Jim MacLaren was an outstanding athlete at Yale University, especially in lacrosse and football. Running was a something of a gift of his, but after a motorcycle accident in 1985, he lost his left leg below the knee and nearly died. Remarkably, he went on not only to recover, but to run a marathon in 3 hours and 16 minutes and to complete the Hawaiian Ironman in 10 hours and 42 minutes.

However, his resilience would be tested again in 1993 when, during the Orange County Triathlon, a van hit him during the cycle portion of the race and he collided with a sign post, rendering him a quadriplegic.

A few members of the endurance sports community raised funds so that he could buy a vehicle – a van – that he could drive with his hands. This fundraiser raised far more than expected and from this drive, the Challenged Athletes Foundation was born and to date has grown so big that it has raised over $53 million in aiding athletes with similar physical challenges continue or progress in active sporting life. 

Today, Spartan Race announced its official charity partnership with Challenged Athletes Foundation.

“When you meet a CAF athlete, you can’t help and feel their determination to face their adversity with pride and a smile….this is inspiring beyond belief” said Joe De Sena, Founder and CEO of Spartan Race. “We see challenged athletes on our course more and more; we are not only honored to assist in raising funds for CAF but also happy to have a partner that shares in our philosophy that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.”

To suggest that CAF changes people’s lives would be an understatement. Supporting all walks of life from wounded troops to children and first responders, CAF has it covered. In actual fact, Challenged Athletes Foundation supported 33% of the USA Paralympic Team in Sochi for the 2014 winter games, in which they won 18 medals, two of which were gold.

Another feather in the CAF cap is its program, Operation Rebound. This program is the premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities.  It provides unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment, training, competition expenses, sports clinics and mentoring activities. This helps troops and first responders to harness the healing power of sport, whether the goal is podium gold or riding a bike around the block with their kids.

This partnership, which starts today, will see Spartan Race raise funds for CAF through various means including the online registration pages, event activations and various media and marketing campaigns. Naturally, raising awareness and funding of the charity and those it helps is the main intention of the partnership. Spartan Race is very excited to share the news that CAF will coordinate not only grant presentations at a selected number of Spartan Race events, but will help in bringing athletes to the events to compete.

So far, just from that one small fundraiser to buy a van, CAF has gone on to raise some $53 million, has helped with  over 9,500 funding requests across not just all states of America, but in dozens of countries, too.

CAF’s signature event – The San Diego Triathlon Challenge – last year attracted over 5,000 visitors and boasted a fantastic 1 mile swim, 44 mile ride and 10 mile run for the competitors to test their mettle.

“It was an important goal in seeking a charity partner to find an organization that was aligned with our mission to change people’s lives through physical activity” said Coleen McManus, Charity Development Director at Spartan.

So we’d like the Spartan Race community to welcome Challenge Athlete Foundation to the family and urge you to check out their website here.

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And just like that, another powerhouse bursts onto the scene leaving a trail of destruction behind him. Spartan Race is proud to announce the newest addition to the Pro Team – Glenn Racz.

Perhaps more recognizable as the man from American Ninja Warrior and the man that can run a 4:12 mile and a 5K in 15:12, Glenn boasts not just an envious running pedigree, but amazing agility and strength. Despite having only ran 5 Spartan Races so far, he has never placed lower than 5th place and with each race has seen his placing rise each time, including the latest – a victory at the Las Vegas Super Spartan. 

“I’m stoked to be given this opportunity to represent Spartan Race! My first Spartan race was just 4 months ago, so I am enjoying the ride one race at a time! The other Pro Team members have been very welcoming to a newbie such as myself.”

Reflecting on how quickly everything has happened and how his background helped him get to where he is, Glenn smiles at the thought of all the work he has put in.

