by Carrie Adams

Race reports have been flowing in by our athletes who were lucky enough to be a part of the first EVER of it’s kind inside the walls (and stairs) of Fenway Park.  We’ll be sharing our own race report as well as the accounts of our Spartans willing to share their incredible stories of how the Fenway Time Trial excited and delighted all those in attendance.  Athletes had unprecedented access to the park as they ran, jumped, climbed their way through one of the most beloved American landmarks in a Spartan style tour.  

Here is one story, told by Adrian Syso, a true Spartan Chick and a six time Spartan Race finisher!  

Saturday morning, November 17th, I was up at 4 am to eat breakfast and be on the road by 4:30. I live in NY and don’t ask me why I thought 9 am heat would be a good idea! I made myself some oatmeal which almost immediately after I took the last spoonful decided it didn’t want to stay with me. It was starting already, my pre-race jitters. I am positive my anxiety was turned up high because I was running SOLO! I had never run a Spartan by myself before, I always had a sister with me, or my teammates. But my sisters are off at college and my team signed up for a later heat. So it was just ME!

Walking up to Fenway Park was a surreal experience. I saw people running in the stadium and I knew that would be me in a few short moments. I got my racer packet and signed my son up for the kids race and headed inside. I found the starting line, kissed my son good-bye, my mom and brother wished me luck, and I was gone.

A spot opened up for a single runner so I made my way to the front and stood on my spot. We started off with Joe DeSena showing us proper form of a Burpee and before the race even started we had to do 10, that was just a taste of the massive burpees I knew would be in my future.

And off we went, in true Spartan fashion up the incline ramps to the top of the stadium, I just can’t get away from Spartans with hills huh? At least it wasn’t a mountain. The air was so cold. I wasn’t used to running in the cold weather so immediately I could feel the effects on my lungs. But I was determined not to make that an excuse to stop. “Keep running, deep breath, in through your nose out through your mouth.” I kept repeating in my head until the air didn’t bother me as much.

Honestly I don’t remember what order the obstacles went in. I was focusing on getting through them and NOT WALKING! I had no one with me to cheer me on. usually I have my sister Rosy with me and we are constantly encouraging one another, or talking smack, you know how sisters are. I just had to keep pushing even when I didn’t want to.

My favorite Obstacles would have had to been the medicine ball slams, women had 15 pounders and had to lift them over their head throw them to the ground and pick them back up 20 times.

The rope climb, my arch nemesis. In Tuxedo, NY I got all the way to the top only to realize I was too short to hit the bell!  In PA I only made it about halfway.  This time around, I was determined to get to the top!  I took my time and focused. Reassessed my grip and footing at every knot I made it up. I got to the top and hit that bell and was ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I felt like I was flying.

The traverse wall and I have a love/hate relationship, I am about at a 50/50 when it comes to being able to get all the way across. I picked what I thought the best wall would be, and it was UNTIL I got about three pegs away from the bell to realize they were spaced out a tad farther than my 5 foot tall body could reach. I just had to keep telling myself I could do it… Sure enough, DING! I hit that bell and took off running again.

I did my fair share of burpees though, got to about 85 meters left in my row only to see “Burpees for You” come across my screen.  Missed the spear throw, another 30 burpees, and of course the 30 burpees “Just for Fun” Come one really?? Who does Burpees for fun??

I had a ton of silent victories. Not going to lie every time I passed a guy I grinned to myself in true Spartan Chick fashion. Knowing I was able to do the race by myself was a huge victory in and of itself. That I didn’t stop to walk for longer than a few seconds. I ran the whole race. I carried that ridiculously heavy sandbag through the stadium bleachers with only one stop to adjust. I just focused on one step ahead of the other. Not worrying about what was next. As I was crossing the finish line running full force INTO the gladiators I saw my mom and my son.  I fought my way to the finish line had my time chip cut off and was shacking with adrenaline! I was handed the most beautiful Spartan medal and t-shirt I have ever seen, its such an amazing feeling to know that you EARNED that.

The slogan is right, you do know at the finish line.

