By Brakken Kraker

Spartan Race returns to Miami this weekend, ready to break in a new and exciting venue. Oleta River State Park will host it’s first iteration of the Super Spartan, featuring 8+ miles of hot, humid racing. For the first time, Miami Spartans will be able to enjoy Spartan Race staples such as the spear throw and fire jump. Unlike past years, the new locale will allow such obstacles on the premises! The course is rumored to traverse through a mix of wide dirt fire roads, beaches, deep canals, technical single track mountain bike trails, and lots of swamp. The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s for the first heat, with possibility of low 80s by the time the final heat takes off. The humidity isn’t going to be taking it easy either, so the promise of frequent water crossings may be a life-saver for anyone descending from above the Mason-Dixon for this race. Three aid stations are to be provided, but this may be a race worth carrying extra water.

With two Spartan Races this weekend (Citi Field once again plays host to a Stadium Sprint), competitive racers have a decision to make as to which location they will be attending. As of press time, both the men’s and women’s fields are wide open. There is rumor that Shawn Feiock, Joey Patrolia, and Isaiah Vidal will be joining me at the starting line, but whether or not any other big names will throw their hat into the ring remains to be seen.

The women’s race has the potential for a big throwdown, as both April Dee and Amelia Boone may show up to resume one of the best rivalries in the sport today. Amelia is coming off a tough 2nd place finish via Spear Throw in Las Vegas, while April is looking for her first victory of the year. Which women will show up to challenge these two champions remains to be seen. There is always fast, homegrown talent in Florida, so it would surprise no one if some local speed materializes come race day.

As always, the can’t miss event of the weekend will be the Kids’ Race. With 6 different race times and both a 1-mile and ½-mile version, there is sure to be race perfect for the future Spartans in attendance. If you are 13 or under, don’t miss this chance to run a race with Spartan Pro Team members!

Make sure to show up extra early for the Miami event, as parking is located off-site. There will be a shuttle service ferrying racers to and from the course, but it is first-come first-serve. Allowing extra time for this will ensure a stress-free check-in process on the day of the race.

See you at the 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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On the Las Vegas Strip, opulent waterfalls, sky scraping hotels and lush retreats abound.  On The Strip, you could almost forget that this bustling city began simply as a dream in a desert.

Yes, a desert.

This Saturday, thousands of Spartans will invade the infamous Sin City for the second-ever Las Vegas Super, which make no mistake, while conveniently located, is taking place on the outskirts of the metropolis, away from the ringing bells of casinos, the air conditioned biomes of pink clouds the billboards of lights, lights and more lights.

Spartan Racers should expect nearly nine miles and nearly two dozen obstacles in the dry, dusty plains of the Nevada desert.

With a new locale from last year aptly called the “Gravel Pit,” course designers are promising all the Spartan staples — spears, ropes, walls, pits, tires — amid both the natural, rocky topography and new, man-made terrain.  There will be muddy portions, but true to the setting, very little water, except for the planned three stations and one at the finish. If last year is any indication, participants should also expect some down and uphill climbs. At last check, the weather predictions called for sun with highs in the 70s and a slight wind.

The Racer Athlete Guide suggests everyone bringing an ID for check in (and any post-race drinks), arriving at least an hour before the wave start, carrying personal hydration and nutrition. If starting at 2:00pm or later, it’s also advised to carry a headlamp. Click here for the Las Vegas Athlete Guide.

Just like the desert itself, the elite heats will be scorching, with athletes from the around the nation all vying for spots on the podium and top ranking in the 2014 World Points Series, especially since this is a one-day event.

In the men’s elite, look for 2013 top-ranked Brian Hoover and the Spartan Pro Teamers Elliott Megquier, Chris Rutz, David Magida, current points leader, Hunter Mcintyre and Charlotte’s first place winner, Matt Novakovich.

Last year’s Vegas 2nd place winner TyAnn Clark and Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone are both expected to take the start line in the women’s heat, as are Leslie St. Louis, making her first 2014 return from injury, and Pro Teamers Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles and Tiffanie Novakovich.

