By Brakken Kraker

Spartan Race returns to Miami this weekend, ready to break in a new and exciting venue. Oleta River State Park will host it’s first iteration of the Super Spartan, featuring 8+ miles of hot, humid racing. For the first time, Miami Spartans will be able to enjoy Spartan Race staples such as the spear throw and fire jump. Unlike past years, the new locale will allow such obstacles on the premises! The course is rumored to traverse through a mix of wide dirt fire roads, beaches, deep canals, technical single track mountain bike trails, and lots of swamp. The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s for the first heat, with possibility of low 80s by the time the final heat takes off. The humidity isn’t going to be taking it easy either, so the promise of frequent water crossings may be a life-saver for anyone descending from above the Mason-Dixon for this race. Three aid stations are to be provided, but this may be a race worth carrying extra water.

With two Spartan Races this weekend (Citi Field once again plays host to a Stadium Sprint), competitive racers have a decision to make as to which location they will be attending. As of press time, both the men’s and women’s fields are wide open. There is rumor that Shawn Feiock, Joey Patrolia, and Isaiah Vidal will be joining me at the starting line, but whether or not any other big names will throw their hat into the ring remains to be seen.

The women’s race has the potential for a big throwdown, as both April Dee and Amelia Boone may show up to resume one of the best rivalries in the sport today. Amelia is coming off a tough 2nd place finish via Spear Throw in Las Vegas, while April is looking for her first victory of the year. Which women will show up to challenge these two champions remains to be seen. There is always fast, homegrown talent in Florida, so it would surprise no one if some local speed materializes come race day.

As always, the can’t miss event of the weekend will be the Kids’ Race. With 6 different race times and both a 1-mile and ½-mile version, there is sure to be race perfect for the future Spartans in attendance. If you are 13 or under, don’t miss this chance to run a race with Spartan Pro Team members!

Make sure to show up extra early for the Miami event, as parking is located off-site. There will be a shuttle service ferrying racers to and from the course, but it is first-come first-serve. Allowing extra time for this will ensure a stress-free check-in process on the day of the race.

See you at the finish line!!

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A lesson learned for those that took the race lightly – make sure you hydrate!

Spartan Race’s second visit to the glitzy atmosphere of Las Vegas delivered more surprises that you could shake a roulette wheel at. Under the relentless Nevada sun that was as unforgiving as the rocky terrain, over 8000 Spartans – veterans and newbies alike – earned their medals and the right to call themselves Spartans.

Heat, rocks, dry and sandy landscapes that seemed to go on forever, even sudden and violent sandstorms – it didn’t matter. The people were here to be tested and to thumb their noses at whatever stood in their way. A move to a different venue didn’t change the attitude or the desire of staff or racer and the relentless terrain certainly did its job, but what it didn’t know was that it was dealing with a different breed of person – The Spartan Racer.

The elite waves threw up some surprises, as new boy Glenn Racz powered his way through a field of established elite veterans to grab number one spot. John Yatsko’s background in running helped him to grab second place, while the familiar sight of Hunter McIntyre on the podium, albeit in third place, made up for the lack of familiarity. Tyann Clark breezed to a comfortable first place, with Amelia Boone in second and the always-smiling face of Rose Wetzel-Sinnett taking third spot. With so much talent, skill and power now bristling within the elite Pro Team, it’s becoming harder and harder to predict podium placements, let alone winners. With this competition being so fierce, races are only going to become faster and tighter.

The winner’s podium at Las Vegas 2014

As ever, the day started with the Hurricane Heat, but it was a special one as it would morph into the first ever class of the new 12 Hour Hurricane Heat. Under the usual guidance – abuse? – of Tony Matesi and a back-up of three extra Spartan Race staff, the competitors were treated to dips in cold water as early as 6am, crawls, squats and endless burpees.

As the regular Hurricane Heaters broke away after around 3.5 hours, the HH12HR – as it is now known – were bombarded with all manner of horrific crimes against the body, one of which being the punishing ordeal of finding, rescuing and returning to the start line with a tire that they would then learn they would cover the course with the whole time. From this, one of the highlights of the event was born. Despite understanding that there was a strict time cut off for the lap with the tire, Kyoul Cha of Arizona (and Weeple Army/Team SISU member who again won the biggest team title) chose to forego his official finisher title and instead stay behind in order to help another competitor that was struggling with his run.