“Growing up in SoCal, I grew up playing roller hockey, snowboarding, and surfing. Then after graduating from UCSB, I began my career as a Mechanical Engineer – but in order to not weigh too much for surfing, I started running, which was about 10 years ago. The next 9 years I surfed less and ran more and trained hard to be competitive at road races primarily at the 1 mile and 5k distance (4:12 mile/14:59 5k PRs). Then last year, just for fun I applied to American Ninja Warrior (ANW) and to my surprise I was accepted to try out the course in Venice Beach.  After failing an obstacle in the preliminary round, I was determined to try it again this year so I began to do some upper body/gymnastics training and started learning about obstacle training and that was when I started to be interested in the Spartan Race – in order to supplement my obstacle training. But once I did the Malibu Spartan a few months ago, I knew that this was the perfect blend of running/obstacles that best fit my skill-set (plus my wife wasn’t too impressed with the skinny runner’s physique!). Then last month when I didn’t get the call back from ANW, I converted my backyard obstacles from ANW to Spartan obstacles and focused solely on Spartan-specific training.”

“I do a lot of the running with obstacles mixed in, but I also have a garage and backyard full of fun stuff to train on, so I feel like the convenience is key since I am able to work out and play with my 3 kids at the same time. I feel like this type of home-gym arrangement is beneficial for everyone since it is cheaper than a gym and it allows for more family time, which is one of the things that takes priority over my training!”

But don’t let the smiling face of the Californian let you think his kindness is weakness. Behind it all is a determined and focused individual.

“I want to be a part of the Spartan Race because:

1) It offers a challenge in both the running and obstacle aspect of racing; plus I enjoy learning and adapting my training after each race

2) Spartan Race is always progressing & evolving to keep every race exciting and new, unlike your run of the mill road race

3) Compared to running, the Spartan Race exposes weaknesses in my overall fitness, which encourages me to become a better all-around athlete as well as a guard against injury

4) Now I can finally beat my wife at arm wrestling!”

“I am planning to focus my training for the Spartan World Championship Race in September. But during the next few months, I hope to have some good battles with some of the other top Pro Team guys who have set the bar high.”

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Born from the trenches of Spartan Races, the Reebok All-Terrain Series is strategically designed with drainage ports that drain water quickly and easily and 360 degrees of traction to shed mud…..The shoe that can handle any abuse a Spartan can give it so you are unstoppable on any course.

Lightweight and breathable this shoe has it all. With a rubberized tongue (complete with holes to help expel water) the Reebok All-Terrain has been generating a ton of excitement from the folks at HQ. Everything from it’s ability to drain water, to it’s lightweight breathable construction has the staff talking about how they can’t wait to get them dirty. With colors that are bright and inviting this shoe is sure to become a fan favorite on the course when it drops in March. Make sure you keep your eye out for it on the shelves in the next couple weeks.

THE REEBOK ALL-TERRAIN SERIES. BUILT SPARTAN STRONG. AVAILABLE 3.15.14

Reebok are ready. Are you? Sign up now for a Spartan Race near you! 

For more info go to http://shop.reebok.com/us/content/all-terrain-series

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The sun rose slowly over the hills of Southern California Saturday morning. Blue shirts swarmed the hills of Vail Lake in order to bring the Spartan Race to life. Saturday marked the first time that Spartan Race had done both a Super and a Sprint in the same day and the weekend promised to be epic.

Tony Matesi launched the days activities off with the morning Hurricane Heat. The HH is a different kind of event. Not so much a race as a challenge to be taken on. It forces people to work together as a team to overcome obstacles together. Tony took the participants that signed up through his various tortures starting at 6am for a full four hours. For a complete rundown on the HH look for Tony’s report coming later in the week.

Cars filled the parking lot as the Elites began warming up for what promised to be an epic battle. The men’s elite had high-octane racers in Spartan Pro Team members Hunter McIntyre, Matt Novakovich, Miguel Medina, and Chistopher Rutz. The women’s Pro Team showed up in the likes of April Luu, TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, Jenny Tobin and Tiffany Novakovich. The rest of the field outside of the Pro Team was stacked. Rose Wetzel who stormed through Malibu was in attendance as was Laura Messner, and as was expected the legendary Hobie Call came to push the men to their limits and beyond.

