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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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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If you’re from the PacNW then being a Spartan comes quite naturally, just have a look at these eight ways that you know you’re a PacNW Spartan:

1. Rain makes it better.

2. You have seen possible sightings of Sasquatch while training.

3. Chopping wood has always been a normal exercise activity.

PacNW Spartans fill hydration bladder with coffee

4. You have coffee in your hydration bladder.

5. Rocky beaches are preferred over the ones covered in sand.

6. You get anxious if you are not within two hours of a mountain.

7. It’s not a family vacation if you are not hiking or camping.

8. Regardless of the weather, the prettiest day of the year is when Spartan Race comes to town.

So whether or not you are from the PacNW sign up for Spartan Sprint coming to the PacNW August 2nd and we’ll see you at the finish line!

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40 Reasons Why You SHOULDN’T Run a Spartan Race
1. You hate adventure.
2. You dislike the feeling of excitement you get when you try something new.Women Spartan Race Tuxedo New York
3. You don’t enjoy challenging yourself.
4.Fitness is not important to you.
5. You don’t enjoy getting together with friends.
6. You want nothing to do with camaraderie or teamwork.
7. You despise the idea of being outside.
8. Seeing people having fun makes you angry.
9. You don’t appreciate or enjoy exhilarating scenery.
10. You would rather see a pre-installed computer desktop background of a mountain or forest than witness it in real life.
11. The idea of strengthening your social network makes you cringe.
12. Developing the trust and loyalty of another human is absurd to you.
13. You don’t like free beer.
14. You hate seeing chiseled men and fit women in tight clothing.
15. Free stuff like bananas, Clif Builder’s Bars, and Core Power Protein Drinks are not your thing.Reebok Spartan Race New York Tuxedo Rope Climb
16. You hate having memories to tell your children and grandchildren about.
17. You have no interest in seeing the view from the tops of mountains and hills.
18. You hate earning medals and accomplishing tasks.
19. The idea of satisfaction makes you feel ill.
20. The idea of setting goals and seeing them through is stupid to you.
21. You have no desire to turn exercise into something fun and enjoyable.
22. Traveling and seeing the country/world is of no interest to you.
23. Experiencing life, culture and the sort is just not on your to-do list.
24. You prefer to have bathroom selfies over epic professional photos of yourself.
25. Free t-shirt is not in your vocabulary.
26. You don’t like helping others accomplish their goals.
27. You have no faith in mankind or the kindness of strangers.
28. You have no interest in learning new skills.
29. Party atmospheres with fun challenges is something you find boring
30. You don’t see anything inspiring in watching veterans with missing limbs conquer courses.
31. Watching folk with Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy and MS do the same thing is something that makes you yawn.Tuxedo New York Spartan Race Reebok Cargo Climb Obstacle 32. Watching the joy in children’s faces doing a kids race is something you find repulsive.
33. …and seeing their eyes light up when they receive a medal is just plain stupid.
34. You have no interest in helping charities.
35. You hate cheering strangers on. What is the point of that?
36. You’d rather not witness nature up close and see animals you’d never otherwise see.
37. You are allergic to all of or some of the following; mud, wind, sand, water, grass, fun.
38. You hate the sound of laughter and cheering.
39. Bumping into the occasional celebrity and grabbing a photo opportunity is boring.
40. You have nothing left to learn, as you know everything, so learning something new about yourself when your body is pushed is a complete waste of time.

If this is not the case, then we’ll see you at the finish line!

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We all know being a Spartan is sexy already. It’s just the natural effect of pushing your limits and cranking out relentless, unspeakable quantities of burpees. While “sexy” might be relative in the world of Spartan it’s quite synonymous with many of the activities we perform on the daily. As it just so happens to be, there are some things that get a fellow Spartan more riled up than others. Quite often it’ll be the subtle things that we take for granted once we become engrossed in the world of Spartan.

Spartan Obstacle Race Women and Men Compression clothing

THAT TIGHT COMPRESSION GEAR

You walk up to the starting line of any heat and you’ll see it, all the tight little outfits. Clothing so tight that hugs those chiseled muscles ever so carefully, in a manner that almost naturally urges you to stare. Fabric so tight it gives all the right curves a proper lift; all the talent of a Spartan that lies beneath accentuated to the nth degree.

What might appear as showing off one’s physique to the untrained obstacle racer is in all actuality a testament to a Spartan’s dedication to their performance on the course. Those tight spandex provide many benefits to a racer including their unbelievably quick drying abilities; compression gear doesn’t retain moisture much, meaning none of that sloppy, saggy, heavy feeling you get with a lesser material like cotton. Tighter fitting clothes also mean less chances of getting snagged up in an obstacle such as the barbed wire crawl. It’s not all about a look in obstacle racing, there’s a great many more benefits to all that tight clothing that’d have your great grandmother and great grandfather rolling in their graves.

