyes drink in the mountains in the distance, you’ll find that the view is very agreeable, too. “

John – “The place of my only DNF race in my life ever. The elevation of the race is 6000 ft. Think about that for a moment. The Rocky Mountains in the distance are incredible. The BBQ joints in the area are really damn good. I owe that place something. I’m going back.”

Tony - “Few things here, the venue is located on a military base, right from the get-go you know you’ll be in for a one-of-a-kind Spartan treat. You’ll be racing at altitude which means you’ll be testing yourself under some of the most demanding circumstances. Though you won’t be running up any mountains just being at 6,000 ft. of elevation will beat you down. My advice, come a few days early, get your body acclimated and prepare for one hell of a race. Be sure to visit the Garden of the Gods after the race is over, what a sight!”

10) Killington, Vermont

VT Killington Beast Spartan Race Sprint WC
Jason – Killington is called the Beast of the East for a reason. One of the best views in New England – one of few places untarnished wilderness surrounds you in a 360 panorama. I love seeing all the Tri state folks – thinking this is a regular type of event – laying down and crying on the side of the trail. All sorts of people suddenly leaving the ‘fun run’ world and facing sheer freezing survival on the side of an inhospitable and uncaring mountain. This is where people come to hear the call of the wild.

Cookie – “Killington is Mecca. There’s a reason why it is the home of Spartan and there’s a reason why it’s considered the hardest Beast and why the Ultra Beast is set there. It’s hard. It’s painfully, frustratingly, will-this-never-end hard. You will swear, in much the same way I did, that you feel that the course spends more time than is geographically possible going up. Why does it feel like you are always climbing? The laws of physics go out of the window in Killington. Just suck it up and enjoy inclines that will make your legs scream for mercy, your lungs burn, but the whole time, nourish your soul.
The densely wooded areas are a delight for nature enthusiasts, so keep an eye out for critters and birds. Famously, there’s THAT lake that you’ll be expected to grapple with in one form or another, too.
Make no mistake, if you like what Spartan is doing and you want to experience the race of all races on the schedule, no list is complete until you’ve done the Vermont Beast at least once.”

Tony - “There’s a reason we use Killington, VT for the World Championship race, not only is it set in the backyard of the original Spartan HQ but it’s also one of the most beautiful mountains in all of Vermont. Do not under estimate the Vermont Beast, it is unforgiving, it will laugh at you as you try to crawl up it’s Black Diamond slopes. Oh, you thought you’d be running this race? Think again, you’re more likely to be crawling on your hands and knees with a 75lb sandbag on your back so long as Norm Koch has anything to do with it. Come prepared. Come hydrated. Hopefully, we’ll see you at the finish line.”

11) Wintergreen Resort, Virginia 

Wintergreen Resort Spartan Race Super VA

 Tony – “Wintergreen Resort is set on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort rises from approximately 600 feet above sea level in the valley at Stoney Creek to an elevation of close to 4,000 feet on the mountain. You may have heard murmurs throughout Spartan Nation that the Spartan Super crafted by Race Director Norm Koch is one of the most difficult races in the circuit. If you’re looking to prepare for the World Championship in Vermont, there is no better location than the VA Super to test your mettle. “

12) Marseilles, Illinois  - Chicago

Chicago IL Spartan Race Super Spartan Sprint

Tony – “Arguably one of the most unique Spartan Supers out there, set on an all terrain park where typically there are Jeeps and ATVs tackling the relentless hills this location has recently become home to a permanent obstacle training facility that features many unique obstacles not found anywhere else. When you think Illinois, flat typically comes to mind but that is not the case here. Some way some how this location has some of the most varied terrain of any Spartan Race out there.”

13) Miami, Florida

Spartan Race Miami FL Florida Super

John – “Florida is one of my favorite states. I love the weather there. Miami is as beautiful as they come. It’s a flat course but don’t think for a minute that means it will be easy. The technical aspect of the trails requires some real work. Nice thing is that you get to jump in the water while on course…a few times.”