Those unaware of Kyoul’s background will not know that his profession is that of a Hotshot firefighter. Covering long distances with the added pressure of time constraints and intense heat is his normal day. Any other day he would happily have been able to complete the distance in well under the time allowed, but remembering the Warrior Ethos that is taught during the Hurricane Heat, he adhered to the last line which states that, “you will never leave a fallen comrade”. Kyoul sacrificed his official finisher title and patch in order to help his colleague – unwittingly embodying everything about Spartan Race in one selfless gesture.

Kyoul Cha sacrificed his own qualification of the 12 Hour Hurricane Heat to help a fellow competitor finish their race.

In the event village, Spartans were treated to the sight of not one, but two weddings. Well, it wouldn’t be Spartan Race without one, especially given that it was Las Vegas. Amongst deafening cheers and a volley of “Aroo!”’s, Spartan Race and thousands of racers applauded those starting a new chapter in their respective lives. As with the famous phalanx, the coming together of a couple showing that a unit can be stronger than the sum of its parts.

Those with marriage furthest from their minds of course, were the Spartan Kids. As ever, the tremendous and vibrant energy that could be felt from the aura that followed them was magnificent. Caring not that the heat was climbing higher with every minute that passed, they ran through mud pits, over hills and crawled over the ground with reckless abandon. In an age where technology suggests that a good time could and perhaps should be had indoors and beckoning a finger of a blander, more sedentary lifestyle, to see thousands upon thousands of children climbing, running and ultimately, playing their way to a healthier way of life, one would believe that perhaps that there is still an ever increasing pocket of resistance to the malevolent shadow of an unhealthy lifestyle.

With the always supportive Reebok, Eco Vessel, Core Power, National Air Guard and the Navy Credit Union helping bring Spartan Race to the fore time after time, Spartan Race showed not just Las Vegas, but everyone associated that yet again Spartan Race delivered.

There’s a time when you realize what it means to wear that medal and feel that pride and we say it often.

You’ll know at the finish line.

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On the Las Vegas Strip, opulent waterfalls, sky scraping hotels and lush retreats abound.  On The Strip, you could almost forget that this bustling city began simply as a dream in a desert.

Yes, a desert.

This Saturday, thousands of Spartans will invade the infamous Sin City for the second-ever Las Vegas Super, which make no mistake, while conveniently located, is taking place on the outskirts of the metropolis, away from the ringing bells of casinos, the air conditioned biomes of pink clouds the billboards of lights, lights and more lights.

Spartan Racers should expect nearly nine miles and nearly two dozen obstacles in the dry, dusty plains of the Nevada desert.

With a new locale from last year aptly called the “Gravel Pit,” course designers are promising all the Spartan staples — spears, ropes, walls, pits, tires — amid both the natural, rocky topography and new, man-made terrain.  There will be muddy portions, but true to the setting, very little water, except for the planned three stations and one at the finish. If last year is any indication, participants should also expect some down and uphill climbs. At last check, the weather predictions called for sun with highs in the 70s and a slight wind.

The Racer Athlete Guide suggests everyone bringing an ID for check in (and any post-race drinks), arriving at least an hour before the wave start, carrying personal hydration and nutrition. If starting at 2:00pm or later, it’s also advised to carry a headlamp. Click here for the Las Vegas Athlete Guide.

Just like the desert itself, the elite heats will be scorching, with athletes from the around the nation all vying for spots on the podium and top ranking in the 2014 World Points Series, especially since this is a one-day event.

In the men’s elite, look for 2013 top-ranked Brian Hoover and the Spartan Pro Teamers Elliott Megquier, Chris Rutz, David Magida, current points leader, Hunter Mcintyre and Charlotte’s first place winner, Matt Novakovich.

