Spartans are extreme. No doubt about it. From founder Joe De Sena completing over 10,000 burpees a few weeks ago, to the origins of the Spartan Race series in the Peak Death Race DNA, Spartans are known for being up for any challenge. This one is a doozy!

Yesterday, the 703 mile QUINTUPLE “Ironman” Distance Virginia Anvil Ultra Triathlon kicked off and of the brave nine who started, FOUR are Spartans. Spartan co-founder Andy Weinberg, Rebecca Daniels Hansen, Olof Dallner (who took second in the Ultra Beast in Vermont), and Josh Zitomer. You can get live updates HERE.

Additionally, Spartan blogger and mastermind behind the Spartan WOD programming Jason Jaksetic will be taking on the Double later this week.

Stay tuned for updates on this epic feat of strength and endurance.  Aroo!

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By Carrie Adams

With the inclusion of the World’s first marathon distance obstacle race, the Spartan Ultra Beast, some incredible athletes are throwing their hats in the ring to be a participant.  With limited spots to fill and an application process, the Ultra Beast is going to be one of the most unique and challenging events on the planet.   You can read more about the event and how to claim one of the prized spots in this once-in-a-lifetime experience HERE.

One of the participants is using a non-traditional, traditional approach to train for the Ultra.  An Ironman.  Spartan Beast finisher in 2011, Rick Kraics will be using his Ironman training and ultimately his Ironman event in Madison, Wisconsin 13 days before the event as his training for the Ultra.  Listen to his story and wish him luck in his quest to go beyond the unknown in Spartan’s Ultra Beast September 22, 2012!

Ironman Training: Rick Kraics

My first Spartan Race was the 2011 Spartan Beast in Vermont.  I think the average time out there that day was 5-6 hours on the 13ish mile course.  So I felt pretty good about my 3:35:56 finishing time.  That said it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done.  In fact, the Spartan Beast was mile for mile tougher than any other race I’ve ever done.  When I finished the Beast my body was trashed, I was completely exhausted, my legs were cramping, my stomach was nauseous and I was just glad I didn’t have to climb up that damn mountain again.  So earlier this year when Andy (one of the co-founders of Spartan Race) asked me if I wanted to step up and race in the Spartan Ultra Beast this year I had a decision to make.  It took about 2 seconds.  I said, “Of course I’m in.  What do you need from me?”  It turns out he wanted a lot out of me before I would officially be accepted into the Ultra Beast but I’ll tell you more about that later.  First a little background on me.

As a kid I ran a number of road races and even a half marathon.  Then I took a 15 year break from running.  I didn’t have a reason why I

Peak Ultra 30 Miler

stopped running other than I had other stuff going on in my life and running itself wasn’t a priority.  But in 2004 I started running again.  I liked it.  So I did my first marathon in 2005.  Then I started doing triathlons in early 2007.  I liked those too.  So in late 2007 I did my first Ironman.  I started trail running in 2010. I really liked trail running.  So I started ultra running in early 2011.  And then in late 2011 I ran my first Spartan Race – the Spartan Beast in Vermont.  I loved competing in the Spartan Beast.  So here I am again trying to prepare myself for what will again be mile for mile tougher than any other race I’ve ever competed in.

What exactly is the Ultra Beast?  The Spartan Web page states, “The Spartan Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon distance Obstacle Race.  It will be ONE heat that will feature two loops of the main Beast course.  Races will face the toughest course Spartan Race can bring, TWICE, before finding the finish line.  It’s not for the faint of heart!  For your own safety and for the competitive nature of the event, you will have to apply for acceptance in the Ultra Beast Marathon.”

So, how does one prepare for the toughest course Spartan Race can bring, twice?  Well, the bad news about training for the Ultra Beast is there are only two things I really know about the course.  First, it will involve lots of elevation gain so I’ve got to train by running some hills and living in a place at sea level with no real elevation change doesn’t make that easy.  And second I’ve got to increase my endurance because this race is going to take a long, long time.

