by Tony Reyes, 

One morning I woke up, gasping for breath.  My CPAP must have slipped off my nose in the middle of the night and I had stopped breathing.  I was 23 years old, 400lbs with severe sleep apnea, and a strong history of heart disease in my immediate family.  I made up my mind that morning as I sat at the edge of my bed trying to catch my breath, crying at the realization that I had almost died.  Enough was enough, it was time to change.

I auditioned for the show The Biggest Loser.  After making it through several rounds of the casting process my spirits were so high that when I got cut I fell into a deep depression.  I didn’t think I had a way out.  I felt like my weight was literally crushing my chances at a normal life filled with activity, happiness, and potential.  I am stand-up comedian and it had gotten to the point that when I made fat jokes on stage and people laughed, I began to hate them for their laughter.  Why are they all laughing and not trying to help me?  Can’t they tell I hate this life and need support to change?

Thankfully, my fiancé saw through the facade   She made me understand that I didn’t need a TV show to change, that through diet and exercise I could save my own life.  So I signed up for the Malibu Spartan Sprint in the hopes of inspiring me to lose the weight.  And Inspire it did, I lost almost 100lbs by race day! Through getting a trainer and dedicating myself to myself, I was able to do it!  I also got a ton of support by starting my on weight loss page called “The Fat Man Diaries” where I answer questions, share workouts, and do weekly videos documenting my progress.

When I first signed up for the race I was scared.  I didn’t tell anyone about it because I wanted to be able to back out and quit like most of my other weight loss attempts.  I knew that elite athletes ran it and every video I watched I didn’t see anyone with my body type which made me nervous.  That is until I saw Chris Davis.  He had lost over 400lbs and was over 300lbs when he ran his first race so I thought, why not me?  That is why I’m writing this blog.  So that hopefully someone out there that is nervous to sign up or is unsure if you can finish, can read my story and hear me when I say that you can.  Nothing is impossible and that the hardest obstacle to conquer is your own fear.  I did it, Chris did it, YOU can also do it.

You’ll Know at the Finish Line

The first time I read those words I didn’t understand.  I figured it was some sort of cryptic marketing ploy, but I put my doubts aside and signed up.  Well I am here to tell you, it is no marketing ploy.  It’s not some goofy catch phrase that was thrown around a brainstorming session.  “You’ll Know at the Finish Line” is a promise.  A promise that if you work hard, dedicate yourself to your training, and give everything you have during the race, when you cross the finish line, you’ll understand that who you were at the beginning of the race and who you are at the finish are completely different people.  I know I am, don’t you want to be?

Are you ready for your Spartan story?  Sign up today. 

Tags: , , , ,

by Michele McBride

Michele, left,  at 240 lbs

My name is Michele and I am a 41 yr old mom of 3 kids (2 boys and 1 girl ages 23, 18 and 7) and have been married for 24 years! When I was little I was always a skinny little thing, but when I hit 14 I gained some weight. Around age 15 almost 16 I decided to loose it and did! Man, it’s funny to see how boys who wouldn’t talk to you before but they sure wanted to talk to me then!

I got married at 17 to the greatest guy who loved me for me not my size! Well after two babies I had kept on the weight! After my 2nd I weighed 180 pounds. It was then when my darkest time entered. The weight continued to pile on and by the time I got pregnant with my 3rd in 2005 I weighed 240/245 lbs! It was the heaviest I had ever been and felt so depressed. The pregnancy was hard as I had many problems by the time I had her in December of 2005 I weighed 224!

It was then that I started watching The Biggest Loser! That inspired me big time! I first just changed little things – giving up soft drink except for one every now and again – but I knew I had to change, I’d developed Type II diabetes. Then I actually started eating right! I used to only eat supper and now I eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper! I also changed my white carbs to wheat and am making better food choices.

So I changed my eating but I knew I was still missing exercise! I admit I am lazy but I was wanting something different! I was

Michele (far right) back to 180 and counting

looking at all the Biggest Loser contestants and how they looked and looked like they felt and I wanted that. One day while searching a Biggest Loser event I stumbled across Spartan Race! Oh MY! It looked fun but I wondered if I could do it. My self-esteem had gone down as my weight went up! Even now I am not sure… but I WANT TO! My husband is very supportive and said of course you can do it honey!