Last year’s Vegas 2nd place winner TyAnn Clark and Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone are both expected to take the start line in the women’s heat, as are Leslie St. Louis, making her first 2014 return from injury, and Pro Teamers Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles and Tiffanie Novakovich.

Beyond the Super Spartan, there are other events taking place on Saturday: the not-to-be-missed Kids’ Races, the 6:00 am Hurricane Heat and the 12-hour Hurricane Heat (HH12HR), which serves as one of the qualifying events for the Peak Death Race.

While all of the events promise to challenge racers, the festival area will offer some Spartan-Style entertainment and fun, including food and refreshments, an SGX Warm up every hour starting at 7:30am, an SGX tutorial on rope climbing every hour starting at 9:00 am and Pull-up, Traverse Wall, Slosh Pipe and Tire Flip challenges happening throughout at the day starting around 10:00 am.

Amid obstacles, sweeping desert views and rousing “Aroos!” racers at the Spartan Super this weekend will likely discover something new to remember about Las Vegas, a city founded on dreams and a desert.

Click here for more information.

 

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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Leading up to the Charlotte Spartan Sprint the entire festival and base camp was submerged under water. Rumors began floating around that the Charlotte Sprint would become the first ever Waterworld Spartan Race. Thankfully, as the weekend approached the sun helped dry things up just enough to ensure another excellent Spartan weekend.

We want to thank everyone who came out this weekend. As late as Tuesday, we were questioning amongst ourselves whether or not we would pull this off. At one point our base camp was over two feet under water. As race day approached we had to change our parking plans multiple times. Thank you for Spartan’ing up and helping us play host to another extraordinary event.

The infamous Hurricane Heat commenced the weekend’s events starting bright and early at 6:00AM. Without those extraordinary teamwork of the Hurricane Heaters, the festival would have remained a disaster; together they hoisted several enormous hay bales from the parking lot to registration and the festival area. Per usual an impressive smoke session (ie. lots of burpees, sit-ups, planks, etc) took place before setting out onto sections of the course. During the PT several participants were broken off from the group to assist in constructing a Spartan mudman sculpture. It’s kind of like a snowman but made with mud. To wrap things up, each team had to mummify a randomly selected member from each team with the required cassette tapes they brought. Abiding by the Warrior Ethos, their fallen comrades had to be carried over a half mile through the course from the Spearman obstacle to the finish. In the Hurricane Heat you start mostly as strangers but finish as a single unified team.

From the Spartan Pro Team we saw a return to the Spartan circuit from female World Champion, Amelia Boone. Joining her were fellow Spartan Pro teammates, Matt Novakovich, Juliana Sproles, Hannah Orders, Elliot Mcguier, and David Magida. Also in attendance were Spartan elites, Valerie Smith, John Henderson, Jeffrey Bent, and Spartan SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol.

It was a grueling competition on Saturday that had all the racers fighting through the extra muddy obstacles. Focus, concentration, everything was tested on this course. Our returning Spartan World Champion, Amelia Boone, took the first place spot on the podium for the women. Spartan Pro Team member, Matt Novakovich also clutched another first place finish. Rounding things out for the women, Ashley Keller took second, just five months after having a baby, and Spartan SGX Coach, Sarah Pozdol came in third. In the men’s competition, Yuri Force crossed the finish just over a minute behind Novakovich snagging second, followed closely by Matthew Taverner in third. Spartan Pro Team members Elliot and David came in fourth and fifth, respectively and Juliana Sproles took eighth.

On Sunday, Spartan Pro Team members Matt Novakovich, Juliana Sproles and Elliot Mcguier returned for some more fun in the mud. The course, which was already a muddy mess, took a turn for the worse (or better in our eyes) after almost 8,300 racers conquered the Saturday Charlotte Sprint. The competition was fierce and Matt Novakovich once again came out victorious. Spartan Pro, Elliot Meguier came in second and Dennis Welch snagged third. The top three women were each separated by nearly a two minute gap with Brittany Duckworth leading the pack taking first, Juliana Sproles returning to the podium in second, and Melanie Jones in third.