Beyond the Super Spartan, there are other events taking place on Saturday: the not-to-be-missed Kids’ Races, the 6:00 am Hurricane Heat and the 12-hour Hurricane Heat (HH12HR), which serves as one of the qualifying events for the Peak Death Race.

While all of the events promise to challenge racers, the festival area will offer some Spartan-Style entertainment and fun, including food and refreshments, an SGX Warm up every hour starting at 7:30am, an SGX tutorial on rope climbing every hour starting at 9:00 am and Pull-up, Traverse Wall, Slosh Pipe and Tire Flip challenges happening throughout at the day starting around 10:00 am.

Amid obstacles, sweeping desert views and rousing “Aroos!” racers at the Spartan Super this weekend will likely discover something new to remember about Las Vegas, a city founded on dreams and a desert.

Click here for more information.

 

Leslie St. Louis is a trail runner, obstacle racer and mom of two mud-loving girls in Morrison, Colorado. She is currently ranked 9th in the Spartan World Points Series and the founder of a local obstacle group, resource and blog, Colorado Obstacle Racers, http://coloradoobstacleracers.com/.

 

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By Alec Blenis

This weekend, Spartan Race returns to the Georgia International Horse Park for its 4th year. Located 30 miles east of Atlanta in Conyers, GA, the horse park was host to the mountain biking and modern pentathlon events during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. With over 15 miles of single-track trails and hundreds of acres of undulating terrain, it is also the perfect venue for a Spartan Race. This 3+ mile Sprint distance race has historically been closer to 5 miles than 3, but with only moderate elevation gain, this is one of the fastest paced Sprint courses on the Spartan circuit.

While it’s impossible to say exactly what this year’s course will entail, previous courses have all had one thing in common: a very tough barbed wire crawl. Without a doubt, Spartan Race will take advantage of the Georgia red clay, so be prepared for a tough crawl, rolling mud, and heavy shoes! All Georgia races thus far have included an object carry around mile 3, which I suspect will remain the same for this year. However, Spartan Race loves to mix things up so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have something new in store for this weekend. I hope you are prepared for lots of obstacles back to back, because last year’s course was relentless!

On the men’s side, we have three of the top 5 runners from last year’s race competing: Alec Blenis, David Magida, and Elliott Megquier. Alec was the fastest of the three last year and has home court advantage, but David beat Alec the last time they went head to head. Elliott is always a force to be reckoned with, but a clumsy mistake on the monkey bars last year nearly cost him the podium. If all men have a clean race, it will be an exciting fight for the win.

For the women, we have TyAnn Clark of the Spartan Pro Team hoping to dominate the field, but she will be challenged by her teammates Andi Hardy and Juliana Sproles. It will be TyAnn’s first Georgia race, so Andi and Juliana’s knowledge of the terrain may play to their advantage. Good luck!

Spartan Pro Adaptive Athlete Michael Mills will be competing this Saturday was well. Paralyzed from the waist down, Michael competed in his first Spartan Race at the horse park last year. Since then, he has climbed Stone Mountain numerous times and has been training harder than ever. This year, he’ll be racing alongside his wife, Tiffany. Be sure to cheer them on if you see them! We will also have Amanda Sullivan and triple amputee Todd Love running for Operation Enduring Warrior. These are truly inspirational athletes that you don’t want to miss seeing in action.

Sign up for your next Spartan race and we will see you at the finish line!

 

*** Alec Blenis is a full-time student at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Spartan Pro Team athlete, plant-based ultra runner, and #6 ranked Spartan Racer for 2013. Beyond his extensive Spartan schedule, he is currently training for Six Days In the Dome in Anchorage, AK. For more, check out alecblenis.com.

 

 

 

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This weekend sees Spartans from across the country descend on Tampa, excited at the prospect of the first of its kind Special Ops themed race. Raymond James stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will reverberate to the echoes of AROO and almost certainly one or two shrieks and yelps of pain, as those who have spent the last few months training for this event push themselves just that little bit harder. 

