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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By: Tony Matesi

CITI FIELD

Welcome to the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, the Queens borough of New York City. With a population of over 2.2 million people in Queens alone, the borough represents over 100 nations and speaks over 138 different languages. Don’t worry you won’t need a translator, English is still the most commonly spoken language.

Citi Field is the home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and is located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, adjacent to the previous team home, Shea Stadium, which is now the Citi Field parking lot. Citi Field has the capacity for 41,922 Spartans! This stadium is no stranger to hosting events other than baseball either, on July 17, 18 and 21, 2009, Paul McCartney performed a series of three sold-out concerts at Citi Field. On top of that, Citi Field hosted its first soccer game between the national teams of Ecuador and Greece on June 7, 2011. They tied, 1-1. Now, Citi Field will be invaded by Spartans. You will conquer the course while spectators watch you fight through the modern day colosseum. Become part of Citi Field’s history.

What’s the weather like?

Normally the weather is quite perfect for a Spartan Stadium Sprint with an average low of 41° and high of 60°. Don’t let those comfortable temperatures fool you though, New York has a way of playing tricks. You’ll want to bring clothes for any situation. With a record low of 25° and a record high of 88° and all this talk of the Polar Vortex, we suggest coming prepared for anything. You know how it is, shorts weather one day and the next you are bundled up like an eskimo. Pack accordingly.

The Course:

The Stadium Race series provides a unique look at stadiums. Come to Citi Field to experience the standard Spartan Race obstacles along with some unique Stadium Only obstacles as you tear through the stands. Run across the baseline, climb into the dugout, navigate in and out of the bleachers, and catch a quick glimpse of the locker rooms. Conquer the Citi Field Stadium. Become a Spartan.

Where to sleep?

With Citi Field being so close to LaGuardia Airport the options for a place to crash are plentiful. There’s the Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn LaGuardia, Corona Hotel, Sheraton LaGaurdia East Hotel, the Flushing Grand Hotel, and the Fairfield Inn New York LaGuardia Airport/Flushing all within a very close radius to the ballpark. Book one of these nearby locations before they fill up! Trust us this is a race you won’t want to miss.

Tonight we dine in

After doing some extensive research there were a few select spots that kept popping up as must see spots in Queens, NY where Cit Field is located. First up is the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. As you’d guess its a beer garden, they offer up barbecue and Czech recipes. If you’re feeling up to something a little more fancy there’s the Water’s Edge Restaurant. Yes it’s located on the water’s edge and provides a magnificent view of the Manhattan skyline. No matter where you decide to dine the one place you must go to is the Lemon Ice King of Corona. Delicious flavored ice to celebrate a Spartan victory sounds delightful.

Nightlife:

If you’re looking to get out and shake your tail feathers after conquering the course – be smart, don’t get toasted the night before – we found some killer spots to check out while you spend your weekend in Queens. Soak in  some live entertainment, craft beers, burgers, sausages, and soulvaki at the German beer garden, Studio Square. Alternatively you have an opportunity to  transport yourself back to the 1890s with the speakeasy feel of Dutch Kills. Stop in and enjoy live jazz and ragtime music and the impressive hand-cut ice that is served in all their signature drinks. Are the European nightclubs more your scene? Check out the Central Lounge where the DJs spin hip-hop and dance music while you’re served sushi under the twinkling candlelight.

Family Destinations:

If you plan on bringing the whole family and want to offer them some options that expand their cultural knowledge be sure to check out the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Park. This giant globe is the symbol of Queens and is an excellent place for outdoor activities. Nearby, you can check out the Queens Museum of of Art where you can view the Panorama of New York City, an extremely detailed scaled model of the city.

Dabble in a little theater action and catch some improv by checking out the Secret Theatre. During the weekend of April 11-13 you can catch the following shows, A Full-ish Deck, Pirate Pete’s Parrot, and A Sunday Smile.

There will also be a few events happening in Queens that area including the Myrtle Avenue Festival taking place on April 13, 2014 on Myrtle Avenue between Forest Avenue and Wyckoff Avenue. Young kids can take part in an egg hunt at the Barnyard East Egg Hunt on April 14, 2014 between 12pm-4pm at the Queens County Farm Museum.

New York, the Big Apple. There’s a lot of opportunity for a Spartan. It’s a massive city with more to do than we can write about, so go fourth and explore! We’ll see you on the course, Spartans. AROO!!!