The good news is what Andy wanted from me in order to be accepted into the Ultra Beast was for me to compete (again) in the Peaks Ultra, which is a race in Pittsfield, VT. If you know Pittsfield (the location of the infamous Death Race), then you know there are plenty of mountains to run.  I ran the 30 mile race and in doing so felt like a slacker.  You see the morning I started running a fella by the name of Willy had just won the 500 mile Peaks Ultra race.  It took him just over eight days.  Other course options included a 50, 100, 150 and 200 milers. So you’ll understand when I tell you that my 2nd place finish in the 30 miler still feels kind of hollow.  On a positive note though, that race started my hill training again so I’m on my way to being better prepared for the Ultra Beast.

So now with hill training out of the way (wink, wink) I need to focus on endurance training.  The Ultra Beast is going to be the toughest race I tackle this year for sure but that doesn’t mean it is going to be the longest.  According to  Wikipedia  ”Endurance (also called Sufferance, Stamina, Resilience, or Durability) is the ability for a human or animal to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue.”  That sounds exactly like what I’ll need for the Ultra Beast!  The part I can train for is the ability to remain active for a long period of time.  What better way to do that than to do another Ironman?  For me I’m guessing an Ironman should take approximately twice as long as it will take to finish the Ultra Beast.  And as it happens Ironman Wisconsin is exactly 13 days before the Ultra Beast in September.  Sounds like the perfect, last long training day before I set my sights on the muddy mountains of Vermont.  Who knows maybe I’ll try to go unsupported and carry all my fuel and water on the run to emulate the Ultra Beast?  Nah, that is just crazy talk.  But seriously finishing an Ironman by itself is no joke.  I know, I bonked and DNF’ed the last one I entered 2 years ago.  I don’t plan on repeating that performance.  Instead, I plan on finishing the Ironman to have fun, race hard and prepare myself both physically and mentally to compete in the Spartan Ultra Beast.

So that’s it.  I’m a runner, triathlete, obstacle racer and Spartan that is dead set on taming the Ultra Beast in Killington this September.  My logic is simple.  I figure if I can handle 140.6 miles of Ironman swimming, cycling and running on Sept. 9th than I should have enough gas in the tank to finish a grueling 26.2 miles of untamed Ultra Beast on September 22nd.  And if I don’t, then you can carry me home on my shield.

Arooo!

If you find yourself on Cape Cod this summer and need someone to train with shoot me an email or send me a message on Facebook.  I’m always up for an adventure!

 

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by Carrie Adams

Growing up in Peoria, IL, Andy Weinberg, 41, always loved the water.  He swam competitively in high school and college, and when he did his first triathlon in high school, he fell in love.  At the time there weren’t many people doing them, and after college Andy spent a couple years really hitting the triathlon circuit.  He burnt out with swimming after a few years and decided to focus on running instead.  Admittedly never “super-fast,” he trained consistently and did 11 marathons in one year alone.

Then, after running into a hometown acquaintance at an event who told him about ultra-marathons, Andy caught the bug.  He has now completed over 40 ultras, mostly 50-mile and 100-mile distances.  Through the challenge of running extreme distances, Andy learned what it felt like to push himself and succeed.  Of course it wasn’t long until he had to try an Ironman, a double Ironman, even a triple.

andy1Weinberg met Joe DeSena through mutual friends in 2005 where they completed the Vermont 100.  When Andy came back to Vermont for an all-night snowshoe, the two soon found themselves talking about how racers can become “soft” because they always know what to expect.  “An ultra isn’t an easy race, but when you know it’s 100 miles, you can train for that.  You can prepare for that,” Andy said.  He and Joe spent the night talking about a new kind of race.  A race in which participants wouldn’t know when it would start or finish, or even what the race would consist of.  In other words, a race that no one can train for.  Racers would simply need to summon the courage and show up.  So the Death Race was born.  Andy began putting on races in Vermont with Joe and three years later he moved his family to Vermont to teach and race direct full time.  (By the way, he biked the 1200 miles from Peoria to VT in seven days, mainly because his friends said he couldn’t.)

