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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Miguel Medina

Reebok Spartan Race Preview:  Citi Field the modern day Coliseum

The time has come Spartans! On April 12th and 13thSpartan Race is stepping off the trails and storming the gates at Citi Field, home of the Mets in beautiful New York City, not to mention that the weather for the weekend is looking great, with a slight chance of showers on Saturday. This year’s Stadium Sprint will include a vast array of obstacles that we’ve seen both on and off the trails, with a few surprises tossed in courtesy of Race Director Dann LG, racers will be able to run through the team locker rooms, among the bleachers and dug outs attacking obstacle after obstacle. Spectators and participants alike will be able to get a full scope of the action via Jumbotron throughout the entire weekend along with enjoying the battles to ensue within the men’s and women’s elite heats.

Miguel Medina is no stranger to rocking it.

Hunter “The Sheriff” McIntyre will be returning to the big apple after a phenomenal 3rd place finish in the Las Vegas Super Spartan and to continue his winning streak in stadiums. He won’t be met unchallenged as several of the Spartan Pro’s and elites are looking to end that streak. Fort Drum’s favorite Elliot Megquier is looking to get a shot at the Sheriff, along with Colorado’s Cody Wright. Tossing his trooper hat aside and leaving the mountains of Vermont is Miguel Medina along with a new addition to the Pony Barn and Boston Native, Dennis Smith.  The women’s elite heat is shaping up to be fierce in Competition as Karlee Whipple is looking to best her last performance, an impressive 3rd place finish at Aloha Stadium but she won’t be alone as Shaun Provost, Laura Messner and several other of Sparta’s finest are looking to conquer Citi Field as well. 

In addition to the Elite and Open waves, Citi Field will hold the first Special Needs Spartan Race course within a stadium. This course is designed for Spartans with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD).  In paving new ground for increased collaboration and awareness within the Spartan community, these racers along with their guardians will test their strength, stamina and resilience in overcoming adversity and continuing to encourage people from all walks of life to be more active, fit, and healthy. Also throughout the day there will be food and refreshments, festival challenges for prizes and bragging rights as well as The Jr. Varsity Spartan and Varsity Spartan races for children 4-13 years of age.

All Spectators and Participants are encouraged to arrive at least an hour before their start time and to bring their ID for registration. If necessary you may carry personal hydration and nutrition but there will be 1-2 aid stations along the way. Waves start at 7am Saturday and 8am on Sunday, and every 15 minutes after commencing with the Elites, Confirmed, Morning, Afternoon, and Late Afternoon. Don’t forget to enjoy the sights, sounds, and entertainment that New York City has to offer.

Will you know at the finish line?

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When I was anxiously preparing for the start of the World Championships I saw a glimpse of some of the announced runners that would be attending the event. I saw at least 10 athletes that had running times that were so superior to mine, I felt like a JV high school runner at best. I mentioned this to a mentor and friend of mine, Chris Clifford and he said, “remember Spartan Racing is a different beast.” Chris said, “if you had to spend 5 minutes in a boxing ring with one of these 120 lb, 14-minute 5K guys, and then race the Spartan event who do you think would win?”

As I stood on one of the 15-round Spartan stickers, waiting for the start of the 7 AM elite Fenway Park Spartan Sprint, with less than a minute to go Chris’s words came to my mind. I glanced to my right and looked at the 205 pound Alexander Nicholas, then in front at the 200 pound Hunter McIntyre and then I noticed there were also the runners with the sub-140 pound frames and thought the only way Spartan Races attract all of us is because they are battles, not races.  I smirked a small smile as I pictured Alexander Nicholas, with his baggie Moi Thai shorts from his Elite Fitness Club in a MMA ring with Hobie Call and thought, Spartan has created an event where heart, strength, agility, speed, endurance – everything – is needed to win.  