Credit: sheratonjfk

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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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Growing up as a boy in Germany, I was always fascinated by the endless pine forests that seemed to go on forever. I’d see men with forearms like Popeye and chests like barrels quaffing beers and throwing axes at logs in almost nonchalant disdain. The way the wood would explode into halves as the blade shot through it was almost hypnotic. The action, the smell and of course, that glorious sound made everything so delicious. It remained with me throughout my life and now, finally, not only do I have an excuse to chop, but it contains benefits that I embrace with the same arms that swing those axes.

Why would anyone want to chop wood, though? It’s actually very simple. It’s good for you.

Chopping wood is, simply put, one of the best workouts you can give your body. Let’s think about this. First of all, you need a good solid stance, right? Making sure the feet part at a comfortable distance, usually about shoulder width, in order to have a good solid base, you are prepping for action. Doing this means your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and gluteal muscles are all in use and are tense and braced. Going on from there, you have the swing itself. This is generated in the latissimus dorsi, the lower and middle trapezius, the deltoids, obliques and the pectorals. Completing the swing, you will use smaller muscles in order to stabilize it. It’s one of the few motions, not unlike swimming, that uses a whole range of motions and muscles in order to complete one action.

Best of all for folks that hate doing floor exercises, but still want to try and work those abs, is that this action is basically like doing crunches, only you’re standing up and aren’t getting bored to tears. Crunches are boring. There, I said it.

But it doesn’t end there. Because wood chopping is considered a low-intensity workout, it can improve cardiovascular endurance when you perform is slowly and steadily for a protracted amount of time. With practice, the constant repetition of the swing of the axe will build precise form. This form will raise your heart rate, burn calories and improve your circulation.

Additionally, the motion of the swing – which should be smooth and fluid-like with practice – will not adversely affect your joints, because this exercise is effectively not a weight-bearing one. If you chop wood, say, twice or perhaps three times a week, it will help build aerobic fitness and as we all know, this is what you need in order to efficiently take in oxygen while you perform not just exercise, but any kind of physical activity.

As with any physical activity that requires certain amounts of exertion, you’ll be releasing both endorphins and adrenaline. These are both feel-good chemicals produced naturally within the body.

So chopping wood is in that bizarre situation of being both creative and destructive at the same time. Chopping wood is so rewarding and from personal experience, way more rewarding than any clinical workout in any gym or Crossfit box. You’ve achieved something and have actually something to show for it. You can feel all the muscles working and best of all, that satisfying ache of a job well done. Not to mention the fact that chopping is a confidence booster. Add that final element of problem solving when you come across that one particularly knotty and stubborn piece of wood that just doesn’t want to be split and you have what could be argued as the perfect workout.

As any Spartan Death Racer will tell you, log chopping is a staple part of the Death Race as it’s the perfect workout. Perhaps going back to basics is sometimes the best approach to go forward. So get chopping and sign up for your next race now.

See you at the finish line…

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Joe Desena isn’t keen on lethargic attitudes and procrastination. Putting something off because you, “just want to see the end of this episode of Storage Wars” doesn’t cut it. Get out. Move. Do what a human is supposed to do. Work, sweat and get dirty.

The Spartan Race founder shakes his head when he sees the state of not just America but of the world today. He observes how mankind as a race has allowed itself to become accustomed and content with comfort, quick fixes and the easy option.

Fast food may be quick, but it’s no good. Sitting around and not moving may be easier than going outside and getting things done, but it hides one fast track you don’t want; the fast track to a heart attack. Avoiding a struggle or something that is difficult is largely the root of what we today see as the biggest problem. Not wanting to work for something is how we got into the mess we’re in. As Flogging Molly once sang, “…and we find ourselves in the same old mess, singing drunken lullabies”.

Having had his fill of what he has seen, Joe has written a book that reminds us what it means to be human. It’s time to revert back to what mankind did before. What we were built for. What we were actually meant to do. As he puts it, it’s time to “Spartan Up”.

Sign up right here for a race and start living, not just existing. 

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By the time you get to the tire flip at a Spartan Race, you’ll have been worn down a little. We’ll have made sure that your legs have had some punishment and that your arms feel like they are full of cement. We’re trying to break you. You’re welcome.

So, when it comes to flipping a tire that can be 2 or sometimes even 3 times your own bodyweight, it’s going to be hard. The last thing you want to do is to do it incorrectly. There are ways of lifting tires and luckily, Pro Team member Laura Messner is here to help guide you through what you ought to consider when the time comes.

Credit: explore

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Because I have worn exclusively Inov8 Talons for the past 6 years with my mountain running career I will use these as a comparison.  I take pride in seeing if the Reebok “truly” is a better shoe.

