Written by Pro Team member Elliot Megquier

Reebok Spartan Race will kick off the first of two race weekends in Tuxedo, NY which is just north of New York City by 45 miles. To say this is going to be a big event is an understatement. Tuxedo is the only race in the USA Spartan circuit that is a double back to back weekend. Last year Spartan Race held 3 races in Tuxedo over the course of 8 days. This year they’ve bumped it up to 4 races in 9 days.

Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center is the venue and you can expect numerous climbs to the summit that has an elevation of 1200 feet. Set in the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, be prepared to see ascents and descents through the woods, challenging obstacles after your legs are destroyed from climbing, one of the hardest uphill barb wire crawls on the circuit and of course lots of mud in and around the finish line.

Hunter and Glenn share a joke in Vegas.

For the men look for points leader and championship contender Hunter “the Sheriff” McIntyre to continue his recent dominance of the series, his top contender looks to be Glenn Racz who beat the Sheriff in Vegas, mountain man Matt “the Bear” Novakovich will look to maul the pretty boy from Malibu. Other Spartan Team men that could contend include David Magida, Isaiah Vidal, Elliott Megquier, Cody Moat, Miguel Medina, Brian Hoover, and Alexander Nicholas. However you can never count out the locals to include 2013 Week 1 Champion Patrick Grevalding, runner up Randy Feeley, and Kevin Donoghue.

On the women’s side look for reigning champion Amelia Boone who is coming off a win in Indiana to be the favorite, however Rose Wetzel-Sinnett has been hot on her heels and is coming off three straight wins in Texas and Montana, and look for TyAnn Clark to return from a recent battle with illness to build on her impressive win in Las Vegas the last time she raced. Other women who will contend include April Dee, Ella Kociuba, Tiffany Novakovich, Karlee Whipple, and Laura Messner.

Amelia Boone will look to assert her authority in NY.

Most of the stars will only be present for the second week of racing, so look for a possible dark horse to shock the field. You can never count anyone out and sometimes it is the person who you do not know that is gunning for you that is most dangerous. Other events to look forward to include the Kid’s Race and all the festival challenges where you can win an entry into an upcoming race. Looking for other ways to get a free race? Volunteer one of the days or even a half day. These wonderful events cannot happen without you help, Spartan Race Staff members are amazing and tireless workers but they cannot do it all without you! This is going to be an amazing two weeks you’ll you kicking yourself if you don’t come and experience at least one of the races…

The 2014 Tristate Tuxedo Sprint marks the start of guest blogger Elliott Megquier’s fourth year doing Spartan Races. Back in 2011 when Spartan Race first hosted a sprint in Tuxedo NY, he toed the line for the very first time, now he’s completed 85 races and is still as hooked as he was during his initial experience. It’s true Elliott’s a junkie.

Sign up for your next race today and you’ll understand what it means to “know at the finish line…”

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With only four months to go before the championship decider rolls around to the glorious and never-ending mountains of Killington, Vermont, Spartan Race looked at the elite standings and what met our eyes made for very interesting reading.

Although leading the pack by 40 points, April Dee is well aware of who is behind her and whilst not throwing nervous glances over her shoulder, she’s certainly not resting on her laurels.

Hailing out of Chicago, Illinois but now residing in Peyton, Colorado, April is best known for her aggressive attitude on the courses and her background in the military has enabled her to focus and harness that aggression into a formidable tool for crushing courses, regardless if they are a Sprint, Super or Beast. With numerous podium finishes – many of which being wins – we ask who can match her ferocity. With names like Amelia Boone, Tyann Clark, KK Paul, Laura Messner, Rose Wetzell-Sinnett, Karlee Whipple and numerous others all having the ability to not just take advantage of a slip or mistake, but to take a lead and hold on to it, the competition is fierce.

But who is April Dee? In a short question and answer session, April Dee gave us the insight into what makes her tick.

Name: April Dee

DOB: 04/24/1979

Pro Team member since: 2013 season

Height: 5’3” Weight: 128 lbs

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Current: Peyton, CO

College: Troy State University

Points placing finish- #3 Overall & #2 Female in 2013 .

Best strength: Hills, Strengths Obstacles in Sandbag, Atlas Carry, Tire flips

1)    What is your background?  Cross country, Track & Field, Military. I just started racing in local races and I was hooked.

2)    What does Spartan mean to you personally? Psychologically it reminds of the friendship & camaraderie that I had in the military and the feeling of competition that I had in the military really transitioned into OCR. Spartan Race really provided me with the competition to push past my limits physically like I did in the military.

3)    How do you prepare? It depends on the distance and the field of the race as I periodize my strengths and weaknesses around a specific event. So if it was a hilly race I would do my majority of my time training on hills.