Throughout the day, warm ups were conducted near the starting line by Spartan SGX Coaches, Sarah Pozdol and Steve Manns. Nearly 13,000 racers discovered the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a Spartan Race. Among those Spartans were a few incredible adaptive athletes that tackled the course. Operation Enduring Warrior, Wounded Warrior and More Hearts than Scars showed us once again that anything is possible especially with the strong support from their amazing community ambassadors.

There was one particularly outstanding moment that represents the embodiment of what it means to be a Spartan. At every Spartan Race there is always a sweeper heat that ensures the entire course is cleared, making certain that everyone out there crosses the finish. Our final racer of the day on Saturday, a young lady by the name of Ana Silva, injured her ankle on the course. She came to the realization that she injured herself near the three mile mark just as she began a hill climb at The Gamble obstacle. Determined to cross that finish line she found herself a walking stick and trudged on. Medical asked her numerous times if she wanted to be taken off the course; she refused. Her response, “I’m finishing this race!” Kudos to her, because that’s just what she did, giving it her all and collapsing to the ground at the finish line. Ana, is a Spartan and we applaud her unrelenting pursuit to finish what she started. Thank you to the sweeper heat and staff who kept her company for the remainder of her race.

We can’t forget about the Spartan Kids Race, offering youngsters ages 4-13 an opportunity to conquer their own obstacles on the course built just for them. The smiles on those little ones faces as they climb the cargo net and tackle the mud are so refreshing. It’s a wonderful sight to see these little people doing what they should be doing, getting out there and playing in some mud. “Don’t worry mom, its okay, I’m a Spartan.” Keep your eyes out for these youngsters over the next few years, there are some next generation Spartan Pro Team members getting a jump start on their journey!

In the festival and at the finish our sponsor Core Power delivered some delicious protein drinks, keeping our participants and spectators properly fueled throughout the day. Our friends at Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing race day coverage of all the day’s activities and SpartanUp! Graphix presented their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos. Be sure to check out your race photos and check out SpartanUp! Graphix for extra large prints and life-size cut-outs.

After a very long and exciting weekend here in Charlotte, North Carolina the Spartan Team is packing up and preparing to head west for the Vegas Spartan Super. You won’t want to miss out on the madness in Sin City, where we’ll be launching the first ever Hurricane Heat Twelve Hour!

If you haven’t signed up yet, SpartanUp! and make it happen today! Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!

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By Christopher Rutz

Palm trees, cool breezes, and sunshine are not what most of the rest of the country are experiencing this time of year. With winter storm after winter storm blasting the Midwest, East, and West coasts most people are bundled up tight trying to stay warm. It was a welcome change this weekend for those that traveled to Florida for the Spartan Tampa SpecOps Sprint, the first ever run in Tampa. While the weather was a little wetter than most were expecting it was still much warmer than the rest of the country, and made even more so by the sweat, mud, obstacles and fire participants would soon be subjected to as they descended on Raymond James Stadium. 

The Tampa Special Ops Stadium Sprint race took place this past Saturday in beautifully tropical Florida. While most of the country was experiencing more snow and cold temperatures Florida’s Spartans, and many snowbird Spartans, were out in force to take on the course. Registration topped 6000 racers and Raymond James Stadium was transformed from a Buccaneer Den to Spartan battle ground. Unique obstacles in this Special Ops race included and ammo can farmers carry, a football toss into a barrel, a sand barbed wire crawl the length of the field, and a cammo net crawl. There was also a “gamble” in this race, which forces the racers to choose harder and shorter or longer and faster course options.  In addition, finishers were awarded a unique Special Ops finishers medal.

The mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn, was in attendance to help kick off the day along with many distinguished military service men from MacDill Air Force Base.  The day started out with the Elite heats under tropical winds and a quick rain shower.  The men’s race included six members of the Spartan Race Pro Team, Hunter McIntyre, Brakken Kraker, Elliott Megquier, Christopher Rutz, David Magida and Alexander Nicholas. Other top competitors included Isaiah Vidal, Brandon Dupont and Dennis Smith. Due to some misdirection on the course the men’s field split with some taking alternate courses to finish the race. Fortunately there was timing mat at the point of the misdirection so mid race results can be used for scoring. At this point in the race Brakken, Hunter and Isaiah were in the top three spots. When the elite men finished up their heat and it was realized that many did different routes it was decided to run again for the prize money. So with that 30 or so of the top Elite racers went back up in the Stadium to complete the course from the misstep. In the end the top placing went to Isaiah, followed by Hunter and then Brakken.