I recently joined a gym and got a trainer and am preparing for my first race! I feel great now! I currently weigh 180 and have started noticing body changes. I am scared to death but I have to overcome some other fears during this Race! I have a bad fear of heights so that’s going to be hard! But I want this! I need this!! I want to be around for my little one to graduate and to one day have grandbabies to hug and run with! Plus, maybe finally I can out-kayak my brother! I love kayaking and my brother goes with me and we have so much fun but he can out paddle me! Well, watch out brother here I come! I am losing weight and inches but gaining so much more again! I have been inundated with support from Spartan Chicked Facebook page, so if you need the support they rock!

Are you a female Spartan looking for a cool crew of chicks to hang out with? Spartan Race has a Spartan Chicked closed network on FB that connects like-minded women to talk about training, nutrition, and staying healthy, strong and active. No boys allowed! Click HERE to request to join!

Tags: , , ,

by Geishel Valverde, Miami Race Manager

Hot, Hot, and more Hot

The Reebok Spartan Race was held in beautiful sunny Florida with partly sunny, warm temperature in 82°F at Oleta Park, Florida’s largest urban park.  Located on Biscayne Bay in the busy Miami metropolitan area.  Although it offers a variety of recreational opportunities, the park is best known for miles of off-road bicycling trails, ranging from novice trails to challenging trails for experienced bicyclists. Along the Oleta River, at the north end of the park, a large stand of beautiful mangrove forest preserves native South Florida plants and wildlife. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle the river to explore this amazing natural area.  It also makes for an epic course for Spartan Racers!

Known for our fire jumps, Miami’s Mile 7 presented an unprecedented Spartan challenge in the form of a forest fire!  Ever resourceful, Spartan staff and crew mobilized quickly and worked alongside Dade County officials to safely keep the race going throughout the Saturday heat times and avoid the unexpected flames!

Notable Participants

Pamela , Captain of team The Phalanx was the biggest team bringing in a total of 55 Spartans at this year’s Super Spartan. This is a group of athletes that train together all year round and have built a network via word-of-mouth that started from family and has evolved to co-workers and friends.

The Biggest Loser was another success; Chris Davis ran the whole course alongside Mayra Dumenigo, a diabetic with MS who still attempts to live her life to the fullest.  Dumenigo says, “it was exciting and a real inspiration,” who also said “the best part was the crossing of the river and the ocean.”  She was also very thankful to say she could not have accomplished the Traverse Wall without the help of the team, concerned she might pass out.  Her finish was inspired.

Spartan also wants to make a shout out to Downtown Athletic Club and thank them for inspiring our Spartans to train all year round and find a support group. The Spartan Group X Training Two Day Workshop and Certification was held at this location this month by Jeff Godin, Ph. D., C.S.C.S., C.I.S.S.N. For more information Take the Spartan Fit Test.  Click HERE for more information on Spartan Coaches. 

The Spartan Kid’s Race was adorable, as usual!  Spartan Races are for the whole family and the little ones who competed were incredible and the proceeds for those races benefit the Kid’s Fit Foundation.  

We’d like to thank our volunteers, medical staff, and Dade County for their support in the largest Florida Spartan Race to date!  We couldn’t do it without your help!

Coming Soon

Heading into March, we’ve already had a busy month of racing, but we’re just getting warmed up!  This weekend, we’ll be hosting our inaugural Australian Spartan Sprint race in Melborne March 2nd with another Spartan Sprint in Sydney scheduled for March 16th.  Spartans are international you know!

In the States, we’re staying out East with the upcoming, The Reebok Georgia Sprint, and the Reebok Carolina Sprint but we’ll be returning to Florida more than once in 2014.  We’ll be invading Orlando for a Spartan Sprint in January 11 and our Super Spartan now in April 12 & 13 in Miami, Florida. Where will you find your Spartan finish line? Sign up today.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

by Matt Trinca, Malibu Race Manager

“This race was the closest to death that I’ve ever come without actually dying.” – Anonymous racer

It was another epic weekend of racing in California this last weekend, with Spartan Race’s 3rd annual stop at Calamigos Ranch for the Malibu Spartan Sprint presented by Dial for Men.  This was our largest West Coast event ever, with over 9,500 racers competing over the course of two days.  A little rain and fog could not dampen the spirits of these racers.  On the contrary, it only made them more excited to tackle the mountainous course, made even more challenging by the soupy, slippery mud created by several days of heavy rains.