Taking in a course of around 4 miles – you know we’re not giving away the exact distance – competitors will experience the gnarly terrain that we all know and love, coupled with the physical beating that the stadium so happily deals out with carefree abandon. Naturally, those taking part can expect their legs to take a little punishment as the steps of the stadium beckon them forward with a malevolent grin. Additionally, upping the ante just a little, some obstacles that await those attacking the course will be designed with maneuvers and strategy by Special Ops forces.

Such is the uniqueness of this event, a special medal will even be on offer for those who successfully reach the finish line.

With the Elite rankings and standing already heating up after only two events – Southern California and Arizona – elbow room will be at a minimum at the start line. With stadium races typically being much faster events for those that run the elite wave, Spartan is hoping that the addition of those obstacles not normally associated with races within the asphalt atmosphere will throw a spanner in the works and interrupt the rhythm of those that take the race for granted.

Teams travelling from across the land will see each other battle through too. Mud Run Fun expected to have the biggest team of the day, with the Cornfed Spartans, AZN and many others jockeying for position.

Those under 14 will still be able to savor the Spartan Race experience too, as the ever popular Kids Race continues to grow and encourage youngsters to get out and get active.

Who will become victorious this weekend in Florida? Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram on Saturday for updates.

Picture credit: Wikipedia.com

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By guest writer and Spartan Pro Team member Elliott Megquier 

Arizona is a unique state, you can experience all four seasons in one day depending on where you are traveling throughout the state. Reebok Spartan Race comes back to the Phoenix area for the four year and each year they have out down themselves. This year Fort McDowell Rodeo Grounds will host a Sprint distance of 3+ miles on Saturday February 8th and Sunday February 9th.  For more info on the venue check out this link.

For the course expect a rocky dessert terrain, running up and down steep ridges and hills. Cacti will be out in full force and for those not careful, they will get a sharp, prickly surprise. The weather Saturday calls for a high of 65 degrees with 0% of rain. While Sunday warms up to a high of 73 degrees, again with no rain in sight. Locals might complain that is cold, but for people like me that live in upstate New York that is marvelous weather.

Matt Novakovich a hot favorite to podium again

For the men the hyped up Matt “The Bear” Novakovich headlines the Spartan’s aiming for victory. In his first Spartan Race ever Matt took down the Champion Hobie Call, but ever since he has been unable to find the top honor with just a third place at the Fenway Stadium Sprint. Elliott Megquier will be back to Arizona for the third year in a row and he will look to slay the bear. Miguel Medina is taking a break from building his cabin in Vermont and he will also try to use his new found Mountain Man training to secure his first victory. Other racers expected to challenge will be Shawn Feiock, Chris “Tough Training Guy” Rutz, possibly the Arizona native John Yatsko who burst onto the Spartan scene with two podium finishes in Temecula. If present, John becomes the top contender.

On the women’s side, look for K.K. Paul to be the favorite. Paul is coming off podium finishes in Temecula (1st Place Sunday Sprint) and Glen Rose where she beat the likes of Rose Wetzel, April Luu, and TyAnn Clark. Clark will look to revenge her defeat and looks to be the top challenger. Laura Messner is another name to watch, as she is coming off a Saturday Temecula Sprint victory. Another name you can’t count out is former Spartan Champion Jenny Tobin. Jenny is known to always challenge for victory wherever she races and whatever the distance, in Temecula she had her first burpee free race so watch out she is on her game. Other racers planning on toeing the line are Ang Reynolds, Juliana Sproles and Sue Luck.

Tyann Clark is gunning for victory in Arizona

Other cool things to look for are the Painted Warrior Team of Stephen Sinek and Aeni Domme who always create amazing body paint that Sinek races in for racers/spectators to admire. The kid’s race is always a highlight as it is so amazing to see kids active and excited to become the next great Spartan as they grow older. Lastly I’m calling out my cousin Erik Carlson to race with me. Last year he became a Spartan, but since he has fallen off the wagon exercise wise, I’m using peer pressure to get him to race with me again.

Click here for more information on forthcoming events.

Elliott Megquier is a member of the Spartan Team and a veteran of 69 Spartan Races. He has many podiums to his name, but is still looking for his first Saturday victory. Last season Megquier finish 4th in the points series, after finishing 5th the year before.