On the women’s side, they were able to stay on course and ran the race as intended. First place went to Cassidy Watton, followed by Spartan Pro Ameila Boone and then Kailee Whipple.  $7,000 in Prize money was awarded to the Top 3 men and women courtesy of Navy Federal Credit Union.

After the elite heats concluded the open waves took to the course. The weather was cool, for Florida, with sunshine and a breeze for most of the day. This was the first Spartan Race in Tampa and first one  ever run in a football stadium. For those thinking they would stay dry, they were wrong.  Spartan took advantage of the outside and created rolling mud. The challenge intensified with the Herculean Hoist, Atlas Carry (a concrete ball – 100lbs for men and 60lbs for women – carried a distance, a required 5 burpees, and then carried back), an inverted wall climb, an ammunition box carry, the ever-daunting spear throw (a challenge that dished out burpee penalties for many throughout the day), and the dreaded rope climb. Finally, with a triumphant leap over fire, racers victoriously crossed the finish line to receive their one-of-a-kind Special Ops medal and Spartan Sprint trifecta piece.

Not only were adults able to claim their Spartan victory, but a ½ and full mile kids race was also available for children aged 4 through 13. Small Spartans were sent out at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm, giving them the opportunity to take on a course designed just for them, and to earn a medal all their own.

While we are sure you are more than a little jealous of your fellow Spartans run in the (kind of) sunny state of Florida don’t worry. To join in on the next race go to spartanrace.com and sign up for a race in your area (or someplace warmer than your area…it’s your choice).

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Under sunny, blue skies in central Vermont, before an international crowd of 15,000, the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships crowned new male and female World Champions. Utah’s Hobie Call, 36, and Amelia Boone, 30, of Chicago, finished first and each earned a $15,000 payout. The hotly anticipated season finale with over $290,000 in cash and prizes, featured some of the world’s most talented professional obstacle course racers, Olympians, professional triathletes, and world champion trail runners. NBC Sports was on hand to capture all the action for a television special airing October 19, 2013.

The men’s competitive heat featured the winner, Hobie Call, emerged from the daunting 14 mile course with a time of 3:35:56. Finishing in second place was Australian Spartan Champion Matt Murphy, 28, in 3:44:15, and Spartan Pro Team member Hunter McIntyre, 24, now residing in Pittsfield, Vt., who finished a close third with a time of 3:44:42.

On the women’s side, Amelia Boone, who came in second last year, took the top spot this year with a time of 4:09:52, nearly 15 minutes ahead of the second place female finisher, Australian Spartan Champion Deanna Blegg, 44, who clocked in at 4:24:10. Rounding out the top three was Canadian National team biathlete, Olympic hopeful and 2012 Spartan Race World Champion Claude Godbout, 27, of Quebec City, with a time of 4:34:52.

At the finish line, still caked in mud, Hobie Call, of Erda, Utah, said, “The course is absolutely crazy. I had to do it carefully and pace myself. I’m still in denial that I won. I’m sure I’ll be crying in a corner in a couple of hours,” he jokes.

Female champion Amelia Boone, an attorney at Skadden Arps, says, “It really could have been anyone’s race. That’s what is great about these events. I went out not knowing what to expect. It was the toughest competition I’ve ever faced in a race.”

The Reebok Spartan Beast race, in Killington, Vt., which will attract over 9,000 competitors and 6,000 spectators this weekend, is infamous for a half marathon worth of steep inclines, technical terrain, and challenging obstacles such as carrying 65 pound sand bags, climbing walls, and crawling through mud under barbed wire.

“We continue to push athletes to new limits with our races,” said Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena of Pittsfield, Vt. “This is the toughest race we’ve designed to date, most definitely. We can’t wait to show the world what we have in store for 2014.”