The event was kicked-off by the Hurricane Heaters, who ran with the Spartan Race Founders at 6am on Saturday.  Over 100 participants came out and, during the almost 4 hour HH, completed hundreds of burpees, helped with some last minute work on the festival area, and ran the course in teams with their arms linked together.  It was a real bonding experience for everyone and helped set the tone for what was to be an amazing couple days.

The competitive heat saw a flurry of elite Spartans blasting through the course at near suicidal pace.  Hobie Call took first place for the men in a blazing time of 26:42.  Hunter Mcintyre took second place with 27:51, and Elliott Megquier got third with a time of 31:21.  For the women, Rose-marie Jarry won in a time of 38:03, Angela Reynolds finished second with 41:07, Irene Call placed third in 42:28.  After the race, I got the chance to talk to Angela, who said that she really enjoyed the course this year, and liked how the spear throw appeared towards the middle of the race, so that it was not necessarily the deciding factor in who won.  A notable mention goes out to Hawk Call (Hobie’s and Irene’s son) who ran his 1st Spartan Race in the adult division, after dominating the Junior Spartan races.  He finished in a time of 56:26, placing 1st in his age group, proving that the family that trains together, wins together.

As a long-time Spartan Race Street Team member, and Race Manager for the Malibu Spartan Sprint, I would also like to take a moment to reflect on the past year leading up to this event.  My fellow Street Teamers and I have traveled all over California in 2012, attending expos, races, and other running events, spreading the Spartan message and encouraging people to get off their couches and get active.  During our travels we met many unique individuals, some of whom were enthusiastic enough to take part in our burpee competitions, and many others who did not know what a burpee was.  And it was really inspiring to see these same faces out on the course last weekend.

There was the cancer survivor from my gym, the woman with the prosthetic leg that I met at an adventure run, and a teammate who completed the race with a broken arm (and some help from her friends).  The Biggest Loser resort, which makes its home at Calamigos Ranch, also reserved a heat, and I must say that I really admire all those runners who never gave up and completed the course to the best of their ability.

I was also moved by racer Daren de Heras’s words,  “Spartan Race is really about family.”

Daren and his friends demonstrated this out on the course at Malibu, where he committed to running the course seven times (including the Hurricane Heat).  Spartan Race usually does not allow this sort of thing, but when he found out that Daren was doing this to support a friend’s animal rescue charity (From There to Care), Joe Desena gave permission along with a special challenge – Daren had to run each lap with some sort of impediment or handicap, e.g., carrying a log, wearing a weight vest or elevation mask, carrying a log or war hammer, etc.  I ran into Daren on his 5th lap, and he was noticeably hobbled by the difficult terrain, but he was not going to quit, and with the support of his friends, many of whom ran a lap with him, he was able to complete Joe’s challenge.

The biggest team competition also illustrated this sense of community in the way that it brought The Weeple Army team together.  Last year, this team ran their first Spartan Race together at Malibu with a little over 20 members.  Over 2012, the team grew, running a plethora of other mud runs, training events, and Spartan Races.  At this year’s event, the team’s VIP tent (that they received for winning the competition) was barely big enough to contain the almost 200 team members who ran the race!

Though the fog blocked out the sky, several stars did make an appearance at the Malibu Spartan Race.  Actor Scott Bakula (from Star Trek Enterprise and Quantum Leap) completed his first Spartan Race on Sunday and loved it, taking 5thplace in his age group.  Tony Besson (from Spiderman 3, Nip/Tuck, and Entourage) completed the Saturday event as well.  Evan Dollard (Winner of 2008 American Gladiator TV competition and American Ninja Warrior competitor)

Scott Bakula

ran his second Spartan Race, placing 32nd overall in the elite heat with a time of 41:14.  Evan acknowledged that the wet, slippery hills were a challenge. “I’m used to obstacle courses that run about 100 yards, so it was really difficult to keep up during the running portions of the race.”

