by Elliot Megquier, Spartan Pro Team

In 2010 I graduated from college and was moved out of my parent’s house for the very first time. I was 21, a brand new second lieutenant in the US Army, and my childhood hobby and livelihood of playing soccer was over. I was still working out, but I was just maintaining my fitness for the Army, I had no goal or competition to work toward. While down at Fort Lee for my basic officer schooling, I was recruited for the post Army Ten Miler team. I started to enjoy running as before I just ran to train for soccer and for the army. I ran a great race in Washington DC and then I was off to Fort Drum, NY where I am now stationed. I met my buddy Ross Montfort and he got me into racing pretty much every weekend. First we ran road races, and then we graduated into trail races, and then finally obstacle races. In June 2011 I ran my first Spartan Race in Tuxedo, NY. I was hooked immediately. I had only run around four miles, but I was more worn out than I was after a 10 mile obstacle course that I ran with another company.

My buddy moved and I was looking for more adventure. I continued without him and started traveling all around New England to every Spartan Race being offered. And then I decided to start flying. The first year I basically would show up, not talk to anybody, race, and then leave. However, the more I started seeing the same people at races, the more I started opening up. By no means am I a social butterfly, but I now really enjoy the camaraderie as well as the competition. Now instead of staying in a hotel when I fly or travel to races, I prefer to stay with friends. Nothing is better than seeing how friends and fellow racers live and I enjoy eating their home cooking or at their favorite restaurants. I have raced in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Virginia, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Las Vegas, Indiana, Colorado, and Montana. It is so exciting to be able to travel and experience different parts of the country.

Whether it is doing a pull up challenge in a Mexican bar in Glen Rose, getting Giordano’s deep dish pizza in Chicago, paddle boarding in Montana overlooking the Glacier National Park, riding horses in Texas, or climbing the mystic mountains of Vermont, my life has definitely changed in a positive way. Throughout college, when I wasn’t playing soccer, I would stay at home and do nothing more than running the same route in the neighborhood, surfing the internet, or watching TV/movies. I had no self-confidence and didn’t talk to girls that I was attracted to.

Now you’ll barely ever find me at my man cave (apartment), I have lots of confidence, and I am starting to talk to the beautiful women of Sparta. It’s been a fun journey so far, it gets me through the work week, and gives me something to look forward to practically every weekend. I have now done 40 Spartan Races and I still can’t wait for the next one. Funny how being a part of an obstacle racing series can change your life.

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Spartan Racer Ed Koropchak has undergone major life changes. After getting out of the Army he found himself with too much time on his hands and got caught up with drugs, alcohol, and ultimately prison time. He spent the next few years in and out of the system. Then he found Spartan Races. Twelve races later, he credits the races with saving his life and keeping him clean and keeping him from making the same bad life choices.

Hear him tell his incredible story about overcoming his past and finding a new, healthy addiction with Spartan Races.

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Margaret Schlachter, of Dirt in Your Skirt has been racing with Spartan since the beginning. She took on our first race in Vermont, was in the original Spartan Chicked network, and has since traveled the country racing with Spartan. The Vermont native, now living in Utah, talks about what makes her the woman she is today and how Spartan helped her find a new kind of happiness.

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I am TyAnn Clark. I’m a member of the Spartan Pro Team.  I’m a Mom, I’m a Runner, I’m a Fitness Trainer, I’m a Zumba Instructor, I am a Spartan Racer.

I look at my life every day and feel so amazingly blessed to be able to do what I love. One year ago, I never imagined that I would be in the position that I am – I race as a competitive athlete at the age of 32. My life is full of all the things that make me happy. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and three beautiful, amazing children. As a fitness trainer and instructor, I get to motivate others to be healthier and happier in their lives.

I’ve always been a runner – It is my life force. It’s as vital as breathing to me most days.
But after adding our third child to the mix, I found myself completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and quite frankly – depressed. Even as a fitness trainer, I found very little time to be able to work out or run. With a husband that worked very long hours, I was lost in the daily grind and forgot to appreciate what I had. The things that usually motivated me to run and stay in shape were races to train for – and not even that was doing the trick.

Hobie Call recruited me to run my first race in January 2013: The Spartan Super in Temecula. I have never been as scared and nervous at the beginning of a race as I was there. Self-Doubt had consumed me, but I decided to just take things as they came. It was a brutal race with mammoth hills, a freezing lake to swim in, and a gauntlet of obstacles all stacked within the last mile. I never found myself counting the miles or glancing at my Garmin to check my pace. It was exciting and brutal. My legs handled the hills, but my upper body failed me on a few obstacles. 90 burpees later I finished the race more exhausted than I ever had been, I had pushed my body harder than ever before, and I had found empowerment from what I had accomplished. I had won my first Spartan Race! The feeling of accomplishment was far greater than I had felt at the end of a race at any other time. It changed me. I knew if I could accomplish this, then I was capable of so much more than I knew.
What I didn’t know at the time was how my life would be changed by the people that were around me racing that day, and in races to come. I’ve raced with the best competitors and proven myself. At the Las Vegas Super Spartan, I remember looking around at the starting line and just being in awe of the amazing Spartan champions that I would be competing against. The most amazing part is that I’ve become friends with many of them and we all know at the end of the day that we have the upmost respect for the other person. We share training secrets, obstacle techniques, and tips on the spear throw. We all want to be able to finish the race and say, “I raced my best today”. These competitors have become family to me in a totally unexpected way. All of the people that I’ve met that run Spartan Races motivate me and inspire me and I’m so honored to know them.