HITTING THAT DOWNWARD DOG ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE

Take it easy lad, we’re talking about the yoga pose. It’s actually quite easy to drop down almost anywhere in a downward dog and many a Spartan will do so without hesitation. It’s a great way to loosen up the joints. Honestly, it’s just one of those odd somethings that Spartans do, much like the now classic Burpees in public epidemic. Are you feeling tight or sore? Then it’s time to stretch it out! That’s how a Spartan decides when and where they stretch. Don’t be surprised if you spot a Spartan on the side of the road or trail with their backside in the air, they’re just making sure those hamstrings get nice and loose so they can complete the Spartan WOD.

spear throw obstacle race spartan race spartan chicked

ALWAYS PERFECTING A TIGHT GRIP

You may have never thought about it, or perhaps you have, regardless grip strength is one of the most important elements to being successful at a Spartan Race. Your ability to hold-on-tight is tested over and over again from pulling a heavy bag up to the very top of the Hercules Hoist, to holding on for dear life at the rope climb, your grip is tested in the worst of conditions. Many Spartan obstacles test your grip, like the traverse wall, or the unforgiving nature of the slippery ropes they provide to pull yourself up the equally slippery wall. There’s no doubt about it, Spartans know how to hold on tight and in more ways than one. We hear they are pretty good at it.

CARRY BIG BALLS AND HEAVY SACKS

Get your mind out of the gutter, we’re talking about the Atlas Stones and Sandbags, shame on you Spartan. Those who are part of the Spartan lifestyle will commonly practice carrying sandbags of all shapes and sizes and various stones to simulate the challenge of the Atlas Carry. If you see a Spartan carrying a heavy sack, shout out a good ol “Aroo!” in support.

Man Atlas Stone Carry Spartan Obstacle Race

HERCULEAN GRUNTS AND GROANS

Have you ever listened and paid attention to what it sounds like by the Hercules Hoist? Honestly next time you’re near this obstacle, give it a listen. You’ll hear the grunts and groans of what might sound like an old Spartan pastime of our ancient brothers and sisters but I assure you, only feats of strength and tenacity are being tested here.

SMELL OF SPARTAN COURAGE

Get close to a Spartan and give them a whiff. Smell that? That smell is what we call the Courage of a Spartan. Take it all in the next time you get a chance. Be warned, it’s not our fault if you become radically turned on by those pheromones infused with a taste of that Sparan courage. Spartans with this smell know what it means to sign up, show up and never give up. They already figured out what it means to Spartan UP!, now it’s your turn. Remember we warned you their smell could lure you in forever. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Spartan Race and put your courage to the test.

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We’ve all been there. You duck under that first length of barbed wire and after having moved what feels like 20 yards, you look up and realize it’s closer to 2 or 3 feet. You take a peek over the wire and it seems like this crawl spans all the way into the next state.

Pro Team member Chris Rutz knows how you feel and as such, has helped with another episode of Buck Furpees and will now give you some pointers regarding how to train for and then beat the barbed wire crawl.

Don’t forget to check out the previous episodes of Buck Furpees on our Youtube Channel (link) and brush up on other videos including the Traverse Wall, The Atlas Carry, Rope Climb and the dreaded Spearman Throw.

See you at the finish line!

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Monterrey Beast – Tougher than you

by Spartan News Desk

 You measure yourself by the level of challenges you’ve faced. Run a local 5k? Maybe for a quick warm up before you get serious about your training. Complete a 10k? If there isn’t anything more intense, but maybe you can make do with the added weight of a vest. Weekend events are reserved for the events you take on with your core group of friends. The maniacs you met doing an overnight relay, some crazy boot camp on the beach, or some “tough” mud run. Each time you complete one of these you can’t help but think to yourself “You my friend, are an absolute Beast”. But are you, are you really? One way to prove it, to show yourself and the rest of the world you are truly the Beast you think you are. Get yourself to Monterrey and tackle the Spartan Beast.

We know you have done other events and think you have nothing left to prove. We also know that people who say that are often scared of that one last true test. In this case the Monterrey Spartan Beast is that last test. We understand it’s a little intimidating, its supposed to be that way, if it wasn’t we wouldn’t call it the Beast.

Coming in at 12+ miles and over 25 obstacles taking you through the hills of Monterrey we turn a picturesque landscape into a brutal expanse of a course. It will take you physically and mentally to places you have yet to go to before. This course will test your limits; it will redefine your idea of endurance and obstacle racing.

Yes, this is going to hurt. You’re welcome.