I scarfed down my banana and two glasses of water. Found my son and gave him a huge kiss!  In addition to me running my 6th Spartan Race, I also had a six year old who was running his 2nd Spartan. We headed down to the starting line. He wanted me to run with him so I ran alongside to take photos. I have a ton of proud moments as a mother, but I have to admit watching him participate in the Kids Spartans are up there on my proudest. He is fearless, he doesn’t even think twice about an obstacle. He is a true natural and I can not wait for him to be able to run along side me and be cheering me on in a few years.

I am thankful to Joe DeSena for creating such an AMAZING race. One that I am able to share with my sisters, friends, family, and most importantly my son. To be setting a good example that fitness can be fun, that it is something to do with the people you love. I am grateful for the entire spartan community. I have met so many amazing and driven people who motivate me to be the best me I can be.

My 2012 Race Season is over for the year, I am looking forward to 2013 and what the Spartan Race has in store for us next year! and possible Death Race 2014! Who knows? All I know is that I am determined to beat my results next year and to make 2013 the best one yet!

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

I remember getting a phone call from Joe Desena that the Amesbury permit had been pulled from our Sunday heats for the 2011 Spartan Sprint Race.  I panicked.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time.  It was our first two-day event in Spartan’s race history and now we didn’t have the opportunity to hold our second day of heats.  We were devastated.  Of course, true to form, Joe D had a plan.

“Tell them to come early Saturday morning.” said Desena.

“Who?” I asked.

“All the people in the Sunday heats.  I’ll take them out and we’ll do the course my way.” And then he hung up before I could ask what that meant.

And just like that, the Hurricane Heatwas born.  With some last minute scrambling and coordination between staff on the ground and staff at HQ, I emailed the entire roster of Sunday racers offering them the chance to run with us early Saturday morning.  Not knowing what would happen next, we all held our breath wondering if anyone would come.  And come they did.  Saturday morning, over 150 of would-be Sunday Spartans showed up to get put through their paces by Joe and other Spartan staffers in what would become a Spartan Race tradition.  They formed into teams, gathered up sandbags, and set off to spend nearly three hours on the Spartan course before the Saturday crowds.

The Original Hurricane Heat Amesbury 2011

Two of those racers were Jennifer Sullivan and Danny Allen.  Sullivan is now a full-time Spartan employee but they have both been a part of our community as well as two of the founding members of the Storm Chasers since that fateful morning.  And from that day in August of 2011 Jennifer and Danny went from strangers, to friends, and then on August 23, 2012 they became husband and wife.

At Spartan Race HQ, we are a tight knit family.  Despite our growth, we’re still a pretty small shop and we’d like to wish a warm and loving “Congratulations” to Jennifer and Danny.   They aren’t the first marriage as a result of Spartan Race, but they’re certainly very special and we are thrilled with their good news.  It’s only fitting that it began in the midst of a hurricane.  That’s the Spartan version of a fairy tale.   Congratulations, Jennifer and Danny.  We love you both very much, wish you all the best, and are thankful to be a part of your story.

Our Spartan Wedding

by Jennifer Sullivan

We can thank Irene.

Unknowingly, Danny (my now husband) and I both signed up to run the Sunday, Spartan Race Sprint in Amesbury, MA in August 2011. However, due to Hurricane Irene’s predicated landfall, the State of Massachusetts shut down the race venue. Thankfully Spartan Race (With a special Thank You to Carrie & Tommy) was able to create a new heat, based off of teamwork, which was to take place before the storm: the Hurricane Heat. That heat changed my life.

Over the next few weeks, via Facebook and text, those strangers from my team became my friends. When Spartan Race offered us the

Storm Chasers in Chicago, 2011

opportunity to race in Illinois, we all jumped at it. Twenty-five of us from states across New England worked together to coordinate a road trip that would get us there. We decided to name our team the Storm Chasers, in tribute to that original Hurricane Heat (because we were following the ‘storm’).

It was on this road trip I first met Danny, well; I heard his voice over the walkie -talkie while we were all sharing ‘war’ stories. Danny was the crazy outgoing, totally over sharing guy from the road trip and I was the girl that showed up with a binder, itinerary, map, list of contact numbers and waivers pre-printed for everyone…in his words, “a total dork”.