Want to learn more about the Spartan Pro Team? Click HERE.

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When Winter Vinecki began her Spartan Race at Soldier Hollow in Utah, the fourteen year old was on a mission. It was far from her first race, she’s been racing since she was a young child… but unlike most 14 year olds, her mission is to educate the world on prostate cancer and raise funds. So far, she’s raised over $700,000 and she’s not slowing down. The youngest finisher of a complete marathon on Antarctica, she’s traveling the world spreading her message and running some of the world’s toughest races along the way. Her message about prostate cancer and it’s devastation is born out of her own tragic loss of her father to prostate cancer when she was just nine years old, shortly before his 41st birthday. At the Utah Race she shared what motivates her, what moves her and how Spartan Race is the newest addition to her impressive list of race finishes. To learn more about her cause, visit her website for Team Winter at www.teamwinter.org.

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by Brad Fredricks

I’m 36, a father of a beautiful little girl and a boy, and actively living out a dream. If you ask me what I do for a living, I will tell you straight out that I am a full time athlete, competing in Spartan Races. People look at me funny when I tell them this, but I am serious, and after a minute they realize it. Things haven’t always been this way. In the past I was a marketer, manager, nerd, DJ, leader, prisoner, poet, and creative storyteller.

When I first got involved with Spartan Race, I was inspired to do so because I wanted to challenge myself to something I could not fake. I remember sitting at the desk of my last job, deciding that I wanted to pursue some sort of sport, but something that I thought could lead to something professional. It was a crazy idea, and a fabulous dream.

On January 5th, 2012, I left my job running a small start-up company in Boulder, CO. Call it inspired insanity, or perhaps a total leap of faith, but when I left that job I decided that I was going to pursue being a full time obstacle racer, and set my sights on Spartan Race.

Pursuing the dream lead me on an entirely new path, it transformed pretty much everything about me. In the process I lost 60lbs, got really honest with myself, and others, and found new friends who’ve become family to me.

It’s not all been easy. I’ve had my ups and downs, but along the way I’ve found myself, and found my way back to the dreams of the little boy I once was. I’ve found that it is easier to live in the light, being honest and genuine with others, than it is to live in the darkness of lies and deceit. I’ve found that anything is possible, even if not probable, but that it takes someone willing to dream, and willing to believe in their dreams to make it happen.

I truly believe that we are the light of our futures, not the darkness of our pasts. I believe that we all have something to contribute, be it big or small. I believe in the improbable, I believe in all of you.

I’m Brad Fredricks, and I am Spartan.

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My first Spartan Race was in Ottawa back in June 2011. I signed up with my volleyball team for fun. At the time, the idea of getting down and dirty seemed like such a crazy but fun concept so hey, why not give it a try, right?

I raced in an open heat not knowing what to expect other than lots of mud. Being competitive by nature, I wanted to give it my best shot. I was never much of a runner for fear of bringing back old fencing injuries. I had fenced from the tender age of 9 and put my weapons away at 21, fed up of the shin splints and the stress fractures. The idea of running around was certainly not my priority.

I remember that Saturday morning at Camp Fortune. The intensity of the crowd, my adrenaline pumping! I wanted to run it and give it my all. I was definitely out of my comfort zone but I loved it! I had never climbed walls, jumped through fire and yeah, it was a first to tackle gladiators! And let me tell you, that 5K felt like it was at least 15! I was bruised and had scrapes all over but, WOW! I was on a high!

After that race, all I wanted was to do another Spartan Race. And so, my search began. Seeing the next one was in Vermont but was a “Beast”, I figured I couldn’t do a “green level” Spartan before doing a “blue level” race – aka a “Super Spartan”. And so I signed up for the Staten Island Super and eventually upgraded to the Hurricane Heat.

Through Facebook I connected with other mud obsessed people. It was reassuring to see I was not the only crazy person out there. After reading about the Founder’s HH in Amesbury MA, I wanted to be part of it all… The Staten Island Super Hurricane Heat was LIFE CHANGING. I met my Spartan Family there. I was the sole Canadian girl. My team was the Damn Cannucks – despite everyone (except me!) being American. The people that I met during this HH are some of my closest friends up to this day. They are my OCR family. It’s funny to say because I’m usually more of an individual athlete. I have never been a big fan of team events but that HH changed it all! I was with people that understood me, that got the same high from exerting themselves through mud, barbed wire and carrying heavy buckets and running around doing countless burpees (for the fun of it!)