Fenway’s start was a battle; athletes were greeted by an immediate bottleneck and a serious urgency to be the first to the front if they had any desire of being a contender. Grasping the handrail and whipping myself around the turns of the ramp, climbing furiously, I found myself urging to be in first but ebbing in and out of the top 5. As soon as we reached about 300 feet of vertical climbing we quickly grabbed the dual 5 gallon jugs and were performing the farmer’s carry down stairs that brought us back down the vertical only to carry the 60 pounds of water right back up. Only 2 minutes into this race I found my lungs being seared by the crisp, morning air.

After ascending over and through the bungee cords I found myself in the company of Hunter McIntyre and Brakken Kraker. We had a fairly good gap as we entered the rowing machines. I had heard the rowing machines were a 500 meter row in less than two minutes with a pre-programmed message on the screen: less than 2 minutes, “AROO!” more than 2 minutes “Screw You!” Actually, the message said, “30 burpees” but screw you and 30 burpees is quite similar if you’ve ever done a Spartan Race.

I finished the row just in front of Hunter but felt a little timid leading through the ups and downs and lefts and rights through the stadium seating rows.  I felt it better strategy to follow then to lead.  As we continued through obstacles I felt like an MMA fighter exchanging blows as we went count-for-count through the heavy rope, slam balls and hand-release pushups. I found myself on the defensive as Hunter made his move and Brakken made his.  

With a mere 7 minutes remaining in a short 25-minute sprint, I helplessly watched as Hunter and Brakken dropped me through the sandbag carry and would proceed to finish in yet another (Remember Miller Park) finish-line sprint. As I went over the final set of 5-foot walls, followed by the 8-foot wall I saw out of my peripheral on the giant Fenway Screen, Hunter and Brakken going neck and neck on the final box jumps. Hunter would once again beat Brakken by less than a second.

I crossed the finish line and again reflected on being a fighter in a battle and pushing myself beyond my limits. Third place didn’t feel like a victory, it felt more like being on the ropes and not punching back when the time was necessary. However, once again I walk away from my early career as a Spartan Racer yearning for the next battle and planning how I will be delivering the blows and beating the beasts that this sport has given me.

The Bear


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A year a ago a Spartan Race in a stadium sounded a little strange to many Spartan veterans. Many scoffed at the idea of a race without mud, water and fire. Once they were reminded of the whole theory behind Spartan training, to prepare for the unexpected, it began to make more sense. Leading up to Fenway 2012 many were unsure of what lay ahead.

 

How would the course be set up?

What would the waves be like?

What “traditional” obstacles would be on the course?

How much running would there be?

What new obstacles might be out there?

As expected Spartan Race proved that the stadium venue was just as challenging as a sprint out on the trails. In fact many find the stadium more challenging than a Sprint. CrossFit style obstacles are utilized: box jumps, rowing, jump ropes, ball slams and push-ups to name just a few. In addition, the stadium atmosphere makes it friendlier to spectators and easier for many athletes to attend.

 

That first race laid the groundwork not only for more races in the US, but also the first international stadium race in Mexico at Estadio Azteca. Coming in 2014 will be more stadium races including Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

What can you expect to see on Saturday in Boston?  Well the Pro Team will be well represented by Hunter McIntyre and Brakken Kraker. They had a photo finish a few weeks ago at the Miller Park race in Milwaukee. It will be a fierce battle for first with those two on the course. On the women’s side, look for TyAnn Clark, making her stadium debut, and Andi Hardy. In addition, other top talent from New England will be there to give them a run for their money. It should be another exciting weekend of racing at Fenway.

Next up, Malibu!

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By guest blogger and Spartan Pro Team athlete Brakken Kraker

This weekend’s Spartan Sprint at Miller Park turned out to be another incredible Spartan experience. Wave after wave of excited competitors left the starting ramp, and wave after wave of sweaty, grinning Spartans crossed the first base finish line. Everywhere you looked there were cheering spectators, smiling athletes, awestruck children, and camera happy tourists. 

