By Brakken Kraker

Spartan Race returned to Hawaii this past weekend, arriving for the Aloha Stadium Sprint in Honolulu. As advertised, the weather was beautiful and the course was excellent! Navy Federal Credit Union continued to show their unbelievably generous support for our sport, providing a $7,500  purse for the top 3 men and women. They also had a wonderful tent set up with lots of free gifts and smiling employees! It was a great experience to have such a committed, supportive partner for Spartan Race. 

The big cash prizes, combined with sunny beaches, brought out some great competitors, both local and mainlanders. We even had some athletes from across the pond show up and compete. On the men’s side Brakken Kraker, Alexander Nicholas, Joey Patrolia, and Christopher Rutz made the trip, while Miguel Medina left his dungeon for a few hours to throw his hat into the ring.  Newcomer McCauley Kraker also showed up, ready to test his running and athleticism against the Spartan veterans on this exciting three mile course.  Several new obstacles made their appearance on this course, including a tire hoist and a bleacher squat series.

The relatively new but already universally despised football throw returned. Preliminary reports indicate that more than two people actually completed the obstacle this time. On the women’s side the pre-race favorites of KK Paul, Oahu’s own Lauren Ho and Karlee Whipple lived up to their hype, as all three finished within 21 seconds of each other. The battle for first came down to the final obstacle, where KK Paul edged out Lauren Ho for a two second victory. The men’s race stayed packed together for the first half of the race, until burpees ultimately broke it open. The Kraker brothers finished 1-2, with Joey Patrolia claiming the 3rd podium spot. 

We’d like to thank all of the sponsors, volunteers, and workers at Spartan Race Hawaii, as well as the people of Oahu! Every single person we met was so unbelievably kind and supportive. It made our trip and race fantastic. We can’t wait to head back for the next race!

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By: Tony Matesi

Welcome to Atlanta where the Spartans play, and we hang on them traverse walls like every day. Big Heats, fit Elites, see Spartans roamin’ and the festival starts at eight in the mornin’.

Kicking off another extraordinary Spartan weekend for the 2014 season we saw another grueling Hurricane Heat that pushed participants beyond their limits. Wasting no time getting down to business the event started with a 100+ burpee penalty in response to a collection of late arrivals.

This weekend we saw some familiar faces from the Spartan Pro Team ready to tackle the Spartan Sprint. In attendance for the men we saw David Magida, Christopher Rutz, Elliot Megquier and Georgia Native Alec Blenis. Alexander Nicholas was also in attendance but did not race competitively this weekend. For the women we saw TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, and the Barbwire Queen Andi Hardy. Other Spartan Elites who made their way out for this incredible event included Cody Wright, John Henderson, Tony Matesi, Margaret Schlachter, Amanda Ricciardi, Kristine Iotte, Amie Meyer, Valerie Smith, and Sarah Pozdol.

Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a moment with race director Mike Morrris

The men’s Elite saw tough competition for the top three spots resulting in podium finishes for David Magida, Alec Blenis, and Elliot Megquier (finishing first, second, and third respectively). As if that wasn’t enough for the trio they suited up for battle again on Sunday crossing the finish line once again in the same order as the day before.

The women’s Elite however saw both familiar, and new faces, take the podiums. On Saturday Pro-Team member TyAnn Clark came in first with close to a seven minute lead over second place SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol while Emily Fowler took third. Unlike the men the women’s Sunday podium looked different than Saturday. New comer Kristine Iotte took the lead in the first minute of the race on Sunday and never looked back. Like TyAnn the day before, Kristine held nearly a seven minute lead over second place finisher Amanda Ricciardi. The third place women’s Elite finisher went to Valerie Smith who on Saturday participated in the grueling and mentally tough Hurricane Heat.

Alicia Keys evaluates the next obstacle

Taking care of our racers with post race fuel was the Core Power Team with their delicious Core Power Protein drinks awaiting finishers after they battled the Gladiators. Mellow Mushroom kept everyone fed with exceptional discounts for all Spartan Racers. Eco Vessel was on site with their eco-friendly water bottles. Our friends from Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing coverage of the day’s events and SpartanUp! Graphix offered up their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos.

Not only did we see familiar faces but there was even a celebrity on site as well. Alicia Keys came with a group of friends and tackled the course. Crossing the finish line in true Spartan fashion covered in Georgia clay, Ms. Keys was all smiles over becoming a true Spartan. Another music guest included Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After a long and exciting weekend of Spartan-filled, fun, mud, sweat and maybe a little blood, we’re signing off. We’ll see you at the next one. The Spartan Team will be invading Charlotte, North Carolina in a couple weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!!