And so this was the beginning of my love story with Spartan Races. I had to wait quite some time to race again. My first competitive race was Tuxedo NY in June 2012. I finished 5th and then I just couldn’t get enough of Spartan Race. I had to do it all – from the Winter Death Race, to Death Race, to back to back races, might they have been Supers or Beasts… Ultra-Beasts (love the glow in the dark medal!)

Coming from Canada, every trip was and still is, a time for me to see my Spartan Family. The camaraderie can’t be explained. It has to be experienced. Yes… You’ll know at the finish line but it doesn’t end there. Spartan Race changes lives. It changed mine. It has built my confidence and has shown me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I never expected to become a ranked top athlete and today I am proud to say I have people looking up to me, especially women. SR empowers people… It has even brought my mother and I closer than ever… That’s probably the most epic moment of my racing life thus far: crossing that finish line with my 72 years-young mom. If you haven’t read about that, well you better click on this: http://blog.spartanrace.com/tag/johanne-di-cori/

Obstacle racing is my passion. It’s my fuel. It keeps me sane even if the races look insane. Sure, winning is of course a great feeling, but above all, it’s knowing you gave it all you got at that time. I know I am stronger than yesterday and that fortitude to improve every day burns within me thanks to Spartan Race.
I could go on and on about the different races I have done but the best part of it all: the friendships I have made. I treasure them.

AROOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Unleash the Beast Within

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“Fun!” this is why we do anything more than once isn’t it? I’ve done 13 Spartan Races in 13 states in 2012, including the Killington Ultra Beast and I’ve already done 5 races in 2013 with another 6 on deck. I keep going because they never get boring and 1 race just isn’t enough! Racing is about the adventure!

The days are short, so I make sure to make mine as long as possible, take advantage while I can! Training in the morning, work during the day, training at night, spending time with my dog, my fiancé, close-by friends and family, making sure I never miss a beat, catching up on nutrition clients, training clients, and furthering my education. I want to make sure that I look back at each day knowing it was my best.

I learned how these races compare to everyday life in the fact that no obstacle, location, distance, venue, date, or timing is ever the same and you need to adjust if you want to succeed. If you expect the unexpected then you will never be surprised, so why not train that way and train to be prepared for anything?! A few years back that was the exact approach I took with my training, to never repeat a workout and do things that were out of the norm.
You name it I have probably done it, and if I haven’t, I promise I will.

The people who compete in Spartan Races are remarkable people with even better stories. I have met tons of new people who have all taught me a little something that I always keep in the back of my mind. The individual effort and camaraderie alone is more than enough reason to keep me coming back for more.

We have created a team here in North NJ and have been a part of over 100 people completing over 250 races in the past 18 months and these people are what motivates me day in and day out. I remember the feeling that came over me when I was able to beat the race and cross the finish line for the first time and the only thing better than that was crossing it with a friend, a group, or a team of people that never thought they could.

Fun? Absolutely it is!

Don’t get me wrong, the races are hard and challenging, and that’s the best part about it. You not only get to test yourself and put your body to work but at the same time when you’re not racing, and just dealing with life’s obstacles… you realize, “eh, this isn’t so bad, Spartan Race was tougher.”

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After three incredible days of Spartan Racing in Tuxedo, NY earlier this month and a week of hosting amazing friends and athletes in my home, I’ve had some time to reflect on how my athletic career has come full circle.

As a child I grew up without the privilege to play on many sports teams so the outdoors became my playground. Running through the woods, climbing trees, building forts, and catching animals with my bare hands is how I began to build my self-esteem and confidence. Unfortunately this wasn’t very popular with my classmates. I ended up taking a lot of grief for it, but I would not let constant ridicule change or deter me. I knew deep down who I was and didn’t want to give up the great feelings my outdoorsy life gave me.

Entering HS, fueled by frustration and anger, I thirsted for contact and to further distinguish myself athletically. I began playing football and I discovered the brotherhood I had always desired. Not only was I able to channel the frustration and pain that had built up from being bullied, but I found true friendships that I still cherish to this day. For the first time in my life I felt truly happy and accepted.
However when HS, College, and Semi-Pro Football came to an end I was left with a void that was difficult to fill. Running and training for Ultra-marathons turned out to be to isolating. Jumping from planes is a quick adrenaline rush but way to expensive and skiing with my pals only lasts a few short months.
Luckily for me I discovered Spartan Race due to a chance in meeting with a local Tuxedo, NY Policeman. Ironically enough, I knew him from the private school where I was bullied.

Now, because of that first Spartan Race I ran in 2011, I have filled a huge part of that void. I was able to rediscover the joy in running, climbing, and chasing things throughout the woods again. I have finally found a sport that gives me the adrenaline rush I was seeking while building friendships with fantastic athletes from all different walks of life.

I’m so grateful to Spartan Race for creating an environment where the athletes have been able to breed a culture of intense competition, built on a platform of respect and camaraderie. It is a culture that has blended the passions of my past into the passion of my present and future.

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