The venue was as good as advertised and the course was even better. This race tested the competitors’ running endurance and obstacle endurance equally. I personally loved my first stadium race. I had been a little apprehensive about what was in store for me, but quickly realized that I may have found my favorite type of Spartan event. The course had no let up, beginning immediately with several bear crawls and progressing right into a heavy ball slam. From there started a seemingly endless cycle of ramps, stairs and obstacles. The emphasis was placed on full body fitness, and I felt the burn immediately. I can’t remember the last time my upper body was so dead during a race. 

 

The men’s race was immediately separated out into several pairs of runners, each battling for a podium spot. Up front Hunter McIntyre and I went head-to-head every step of the way, while Alexander Nicholas battled a group of runners including Elliott Megquier, Joey Petrolia, Chris McCorkle and Cody Wright, among others. Ultimately, Hunter was declared the winner, and Alexander held on to the third spot.

On the women’s side, a force of nature by the name of Carlee Whipple put her stamp of this course and came in first and gapping the field by over six minutes. Following her was Laura Messner and Sarah Pozdol, respectively. Our favorite lady in lime green, Andi Hardy just missed out on a podium spot, running a great race. 

We were so proud to have hosted our first Wisconsin Spartan, and cannot wait for the next one to come our way. Bring on the Super and the Beast!

For more event information, click here

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by Jeremy Bongiovanni

I think I can officially call myself a Spartan after this weekend’s race in Tuxedo, NY… That was definitely a challenge, but so much fun! There is some odd joy that comes out of completing one of the most physically difficult tasks you’ve ever done, but I love that feeling! This obstacle course was about 5 miles, mostly uphills and downhills, with around 20-25 obstacles, most of them pretty difficult too!  I found myself struggling, but it was a good struggle. I felt challenged, and I immediately felt like I wanted to do that again so I signed up for the 8-mile Super Spartan! I can officially say I’m also addicted to the Spartan Race. It’s one of those experiences that you won’t get anywhere else—the camaraderie, even with people you don’t know, the challenges, the joy, the adrenaline rush, you can’t find all of that everywhere! Some may think you’re crazy, but when you come home with those cuts and bruises (and yes you will get a few), you have a reason to show off, and be proud of it! You have just completed something not many people can say they have. I highly suggest getting out there and trying this too. You will get to that starting corral and just feel so much more alive than you ever have! I also highly suggest bringing friends—it enhances the experience so much more to share it with others.

I have done two Spartan Races – the first one at Citi Field and the second in Tuxedo, NY, but the second time I was alone. It definitely is a lot more challenging to be alone, but you can go at your own pace, which some people enjoy. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the first time, so I would suggest bringing a few friends. Plus, if you’re 21, you can share a few beers afterward! The races themselves were very different—Tuxedo, NY was much more cardio based, with a lot more brute strength involved. I should warn you, if you sign up for any Spartan Race, no matter what distance, you will end up running a lot more.

In a stadium, the issue is that the space is smaller, so there is no mud and less running, but still a great experience! It’s not often that you can say you’ve run on the field that a big MLB team plays on! Spartan Race hosts their races on these fields from time to time, but more often than not, they will be in the middle of nowhere so everyone can experience a true Spartan Race, mud and all. I am planning on working my way up to a Spartan Beast to complete a Trifecta (all three levels in one year), so wish me luck! I hope I can finish with a good time at each, or even survive them! I’m excited though, and I know with a little training (well, a lot of training), I can do this, and I know all of you out there can too!

I recommend signing up for the Spartan WOD’s – www.spartanrace.com/wod.   These are very helpful training tools to add on or use as your workout for the day. And if you want a free race, you can always volunteer at a race and choose to race at any race you’d like for free! I’d highly suggest this, as I have done this as well. It’s also a good way to meet new racers if you ever want a racing buddy for the future! Anyways, good luck in future racers, and I hope you all get out there and race like a Spartan! Spartan Races – getting people off their couches and into Spartan shape since 431 B.C.