4)    What is your favorite WOD? I live in Peyton, Colorado and my biggest advantage is being able to go run in Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak. So my favorite workout consists of me doing hill repeats up and down the Incline. Using the elevation training mask is also a plus when it comes to interval workouts.

5) What is your favorite FOD? Anything Italian, I do an equal amount of my macronutrients a day that balances my Protein, Carb, and Fat ratio. The body needs these to be equal so the body can perform at its absolute best. Spartan also offers the FOD so I definitely pick and choose from there.

6) Advice for newbies going forward that have no idea where or how to start. Always start out slow & look for your comfort level. In Spartan Race the first race you want to start out with is a Sprint. So train your body to be able to run at least 3-10 miles a week and then work on your weaknesses and work on your strengths when it comes to lifting, so you can be well prepared for the obstacles in a Spartan Sprint.  Once you have been able to feel comfortable, start working on running 6-10 miles once a week to prepare for a Spartan Super and or a Beast. It’s not about logging miles it is more about getting the proper time/speed on your feet that will help you get further/better.

7) Single most favorite exercise. Burpees of course!!!

8) Favorite race to date? That would be Fort Carson Military Sprint!! Where it all started and where I use to be stationed in 10th SFG (Special Forces Group).

9) If someone was on the edge about doing a Spartan Race, what would you say to them? I would tell them to stop thinking about it and go do it. If something excites you and scares you at the same time it means you should probably do it!! It will change your life and make you realize you are much more capable then you thought you were!!!

Sign up for your next Spartan Race right here and we’ll see you at the finish line!

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Written By Pro Team member Glenn Racz

The Colorado Military Sprint at Fort Carson Army Base delivered another solid race weekend for over 8,000 participants.  This Military Sprint adds various different elements as compared to other Spartan races such as the increased amount of obstacles (25+) packed into the Sprint distance of about 4.5 miles and the nose-bleed elevation of over 6,000 feet.  These two aspects of the race proved to be a challenge to all competitors in the race.  The stakes were high on this race as this was one of the Navy Federal Credit Union $7,500 prize purse races – which helped to pull in some of the most hardcore obstacle racers from around the country.

The race conditions were ideal with moderate temperatures throughout the weekend.  However, the temperature was the only moderate feature in this race as once the racers took to the course, they all very quickly realized that this race would truly test how one could manage the extremely “obstacle dense” course along with the short, yet steep hills scattered throughout the course.

For the elite men on Saturday, Pro Team athletes Brakken Kraker and Glenn Racz took an early lead by mile 1, but Glenn Racz soon fell back behind Matt Novakovich and Chad Trammell after the Atlas Carry.  Half way through the race, recent Boston Marathon finisher, Brian Gowiski joined the lead pack.  Then after the ruck sack carry, Chad Trammell powered by Matt Novakovich to take and hold the lead to emerge the victor and take his first 1st place finish for a Saturday race.  But just 14 seconds behind Chad was Brakken Kraker and Matt Novakovich “The Bear” as they battled it out though the final 7 obstacles all stacked up before the finish line to give the spectators a great show with only 3 seconds separating them.  Athletes Brian Gowiski and Isaiah Vidal came in a noteworthy fourth and fifth place.  Then on Sunday, Matt Novakovich wasn’t allowed an easy victory with Isaiah Vidal just 3 seconds behind him for another exciting finish.  Pro Team athlete Elliott Megquier held off Brian Hoover in the final obstacles to take a 3rd place podium finish.

With so many close finishes happening now, it’s clear that the courses on the circuit are highlighting the need for good, all-round training. While some may blitz obstacles and others build leads with running, regular podium placings and good times are now reflected in the fact that working all aspects of the body are clearly yielding better results. The days in which relying on running would see you through are starting to disappear.

The women’s elite Saturday race proved to be just as much of a nail-biter since race came down to the spear throw – which was missed by front runner and returning champion April Dee which allowed competitors KK Paul and Orla Walsh to overtake her for 1st and 2nd place.  April Dee took 3rd place for the Saturday race but then came back Sunday to take 1st among elite women. These 3 women were the only female competitors to complete the course in under 1 hour – a reflection of just how difficult the course was this year. With each year that passes, it seems Fort Carson ups the ante a little more. Looking forward, it makes for a brutal prospect in 2015.

As ever, Spartan Race would like to thank Reebok, Core PowerClif Builder BarsEco VesselSpartanUP! Graphix and Spartan SGX.

Of course huge thanks go out to all the staff at Fort Carson for their help and support for making the Colorado Sprint as epic as ever.

Sign up for the next Spartan Race here and you’ll understand what it means to “know at the finish line”.

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For the fourth time, Spartan Race brought the Spartans to the sunny, hot, ever scenic Oleta River State Park for the Miami Super Spartan.

