By Leslie St. Louis

The Colorado Military Sprint is a one-of-a kind, race like no other! Taking place on the Fort Carson Army Base and featuring a slightly longer length, special medals, unique finisher shirts and more than 15 obstacles, including some designed by the 4th Infantry and Special Forces Unit, the weekend also promises military tributes, over $7,500 in cash prizes and the added elements of Colorado’s unpredictable weather and high altitude.

Isaiah Vidal wins the Colorado 2013 Sprint.

Volunteers have been working all week to build the obstacles for this western-area event, and with 14,000-foot Pike’s Peak towering nearby, racers can expect to take full advantage of the base’s up and down rolling terrain, to complete many of the usual Spartan challenges and perhaps even try the new, net monkey bars that made their debut in Miami. If the past Military Sprints are any indication, runners may also find themselves using the army’s “weaver” training obstacle and hiking up hills with rock-filled ruck sacks.

There are important instructions for parking (see below) and racers should allow at least an hour or more before their start times. While parking is free, there is a shuttle to race site that costs $5 per person ages five and older.

Coloradoans often joke about the state’s temperamental weather, so there is the possibility of sunny skies or snow storms, even the possibility of both occurring during the same day! Three water stations and one at the finish are planned, but keep in mind that this event has averaged longer finishing times than other Spartan Sprints; the fastest men and women averaging an hour or more and two hours or more for open heats.

With an Olympic Training Center only a few miles away and the state’s cities filled with some of the nations fittest* athletes, professional racers from around the nation will face a challenge in making this weekend’s podium, as locals have dominated in years past. To top off the appeal, the Navy Federal Credit Union is offering $2000 for first place, $1000 for second and $750 for third. Currently in first place for Spartan Points, April Dee of Peyton – who  served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and later the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson - has won the Saturday race both years and is returning to reclaim her title. Last year’s first and second place men on Saturday, Justin Jindra of Larkspur and Isaiah Vidal of Peyton are also returning.

Founders Pro Team Member Leslie St. Louis of Morrison, won last year on Sunday, will be competing again both days. Flying in for the race are Pro Teamers K.K Stewart-Paul, Amelia Boone (possibly), Corinne Kohlen, who took second on Sunday last year, Brakken Kraker, who won last week’s Indiana Sprint, Shawn Feiock, Matt Novakovich and Elliott Megquier, who will be looking for redemption after his flight to Colorado was delayed last year (he still managed to squeeze in the fastest open heat time on Saturday and take second Sunday).  Also taking their spots on the elite start line will be top ranked Casey Jindra, Jenny Harper, Tonya Stogsdill, Sue Luck, Chad Trammell, Brian Gowiski and Brian Hoover. Look out for the ever-present Stephen Sinek, aka, “The Painted Warrior” sporting the latest artistic creation made by his fantastically creative make-up and FX genius, Aeni Domme.

In addition to the elite and open races, there will be Junior Spartan Races and fun activities in the festival area, including Spartan Group Training Warm-ups and Tutorials, beginning at 7:30 am and Festival Challenges, starting around 10:00 am.

Finally, one of the most meaningful aspects of the Colorado Military Sprint is the additional opportunities for racers to honor current or retired military members.“I wear blue and run to remember the fallen, the fighting, and the families,” said Lindsey Leiker of Palmer Lake, who is racing Saturday. Her husband Jeremy is on active duty and is racing on Sunday.  Former Marine John Becker of Greeley will be running both days and said while he always appreciates those that have or are currently serving, this race will have special significance. “I will be running Saturday in Memory of an Army soldier that was KIA (killed in action) in Afghanistan and was stationed at Fort Carson.”

Spartan recently announced their charity partners, which fittingly includes Homes for our Troops.

Want to know more about this unique race? Colorado Obstacle Racers has a three-part series, including a Visitor’s Guide.

Colorado Crowned Fittest State - click here to read more.

Please be aware that parking on Fort Carson will be strictly organized by staff onsite. A such, please heed the following advice.

RACER & SPECTATOR PARKING – SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Fort Carson Army Base

Fort Carson, CO 81240

HEAT TIMES THAT END IN :00 OR :30 (E.G., 10:00 OR 10:30): YOU MUST GO TO THE EAST LOT VIA FORT CARSON GATE 20 @ EXIT 132 OFF I-25

HEAT TIMES THAT END IN :15 OR :45 (E.G., 10:15 OR 10:45): YOU MUST GO TO THE WEST LOT VIA FORT CARSON GATE 5 @ HWY 115 AND TITUS BLVD (2 MILES SOUTH OF GATE 1)

PLEASE BRING THE CORRECT PARKING PASS FOR YOUR LOT (download above)

BE PREPARED TO SHOW “CURRENT” STATE, MILITARY OR D.O.D. IDENTIFICATION, AS WELL AS PROOF OF INSURANCE AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION

FOLLOW ALL SIGNS TO PARKING ONCE IN FORT CARSON

FORT CARSON IS A FEDERAL INSTALLATION. NO WEAPONS OR DRUGS ALLOWED.

THERE WILL BE A ONE-TIME SHUTTLE FEE OF $5 PER PERSON (CHILDREN 5 AND UNDER RIDE FREE)

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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