After this trip our team became like a second family to both Danny and I. During the next year many of us from the team would go out together, run races or just hang out. Eventually Danny asked me out… well more like eventually he got me to say yes to a date. He drove from Connecticut to New Hampshire to take me to dinner; and to be honest; it was the worst date ever.

We both ended up telling our friends how badly the date went. I may even have dodged a few phone calls in the aftermath of the terrible – awful – really bad date. Thankfully, we had some history with the Storm Chasers and we were able to stay friends, and even got to hang out a few more times with the team. At this point most of Danny’s time was spent in a pineapple under the sea… aka out in a Submarine. My time was spent convincing Spartan Race to hire me, which entailed me being on my computer for hours on end. This gave Danny and I plenty of time to spend emailing and chatting on the phone (when he was out of the pineapple), thank god for technology!

Around Christmas, Danny invited me to the Navy’s Submarine Ball down in Connecticut.  This was a really big deal; people bought crazy fancy dresses, got all dolled up and it sounded… well terrifying to me. I’m an introvert and Danny, well extrovert almost covers it – ask someone who knows him or come to a Hurricane Heat and hear him. He will be the one in the middle yelling out the Warrior Ethos…But anyway, that Navy Ball sounded terrifying and although I agreed to go, I ended up backing out. I think I may have used my new job with Spartan Race as an excuse (Don’t feel bad for him, he found a backup date and has yet to let me live it down!) His favorite way of introducing me to his Navy friends and co-workers is by saying, “this is my wife Jennifer, and she’s the one who ditched me at the ball last year.”

Shortly after the ball Danny left on an underway (fancy Navy jargon for riding around in a submarine practicing secret squirrel stuff). During this time we emailed daily, actually multiple times a day, and I started realizing that he might be the one for me. The more we wrote, the more I found we had in common outside of Spartan Race. Even more exciting than that, I found that he challenged me to think about things in a way I had never really done before.

Now, I only had one more time to see Danny before he left on another underway lasting almost two months (these are a big part of his job and something that I am still learning to deal with). We went on an amazing date to a NASCAR race with some fellow Storm Chasers. We were able to walk around and talk, which was something we hadn’t really had a chance to do alone or in person for quite a while. We started talking about having a life together and our ideas about the future and I realized he felt pretty much the same way I felt about him: he loved me too. I guess this was obvious to everyone else in the (Spartan) world, but I tend to be a little oblivious to this type of thing. The first time I realized the extent of how he felt was when we told his brother we had eloped and his response was, “Jeez Danny it took you long enough, you’ve been talking about her forever”.

Over the last year Danny had become my best friend, the person whom I would turn to when I had a bad day, and the one person I could see spending the rest of my life with. Two months later, on the day he got home, we were able to video chat online and I asked him to marry me.   He said “yes!” and we decided to elope the week after Spartan Race returned to Massachusetts, in August 2012.

On August 23, 2012 Danny & I were married. We only told two of our closest friends and teammates and asked them to join us on our trip to the Virginia Spartan Super which was also our Honeymoon. We then decided to wait until the October South Carolina Beast to tell our families. After completing the Beast with my Dad, Brother and Danny we went back to the hotel, and before anyone even took showers we announced it: “Mom- Dad… Danny and I eloped!”

~ Nothing worth having in life is easy to come by ~

Ms. Jennifer Sullivan & Mr. Danny Allen

Storm Chasers

We also want to thank all the friends and family who helped us get to where we are today. Whether you were part of the Spartan Race team (Carrie, Tommy, Joe) that helped get the HH to happen, Storm Chasers who helped us meet, or our families who supported us and continue to support us – You are all part of our lives and we are thankful to have you.

[Editor's Note: As we see the East Coast yet AGAIN staring down a hurricane with Sandy, we would like to wish everyone a safe week as it bears down the seaboard.  Stay safe, Spartans!]

Tags: , , ,

by Michael Levine

In preparation for attacking the Spartan Amesbury Sprint, Jen Fleury hired a local training guru Angela Garcia to get her into fighting form for her first ever Spartan Race.  With her confidence and fitness levels elevated, she set off for Amesbury to conquer the sprint.  A devoted mother of two who works out in her spare time, she’s also attending school at night.  Fleury is a busy Spartan!