So lets just accept the fact that you are a little nervous about tackling the Monterrey Beast. Are you worried that your fitness level is going to be exposed as not being at the level you originally thought? Is it the idea that you might actually earn yourself the dreaded DNF (did not finish)? Could it be that there is a timing element to this event you haven’t come across before? After all at the Reebok Spartan Beast in Monterrey we will hold you accountable to missing obstacles. Each one you miss will cost you 30 burpees. Spartan fully expects you to earn your medal. We view them as our shields, forged on the fields of battle.

This isn’t a headband or a fuzzy helmet. You can’t coast through our event and the Beast is no joke. You can run this event with friends but there will be no relay element. You are expected to finish this race along with them, side by side. So now you have to ask yourself how tough you really are. You’ve done some events that have tested you, maybe left you feeling tired; the Beat is the ultimate test. You best this and you have bragging rights for the rest of your life. Once you cross that finish line you will know a whole new depth to yourself, your strength, you will see just how far down you can reach in order to get it done during one of the toughest events you’ve ever faced.

So what are you waiting for? Step up, sign up, and see if all those other events you have done have given you what you need to be Spartan strong. Answer for yourself…

…Are you Unbreakable?

Sign up today at Spartanrace.com for the Monterrey Beast June 7th, 2014.

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The notion that a company that sells medication and products to help aid your well-being and health also sells cigarettes, on the surface of it, would baffle some.

But for many years, CVS has sold cigarettes and tobacco products in the same stores that sell nicotine patches and gum, as well as medication designed to prolong life and alleviate physical suffering.

So with the news that as of October 1st, they will no longer sell these products is seen as a move in the right direction for those who aren’t advocates of smoking. Praise has even come from the highest office in America – The White House. President Obama said, “As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs - ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”

CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with the positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association that have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail outlets with pharmacies.

And while the move is certainly a bold and morally correct one, it appears that it’s also one that won’t affect the financial side of things.

The decision to stop selling tobacco products does not affect the company’s 2014 segment operating profit guidance, 2014 EPS guidance, or the company’s five-year financial projections provided at its December 18th Analyst Day. CVS estimates that it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenue on an annual basis from those that buy cigarettes, tobacco and related items, equating to approximately 17 cents per share. Given the anticipated timing for implementation of this change, the impact to 2014 earnings per share is expected to be in the range of around 6 to 9 cents per share. The company has identified incremental opportunities that are expected to offset the profitability impact. This decision more closely aligns the company with its patients, clients and health care providers to improve health outcomes while controlling costs and positions the company for continued growth.

In addition to this, CVS has announced that they will run a national smoking-cessation program in the spring. The program will include information and treatment on smoking cessation at CVS/pharmacy and Minute Clinic locations in addition to online resources.

It is understood that 7 out of every 10 Americans who smoke say they want to quit and around half attempt it each year. The sad fact is, nicotine is one of the most highly addictive drugs on the planet. Without having ever experienced nicotine dependency, as with most, if not all drugs, quitting is a hard fight and not one that should be dismissed nonchalantly.

Spartan Race Founder, Joe Desena, was quick to comment on the decision that CVS took, taking it one step further.

“I will probably start a shit storm here but if Andy and I were to run a school, a town, a city, or the country it is really simple to describe what we would do:

-Lights out by 10 pm – nothing good happens to anyone late at night.

-Cigarettes would be banned.

-Soda would be banned.

-Junk Food would be banned.

-We would have a giant bell that rang at 5 AM waking everyone up and 100 burpees every morning would be mandatory before you could eat breakfast or start your car.

-Insurance would cost less for healthy people, taxes would be lower.”

Hardline, it would seem.

The message is getting clearer through Americans and the rest of the world. Adopting a healthier way of life is way more than a “fad.” It’s a way of life that Spartan Race encourages at every opportunity.

Sign up for a race and you’ll truly understand when we tell you that you’ll know at the finish line.

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Littering and….littering and…littering…and stop littering the Spartan Festival Area!

Every Spartan Race is a big event, with nearly 10,000 people showing up throughout the weekend we understand that a lot of trash is going to accumulate. We as Spartans do our best to make sure the course, the festival and everything in between creates a stellar experience for all of our guests. Do you know what makes for a less than desirable experience? Having to pick up the trash of others.

If you’ve ever volunteered at a Spartan Race, then you know that we have people who are out there volunteering their time. These are a select few of the most caring, non-complaining people you will find that will spend their days walking around the festival area picking up YOUR trash. Stop it! Stop littering. You are better than this.