Holly – “This is the perfect event for the urban Spartan who loves to remain close to the city while still escaping into nature for a challenging event.  With skyscrapers looming in the distance, this course tackles technical root and shale filled trails.  The Florida heat mixed with an onslaught of staple Spartan obstacles makes this course a great challenge!  The best part?  It’s hosted in the perfect vacation destination.”

 14) Atlanta, Georgia 

Spartan Race Sprint Georgia Atlanta GA

Holly – “The Georgia Sprint is the perfect race to give your endurance and elevation skills a test.  While not a flat course, the hills are much more conservative than many of its counterparts, and this combined with the Sprint distance makes this event is a great way to gain confidence towards tackling the longer events which boast greater elevation gains.  The venue is absolutely gorgeous, and although it can be rather cold since this event is held early in the year, it just adds to the overall awesomeness and challenge of this race.”

15) Tuxedo, New York

Spartan Race Sprint Tri-State NY Tuxedo

John – “This was my first year in Tuxedo. It was incredible. The ski hill is no joke either. The soft ground is hiding boulder after boulder waiting to roll your ankle if you get careless. Still it’s a great test of your endurance and honestly the Spartans that showed up there were top notch. I cleared every spider-web on that course with my face Friday night pre-running it. Everyone is welcome.”

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Dear Joe,

My name is Nathaniel Fuentes and I’m a Santa Clara Pueblo Native (Tewa) from New Mexico. From 2003 until 2013 I was a massage therapist/bodyworker, when in 2013 I decided that I wanted to expand who I was and what I could become.

My career as a therapist is something that I could not complain about. It had provided, entertained, enlightened and inspired me, but when I went through being partially paralyzed as I’ll mention a little later – and the recovery – it made doing bodywork a very physically unpleasant occupation. Today, I no long practice in a clinic or from my home office but instead manufacture a pain salve that I created and later refined during the days of pain and discomfort in order to free myself from the pharmaceutical opiates that I had started to become addicted to for the management of the pain and discomfort that I was going through. Currently I’m in the continued process of repairing and evolving from where I was to where I now can be.

I finished my first Spartan Race, a Military Sprint in May 2014 at Ft. Carson, CO and I’m now training for the Spartan Trifecta that’s being held on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii this August. I started training in October 2013 for the Spartan Race, after losing 45lbs while being on a traditional Pueblo food diet.

My starting weight was 160lbs from 215lbs and a 35% BMI and running a mile took me over 15+ minutes. Now in June 2014 after gaining 45lbs I weigh 200-205 with a BMI of 23 and I average a mile in 6:30, while running up to 12 miles and hitting the gym almost daily.

Why I do this? Besides wanting to be a healthier individual? In 2011, I was diagnosed with an incurable disease known as Degenerative Disc Disease. This a disease that deteriorates the cartilage between the bones and leaves those who suffer from it in discomfort or pain. Because of the disease’s accelerated progress, it left me paralyzed for three months. With the inability to move from my bed, from my house, to walk, run, jump and even hold the ones I love, freedom and independence would no longer be the same. Battling through depression, self-doubt and the inability to move with wherever and whenever I liked, combined with the realism that in the near future the use of one or both my legs could be gone, I decided and made a change. This change would be to push myself to my limits and beyond, to enjoy the gifts that we all take for granted like the ability to walk, to jump, to run, and to not cower from my pain but to use it to pick myself up, to rebuild from the ground up who I am, and no matter what the outcome.

Thanks, Spartan Race

Here is a link of a teaser trailer for the Road to the Spartan Trifecta.

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By Spartan Elite Cody Moat

Spartan race is coming to the mountains of Utah for the second Beast of the 2014 season. I hope you’re ready for a long grueling course at an elevation of over 5,000 ft. above sea level. The venue comes to Soldier Hollow near Midway, Utah, located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains.  In 2002, Soldier Hollow was home to the Winter Olympics. And now is home to one of the toughest races you’ll find in the United States, The Utah Spartan Beast. Spartan racers be ready for a tough 13 + mile course with 30+ obstacles. This course is not for the faint of heart.