It wasn’t just about surviving the heat in Miami. Competitors were thrown for a loop, encountering our newest iteration of the Monkey Bars obstacle, or should we say “Monkey Net”? That’s right – Miami introduced a version of the monkey bars obstacle which fashioned cargo webbing that began with an incline and ended with a decline traverse. The rule of the obstacle was no feet, just hands, and was meant to be performed in the same manner as you would the traditional Monkey Bars. All this, but over three feet of water. Fall off, and you know the drill. Burpees.

As per usual, the Hurricane Heat launched the weekend’s activities. Tony Matesi and John Ziegler took over 100 participants through demanding and sometimes seemingly impossible challenges that were developed to build camaraderie and teamwork. From team carries through the obstacles to being the first to test the new obstacle, this group of early morning Hurricane Heaters came together to figure out what it means to be a Spartan.

At first glance, the course may have appeared to be simple and flat given the nature of the Florida region. Assuming the lack of hills equated to an easier course would have been a massive faux pas. The course had unique terrain that acted as the ultimate obstacle in itself. Hard rocks, switchbacks and open waters delivered an exciting and exhilarating course which amplified the difficulty and created a course that was not to be taken for granted.

On Saturday the intense heat made for a very interesting day – never forget that hydration is key in these conditions. Drinking plenty of water the night before, the morning of and during a race with over eight miles and more than 20 obstacles, it is crucial to preventing yourself from cramping while out on the course.

Spartan SGX Coaches were on site leading warm-ups and cool downs. These highly educated coaches are there to assist racers in race prep and recovery of the taxing course. Joe Di Stefano, Co-Founder of the SGX lead the charge along with Coaches Sarah Pozdol and Casey Eischen. The Spartan SGX team will be traveling the Spartan Race circuit, so be on the lookout for the warm-up and cool down area near the start line.

In our elite heat, Spartan Pro Team members, April Dee, Isaiah Vidal, Brakken Kraker, also Founding Pro Team members Chris Rutz, Shawn Feiock and Hannah Orders were all in attendance. Other elite competitors included Arizona native and 2nd Male at the Vegas Super, John Yatsko, Chris McCorkle, Debbie Moreau, Valerie Smith, Sue Luck, Amanda Ricciardi and Sarah Pozdol.

Saturday’s men’s elite heat came down to the difference between making the Spearman Toss and having to complete a set of 30 burpees. Brakken Krakker successfully nailed the spear throw taking the top spot over John Yatsko. Coming in third for the men was recent Spartan Pro Team addition, Isaiah Vidal. April Dee of the Spartan Pro Team dominated the women’s division taking first place over Debbie Moreau and Founding Pro Team member, Hannah Orders.

On Sunday April Dee returned to once again take the top spot on the podium with a demanding lead over Debbie Moreau taking the number two spot and Geishel Valverde grasping a third place finish. In the men’s division, John Yatsko returned with determination after practicing his spear toss and captured a first place finish. An extremely friendly second and third place finish was taken by Isaiah Vidal who showed a tremendous amount of sportsmanship as he waited to cross the line with Joey Patriola after running a majority of the Sunday Super Spartan together.

Close to 10,000 Spartans came and conquered the course this weekend at the Super Spartan in Miami, but there was one very special set of finishing scenes that played out under the relentless Florida sun. Remembering that being a Spartan is about overcoming adversity, finishing what you start, and never giving up no matter the circumstance, it was a joy to behold the newest member of the Spartan family – a young man called Sean. His “Best Buddy”, Tripp Prevatt, has been running races for some time now, making sure to always do one lap for himself and one additional one so that he can give that medal to Sean. You see, Sean has Cerebral Palsy. After telling Sean countless stories about the races he conquered, he wanted to find a way to give Sean the opportunity to join him on the course so they could both earn Spartan Finisher medals, together.

Naturally, the Spartan Kids course again showed that same fighting resilience. Climbing over walls, crawling under neon green “barbed wire” and zig-zagging through a web of bungee cord providing a glimpse of the future Spartans of the world. Be on the lookout; one day these young ones will be standing atop the podium. Just you wait and see!

All of these incredible experiences are made possible with the support of our incredible sponsors, Reebok, ZICO Coconut Water, CorePower, Clif Bar Builders Bars, the U.S. Navy, Eco Vessel, Air Force Reserves, Nestle Water, and DeliverLean. With their support Spartan Race showed Miami once again what we mean by “you’ll know at the finish line.”

Congrats to everyone who Spartan’d UP in Miami. Next up, Spartan Race is headed to the Midwest for the Indiana Sprint. What started as a Founders Race has become a staple of the Spartan tour, it you’re not signed up yet, what are you waiting for?

Go ahead, sign up. We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.

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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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