The weather on Saturday was sunny, warm, and not a cloud in the sky. It promised to make the course fast, but dangerous as was seen through the day where people cramped up from a lack of sufficient hydration. The Amphib Medics crew, as well as Spartan Race Staff, was there to help those injured on course to safety or to help get them back into the fray.

The Elites took off early for the Super where money was on the line for that event. With the men first out of the gate it was a tight bunch until coming to the first gamble where racers could choose to either take the shorter harder route or the longer faster half of the course. Hobie and Matt “The Bear” Novakovich veered to the right while Hunter took the left shorter route. As Hobie and The Bear came out of their gamble they caught sight of Hunter and the group that went left far up ahead.

Ever the fierce competitor Hobie caught Hunter making it another epic showdown between the two friends. Newcomer John Yatsko form Arizona was right on the heels of the two titans for the men. At the end of the day it was Hobie first, Hunter tacking second, and John in third.

It was universally considered to be one of the toughest women’s fields people had seen in awhile. It seemed to be that only reigning World Champion Amelia Boone, still recovering from a hamstring injury, wasn’t on course. Rose Wetzel and April Luu promised to make this women’s race one to remember trading back and forth on the course until April missed the spear thrown and Rose stuck hers resulting in just the break she needed to take the win. April cruised into the finish line in second place with TyAnn Clark placing third. 

The Saturday Sprint was not a money heat but still saw Laura Messner dominate as she warmed up for the Sunday Elite Sprint. Saturday also introduced the first time Spartan Race recognized the top age group finishers from the open heats. 14 year old Josh Novakovich dominated the Under 20 open taking first place overall while placing fourth overall on Saturday in the open.

Sunday the money heats for the Sprint were run and the podiums didn’t look too different. Hunter took first for the men with newcomer John Yatsko in second and Glen Racz in third. For the women it was a tight race. Kk Paul came through the finish line ahead of Rose Wetzel to take first place. A battle between April Luu and TyAnn Clark decided third place. The epic finish came down to the wire as April barely edged out TyAnn for the last podium spot.

The weekend wasn’t just about the Elite’s however. Families spread out on Saturday to cheer on their loved ones as well as soak up some of the beautiful weather that graced the event. New sponsors Core Power Protein delivered much needed post-race beverages to racers at the finish line. 

Spartan Race began the year trying some new things with team results and rankings. Each team that signed up were ranked according to the average time of the top 4 finishers on their team. P4L Fitness took top in the team standings with an average time of 53:05 with the mighty Weeple Army (who had 269 racers in attendance) in second and Warrior Showdown placing third. Looks like it’s time to get serious about team racing.

Lastly the great medal question of 2014 came to an end with Spartans receiving the new medal and being told they would need to perform an additional round of burpees for their second medal. The second medal being of course the one everyone had come to expect from previous events. No one walked away disappointed, and the beach by the lake was a swarming mass of muddy bodies flying through burpees in order to collect not one, but two medals. Some even wandered around with four.

As mentioned earlier the 2014 SoCal Spartan was the first time racers could take part in not just one race but had the option to run two distances in one weekend. There were those brave souls taking up the gauntlet thrown down by Spartan Race and running both courses in the same day while others chose to run the Super on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday. Either way these brave Spartans are two thirds to their Trifecta with only one weekend of racing under their belt in 2014. As we talked to some that had done both they made it abundantly clear that they would be finishing out their Trifecta before the year is out.

The kids races were amazing to behold, especially the Special Needs kids race. Seeing the families going around the course together made it hard to not feel that pull on your heartstrings. Spectators dried their eyes as these amazing families came rolling through the mud together with smiles a mile wide.

All in all the weekend was a huge success with tons of muddy smiling faces, a few cuts, some bruises, but a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction by those who raced. Next sop on the Spartan Race calendar, Arizona. Will we see John Yatsko make another appearance and if so will Hunter and Hobie be there to take him to the limit? The best way to find out is to be there. Sign up for the Arizona Sprint and we will see you at the finish line.