In addition to the elite heat, the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships featured a charity challenge, an inaugural Vermont Spartan Sprint, and an Ultra Beast that began early Sunday morning on a cold, and windy morning.  More to come on an epic weekend of racing.  Congratulations to all our winners and all our Spartan World Championship weekend finishers!

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As the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships edge closer, the number of elite heat athletes in the line-up continues to grow. The $250,000 cash and prize purse is attracting Olympians from around the globe as well as Xterra, USTAF, and Trail World Champions, Professional Obstacle Course Racers, Adventure Racers, Triathletes, and marathon winners for the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships taking pace in Killington, Vermont, Sept 21-22. The event will culminate with the naming of the world’s top male and female obstacle racers. The talented crop of athletes, including the Spartan Pro Team, will also be featured in the NBC Sports Network TV special about the World Championships.

Says Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, “We have some of the most talented athletes from around the globe converging on the Vermont course for the World Championships. It’s going to be the most competitive field we’ve ever seen on a race day. This is what this sport has been waiting for.”

Morgan Arritola
Photo courtesy blog.sunvalley.com

Spectators and participants will be able to watch the competition face off as well as take on the infamous Vermont course for themselves. The Vermont World Championships will feature the Spartan Beast, a half marathon of trail running and Spartan obstacles, a Spartan Sprint, roughly a 5K of trail and obstacles and the world’s only Ultra Beast, more than a marathon of trail running and obstacles for those brave enough to take on the challenge. The Spartan Beast will be the stage for the elite competition heat where the athletes will race head to head in an early morning heat Saturday, September 21st. Known for punishing hills in the Green Mountains, racers will tackle a gauntlet of challenging obstacles, including wall climbs, aerial traverses over water, challenging rope climbs, and barbed wire crawls.

All the action will be captured by NBC Sports Group, culminating in a 90-minute TV special that will air on the NBC Sports Network on October 19, 2013.

Notable athletes include: Olympians Morgan Arritola (USA), Fabiola Corona (MEX), German Silva (MEX), and Anthony Famiglietti (USA). Canadian biathlete National Team member Claude Godbout, the defending Spartan female world champion will also be in Vermont alongside the 2012 Spartan Male World Champion, Spartan Pro Team member and USATF 50 mile National Champion Cody Moat.

Additional Notable Athletes:

Name M/F Age Country Hometown Athletic Background
Matt Novakovich M 39 USA Anchorage, AK Mountain Runner -Won the 2012 Mount Marathon and the 2013 VA Spartan Super
Hobie Call M 36 USA Erda, UT Spartan Elite (1st place Spartan Series 2013) / Marathon Runner / Fastest Lunge Mile 24:56
Brakken Kraker M 26 USA West Allis, WI Spartan Pro US – Runner
Hunter McIntyre M 25 USA Malibu, CA Spartan Pro US – Triathlete
James Appleton M UK London 3x Tough Guy Champion – Adventure Photographer
German Silva M 33 MEX Olympic & Professional Runner; 2x NYC Marathon Winner
Junyong Pak M 35 USA Beverly, MA Elite Racer
Cody Moat M 35 USA Filmore, UT 2012 Spartan World Champion; USATF 50 mile National Champion
Octavio Ontiveros M 20 MEX Professional Triathlete & Olympic hopeful
Alec Blenis M 19 USA Roswell, GA Spartan Pro US – Ultra Runner
David Magida M 27 USA Washington DC Spartan Pro US – Runner
Benjamin Boucher M 24 CAN Quebec Elite Obstacle Racer
Elliott Megquier M 25 USA Fort Drum, NY Spartan Pro US – US Army
Jake Rhyner M 27 USA Sheboygan, WI Elite Triathlete
Isaiah Vidal M 20 USA Marble Falls, TX Spartan Elite US (Racing for Mexico) Riding his bike from Texas to Vermont for the World Championships
Miguel Medina M 25 USA Redondo Beach, CA Spartan Pro US – Runner
Matt Murphy M 28 AUS Victoria Elite Obstacle Racer
David Franco M SVK Elite Obstacle Racer
Alexander Nicolas M 34 USA New York Spartan Pro US
Anthony Famiglietti M 35 USA New York 2x Olympian – Steeplechase
Christopher Rutz M 44 USA Scottsdale, AZ Spartan Pro US – Triathlete – Cyclist
Shawn Feiock M 34 USA Dallas, TX Spartan Pro US
Claude Godbout F 27 CAN Quebec Returning Spartan World Champion – Canadian Biathlon National Team – Olympic hopeful
Morgan Arritola F 27 USA Ketchum, ID Olympian – Cross Country Skiier – Pro Trail Runner – Team Solomon
Amelia Boone F 29 USA Chicago, IL Spartan Elite – 2nd Place 2013 Series, 2nd place in 2012 World Championship Beast and 2nd Place 2012 Ultra Beast
April Luu F 34 USA Peyton, CO Spartan Pro US
Fabiola Corona F 33 MEX Guadalajara, Jalisco Olympic Triathlete; ITU Triathlete – Adventure Racer – Xterra
Jenny Tobin F 45 USA Boise, ID Spartan Pro US – Xterra World Champion – Triathlete
Hannah Orders F 23 USA Charlotte, NC Spartan Pro US – Collegiate Cross Country Runner (Appalachian State)
Rose-Marie Jarry F 30 USA Montreal Spartan Pro US
Deanna Blegg F 43 AUS New South Wales Adventure Racer
Tiffanie Novakovich F 36 USA Anchorage, Alaska 15th place 2012 Mount Marathon (female division)
Tyann Clark F 32 USA Toquerville, UT Spartan Pro US
Lindsey Scherf F 26 USA Chapel Hill, NC Pro Runner
Menna Blumears F 37 USA Fishersville, VA Mountain Runner – 2013 Virginia Spartan Super Open Champion
Janna Macinska F SVK Elite Obstacle Racer
Irene Call F 38 USA Erda, UT Spartan Elite – Attempting to set World Record for Lunging a Mile, Collegiate Cross Country Runner
Angela Reynolds F 33 USA Valencia, CA Spartan Pro US;                           Marathoner
Andi Hardy F 44 USA Atlanta, GA Spartan Pro US; Trail Runner
Juliana Sproles F 44 USA Ojai, CA Spartan Pro US – 2x Ironman Triathlete
Corinne Kohlen F 31 USA Visalia, CA Spartan Pro US

 

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Like moths to a flame, the Spartan Race community was drawn to Cliffs Insane Terrain Park in Marseilles, Illinois for two days of intense trails and obstacles that would test all those who were willing to push themselves. With this being the Super Championship for the year, the men’s elite line-up read like a who’s who of Spartan Race with the Spartan Pro Team seeing a lot of the podium all weekend.

On the men’s side the competition was tough.  Spartan Pro Team men Brakken Kraker, Hunter McIntyre and David Magida finished in a 1-2-3 ahead of so many highly skilled athletes.  In fact, the top three finishers in the elite heat Saturday and Sunday on the men’s side were all Spartan Pro Team athletes.

Amelia Boone kept her winning streak alive by winning both Saturday and Sunday, despite getting lost on Saturday for over

Iram Leon with Spartan Race Race Director Mike Morris

ten minutes and clawing her way back to the front of the pack. Boone has never failed to podium at a Spartan Race and her Sunday finish saw only five men finish before her, nabbing not only first female but sixth overall.  Behind Boone, Spartan Pro Team females rounded out the female podium Saturday with Hannah Orders in second and Leslie St Louis in third. Orders made many jaws drop at the fact that despite losing a shoe mid-race, she finished just two minutes behind the leader on Saturday. Leslie St Louis fought off brave competition for third in a highly competitive field.

Also racing in the elite heat both days was the quiet and unassuming Iram Leon. A terminal cancer marathon winner, Leon is an inspirational runner. Leon placed high, despite being very new to the concept of obstacle course racing. The marathon champion charged at the course, wearing a shirt with a runner being chased by the Grim Reaper, with the caption, “Make Him work for it”.