When there are trash receptacles positioned all throughout the festival area there is absolutely no reason why someone should walk around and find a piece of trash lying on the ground not even twenty feet away from the nearest trash bin. You know what we call that. LAZY. Yeah, I said it. You, who dropped your Clif Builder’s Bar wrapper by the merchandise tent, you’re lazy. You, who didn’t take the time to walk an extra thirty feet to throw out your timing chip baggie, you’re lazy. You, who couldn’t afford the extra twenty-five seconds to mosey on over to the nearest garbage to toss away that empty bottle of Core Power, you are LAZY. It doesn’t stop in the festival either, it happens on the course too. We’ve discussed trail etiquette before but with so many new Spartans showing up at every race perhaps it’s time we revisit the topic. Whatever you bring with you onto the course, you clearly had a place to stash it, that means when you’ve finished sucking down that gel packet, or devouring your scrumptious energy chews and all you are left with is an empty wrapper do the right thing and put it back in your pocket, your camelback or where ever it is your were storing it before you ate it. If you can bring it with you on the course, you can take it right back off the course. Stop being lazy and SPARTAN UP!

Remember we are all in this together, we cannot make these events happen without each and every one of you. Take a moment to think about how much extra work you are creating the next time you consider littering at any event. If you’re going to litter you might as well just drop down and do 30 burpees because that’s the penalty if someone catches you from here on out. Don’t litter. We’ll be watching you and we’ll be dishing out the burpees.

Sign up for a race and we’ll see you in the trash free festival!

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In 1984, the Olympic games were held in the glorious summer heat of Los Angeles. Records were being broken, Carl Lewis was grabbing four gold medals on his path to becoming arguably, the greatest ever Track and Field athlete and British athlete, Daley Thompson, would go on to set a new Decathlon record.

Away from the podiums, medals and headlines, a lonely figure in the inaugural women’s marathon would go on to provide dramatic images that would flash across the screens of the world for a very long time. Her name was Gabrielle Anderson-Scheisse and she would soon be making history.

The Idaho based ski instructor, although clearly living in America, was born in Switzerland and so represented her country. As no slouch or stranger to long distance running, as her achievements would prove. She won both the California International Marathon and the Two Cities Marathon in Minneapolis the previous year and was also a record holder of the Swiss 10,000 meters and the marathon, too.

The race started without incident in Santa Monica on what was a muggy August morning. Keeping good pace throughout the race, towards the end she started to be affected by the heat. Turning in from the streets into the tunnel that would lead to the stadium briefly afforded Gabrielle – “Gabi” – a little respite, but with the stadium containing the heat and not allowing for wind and ventilation, the temperature increased dramatically inside.

Gabrielle’s body was overheating badly and having missed the last aid station, she was literally running on empty. The last 400 meters – one lap of a track circuit – took her almost six minutes.

Her body was screaming out in pain. Her left arm flailing at her side and her right leg unbending at the knee, she was veering from lane to lane as she stuttered and staggered to keep upright. Now closer to stumbling to that of running or even walking, she rounded the last corner of the home straight with her torso badly lurched over to her left.

Medics repeatedly tried to assist her, but still showing the mental capacity to understand that if one of them touched her, she would be disqualified, she waved and shooed them away, even moving away from them when they tried to get close. All medical and aid staff were deliberating what to do, but noticed that she was still sweating. Realizing that if she was still perspiring, she still had fluids in her, they shadowed her approach to the finish line, making sure to not be near her, but close enough in case something terrible happened.

The winner of the woman’s marathon – Joan Benoit -had already finished some 24 minutes earlier, but in that moment, 70,000 were on their feet willing and urging Gabi home. The collective will of each person gasping in shock at the resilience of the single figure approaching the finish line.

Gabi continued to limp and lurch, occasionally holding her head, touching her white cap that covered her heavily sweated hair. As her steps became slower and ever more painful, she eventually made it across the line to fall into the arms of three waiting medics that rushed her straight to a unit where she could be treated for heat exhaustion and possible dehydration.

Miraculously, she was released from hospital after only two hours of intravenous hydration and cooling with ice packs and was on her way back to the Olympic village, completely unaware of the fuss she had created. The next day, she was being interviewed on TV, oblivious to why so many people were making what she considered a huge fuss.

She says, “Generally, I wasn’t happy about all this press. I thought it was not appropriate. I didn’t think it was that special, and I couldn’t understand why the press was so fascinated by it. By her standards, with no sense of arrogance, more one of humble understanding of how it all works, she says simply, “you try to at least finish your event.”

However, over the years the retired runner, but still active cross-country skier and mountain biker, has learned to understand why she is seen as someone who made an impact in so many people’s lives. Her unrelenting fight – that “Spartan” willpower – as it were, captivated millions across the world.

“I think people are always fascinated with something out of the ordinary,” she says. “If they see that it’s not that easy but still we fight through it, even if we don’t win, it shows the spirit of the Olympics. It’s not all about just winning. It’s also about being able to compete against the best in the world.”

“When that happens”, she adds, “Anything can happen.”

Sign up for your next Spartan Race and we’ll see you at the finish line…

credits: sp.beijing2008.cn, runninginlate20s.blogspot, webdevil.


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