By Pro Team Member Tiffanie Novakovich

Brace yourselves, Nutmeggers! Spartan Race will make its Connecticut debut June 28, 2014. Hosted at the Mohegan Sun resort, a lavish Vegas-style hotel and casino, this Spartan Sprint will prove to be a first-class muddy event. The tourist town of Uncasville is located in the foothills of Eastern Connecticut, along the Thames River, adjacent to Trading Cove. As it’s less than 100 miles from Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Providence, RI, and just a 2.5 hr drive from New York City, the race is expected to draw visitors from all over New England. Approximately 8,000 competitors and 5,000 spectators are expected to attend the Saturday-only Connecticut Spartan event.

As with all Spartan Sprints, the race will include 15+ obstacles over 3+ miles, run through the breathtaking Connecticut woodlands of the Mohegan Tribal Reservation land. The venue includes a variety of terrain, including single-track and Thames River-view trails. With the Trading Cove body of water so close by, I’m sure you can expect to get wet and muddy at this race!

Being held on a Native American Reservation will give the race a special feel, marrying the warrior philosophy of Spartan Race with the warrior heritage of the land. Kevin Brown, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council says, “I am very glad to hear that our reservation land has been chosen for the Reebok Spartan Race.  Let’s face it – the Mohegan Tribe traces a lineage and a heritage of brave Native American warriors who lived, worked, and fought in these Eastern Woodlands. The race will bring a modern challenge into historic territory – it’s a great fit.”

Some familiar faces are expected in the men’s Elite race.  Expect Elliott Megquier to be racing for a podium spot. He’s coming off of an impressive showing in the Tri-Cities New York Spartan event, where he raced four times in nine days, pulling in two second- and one fifth-place finish. Also expected to show some dominance is Spartan Pro Team member and Ninja Warrior extraordinaire Alex Nicholas, who pulled off an impressive 12th place finish at the highly-competitive NBC-televised Tri-Cities Sprint. Expect some speedy New Englanders to fight their way into the top 10 on this low rolling-hills course.

With the Utah Beast (held on the same day as the CT race) drawing the attention of many left-coast pros, several top spots in the women’s elite race are up for grabs. Some East-Coast race favorites include Karlee Whipple, who took first place in the first Saturday race of the Tri-Cities Sprint and eighth place in the NBC-televised second Saturday race. Don’t be surprised if Orla Walsh, who recently moved to Vermont to train, shows up to test her grit. She’s had impressive finishes lately in the Colorado Springs Military Sprint as well as the NBC Tri-Cities Sprint.  Don’t forget East-Coast staples Laura Messner and Amanda Ricciardi, who may throw their hats into the ring this weekend. And you never know what pro-team members might decide at the last minute to show up and dominate!

Also on the docket for Saturday are the Spartan Kids Race and the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Kid’s race includes two distances for younger and older kids and always proves to be one of the many highlights of every race. The Spartan Special Needs Course is a new addition being included at several events this year. There will be a course designed especially for intellectually and/or developmentally disabled individuals who want to challenge themselves against Spartan obstacles and also want to challenge what is “normal.” Spartan Pro Team members will be participating as mentors and volunteers in the Special Needs Race. As Spartans, we defy the perceptions of “normal” at every race, while our special needs competitors do the same everyday in a way that is highly impressive and honorable.

If you haven’t already registered, do it now!  You don’t want to miss the beautiful scenery and punishing obstacles of Connecticut’s first Spartan Race. Put yourself to the test and . . . You’ll know at the finish line.

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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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