Brad Kloha, who is running 100 races in 52 weeksto raise money for Alzheimer’s was on-hand in Illinois. He is running to

honor the memory of his grandmother and great-grandmother who he lost to the disease and hopes to raise $1 Million to aid the charity. Kloha runs every race with a photo of his grandmother strapped to his forearm to remind him of his purpose.

The Unbreakable Joneses, a father son team we recently profiled who often does multiple laps, also took to the highly technical trails, mud and obstacles in Illinois.   Last seen sprinting around the Texas Sprint multiple times, the father and son team known affectionately known as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” successfully completed the course 3 times; once for speed, once carrying sledgehammers and once tethered together.

AC Auld – a Biggest Loser participant – remarked that finishing is, “an achievement that no one can take away from you.”  He smiled cheerfully and held up his hands bearing two wounds opened up while low crawling under the barbed wire.  Spartans wear their cuts and bruises with pride.

Love was also in the air!  In what is quickly becoming a tradition at Spartan Races all over the country,  Megan Pritchard happily accepted Michael Manning’s request for her hand in marriage amid huge cheers and applause at the finish line.  We wish them the best!

Danny Rodriguez

The longest and hardest journey of the weekend was that of someone who is no stranger to what a Spartan Race can offer. Weighing over 400lbs, Danny Rodriguez, along with some friends and a couple of staff members, hiked and fought his way through an epic nine hours to cross the finish line to a flurry of high-fives, knucklebumps and teary-eyed hugs. Personifying the “sign up, show up, don’t quit” attitude, Danny is now undergoing the very same regime Chris Davis went through with Spartan Race founder Joe Desena in Vermont in a bid to emulate the same weight loss and lifestyle change. Everyone at Spartan Race would like to wish Danny good luck for the next few months.

A big thanks goes out to the Cornfed Spartan team whose volunteering, work and course sweeping for the Midwest race was an immeasurable asset.  Thanks, Cornfed!

Next up, the Sprint championship in the Pacific Northwest. Who will come out on top? You’ll know at the finish line…

Sign up today! 

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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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by Johnny Waite, Spartan Death Race finisher

Death Race 2013: The Year of the Gambler. Already the rumors are rampant and the speculation is swirling.

How long dare they make it? The last four years have seen it swell from 12 hours to 28 to 45 to 70 – Yes, that is SEVENTY HOURS, without rest! There is a reason why we see less than 10% finish this grueling challenge for survival in the haunting mountains of Pittsfield, VT.

Like every year before, the rumors are running rampant. There is talk of hard cut-offs for time hacks, disrupting many racers strategy of “slow and steady” and of teams being broken up and certain challenges planned to make even the toughest competitor fail. Of course, Joe De Sena and Andy Weinberg Death Race Directors are not talking, except when they are mocking participants and making sure the race mystery and intrigue stresses out the field and increases the chance of failure.

“We’ve gotten really good at getting under people’s skin,” boasted Joe. “We like to study them and figure out what is going to break them.”

Olof Dallner

More people are expected to start this year’s Death Race than ever before but, as usual, only a handful will ever finish.

Some names to watch are; Olof Dallner (defending Champion who also has 2 straight Winter Death Race wins and is looking to add his second straight Summer title for four in a Row and a claim to “best ever Death Racer”), Junyong Pak who finished a strong second last year and is always a threat, and the trio of Don Schwarz, Ken Lubin and PJ Rakoski who were leading last year at 50+ hours when they decided to pack it in (Don, in particular, has been training like a mad man looking to settle a score).

On the women’s side; Amelia Boone is always a threat and is expected to fare well in the mental and physical challenges on tap for the competitors. Nele Schulze came out of nowhere to win this year’s Winter Death Race and is looking to be a woman for all seasons, and Morgan McKay went from unknown to 2012 finisher and now to a woman on a mission for the top spot.

No one, veteran or rookie, knows what to expect or what to prepare for, except pain, exhaustion and utter frustration. That is what makes the Death Race so special. And so brutal. And it all gets underway June 21, 2013 in Pittsfield, Vermont.

Do you have what it takes?  Read more about the Death Race HERE.

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