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We sat down with Mitch H., Navy Federal Credit Union User Experience and Design Manager and his daughter Lucy, 1st grade student to get the inside scoop on how they stumbled upon the obstacle course style race and their training tips.

Navy Federal: What got you interested in running the Spartan Race?
Mitch: The end of 2011 started my fascination with obstacle course racing, and the Spartan race series easily bubbled to the top of my list. I admire the comraderie and motivation you find in the Spartan community and from the people you run along side. They also have kids races, which lead me to the idea of having my daughter, Lucy, partake in a race too.
Lucy: I like mud!!

Navy Federal: How many Spartan Races have you both run?
Mitch: My first Spartan race, and only one I have completed thus far in my racing endeavors, was the 10.5 mile Mid-Atlantic Super in Virginia. The course was littered with what felt like over 50 horse jumps on top of the typical 20+ obstacles of a normal Super. I have already signed up to run this event again this year. My goal is to complete the trifecta, which includes running a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year
Lucy: Just one, I was 6 then.

Navy Federal: How far out from a race do you start training?
Mitch: Training for these types of races becomes more of a lifestyle. The races challenge you both physically and mentally. Keeping yourself motivated and in relatively good shape is hard to do on a moment’s notice, so adapting your training to your normal routine is the best approach.
Training doesn’t always mean hours in the gym, it can be as simple as staying active as much as possible. I did make an effort to better condition myself for the challenge of the Super Spartan due to the longer distance and more physically challenging obstacles.
Lucy: I sometimes train, but I play all the time. Playing on the playground really helps me get ready for the race.

Navy Federal: What are your training tips for those new to the obstacle course style race?
Mitch: After competing in 12 races, I have found the most important thing to have in your training routine is cardio. Endurance easily will outweigh strength in the longer races. Many obstacles are about moving your own body, so strength is important, but being able to complete the races require endurance.
My personal tip is to have a wonderful significant other, like mine, who will keep you motivated and enjoy training and racing together.
Navy Federal: awwwwww
Lucy: You have to train and be strong. Don’t give up, you’ll miss out on the fun and mud if you give up!

Navy Federal: What’s been the hardest obstacle during a race?
Mitch: For me the hardest obstacle has been the rope climb. The Spartan rope climb (at the final obstacle) was the first obstacle I was unable to complete. After 10.5 miles of running and obstacles I had very little strength left and was unable to make the rope climb. It has become my goal to accomplish in my next Super Spartan this year.
Lucy: The mud pit. But it was also my favorite.

Navy Federal: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to prepare for a race?
Mitch: I think many would consider doing these races to be weird on its own. Grown adults romping around in mud and pushing our bodies to the limits even more than we did as kids, with no fear of death. I don’t partake in any ritual aside from trying to get sleep the night before. Oddly enough that’s weird for me.
Lucy: I practice wrestling to stay strong. My dad said that’s a good answer. I don’t think it’s that weird to practice wrestling though.

So, there you have it! Hopefully Mitch and Lucy have helped give you some ideas on training for race day.

As a proud sponsor for Spartan Race this year we look forward to seeing you out on the course!  Sign up TODAY!

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by Pat Guyette, Spartan HQ Staff

Since mid-2011, Spartan Race’s main military partner has been the Air National Guard.

A countless number of our obstacle racers are military veterans and thousands of them are Airmen.  We could not be more proud to align our brand with such a courageous group of Americans!

If you are a Spartan Race finisher, chances are you have been face-to-face with ANG’s logo, as you were attempting to successfully complete the traverse wall obstacle.  Some of you, whether racing or spectating, have competed in the Air National Guard Pull-Up Challenge – the most popular festival challenge at our events.  All of you, have undoubtedly said “thank you” in one way or another to our military for keeping us safe.

If you’ve enjoyed the challenges a Spartan Race course offers, you might be surprised to find out that most of these challenges correlate to and help prepare you for real life situations. None of these challenges are more real or more humbling, than what Darrin Kesler encountered in his most recent deployment in Afghanistan.