First: Fit.  I wear a size 10 and the size 10 was pretty darn close.  If anything I would prefer perhaps a 9 and 3/4 if it was possible because I like a slightly tighter fitting shoe.  Where I noticed this a little was on the traverse wall where I had my feet at a tangent to the wall and I was “edging” my way along.  Overall, not a problem just a thought.

Second:  Weight.  My 10′s came in at 8.7 ounces.  The Reebok has structure and substantiality that dominates any mountain/obstacle shoe I’ve ever worn.  The sole felt solid and exuded confidence as I ran over the rocky and uneven terrain.  The Reebok also, has the rock guard sole, and the rope guard instep that surely have weight associated with them.  In other words, how is the Reebok so light yet more substantial, more structured and overall more of a “real” shoe and not merely a ”slipper” with traction.  So weight:  A+

Third:  Rock Guard.  I really appreciated and know the importance of a shoe that allows me to plunge the down hills without fear of damaging or slowing my pace in fear of stepping on something sharp.  The rock guard was noticed and provides a very confidence boosting advantage.

 Fourth:  Traction.  The lugs were well spaced which allows for great mud-shedding and a stable platform on loose sand.  So much of obstacle racing involves stepping in and out of mud.  Shedding the mud is more important than giant lugs that attract and fill to the level where traction disappears.

Fifth:  Water exiting holes.  Very cool.  As a steeple chaser in college I LOVED my Adidas shoes which had this feature.  Not gimmicky.  Truly was noticed and worked.

Sixth:  Texture and material of shoe.  I like the canvas like durability of the overall shell and outer protection.  It sheds moisture immediately, retains nothing and seems to be durable to the many rocks and barbed wire kicks.

The Reebok All-Terrain series are sweet shoes.  I will be honored to race all obstacle races in them but to also introduce them to the extreme mountain races I do.

 Matt Novakovich “The Bear”

Remember to sign up for your next Spartan Race right here! 

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By Tony Matesi

FORT CARSON – SPARTAN MILITARY SPRINT

 There is no better place than one of the most well known Army bases in the nation to host our Spartan Race Military Sprint. Named in honor of legendary Army scout, General Christopher “Kit” Carson, who explored much of the West in the 1800s, Camp Carson was established in 1942 and Fort Carson was changed from Camp Carson in 1954. Fort Carson’s beautiful scenery has made it one of the most requested duty stations in the U.S. Army with Pikes Peak right there in it’s backyard. This venue is one you do not want to miss with all its natural beauty and history. Ft. Carson is a destination fit for an incredible adventure on and off the course.  

Fort Carson sits on a 137,000-acre (550 km2) installation just 40 miles north of Pueblo, Colorado in Pueblo County.  Given the nature of this being a military base naturally, there is a lot of history here. Did you know, more than 125 units were activated at Camp Carson and more than 100 others were transferred to the Mountain post from other installations. Nurses, cooks, mule packers, tank battalions, a Greek infantry battalion, and an Italian ordinance company trained at Camp Carson during the war years. There’s a lot of history at Ft. Carson military base so take it all in.

 OH, THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS WEATHER

Colorado is one of those less than predictable venues this time of year. Last year we saw everyone hanging around the festival area enjoying the warm sun on Saturday but come Sunday it was a sea of silvery foil blankets everywhere. Remember, Spartans show up prepared for anything and everything! Keep in mind when you are packing for this adventure, the average first weekend of May in Fort Carson can range from a high of 66 to a low of 39 with a record high of 86° and record low of 17°. With that in mind be sure to bring some cold weather gear – long sleeve compression shirts and compression pants – as well as some warm weather gear so you have your bases covered. Don’t forget to bring a towel for the showers, no matter what that water will be cold. Also be sure to have some spare warm clothes so you can take advantage of the food, fun, and challenges in the festival area after the race. 

 LODGING

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Fort Carson don’t worry we’ve got you covered. There are a bunch of great hotels nearby in Colorado Springs including the DoubleTree by Hilton Colorado SpringsFairfield Inn & Suites Colorado Springs South, La Quinta Inn & Suites Colorado Springs South AP, or the Hampton Inn & Suites Colorado Springs/I-25 South all of which are under six miles away from the venue.

TONIGHT WE DINE IN

If you’re looking for some grub in the area you are in luck, we’ve gone ahead and taken care of searching Yelp for you and found the best spots to crave that Spartan appetite you’ve built up on race weekend. For those looking to get a handle on their raw fish fix you can check out Sushi o Sushi or Sushi Ai located outside Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. If Pad Thai or Pad See-ew is more your thing head over to NaRai Thai or Thai Satay. Have more of a southern, BBQ appetite? Check out Colorado Smokehouse in Fountain, CO, just don’t forget to order your veggies with all those delicious meats they serve. Maybe you are looking for some Schnitzel? Be sure to check out the Edelweiss Restaurant in Colorado Springs. Or perhaps you just want some good ol’ American cuisine, look no further than a local favorite, Shuga’s, where you’ll be sure to find something to fill that Spartan appetite of yours.