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So here we all are again. Another year starts and yet again we look toward the sun kissed hills of Temecula in southern California to kick off another year of hills, pain, ropes, barbed wire and thousands upon thousands of delicious burpees. Don’t pretend you don’t like them.

As Vail Lake prepares to open its arms to thousands of Spartans old and new, we now have the fortunate dilemma of just how much we want those Trifectas. Instead of hosting the usual Super to get proceedings underway, this year begins with the option of doing both the Sprint and the Super, or perhaps just one or the other. The mid-range Super will boast a minimum of 8 miles and at least 20 obstacles waits for you on Saturday. The shorter Sprint, a great option for those new to Spartan Race with a distance of around 3.1 miles, will also be held on a completely different track taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. Which Spartans out there will try to get two thirds of their Trifecta done in one glorious weekend?

The rolling hills of Temecula can be unforgiving. Have you been training?

Additionally, the ferocious lunacy of the always-demanding Hurricane Heat will be available for those who like their early starts sprinkled liberally with hundreds of burpees and random tasks that serve no purpose other than to build teamwork and exhaust your muscles.

Miguel Medina is looking to make the podium his own in 2014

The elites will be keen to reap more points. Especially the early 2014 season leader of the men’s elite division, Elliot Megquier. Currently Elliot has a paper-thin lead over Alexander Nicholas who was last seen showing us how to beat the Slippery Wall. Naturally well known heavy hitters in the form of Hunter McIntyre, Miguel Medina, Isiah Vidal, David Megida, Hobie Call and others will be sure to have their say in how those rankings look before too long.

The in the female division the competition grows equally as fierce with every race. Keen to shake off the dust following the winter break, Laura Messner will be all too aware that Danielle Ross, Jolene Wilkinson, Andi Hardy and the imposing pair of April Luu and Amelia Boone will quickly want to destroy her lead in the points tally. It’s looking very much like 2014 will become the most hotly contested year yet.

Also new to Spartan Race is the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Special Needs Spartan Race is an obstacle course race designed to test resilience, strength, stamina, and ability to overcome adversity. Sports are a universal language which unites people on and off the field of play, cutting across lines of race, ethnicity, education level, social status, and economic background. The Special Needs Spartan Race breaks new ground by increasing collaboration and raising awareness. Most importantly Spartan Race is providing a safe and structured athletic event where individual differences are embraced. This will be a place where children and families can feel comfortable to express themselves and engage fully in the Spartan community.


The Special Needs Spartan Race course is designed for participants with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Special considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges faced by race participants.

In keeping with the Spartan Mission, our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Spartans welcome racers of all abilities. We integrate people with special needs to challenge the public’s perception of what is normal. The spirit of the Spartan Race community encourages the development of skill, courage, sharing, and joy while transcending boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion. All racers receive a Finisher’s Medal, a T-shirt, and are embraced as a member of the Spartan Tribe.

With our usual mix of vendors, music and community atmosphere in the event village, it’s shaping up to be yet another outstanding event under the gloriously warm blue skies of California.

See you at the finish line…

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Spartan Race returns to Glen Rose, Texas, for the last race scheduled in the 2013 calendar year. Hosted by Rough Creek Lodge and Resort, a venue of 11,000 acres in the foothills of the Texas Hill Country, this Spartan Beast is sure to test newcomers and Elites alike with a minimum expected 10-12 mile distance of ruggedly formed Obstacle Racing arena from Hell.

With much attention on the recent 2013 Reebok Spartan Race World Championships appearing on NBC Sports, many will now find themselves ready to put Texas mud to the test on what is unquestionably the next toughest course Spartan Race has to offer. Although the venue does not offer the step-mountain slopes that can be found in Vermont; Texas soil is well-known for a harshness in terrain that will dishearten any of those that may take it for granted. This venue yet stands as the only previous location to have hosted another Spartan Race World Championship not long ago in 2011. It was also the location of one of the biggest showdowns in the following year as several Elite racers battled relentlessly to gain much needed points, officially ending the 2012 Spartan Race Elite Points Series.