The following is the transcript of an interview I had with SrA (Senior Airman) Darrin Kesler, who is a TACP recruiter based in Peoria, IL.

PG: I’d like to start off by saying thank you for serving. A huge percentage of our athletes are veterans and we have a great appreciation for our armed forces.

 

DK: No problem. My pleasure.

PG: Great. So, where are you based out of?

DK: Peoria, IL Air National Guard Unit.

PG: Is that where you grew up?

 

DK: Yes I grew up right here.

PG: I’m interested to know, at what point in your lifetime… what was the defining moment where you said to yourself  ”I want to join the military”…

 

DK: I was working as a welder for Caterpillar. I had already went to college and done that. Working at Caterpillar became really monotonous and I missed the team-like atmosphere that you have in school and playing football your whole life, and so I just decided one day that I needed a challenge, and went to a local recruiter and he said  TACP would be the thing for me.

PG: What is a TACP?

 

DK: A TACP stands for Tactical Air Control Party. They facilitate the use of airpower through the Air Force and Army. They are going to be the liaison between the Air Force and Army to direct air power; whether it is for calling in an airstrike, or for recon purposes, or surveillance purposes, anything like that. Anything with a plane in the sky we are going to direct the ground commander how to use that power.

PG: Spartans train really hard to get ready for their race as does the military to get ready for war. What are the fitness requirements to become a TACP?

 

DK: Right, yes. We have our own minimum standard to get into the career field and that’s called the PAST test, physical agility and stamina test. Things that are required are a mile and a half run in 10 minutes and 47 seconds, 40 pushups in two minutes, 48 sit ups in two minutes, and then there’s a 6 pull up minimum you have to meet, palms facing out, no kipping or anything like that. And then there’s a ruck march. If you aren’t familiar with rucking it’s essentially putting a book bag on your back with about 50 pounds and walking a 15 minute mile pace for about 4 miles.

PG: I don’t know if you are aware, but the Air National Guard is our Pull Up Challenge partner in every festival.  It’s the same rules, palms facing out, no kipping. That challenge is to see how many pull-ups you can do in one minute, so my question to you is how many pull-ups can you do in one minute?

DK: I can probably do about 20. 20 correct pull ups, if I cheat I little bit I could get about 30 or so, but 20 good ones.

PG: In the Air National Guard you can work part time and work other jobs while stationed domestically right? So what are Air Guardsmen’s main duties while stationed domestically?

DK: We have tons of career fields. So from working on an aircraft turning wrenches, or you want to fly on an aircraft, those opportunities are available. Or if you want to be a policeman or a firefighter, we have those opportunities available also. Maybe you want to work behind a desk and do you know logistics, intelligence, course readiness, personnel, we have all those kind of jobs also. So in any direction you are going in the outside world we will have something that correlates. Maybe not exactly, but something that’s going to be interesting for you to do for 2 days a month.

PG: So a really wide scope of jobs.

 

DK: Right, yes.

PG: So is it pretty safe to say that whatever their job is now they could find a similar position in the Air Guard?

DK: Something similar, yes. Like if you are out working in fashion design or something we probably we won’t have something for you there.

PG: Yeah, you guys buy all your clothes from one supplier right?

DK: Yup, it’s already pre-determined, so…

PG: Now, you recently got back from a deployment?

DK: Yeah, I got back in April 2011.

PG: Where were you deployed?

DK: I was in eastern Afghanistan.

PG: Obviously war is very real and it’s an integral part to protecting the rights and freedoms of the civilians of our great nation. During your deployment, when did the reality of war first really hit you?

DK: Pretty much as soon as we got there. We had to go to what’s called a COP, a combat outpost. We had to take helicopters, that was the only way to get there. So upon arriving they said “Hey there’s a mission going on here, and we are pretty much dropping you guys off and we don’t know if it’s going to be a hot LV or not.” And of course coming there for the first time, you really only know what you see in the movies, and it’s definitely different than that. When you are initially landing in the enemy zone there, it really gets real for you for a minute there.