We’d like to thank our incredible volunteers without which, we’d never be able to put on such incredible events.  In the end, I think runners at the 2012 Malibu Spartan Sprint will take with them not only a great deal of mud, scrapes, and bruises, but also fond memories of the camaraderie and the personal triumph they experienced at the event.  Look forward to seeing you all again in 2013.  Click HERE to register for 2013!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

384214_10150364565861861_251061411860_8803122_1725185525_nNovember 19, 2011 was our largest California race event to date.  With over 4,600 runners, over 4,000 spectators and our first ever night heat option, the festival grounds were jumping from 5 A.M.’s Hurricane Heat to well after 6 PM in the dark foothills of Malibu.  The 100 or so Hurricane Heaters arrived early and were put through nearly three and a half hours of what has become a team-building challenge that’s part mini-Death Race Camp and part obstacle race.  Without bibs or chips the runners took off early off-site and crawled through culverts, swam through ponds, faced the barbed wire, mud, and obstacles of part of Sprint Course in a unique event that will be offered at all future Spartan Races for anyone brave enough to take it on!   Register for Texas’s Hurricane Heat HERE and Temecula HERE

Competitive heats set off at 8 A.M. and 8:30 A.M. and as he’s done at every other373793_10150364566536861_251061411860_8803130_128289038_n Spartan Sprint he’s taken on this year, Hobie Call took home the top spot in 27:52 minutes followed by Chris Rutz, 42 of Scottsdale who finished in 33:07 and rounding out the top three was Mike Anderson, 41 of Malibu with a time of 33:14.  The women represented as well!  Jenny Tobin, 43 of Boise, ID took top spot with 36:46, followed by Irene Call (Hobie’s wife), 36 of South Jordan, UT with a time of 40:05 and Rachel McDermott, 27 of Los Angeles, CA took third with a time of 44:08.  Here’s the day’s results!

376261_10150364566426861_251061411860_8803129_1283746883_nThe kids race was at 12:15 and 100% of the Kid’s Course proceeds go to the Rod Dixon Kid’s Marathon Foundation and was also a crowd pleaser with almost 300 Spartans-in-training taking part and taking home their own medals for their Spartan glory.

Some familiar faces were onsite including Jack Osbourne of MTV reality television fame.  Also,  Dan Evans of Biggest Loser Season Five ran with his team at 3 PM and Team Orange supporting Fit Kids and finished with big smiles and maybe a few bruises!  He even set up and did a live set featuring some of the new music off of his latest album.  You can catch his interview from Spartan Radio last week HERE.   Check out the Thanksgiving special THIS Wednesday from 9PM EDT – 11PM EDT  November 23, 2011 to see a segment of Biggest Loser alum’s racing in Staten Island!

The Calamigos Ranch venue with it’s jagged rises and bush terrain made this course a387186_10150364566071861_251061411860_8803126_1900361039_n gnarly and challenging Spartan Sprint.  The upward barb wire crawl had a rocky base and the swamp water was a cold surprise for the Malibu runners in the mild temperatures of the day.  Some single track trails and steep gradients on the running sections made the course challenging and dynamic. 

Live music made the day lots of fun for racers and included DJ Notorious Jen, Nylon Pink, Dread Daze, Ok Here’s The Plan,Grandpa’s Nuts, The Tulips, Band of Bigfoot, Reggae Motion, The Magnatones, All Over, The Originalities, Andrew & Andrew.

photo (67)The best views of the day were arguably during the night heat as the sun set behind the foothills and the green glow sticks led runners through the dark and back to the finish line headlamps on full blast.  Hobie Call even jumped in and ran with the night heat for his second lap of the day.  With the lights of Malibu visible in the valley runners rose high into the darkening skies and technical landscape, and the live music at times close enough to hear.  Looking across the valley, the headlamps of earlier night wave runners were visible bobbing in the darkness. 

We’re returning to California January 28th with our Super Spartan!  Click HERE for the Race and Hurricane Heat registration.

It was a memorable day in a great venue.  If you missed your chance to get some390865_10150364566636861_251061411860_8803132_1429103550_n (1) Spartan Gear, head over to our online store and order something to wear proudly after your amazing finishes on Saturday!

A big thanks to our volunteers for their help on race day with all the details!  Many more stories about our amazing event in Malibu, including a wrap-up on Spartan Radio Tuesday night at 10PM/9PM Central time.  From everyone at Spartan Race, we would just want to THANK our athletes and their family and friends for coming out to spend the day with Spartan Race.  We loved having almost 5,000 athletes and over 3,000 Spectators come rock it with us on Saturday. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

Undeterred by torrential rainfall Friday, Spartan Race’s Super Spartan presented by Dolphin Fitness went off without a hitch on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Wolfe’s Pond Park.  Lots of muddy mayhem lay in wait for the Spartan athletes brave enough to take on the eight mile course.

