by TyAnn Clark, Spartan Pro Team

The pressure is officially on for this weekend at the Midwest Reebok Spartan Spartan July 20th and 21st! Located at the Cliffs Offroad Park in Marseilles llinois, runners can expect to have heat, humidity, thick mud, unique obstacles, beautiful terrain, and competitive heats. The park is an off-road ATV trail park that winds through trees and trails – with plenty of dips perfect for a Spartan mud pit. Though the hills are not as steep as we’ve seen in other races, there will be plenty of them to keep it challenging. Don’t expect an easy course though. For the past two years, the mud has been extra deep and plentiful.

There were many obstacles unique to the Midwest Spartan in the past two years. In the past, logs have dominated the landscape: logs in the water, logs to cross, logs to climb. With the addition of severe muddiness, things will probably get interesting. If the rope climb and log hop looked hard before, try it covered in a nice thick layer of slop on top. Last year, cold temperatures had runners reeling, this year the hot and humid forecast will be a whole new challenge for those returning to the Midwest.

There will be plenty of strong athletes present to make the competitive heats worth watching. On the women’s side, there will

Amelia Boone

be several present that know how to win a Spartan race. Amelia Boone, the 2012 Midwest champion and recent winner of the Indiana race will be there, as well as Canadian and Spartan Pro Team member Rose Marie Jarry fresh off of an injury. The 2012 2nd place points champion, Leslie St. Louis will also be present. Other strong female competitors include: Sue Luck, Melinda Branch, Spartan Pro Team member Angela Reynolds, and Tonya L Stogsdill.

On the men’s side, there will be many athletes that will be hoping to challenge Spartan Pro Team Hunter McIntyre’s strong performance this year. Hunter is fresh off a win at the Citi Bank Spartan Sprint and has placed high in every race that he has competed in. Fellow Spartan Pro Team members Brakken Kraker (2013 Carolina Sprint 1st place) and Elliot Megquier (2013 Texas Sprint 1st place) came in first and second last year on Saturday’s course. Other men that to watch from the Spartan Pro Team are Shawn Feiock, David Magida, Miguel Medina, and Alec Blenis. Rounding out the stiff competition is Joseph Kauder and Brian Hoover.

Iram Leon

Two other notable men will be on-hand in the Midwest. Brad Kloha is running several Spartan Races this year as part of a campaign to run 100 races in 52 weeks to raise money for Alzheimer’s. He was featured on the Spartan blog earlier this week. See that story HERE.

Also, Iram Leon will be participating in the Chicago race. Leon is a well-known endurance athlete, who won a marathon in 2012. He is also a terminal cancer patient who participated in the Austin Spartan Race earlier this year and who won the Gusher Marathon in Beaumont, Texas, finishing in 3:07:35 and pushing his six year old daughter in a stroller. You can read more about his story HERE.

Make sure to check up on the race results this weekend to see who will be crowned the Spartan Super Champion.

Ready to run?  Sign up and find your own Spartan finish line HERE.

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