PG: And what were your interactions with the locals like while you were deployed?

DK: Yeah we would talk to the locals. That wasn’t my main specific duty, but while out on patrols I always enjoyed talking with the kids, helping them out, and giving them stuff, and just seeing what they had to say. They were always asking questions. They were pretty smart, you know, I remember talking to one specific kid, and they don’t really keep track of age in years over there, but he would be like what we could call 7 or 8. And he was doing college level algebra, in his head, because he didn’t have a pen or paper. So one of the most wanted items there is a pen. Every kid wants a pen because a pen is a sign of wealth. So all the kids are wanting “Pen, pen, pen, pen”. Pen or chocolate. So they’re always asking for “a pen or a chocolate”.

PG: So did you always keep pens with you?

DK: Oh yeah. And you would get swarmed. Once you gave out one pen or one chocolate you’d get literally swarmed by kids. Once one kid comes out thirty kids come out. It was a good time, we had some fun.

PG: Awesome, so I see some similarities in that story to Spartan Race. Spartan Race is all about creating friendships and utilizing teamwork by helping out others on the course that you may not know, when they are in need. Can you tell me about your experience in Basic Training and where you see the similarities with running a Spartan race in terms of teamwork and bonding while going through a challenging experience?

DK: Sure yeah. I guess an example that correlates pretty much hand in hand is the obstacle course in basic training. Having the background that I have, I’m fairly athletic and like to think that I’m in shape and can do all of this stuff. So I’m starting out on the course and passing people and I’m running and doing my own thing. Come to find out there’s parts on the course where you need assistance. You know what I mean? You know you can’t climb this wall or you can’t do that all by yourself. So I learned real quick that this is a team exercise as opposed to an individual exercise. So, it seems like exactly how Spartan Race is. I was watching videos yesterday, and I remember the wall. People covered in mud and trying to get up that wall and they can’t get over by themselves, so whoevers on the other side has to lend you a hand to help them over. It’s the same thing.

PG: Spartan Racers have to overcome 20-30 obstacles on the course. What was the biggest physical obstacle you had to overcome in the battlefield?

DK: The hardest thing that we did was, we had a mission where we had to climb this mountain that was supposed to take two hours and ended up taking nine and a half hours. We were supposed to be up there for only 2 days, which of course got extended. So we didn’t really have water for one and a half to two days. So that was one of the harder things, you know, ten of us sharing and combining resources, to save enough energy for the trip back down in the coming days.

PG: At Spartan Race courses we have aid stations, and it never fails, every time we always have suggestions that there needs to be more aid stations out there. More water, more food for energy. It kind of prepares them for the real life experiences like you were thrown into, where you just have to kinda, dig deep.

DK: Dig deep, and push it through.

PG: Are you excited to run the Midwest Spartan Race with your fellow airmen October?

DK: I am. I didn’t get to do it last year so I’m excited to do it.

PG: Last year it was 3 mile sprint, and this year it’s a super, so its 8 miles. Should be a great challenge for you guys. Do you know we are notorious for a 400ft plus barbed wire crawl, sometimes up steep hills. Are you ready for that?

DK: I didn’t know that, but I’m up for the challenge.

PG: Obviously you missed your family and friends while deployed, but what is one small thing you have while home that you may have taken for granted and missed while away?

DK: Shower.

PG: Hot shower?

DK: No, just a shower at all. Like a working shower. Not pouring Dasani bottles over my head or a baby wipe shower, you know?

PG: Do you have any kids?

DK: I do, and I’m surprised you can’t hear her crying. Yeah I have one, she’s 5 months

PG: So she’s a little too young for our Jr. Spartan…

DK: Yeah a little bit but she’ll be doing it for sure. She’s a motivated one. She’s in her bouncy seat right now trying to jump as high as can be.

PG: What’s her name?

DK: Mallory.

PG: And she’s 5 months, so we’ll be on the lookout in about 4 years for Mallory’s name on the leaderboards for the kids event.

DK: You got that right.

