by Carrie Adams

photo (8)When news of the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene began to circulate, Spartan HQ worked diligently to keep race doors open for the weekend.  When the State of Massachusetts shut down the site and the venue for Sunday’s August 28th day of racing, and declared a state of emergency we were forced to cancel the heats.  Amidst the disappointed racers and staffers, no one was more upset than our own owner, Joe DeSena and the crews, course designers, and builders ready to race in Amesbury. 

Plans for possible Sunday heats evaporated when we were notified that streets would be shut down and the Sunday permit would no longer be valid.  A new plan was necessary.  Phone calls, site visits, and last minute adjustments were made and SR staffers managed to negotiate an alternative for a few Spartan athletes brave enough to take on the challenge.  By noon on Friday, an invitation went out to all Sunday racers giving them the chance to try Spartan’s course with a unique twist.  An early morning run through the course led by some of the Founders of Spartan Race.  And just like that, Running with the Founders: The Hurricane Heat was born.

Running in teams with self-determined names like “Team Orange Hat”, “Team Death”, “Team Sandbag”  and without chips at 6 AM, Saturday, August 27th more than 150 people spent nearly 2 1/2 hours with Joe DeSena and other Spartan staff racing the course, doing burpees together, hauling sand bags and getting a taste of what motivates our company of athletes to do what we do with our races. 

The athletes, dubbed the Hurricane Heaters, earned their finisher medals and in their own words, told of their experience out in the woods, in the mud, and in the company of some other amazing runners who took part in the first heat of it’s kind. 

295983_10150268187534094_719939093_7734733_2197212_s“1st Spartan ever! Thanks to “Sandman” team! I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to the Founders and letting us race with you at 6AM! See you next year!!!” –Elizabeth Leonard

“Couldn’t let Irene get in the way! PROUD member of Team Orange 319538_184409291631773_100001881097696_452202_3039320_sHat! –Stacie Dufour

“Team Orange Hat Forever!! :) – Domenic Fernandes

“Running the Amesbury Race twice in one day was awesome! Hobie is def a damn Beast. Joe once again thanks for taking the 6 am Hurricane Heat and making it worth the 2 1/2 hour drive to the race. Team Disconnected rocked it.” – Nathan Holmes

“Team Green of the Hurricane Division. You all rule!! No questions.” – Jennifer Sullivan

307192_10150273015585866_544365865_8255628_2393416_s“Can’t thank Joe enough for making the Hurricane Heat happen! It was 2.5 hours of torture but we loved every minute of it! Thanks for designing such a challenging course, pushing us to our limits, and running along with us carrying a sandbag! Thanks to Team Orange Hat for killing it! And Mr. Orange Hat himself for dragging that sandbag under the barbed wire for the team!” –Alison Brown

“Thanks, Spartan organizers, for putting together this morning’s Hurricane Heat. Wish Irene would have let us have Sunday, but this was a great and perhaps more memorable alternative. Toughest course I’ve done (so far). Go Team North Shore!” – David Elston-Pollock

“The Amesbury course was awesome this year, even better than the last.. Thanks for lettling the Hurricane division run and Team Death kick axx!” – Jonathan Rheaume

“Thank you to all the organizers for pulling together and making the hurricane heat possible. It was above and beyond the call of duty, and something we all will never forget. For all those people who complained about the situation, I hope you were there to enjoy the heat with us, and recognize how hard they worked to make it happen. Special thanks to Joe for running with us at 6am with a sandbag for the entire race!” – Kevin Andrews

185366_10150267168401861_251061411860_8237135_5236174_nWe were thrilled to give some Spartans a memorable experience in Amesbury Running with the Founders. It should come as no surprise to you that Joe D and few Hurricane Heaters took to the trails on Sunday to get in a training run…

On a more serious note, our thoughts go out to all those still at the mercy of Hurricane Irene.  Our own HQ in Vermont has been hit hard and many people are without homes, power, and have been evacuated with no sure sign of when they can return.  We hope that Irene passes soon and the recovery can soon follow.  Stay safe until we race with you again, Spartans. 

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12 Responses

  1. avatar

    Big shout out to everyone in the frisky Team Orange Hat for a great morning and remember, when your sandbag rips, ask yourself this one very important question… “would you rip your child?”

  2. avatar

    That wasn’t what I was expecting at all but it was a great experiance. Brutal: yes.. Amazing: Definetly!! Team Orange hatt!!

  3. avatar

    Don’t forget about Team Green !!

  4. avatar

    It was amazing. Best playground ever! I loved every second of it. AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoo

  5. avatar

    It was amazing. Best playground ever! I loved every second of it. AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  6. avatar

    Feelin those burpees today, awesome experience, GO Team Bagman!

  7. avatar

    Special thanks to Joe D and all the Spartan Race staff that were on at 6am. Without you I never would have met all the awesome people of team Orange Hat!! TOH Arrooo, Arrooo, Arroooo!!

  8. avatar

    Where can I look for any pics taken at the Amesbury, MA Spartan Sprint?

  9. avatar

    If you were a Hurricane Heater … jump onto this Facebook group so we can keep track of everyone for a possible repeat in the future and some team shirts.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/hurricaneheaters/

  10. avatar

    Had an awesome time and loved the carrying the bucket of gravel up and down the hill treat. Almost as much fun as crawling up hill in mud and rocks. Already signed up for next years race!

  11. avatar

    Big Shout Out to Joe and the rest of the Tam that made the Hurricane Heat possible. It was an incredible day made possible by those guys stepping up and executing a great idea. Thanks for the motivating sandbag / burpee experience!

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