On the men’s side things could get exciting! Every year an athlete shows up out of nowhere to claim a spot on the podium. Competition should get interesting with Glenn Racz and Alec Blenis coming to Utah with a vengeance and determination to not only podium but to be on the top. I am also coming to the Beast with a take-no-prisoner attitude.

The women’s field should also be very interesting with several outstanding athletes. Rose Wetzel, winner of the New York Tuxedo Spartan sprint, will be in attendance. Utah’s very own Tyann Clark is also coming with a determination to claim top spot. Never count out Idaho’s Jenny Tobin and Leslie St. Louis who will also be aiming to finish highly.  If you are looking for some excitement this weekend come and participate or volunteer at the clash of the Spartans Utah Beast. You will not be disappointed.

With this being only the second Beast on the calendar, many racers will be looking at completing their set of medals in order to become Trifecta holders. However, with the unforgiving inclines that wait for them in Midway, it won’t be as easy as showing up and simply collecting what is due. Beast medals and finish lines are earned the hard way!

Also something to look out for will be the Spartan Kids race. Going at various times throughout the day, get a chance to see the Spartans of tomorrow as they take on half and full mile courses, with the coveted orange medal waiting for them at the finish line.

Remember to hydrate well and we’ll see you at the finish line! 

Bio of the Author: Cody Moat from Fillmore, Utah, began his Spartan journey here at the Utah Beast in 2012. Some highlights of his 2012 season were World Spartan points winner and Spartan World Champion. In 2013,  4th place in the World Championship.

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By Pro Team Member Tiffanie Novakovich

Brace yourselves, Nutmeggers! Spartan Race will make its Connecticut debut June 28, 2014. Hosted at the Mohegan Sun resort, a lavish Vegas-style hotel and casino, this Spartan Sprint will prove to be a first-class muddy event. The tourist town of Uncasville is located in the foothills of Eastern Connecticut, along the Thames River, adjacent to Trading Cove. As it’s less than 100 miles from Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Providence, RI, and just a 2.5 hr drive from New York City, the race is expected to draw visitors from all over New England. Approximately 8,000 competitors and 5,000 spectators are expected to attend the Saturday-only Connecticut Spartan event.

As with all Spartan Sprints, the race will include 15+ obstacles over 3+ miles, run through the breathtaking Connecticut woodlands of the Mohegan Tribal Reservation land. The venue includes a variety of terrain, including single-track and Thames River-view trails. With the Trading Cove body of water so close by, I’m sure you can expect to get wet and muddy at this race!

Being held on a Native American Reservation will give the race a special feel, marrying the warrior philosophy of Spartan Race with the warrior heritage of the land. Kevin Brown, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council says, “I am very glad to hear that our reservation land has been chosen for the Reebok Spartan Race.  Let’s face it – the Mohegan Tribe traces a lineage and a heritage of brave Native American warriors who lived, worked, and fought in these Eastern Woodlands. The race will bring a modern challenge into historic territory – it’s a great fit.”

Some familiar faces are expected in the men’s Elite race.  Expect Elliott Megquier to be racing for a podium spot. He’s coming off of an impressive showing in the Tri-Cities New York Spartan event, where he raced four times in nine days, pulling in two second- and one fifth-place finish. Also expected to show some dominance is Spartan Pro Team member and Ninja Warrior extraordinaire Alex Nicholas, who pulled off an impressive 12th place finish at the highly-competitive NBC-televised Tri-Cities Sprint. Expect some speedy New Englanders to fight their way into the top 10 on this low rolling-hills course.

With the Utah Beast (held on the same day as the CT race) drawing the attention of many left-coast pros, several top spots in the women’s elite race are up for grabs. Some East-Coast race favorites include Karlee Whipple, who took first place in the first Saturday race of the Tri-Cities Sprint and eighth place in the NBC-televised second Saturday race. Don’t be surprised if Orla Walsh, who recently moved to Vermont to train, shows up to test her grit. She’s had impressive finishes lately in the Colorado Springs Military Sprint as well as the NBC Tri-Cities Sprint.  Don’t forget East-Coast staples Laura Messner and Amanda Ricciardi, who may throw their hats into the ring this weekend. And you never know what pro-team members might decide at the last minute to show up and dominate!