THERE’S SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES

Looking for something to do with the whole family after the Spartan Race in Fort Carson? How about a visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo with over 200 species of animals sitting at an elevation of 6,800 feet. You can stop in for an hour or two for a wildly good time and you can even feed the giraffes from your bare hand! They even offer a sky lift that takes you to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, but we know you Spartans will probably insist on climbing to the top yourself to catch the magnificent sunset.

Garden Of The Gods Colorado

If you’re looking for other outdoorsy activities in the area don’t miss out on the Garden of the Gods also located in the Colorado Springs area. Where else can you catch such dramatic views of 300′ towering sandstone rock formations with a majestic backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and beautiful baby blue skies.

Colorado is a wonderland of outdoor actives so don’t forget to check out these other hot spots, Seven Falls, Cave of the Winds, Helen Hunt Falls, Palmer Park or America the Beautiful Park. No matter where you end up you are sure to find a place to capture some epic moments with your crew. Don’t forget to tag us in all those Instagram shots, #SpartanRace.

Sign up at Spartanrace.com for the Ft. Carson Military Sprint. We look forward to seeing you in Colorado!

Credits: jdpoyda.blogspot.com,  army.mil, samanthakrieger.blogspot.com

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Volunteers are the oil that lubricates the gears of Spartan Race. Wherever you are at an event, you’ll see the souls in red shirts helping at obstacles, handing out medals or water and helping you along the way.

But why would anyone want to volunteer? In her role as Volunteer Coordinator, Katie Morrison explains why volunteering is a smart choice.

“Volunteers get an inside peek at what it takes to produce a Spartan Race.  Volunteers work closely with our staff to deliver an amazing Spartan experience, and get to encourage and support their fellow Spartans as they race.  They also get to assign burpees! Volunteers receive a volunteer t-shirt, snacks and the immense gratitude of competitors and staff.”

The assignments, tasks and jobs that you could do are extremely varied. Even with no experience, as training is given, anyone can help out should they want to.

“There are many different volunteer opportunities with Spartan Race from pre-race, to race-day, to post-race. Before the race even begins we have a dedicated group of volunteers help with our course build”, says Katie.

“These volunteers work closely with our build staff and get a sneak peek of the course before anyone else.  This is a great opportunity for volunteers with carpentry, painting, or event production experience, but there are also tasks that non-experienced volunteers can lend a hand with.  Volunteers also help with packet-stuffing before the race, helping our Registration staff prepare all of the racer bibs.  On race day, volunteers help in our Registration area (handing out racer packets and checking in spectators), our Kids Race, Bag Check, our Finish Line (handing out medals, bananas, and water to the finishers), Merchandise area, and on the course (enforcing obstacles and ensuring the safety of all participants).  Post-race volunteers help our build team with the break down and load out of our materials.”

But how do you go about applying? Very simply, as it turns out.

“Before the race, volunteers should express their interest in volunteering by visiting our web page right here.  If the event isn’t for a few months, the volunteer will just sign up under a general interest link.  Once the event is 1-2 months out, specific volunteer shifts will be posted and the volunteer coordinator for that specific event will contact you with instructions.  Day-of, volunteers will check in with either the Build Production Assistant (for Build shifts), the Registration team (for packet stuffing shifts), or the Volunteer Coordinator.  The Volunteer Coordinator will check you in and give you a t-shirt, snacks and a sandwich, and your assignment for the day.  You will then report to a specific Spartan staff member who will train you and get you started for the day.  At the end of the day, you will check-out from your shift.” 

Naturally, volunteers get more than a pat on the back and a firm handshake for their troubles, too.

“Spartan Volunteers get a t-shirt, snacks, lunch, a great time and a FREE race. The free race can be used either at the event that you volunteer, or at any future US Spartan Race except the Death Race or Ultra Beast. Our full day volunteers receive an EXCLUSIVE Spartan volunteer hoody. Furthermore, nonprofit groups of 10 or more volunteers are also eligible for a $50 per person donation for full-day volunteering.”

“Volunteers are the heart of Spartan Race.  They dedicate their time and energy to help Spartan Race put on an amazing, life-changing event for its participants.  Without the selflessness of our volunteers, we would not be able create such an epic experience.”

Go to Spartanrace.com to sign up to volunteer today!

See you at the finish line…

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