AROO!!!

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by Alexander Nicholas, Spartan Elite Athlete

The programs we do at EPIC are ideal for Spartan Race training, and I only found that out after I participated in my first Spartan! We jump, we crawl, we swing, we sweat, we suffer! As soon as I became hooked on the races (It only took one) I knew I had to bring my new found obsession to EPIC. It was not an easy feat convincing our members, ranging from investment bankers to biochemical engineers, to sign up for a race that is run by the same people over at “Youmaydie.com.”

 
 
One of the best aspects of the Spartan Race is that anyone with enough heart can complete a Spartan Race. Physical limitations are NOT an excuse for quitting a Spartan Race. You create your own challenges and your own goals. One person aspires to finish on the podium while another is simply aiming to cross the finish line, but both those people are on the same course and both people are in the SAME class at EPIC. That’s why I knew we needed to create a team for our gym. Once everyone was on board, we didn’t need to change our training regiment at all! But slowly the mentality in the training center changed, and that’s what made the difference.

The week before the race, I took a chance and emailed a list of members to run the Elite Heat with me at CitiField. The responses were amazing, “F%#K YES!” and “If you can catch up to me!” were among them. These were people who were nervous to jump into their first class only months ago. I think the real difference is that we always have fun in what we do. I had a real “Mr. Miyagi” moment days before the race. All the exercises and all the hell I put my members through was finally going to be justified at Citifield. No more “please stop the burpees!”, “anything but the bear crawl!” or “This giant jump rope is just unnecessary.” I was building them into Spartan assassins and they didn’t have a clue! After the race, the members realized that every extra burpee, Sandbell smash, and inverted plank mattered, and was worth it!

I was overly impressed and humbled by everyone’s dedication and performance at Citi Field. We ran at 11am with a 60 person strong team. If someone couldn’t get over the higher walls, everyone stopped and helped them over, it was an amazing experience to take part in and the energy in our gym has definitely changed for the better since. A greater sense of camaraderie is in the atmosphere here and new and old members alike are benefiting! Placing 1st out of 800 teams was no small feat and you can bet we are planning on defending that title in Tuexedo, NY on June 2nd!

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by Stephen Reid aka Steve-o Bones

Photos Courtesy of Kevin High Photography

awe·some /ˈôsəm/ Adjective
Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
Extremely good; excellent.

One word sums up the Spartan Sprint at Citifield that was held on Saturday, April 13th. AWESOME!! There was nothing that day that did not reach the level of awesomeness that I had anticipated. The weather was just right, the mood was infectious…everything was perfect.

The last time I had as much fun as I did today, I was at another Spartan Race. Today, I had the honor of running as a Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Community Athlete (TXCA) with TEAM X-T.R.E.M.E., a non-profit organization that honors wounded veterans. The vibe could not possibly have been any more positive. We set out together as a team and finished as a team. This race was not about my finish time, but rather about remembering, honoring and empowering the wounded warriors that have given so much to our grateful nation.

It was a stunning and beautiful thing to see everyone come together and see the mission through to the end. The energy was electrifying. All the TXCA’s fed off of each other’s energy and drive to finish.

I had the distinct honor of carrying TEAM X-T.R.E.M.E.’s American Flag. This same flag has been to every Spartan Race that TEAM X-T.R.E.M.E. has been represented at. At the end of the race, the team mustered up and formulated its plan of attack for the big finale. Once again, I had the flag and took point. We ran and pushed hard. The gladiators near the finish line looked ready to give us a fight but the momentum of the team driven on by the cheering crowd was so great that they did not even slow us down as we approached the finish line. The crowd went wild as our group and its mission was announced while we were crossing the finish line.