DSCN2098A new feature you’ll be seeing at upcoming races is the Hurricane Heat and Staten Island was the second installment of the new series of heats put on by Spartan Race at our events.  Starting in the early morning and before dawn, the Hurricane Heaters of Staten Island set off on the course led by Joe DeSena, Spartan Staffers (myself included), and with headlamps lighting the way on the muddy course.  Part Death Race camp, part team “fun” run, this early heat incorporated additional punishment and physical challenges inside the race course.  Thirty burpees were issued at every obstacle and picking up logs, rocks, and sometimes each other along the course, the final Hurricane Heaters came across the line, some being buddy carried for some extra toughness, after nearly four hours on the trail.

DSCN2154As the Hurricane Heaters were wrapping up, the competitive heat was just getting their day started!  Taking off at 9 AM, they attacked the course and Hobie Call, 34, once again ruled the day taking the top spot with a time of 56:03.  He was followed by Junyong Pak, 33, with a time of 1:00:22 and Matthew Kepler, 22, took third with a time of 1:01:09.  The ladies had a fantastic showing as well!  Stephanie Vaughan, 32, took first place female with a time of 1:16:37 followed by Una Broderick, 30, 1:21:26 and Courtney Kistler, 30, close behind with a time of 1:21:53.

DSCN2120Al Harrington, Jersey Native and Denver Nuggets star also took on the brutal course finishing in just over an hour and a half.  He ran alongside fellow Spartan athletes on the 8 mile course and had a lot of fun doing it!  Team Frado and his group of Biggest Loser runners also had a great showing at the race!  Their efforts and accomplishments are inspiring!

311379_10150289624796082_608446081_8341044_997695512_nThe star of the show on race day had to be the course itself.  Designed by Nick Moore and built by Russell Cohen, Nick, and the dedicated Spartan Race build team it made the beautiful venue of Wolfe’s Pond Park memorable for anyone who ran it despite rainy conditions during the build process!  The course featured some great single track trails, creek running, some of our signature obstacles near spectator areas including a barbed wire crawl, slippery walls, spear throws, and of 296970_10150319978619033_601879032_8025143_1691774055_n (1)course our Spartan Gladiator pit near the finish.  Beach running was another unique feature of this race with two portions of the course going over sand.  The crowing jewel of the event was the culvert crawl spanning five lanes of traffic.  Athletes swam beneath the highway in chest deep water to lead them to a two and a half mile loop in the woods.  Coming back they swam again under the culvert to get back to the course and head back towards the finish.

303291_2371759222773_1514303834_32529137_107150313_nThe kids race, always a fun event, featured our littlest Spartans taking on a tough course of their own!  They did a great job in their 12:05 PM heat and the spectators got quite a show as they climbed cargo nets, ran the beach, traversed balance beams, crawled under ropes, and got nice and muddy in the process!

It was a memorable day in a great venue.  If you missed your chance to get some Spartan Gear, head over to our online store and order something to wear proudly after your amazing finishes on Saturday!

A big thanks to our volunteers for their help on race day with all the details!  Many more stories about our amazing event in Staten Island, including a wrap-up on Spartan Radio Tuesday night at 10PM/9PM Central time.  From everyone at Spartan Race, we would just want to THANK our athletes and their family and friends for coming out to spend the day with Spartan Race.  We loved having over 4,500 athletes and over nearly 2,000 Spectators come rock it with us on Saturday.

308625_2197595851670_1000461217_32491176_961888223_n

Want to get registered?  Want to know what it feels like to call yourself a Spartan?  Get registered.  You’ll know at the finish line.

spartan_REGISTER_gradient

Thank you to all our amazing sponsors who helped make SI fantastic!  Dolphin Fitness our Presenting Sponsor, Air National Guard & Rise to the Challenge Tour, 180 Body Clinic & Musceology, Army, CKO Staten Island, Intoxx Fitness, Apex Wrestling, Museum Replicas who does all our amazing trophies, Powerade, and Zico!

 

Tags: , , , , ,