Spartan Pro Team athlete Shawn Feiock.

Without any doubt, we can expect to find an element of the unknown to awaken from the plotting minds at Spartan Race. As a new twist, and perhaps a chilling testimony on what is to come, this year’s Texas Beast course has been designed by the mastermind of the 2013 Vermont Ultra Beast, Norm Koch. Most racers are expected to spend longer than 3 hours to complete this course, some up to 7 hours. And as if the terrain and monstrous obstacles that this Beast has to offer wasn’t enough to already weaken your spine, temperatures have plummeted in Texas over the last few weeks enough to offer a glimpse of what also put so many athletes’ determination and willpower to the ultimate test in the recent Reebok Spartan Race World Championships.

Many returning champions will attend this race that has been nothing less than a spectacle to behold over prior years. On the men’s side, no one has yet been able to defeat the champion of the Texas Beast, Hobie Call. Strong numbers and some of his most fierce competition including Cody Moat, Hunter McIntyre, Brakken Kraker, David Magida, Elliott Megquire, Christopher Rutz, Joseph Kauder, Anthony Matesi, and Matt Novakovich are expected to attend and threaten mercilessly his reign on the Texas podium. And just as impassioned on the female’s side, the previous years’ prowess of Jenny Tobin and April Luu will be challenged by expected competitors such as Rose Marie Jarry, TyAnn Clark, Jackie Rust, Tonya Stogsdill, Andi Hardy, and Daniell Ross. Texas is also home of some of the most resilient Spartan Elite talent including Isaiah Vidal and Ella Kociuba, as well as the infamous Spartan Race couple Shawn Feiock and the ‘Mini Beast’ Sue Luck.

Spartan Pro Team athlete Shawn Feiock will be in attendance with several local Texas Spartan Racers personally recruited and trained ready for the Texas Beast. New and returning racers such as Michael Mauk, Chris Rust, Jeremy Dinges, Kyle Lee, Evan Williams, Paul Drew, JB Gerhart, Ben Pelg, Bryan Thompson, Amanda Thompson, Christina Armstrong, Kristine Iotte, and Jessica King will be coming in after months of rigorous training for their shot at a victorious finish. Other big Texas teams including the Lone Star Spartans, Cowbell Spartans, and Team SISU Texas, will surely forge their own paths in the ruthless terrain and unforgiving hills that await in Glen Rose, Texas.

This race will prove you not only ‘Spartan Tough’, but also ‘Texas Tough’. This is the TEXAS SPARTAN BEAST… Step up and get out of your comfort zone, don’t miss your chance to push yourself to the limit!! Many will arrive, but few will leave! Are you ready for a Spartan Race? Look through our future events and sign up here.

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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

 Wisconsin is finally getting its own Spartan Race and there couldn’t be a better place to showcase our state than Miller Park in Milwaukee! I love the fact that Miller Park, known as most of Wisconsin is for how much beer and brats are consumed there, will be the center of such an incredible fitness challenge.
Every Spartan Race provides a unique, incredible experience, but the stadium races represent something truly special. These races give us the ability to actually compete on the fields that America’s top professional athletes compete on. We get to run through, under and around the stadium and on the field itself! Normally if someone attempts to do that, they are rewarded with a $1000 ticket and a night in jail.
As a young boy, I grew up attending Brewer games all summer long. Every night I dreamed of one day competing on that field in front of thousands of people. Those visions may have consisted of home runs and diving catches rather than spear throws and barbed wire crawls, but the fact remains that I am going to be able to fulfill a childhood dream this Saturday.
Thousands of Midwesterners will take the starting line in a few short days, accompanied by the many who will travel hundreds of miles to earn the honor of finishing a Spartan Race. Joining them will be some of the top Obstacle Racers in the country, highlighted by the clash of the only two men to win a Stadium Race: Hunter McIntyre and Alexander Nicholas. In addition other Pro Team athletes in attendance will be Elliott Megquier and Christopher Rutz. On the women’s side, the race is wide open and will feature several Spartan Pro Team members.
I’ll see you all on the field Saturday. Good luck and travel safely!

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