As the race began, Jen was off amongst the crowd of racers heading up the first hill.  She emerged from the woods and approached the first obstacle head-on as a new racer should.  However, as she jumped into the first mud pit, she landed on a rock and let out a deafening scream.  Pulling herself out of the mud she continued on into the subsequent pits, refusing to give up, cursing with every step she took.

Even after several members of the team encouraged her to tap out, she still refused.   Hobbling in pain, she managed to finish the entire course in one hour and forty minutes.  A short while later during the post-race celebration, people started to think that she may have broken something.  After a night reeling in pain, it was off to the ER for a CT scan.  The test showed that Jen had four breaks in her Talus bone (the bone between your two ankle bones).  The doctor immediately restricted her movement and ordered no weight bearing.

In just another two weeks, Jen will find out how she is healing, and more importantly, if she needs surgery to correct the issue.  Here at Spartan Race, we wanted to wish Jen the best in a speedy recovery.  Hope to see her out there soon!

Tags: , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

Every obstacle counts when you are racing a Spartan course.  It’s not just about gaining ground on the technical running portions, it’s about using the obstacles as opportunities to make up  time as well.   Take the story of Andrew Hostetler in Amesbury, MA.  Our timing company J-Chip, added a split component to the sandbag carry and their data collection yielded some fascinating results for all our racers,  Hostetler in particular.   He went into the sandbag carry in 3rd place, down by 10 seconds.  He sped the hill with one of the fastest splits of the day (1:16), and in that one obstacle gained 32 seconds on the 2nd place runner, taking a 22-second lead that he was able to hold for the rest of the race, finishing in 2nd overall on Sunday.

Hostetler recounts the race  in his own words saying, “I went out in the lead and I was confident I would have no problem keeping it. Then I hit the log hop and slipped on the second to last log, winning me 30 burpees as 10 other racers passed me. I got up knowing that I had my work cut out for me. I caught up to Eric and Elliot around the Hercules hoist and did my best to hold second place. When we got to the traverse wall I had no idea Eric was so close to me and we ended up starting the sandbag carry together. I gave that hill everything I had left since I knew we didn’t have much running left, but quite a few obstacles. Half way up the hill my legs started burning and that only let me know that I could push even harder.”

That push earned Hostetler a second place finish and demonstrated the importance of pushing the pace at the obstacles and on the run.  Another interesting fact we learned from our J-Chip timing experiment is that times for the sandbag carry ranged from 1:16 to 11 minutes!  That’s incredible!

Remember to keep up the intensity, it may make all the difference!

Ready to get signed up yet?  What are you waiting for?  Register TODAY.

Tags: , ,

by Mary Donohue, Spartan Race Guest Blogger

About two years ago, my son Ryan missed most of fifth grade due to Post-Concussion Syndrome and we didn’t know if he would ever be able to go back to school or participate in any sports again. It was a very long road to recovery for him and even though his concussion symptoms finally went away and his grades went back up to where they should be, he was eventually told that he wouldn’t be able to participate in any contact sports. He’s always been athletic and this was a huge disappointment for him. We needed to find an athletic outlet for him. We signed him up for a kids boot camp at our local YMCA and he loved it, so when he found out he could do a kids Spartan race after his dad and I finished ours, he was thrilled!

As his mother, I was a little nervous when I saw that the kids race was going to run twice up that Amesbury hill. I had just finished my first sprint and that hill was so tough for me. He started in the back of the pack, but all of a sudden I saw him passing some of the kids. Little did I know until after the race, but he hurt his foot at the beginning of the hill. This didn’t stop him. He seemed to fly over the walls and even dove through the hole in one of them and landed in a somersault. He was catching up to the kid out in front and I knew the crab walk down some of the hill would be easy for him. The competition during the kids race was really tough…and I thought the adult race was intense. It was great to see all of the adults (even those that didn’t have any kids racing) cheering on the kids as they came running by.

On his second time coming down the hill, he lost a shoe at some point coming over or through one of the walls. This didn’t stop him either. He continued on. This was one of the first competitive events that Ryan has been able to do since the concussions. It was almost like he needed to prove to himself that he was “back to himself” and able to be athletic again. Although he ended up being the first kid to the finish line, it really didn’t matter where he finished. I could see that his competitive spirit was back!