One spectator contacted me after the race to tell me how moving the finish was for him:
“I was headed towards the rope climb and saw you guys headed for the finish and stopped dead in my tracks to watch you guys finish. It was very cool. Thank you for representing those that have fallen and those that are still standing.”

Simply awesome.

Team X will be back in action at the Mid-Atlantic Spartan Race in August!  Join them!  Register HERE.

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Take me out to the ball game!  Citi Field is officially in the books!  With one of the biggest single day events in Spartan history, it was a spectacular weekend at the ballpark!  From push-ups in the locker room to scaling a cargo rope in the outfield, the Spartan Stadium races are quickly becoming fan favorites with the unique chance to take on a Spartan Race in beloved ballparks around the country.

The elite field found themselves navigating new terrain inside the ballpark, but it didn’t slow them down!  For the men’s side, Hunter McIntyre, Vegas’s third place photo finisher took the top spot with over two minutes between him and the next closest finisher.

Hunter McIntyre and Gretchen Krueger

Hunter McIntyre 26:56
Conrad Yaney 29:05
Daniel Armstrong 29:27
Alexander Nicholas 29:29
David Magida 30:27

On the ladies side, Shaun Provost, Fenway’s top female had a repeat at Citi Field finishing a minute and a half ahead of second place finisher Robin Ruiz.

Shaun Provost 36:53
Robin Ruiz 38:34
Gretchen Krueger 39:19
Jillian Kenney 39:48
Portia Lack 39:59

For a full listing of Citi Field Race Results, click HERE.

The Spartan Kid’s Race was one of the largest to date with the big screen capturing all the action as the junior Spartans ran, jumped, and climbed their way to Spartan glory!   We even  had a live feed from Kandahar, Afghanistan with Army troops sending off our start waves. Spartan Race teamed up with Pro vs GI Joe, a nonprofit organization connecting our troops in Afghanistan with their families and they set off the racers from the start line.

To see more pictures from Citi Field from the festival to the outfield, head over to our Spartan Race Facebook page and see how all the action went down.

Did you miss out on Citi Field this time around?  Don’t worry, you didn’t strike out yet!  We have more chances for you to take on a Spartan Sprint at one of our Stadium Series events in 2013.

4/13 – Citi Field
8/31 – Citizens Bank Park
9/7 – Miller Park
11/16 – Fenway

It’s never too late to sign up for the event series that will change your life.  Sign up today!

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by Chris Rutz
It is time for the second stadium race brought to you by Spartan Race!  Citi Field promises to deliver in a big way!  The stadium concept kicked off last year at Fenway and now we are coming to the city so nice, they named it twice, New York, New York. This is a sprint distance race with many familiar obstacles, however, the stadium will add an element of surprise and difficulty. This year we have four stadium races currently on the schedule with more on the horizon.  First up, is this weekend’s Citi Field Race!

4/13 – Citi Field
8/31 – Citizens Bank Park
9/7 – Miller Park
11/16 – Fenway

Spartan’s Elite racers are excited about coming to Citi Field this weekend to see how they transition from the varied terrain of a typical Reebok Spartan Race to the more controlled environment presented in the stadium.

Look for Alexander Nicholas, the winner of Fenway in 2012, to go for a repeat win in the stadium series. He will be challenged by Elliott Megquier, David Magida, Miguel Medina, Hunter McIntyre and Joey Patrolia. Joey is the only one of the five that has experienced a stadium race before, so he will certainly have the advantage. Hunter McIntyre is coming off of a photo finish third place in Vegas so this will be an exciting heat to watch.

The women’s side is wide open. Shaun Provost, the winner of Fenway will be defending her stadium title. Many of the top ladies that were in Las Vegas last weekend are sitting this one out. Look for new females faces to emerge and battle Shaun for the podium.

We’re getting all set-up and ready for the Spartans to descend on Citi Field.  Will you be on among them?

Maybe you have run a Spartan Race already, but have you run a Spartan Race in the stadium?  Time to sign up.

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