The Spartan Race is born out of the same spirit.  The Death Race is the most extreme and designed for only the most extreme athletes but Spartan isn’t a walk in the park.  It’s there to attract serious athletes who want to compete.   Andy says, “Spartan Race is unique because the team involved, the whole company is athletes.  They run races, they’ve traveled the world, they know racing and they know athletes.  Most of the other obstacle races can’t say that.  And Spartan events are races… not parties.  It’s about going as hard as you can.”  On a personal level, Weinberg feels that Spartan Races play a role in preventing illness by inspiring people to get off the couch and get active. “Our nation is at its absolute worst place.  Childhood obesity and diabetes are both preventable as long as you make good choices.  You just have to get out there and exercise a bit.  Why not let Spartan help you get there?”

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by Carrie Adams

168637_1888033484512_1351697261_32224619_4752253_nSpartan Race’s email/database guru and overall rad guy, Jason Jaksetic is heading off this weekend to compete in a Double Ironman in Virginia.  Yes, double Ironman triathlons exist.  As if a single were not enough!  There’s triples and Deca’s but that’s for another day.  One of Spartan’s Founders and Death Race Race Director Andy Weinberg will also be competing. 

Interesting, though, is that this double Ironman triathlon is Jason’s warm up for a triple ironman distance triathlon this December called EpicMan where he will attempt to swim 7.2 miles, bike 336 miles, and run 78.6 miles.  Non stop – before the 60 hour time limit expires on New Years.

Jason has just announced that he will be racing EpicMan in order to benefit the Pittsfield Hurricane Relief Fund for his beloved town of Pittsfield that was so devastated by Hurricane Irene.  You may remember our coverage of Pittsfield on this blog which is also home of Spartan Race and the Death Race.

We wish Jason and Andy luck on their journey this weekend! 

The follow was posted in his blog that can be found at www.JasonJaksetic.com

I am wrapping up my season, and 2011 too, for that matter, with what might be the greatest Triathlon spectacle I’ve heard of since I was first captivated by the Ironman World Championships at the fable location simply termed “Kona”.  The privilege of participating in EpicMan on December 29th, still keeps me up in night in anticipation.

7.2 mile swim, 336 mile bike, and a 78.6 mile run.  Non Stop.  On the island of Oahu.  The cut off time…New Years – 60 hours after the start.  24 competitors to throw down and see who can get it done first.

Getting to the starting line of this event will be in no small part owed to the town of Pittsfield, Vermont where I have lived and trained all of this 2011 season.  And as I exit 2011 and head to 2012 I want to give something back to the town that stood vigil over my runs through the mountains.  The community here is something deeper than I’ve known elsewhere.  And this showed most prominently when Pittsfield was recently struck by Hurricane Irene.

I still pass the collapsed houses and properties on my rides and runs.  I still can’t ride without considerable detours and construction plaguing the trip.  I’ve seen resolve and strength in the people of Vermont that far outshines anything that I’ve encountered.  I am in admiration.

This is why I will be competing in EpicMan to raise money for The Pittsfield Hurricane Relief Fund, www.pittsfieldhurricanerelief.org, in an effort to help this town to which I owe so much.

So as I head into the Double Ironman this weekend in VA and as I ready for Epicman in December I am going to continue to point everyone to: www.pittsfieldhurricanerelief.org.  There was an outpouring of support immediately after the hurricane, but this needs to continue.  Just like an extreme endurance event, focus and persistence are required.  We still have a long way to go to get back to where we were.

This is why I’m dedicating my racing of Epicman to raising money for www.pittsfieldhurricanerelief.org. Please contribute directly on that site or contact me as JasonJ@SpartanRace.com if you can help in any other way.

 

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Reaching New Peaks: Andy Weinberg

by Carrie Adams

Growing up in Peoria, IL, Andy Weinberg, 41, always loved the water.  He swam competitively in high school and college, and when he did his first triathlon in high school, he fell in love.  At the time there weren’t many people doing them, and after college Andy spent a couple years really hitting the triathlon circuit.  He burnt out with swimming after a few years and decided to focus on running instead.  Admittedly never “super-fast,” he trained consistently and did 11 marathons in one year alone.

Read the rest of this entry »

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