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by Alexander Nicholas, Spartan Pro Team

Reebok Spartan Race Mexico pulled out all the stops for their first stadium race. This event was held in the famous Estadio Azteca, Mexico’s national soccer stadium, which seats over 100,000 people.

The race had over 8,000 participants, many first time Spartans and the energy was high! There were many teams and gyms from different areas all over Mexico that came out to participate for this epic event. The weather was excellent and the Mexican hospitality was abundant.

This course was carefully put together to have a careful balance of speed and strength to challenge all different types of racers. There were numerous heavy and challenging obstacles along with countless stadium steps and ramps to conquer. The high altitude also became an enormous obstacle for those not used to the elevation change. Obstacles were strategically spread out to avoid congestion while challenging racers at all skill levels.

Many of the obstacles were common ones I have seen in the USA like the rope climb, atlas stone carry, Hercules hoist, and sandbag carry, but there was some Mexican flare added to the course. The backwards crab crawl up an entire ramp was a less enjoyable addition along with a 25 pound jump rope that caused havoc among participants. The mini-soccer ball penalty kick into a tiny goal was extremely difficult. Most people missed and had to do the 30 burpee ritual as the penalty.

Along with myself, there were a few other participants representing the United States which included: Miguel Gimerillo, Isaiah Vidal, Chris Rutz, Alexander Nicholas, and Dave Huckle. These racers did not know what to expect considering it was the first stadium race and/or international Spartan Race for most of them. If history tells us anything about competition in this stadium, the USA does not win here, period.

Everyone had a blast in Mexico and USA took many of the top five spots on both the men’s and women’s side.  For women, Fabiola Corona, Alex Roudayna, Aleajandra Sormento finished in the top 3 while Andi Hardy from the United States finished 5th. Angel Quintero, Miguel Medina, myself finished top 3 while Chris Rutz and Isaiah Vidal took 4th and 5th respectively.

All in all, this event was official, professional, and extremely exciting. Anyone thinking of traveling to Mexico for a Spartan Race should not think twice. Spartan Race Mexico is an amazing experience!   Want to learn more about Spartan’s International Races?  Find out more HERE.

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by Alexander Nicholas, Spartan Elite Athlete

The programs we do at EPIC are ideal for Spartan Race training, and I only found that out after I participated in my first Spartan! We jump, we crawl, we swing, we sweat, we suffer! As soon as I became hooked on the races (It only took one) I knew I had to bring my new found obsession to EPIC. It was not an easy feat convincing our members, ranging from investment bankers to biochemical engineers, to sign up for a race that is run by the same people over at “Youmaydie.com.”

 
 
One of the best aspects of the Spartan Race is that anyone with enough heart can complete a Spartan Race. Physical limitations are NOT an excuse for quitting a Spartan Race. You create your own challenges and your own goals. One person aspires to finish on the podium while another is simply aiming to cross the finish line, but both those people are on the same course and both people are in the SAME class at EPIC. That’s why I knew we needed to create a team for our gym. Once everyone was on board, we didn’t need to change our training regiment at all! But slowly the mentality in the training center changed, and that’s what made the difference.

The week before the race, I took a chance and emailed a list of members to run the Elite Heat with me at CitiField. The responses were amazing, “F%#K YES!” and “If you can catch up to me!” were among them. These were people who were nervous to jump into their first class only months ago. I think the real difference is that we always have fun in what we do. I had a real “Mr. Miyagi” moment days before the race. All the exercises and all the hell I put my members through was finally going to be justified at Citifield. No more “please stop the burpees!”, “anything but the bear crawl!” or “This giant jump rope is just unnecessary.” I was building them into Spartan assassins and they didn’t have a clue! After the race, the members realized that every extra burpee, Sandbell smash, and inverted plank mattered, and was worth it!

I was overly impressed and humbled by everyone’s dedication and performance at Citi Field. We ran at 11am with a 60 person strong team. If someone couldn’t get over the higher walls, everyone stopped and helped them over, it was an amazing experience to take part in and the energy in our gym has definitely changed for the better since. A greater sense of camaraderie is in the atmosphere here and new and old members alike are benefiting! Placing 1st out of 800 teams was no small feat and you can bet we are planning on defending that title in Tuexedo, NY on June 2nd!

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