Also on the docket for Saturday are the Spartan Kids Race and the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Kid’s race includes two distances for younger and older kids and always proves to be one of the many highlights of every race. The Spartan Special Needs Course is a new addition being included at several events this year. There will be a course designed especially for intellectually and/or developmentally disabled individuals who want to challenge themselves against Spartan obstacles and also want to challenge what is “normal.” Spartan Pro Team members will be participating as mentors and volunteers in the Special Needs Race. As Spartans, we defy the perceptions of “normal” at every race, while our special needs competitors do the same everyday in a way that is highly impressive and honorable.

If you haven’t already registered, do it now!  You don’t want to miss the beautiful scenery and punishing obstacles of Connecticut’s first Spartan Race. Put yourself to the test and . . . You’ll know at the finish line.

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Dear Joe,

My husband and I are going to do the Utah Beast and it has so much meaning to me for so many reasons. It’s going to be our first Beast, it’s going to earn us our first Trifecta, it’s will be our first race as part of the Weeple Army family, and my husband doesn’t even know about it yet! Let me explain….

It’s been an emotional journey for me. I was small before I got pregnant with my babies. We struggled for years to get pregnant and when I finally had a pregnancy that I didn’t lose, pregnancy was bloody awful to me. I hardly recognized myself any longer once I got pregnant and had my babies as I put on 100lbs each pregnancy. I remember an incident about 18 months ago when I went out for my first run and a truck pulled up alongside me on the road and the guys inside pointed and laughed at me because I was bouncing and jiggling every which way. I was mortified and walked home crying and bawled like a baby to my supportive husband. I didn’t give up. I’ve worked very hard to lose every single pound and gain every fibre of muscle. I lost 100lbs of baby weight. And my husband has always stood by me….through thick and thin so to speak.

I can’t say the same for most of the friends in my life who turned their backs on me and my family as we wholeheartedly embraced an active living family lifestyle. We get made fun of for our passion and enthusiasm for obstacle racing and our desire to travel long distances to participate in Spartan Races as we did for the Vegas Super and the Montana Sprint. As a Stay-at-Home mom to my two wonderful sons (ages 4 and 2) we make a lot of sacrifices to train and race including sleeping in our van on the side of the road with our children when we are driving such distances to get to the races from the island on which we live. When we first learned about Spartan Races everything changed for us and for the better. The people we have met in the OCR community have been so kind and supportive. Knowing I have such support from all my friends and family means so much to me and motivates me to keep at it!

Our participation in the Utah Beast is a culmination of all of our hard work and commitment to not only our training, but to our family’s decision to make this our passion. This is a surprise gift to my husband for Father’s Day for being an amazing role model to our boys and for always standing strong with me even when others continue to try to knock me down.

Here are some photos of my journey including before and after pics, my husband carrying me over the fire at the Vegas Super, my husband and I together jumping the fire at the Montana Sprint, and a photo of me in a race with my two sons who accompany me on most of my training as I am a stay-at-home mom. No excuses!!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it was the Canadian Mudd Queens (a Canadian women’s national obstacle racing team) that welcomed me on to their team for my first Spartan Race and have since helped to fuel my addiction to these fabulous races!!

There is no doubt that Spartan Races have a positive impact on our marriage. We want to put our best foot forward at the races. And as such we weight train together, run together, and obstacle train together. This commitment to our Spartan training has made our commitment to one another stronger; and ignited passion in other ways as well. We know if we can overcome the various obstacles on the course together then surely we can handles life’s obstacles that are thrown our way. This in turn has had a positive effect on our children’s lives as they too get involved in our training, travel to all the races with us, and participate in the Spartan Junior Races. We are indeed a Spartan Family! AROO!!

Thank you for listening to my story.

Cheers, Jessica

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