In the end, we found out that he actually broke his foot at the beginning of the race, but he persevered and never gave up the fight. He truly showed he was Spartan tough that day. When I asked him if he wished that he didn’t do the race and thus not have a broken foot, he said, “no mom, like the shirt says “Spartans either return with their shields or on it”. I might have an injury, but I returned with my shield.”  Now he can’t wait until he can run a full Spartan Sprint with me and his dad. I was so proud of my 12 year old boy that day.  I think he found his new sport.

[Editor's Note: Spartan Race offers a Kids Race, for kids ages 4-13 who can participate in their very own Jr. Spartan race. They will enjoy the thrill of the run, a variety of scaled down obstacles and their own mini festival area filled with games and children's challenges! Our mission is to inspire children to develop a love for fitness at an early age.

 The course is about a 1⁄2 mile filled with junior obstacles for Jr. Spartans and 1 mile for Varsity Spartans. Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher's Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation.  Check out the event page to get your little Spartan registered for an upcoming race and check out the Kids Page for details!]

Tags: , ,

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. 

Tags: , , ,

SPARTAN_RACE_LEVELS_SPRINTWhen we made the devastating announcement yesterday that Sunday racing would be cancelled, we were just as upset as our Sunday athletes.  After 48 hours and a lot of negotiating, we have an opportunity for some disappointed Spartans to experience race day glory and earn their coveted Spartan Finisher Medals.  This opportunity is extended ONLY to registered athletes for Sunday’s waves of racing.  Here is the letter from Joe DeSena, Spartan Race owner. 

Dear Sunday Amesbury Spartans,

This is Joe DeSena, owner of Spartan Race and one of the Founders.  We’ve heard your cries to run and we’re here to make it happen.  No one was more disappointed than we were at the forced cancellation of Sunday’s event.  And as Spartans, we take on challenges and overcome obstacles.  Irene is one tough obstacle but we are resilient.  We are Spartans!

I am emailing you directly regarding a special offer to run this weekend in response to the cancelled Sunday race.  After much deliberation and due to rising safety concerns, the State of Massachusetts is shutting down access into and out of the venue on Sunday making a race on that day impossible but we have come up with an additional opportunity we are offering to the first 250 responders from Sunday’s Race heats.

Race with the Founders Heat:  We are offering a one heat shot at a special Spartan Course and you’ll get to run with the Spartan Race Founders.  This heat was given some conditions we have to meet: 

1. We have managed to negotiate a single heat of racing to take place Saturday,August 27th at 6 AM.  There will be no volunteers available at this time and no bussing.  Be prepared to arrive at 5 AM sharp to ensure you are there on time.

2. Public Safety is allowing us entry of 250 people for this heat.  Only the racers on the list will be allowed entry.  Read all the instructions below to find out how to get on the list.

3. YOU MUST HAVE YOUR SUNDAY WAIVER IN ORDER TO RUN.

4. There is one heat broken into five groups of 50 spaced 5 minutes apart.  No chips will be available and it will be non-competitive.

6. Bring everything you might need.  Onsite at that hour, we can’t guarantee that we’ll have food, water, or any other common race amenities set up.  Volunteers will be limited if there are any.

7. We recommend you have a head lamp or a flashlight.

8. No one is required to run this heat as a condition of your original registration and the cancellation.  Safety is our primary concern.  You will still be entered into next year’s Sunday Race, so if you are unable or unwilling to join us at Saturday morning.

9.  Saturday 6 AM runners WILL get a finisher medal.

If you’re interested you have to email us: spartanusa@spartanrace.com with the following information.  The first 250 to respond with the necessary information are in the heat.  No non-Sunday registrants qualify for this special event.  Please do not call Spartan HQ, our staff is onsite in Amesbury and won’t be able to answer your calls.

Name:
Email:
Phone:
Age:
Emergency Contact:
Emergency Phone Number:

Come ready to run!  5 AM sharp meet at the parking lot.

Please note that in hurricane conditions we are experiencing, we are at the mercy of the State of Massachusetts and Public Service policy.  If they see fit to close down the venue and disallow racing, we have no options but to comply.

Sincerely,

Joe DeSena

Tags: , ,