PG: So I just have a couple of more questions, I don’t want to keep you all day. What would you like to say to Spartan Racers who are on the fence about joining the military, and why the Air National Guard is a great choice to consider?

DK: Well, for the most part, Spartan Race is a great challenge for one day or a weekend. They get to challenge themselves, and enjoy challenging themselves, for however long it takes them to navigate through the course. Then it’s over. The Air National Guard will challenge you every single day.

PG: The Mid-west Spartan Race is an 8 mile course, with 25 or more obstacles. Any predictions on what your finishing time will be?

DK: Oh I don’t know. What’s a good time? I know that one guy that does all of them and wins them all, he’s pretty much a beast. What is a good time for him?

PG: Hobie Call, yeah, he’s an animal. Each course is different but he usually finishes supers in 40-60 minutes, a good 5 to 10 minutes faster than his closest competitor.

DK: Well it may be a stretch, but I’ll set my sights on that range. I have a feeling though, that I’ll be stopping to help out others on the course, so that may slow me down a little bit.

PG: Thank you very much for your time, and again, for helping to defend our nation.

DK: My pleasure, and I’ll see you in Illinois in October.

If you’d like to find out more about what the Air National Guard has to offer, check out www.goang.com, or call 1000-To-Go ANG to talk to a local recruiter today.

 

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When Hurricane Irene descended on the East coast and ravaged Spartan HQ in Pittsfield, VT and nearby Killington, VT where the recent Spartan Beast race was held, it was clear that the stranded town needed help. Help came in the form of the Air National Guard and along with 14 other towns, they were airlifted supplies and supplied necessities as the roads were being repaired to allow access into the battered towns.

A week after post-Irene flooding crippled arterial roads through the state, the Vermont National Guard’s Task Force Green Mountain Spirit led a multi-state effort to support civil authorities helping residents and reconnecting cut-off communities with the rest of the world.

The ironic twist is the relationship that Spartan Race has with the Air National Guard. They are one of our biggest supporters and sponsors and we want to give them some love!

In addition to the heroics on the East coast in recent weeks, the ANG will be putting on a show in Staten Island! On Sept. 24, at exactly 8:45 AM an HH60 PaveHawk ANG helicopter will hover over the race site and four PJ’s (Pararescue jumpers) will descend, carrying the trophies for the race. These four will then be joined by about 10 others in racing at various time during the day. The PJ’s and chopper were featured in the movie “The Perfect Storm.” Elsewhere on site will be the ANG’s Rise to the Challenge mobile interactive display – essentially video games that simulate ANG training. Very cool stuff!

So, how can you get involved in such an amazing organization? Here are some details about our friends in the Massachusetts Air National Guard and Otis Air National Guard Base.

Air National Guard pays up to 100% for State and local colleges TUITION. The new mission at Otis Air National Guard Base in MA, for example is made up of positions centered around the Intelligence and Communications career fields. Take a look at the multitude of benefits they have to offer, all for only 1 WEEKEND PER MONTH, AND 15 DAYS PER YEAR:

· ENLISTMENT BONUS OF $20,000 FOR 6 YEARS; for individuals enlisting into one of the many critical career fields.

· 100% TUITION & FEE WAIVER ; offered at Massachusetts State Colleges and Universities. This equates to thousands of dollars in savings for members every year.

· MONTGOMERY G.I. BILL; provides $345 per month – non-taxable – for full-time college students. This money does not have to be used for school-related expenses; it can be used for any expenses that you may have.

· MONTGOMERY G.I. BILL KICKER OF $350; in addition to the Montgomery G.I. Bill; offered to selected specialties within the Massachusetts Air National Guard and provides an additional $350 per month to those taking advantage of the MONTGOMERY G.I. BILL benefits. Add that to the GI Bill, along with your monthly “drill” pay, and you could be making over $700 per month!

· COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF THE AIR FORCE ; earn an associates degree through the Air Force by combining your college credits, and military training that you receive. This allows you to earn a degree in less time.

Check out www.goang.com for more details!

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