Chris Davis and Anna Gargan

As he walks over to the emcee, Spartan Race veteran and all-round nice guy Chris Davis smiles the smile of someone who has just survived a brutal beating. He points at the mountain that looms over Blue Mountain Ski Resort and shakes his head, “that thing is the Killington of Sprints!” Davis is making a reference to the Vermont Beast that many racers will tackle later this year at the second annual Spartan World Championships. And indeed, the Pennsylvania Sprint has long been regarded and argued as being the hardest Sprint on the circuit, something all too evident as many racers new to the Reebok Spartan Race series were to discover.

The Blue Mountain course features an incline so long and so steep that it requires a ski-lift in order for most people to scale it’s face. And competitors from around the country – and a small contingent from Slovakia – spent months training for a race that would prove an incredible test of endurance. The fact that the course was “only” 4 miles set a beguiling false sense of security.

The Elites set the standard very early on. Spartan Pro Team athlete Hunter McIntyre blazed through the course in an incredible time of 41m 53s, with his Pro Teammate David Magida coming in a close second, only 19 seconds behind him. Andrew Hostetler took third place on the podium with a time of 43m 42s.

In the ladies Elite wave, Kristen Zielinski powered through with a time of 56m 08s, coming ahead of Gracie Wikie and Cassidy Watton who took second and third respectively.

In the open heats, stories of how Spartan Race not only changed people’s lives, but brought them together as a community. A

Ben Braverman

group of friends since high school and through work calling themselves “Team Lionhearted” came together from Reading, Philadelphia and various parts of New York in order to help their friend Louis Valencia get off the couch. Together they stormed the finish line and high-fives were the order of the day. “You *CAN* do it”, being the simple message Louis gives to those contemplating a race.

Ben Braverman, in active service with the Pennsylvania National Guard, decided to wear all his equipment – weighing in at over 40lbs – with the simple explanation that, “you train how you fight. There’s no point in my training without the weight and getting used to movement without what I would have to wear”.

At 9.30pm, some five hours after she started, Annie Wills crossed the finish line with her husband Andy by her side. After seeing him complete the Vermont Beast, she decided to train long and hard to do a course together with him. Setting about a regime that would see her train four days a week every week for four months, Annie lost 7 inches from around her hips, and dropping three dress sizes in the process. With pure grit and determination, she completed her first Spartan Race. There was not a dry eye in

Amy and Andy Wills

the venue when they crossed the finish line. Amid cheers and applause from all the staff, volunteers and remaining racers, the couple from Houston, Mississippi kissed under the finish line. Exhausted and completely drained, but proud. It was a true moment of Spartan togetherness and how something can become greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Next up on the tour? Two days of Super Spartan madness in Illinois. See you at the finish line.

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Hunter McIntyre, PA Sprint 2013

By Hunter Garrahan McIntyre, Spartan Pro Team

As a Spartan pro team athlete, the great outdoors are a fundamental part of the training and success for any race that I compete in. I see far to many people that associate fitness with a membership at a the local gym. The old school brawny man methods are seemingly long gone and being replaced with group classes and rows of treadmills.  But it doesn’t require any machines or even four walls of a building to get fit, it just takes some creativity.

The truth of the matter is, all you need is a good pair of sneakers and open mind to make the outdoors the answer to all of your health club needs. I am currently writing this article after spending a few days at Spartan HQ where I had a first hand experience with backyard fitness! For starters running outside is a far better than what you would gain from using a treadmill, a more natural stride combined with the constant variation of terrain makes a strong all around runner.

Dumbbells and barbells can quickly be replaced with rocks, stumps and other heavy objects one might be able to find in your garage. Some of the strongest men and women in the world train with real world objects like atlas stones to set world records in more conventional strength training events.

Another great way to experience a good workout is yard work! As a said early I spent a few days at the Spartan “farm club” digging, lifting boulders and chopping wood. A few chores in the back yard done with the right intensity will burn up to or more calories than you could achieve on an elliptical. These movements will also prove build a much more functional and all around better performing athlete than more simple machine movements one might find inside your local gym.

In closing, if you want to get in shape anywhere you look can be a great start whether it be a gym or your back yard. And don’t

Hunter McIntyre, Mexico City 2013

forget the Spartan FREE Workouts of the Day (WOD). Delivered daily to your inbox, they are a great way to stay on top of your training. Sign up HERE.

Don’t be shy of climbing a tree or two in the process because making the world your play ground is what this experience is all about. Make it a goal to take on a new obstacle every day such as lifting a 200 boulder or raking up that stubborn pile of leaves that never seems to blow into the neighbor’s yard. Sure there may be a few cuts and bruises along the way but that’s all in the day of a life true Spartan.

Ready to find your Spartan finish line?  Sign up HERE today.

[Editor's Note: Hunter McIntyre, 24, is a member of the Spartan Pro Team.  This past weekend he took the top spot at the Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint held on July 13, 2013.  No stranger to the podium, it was a fantastic finish with a time of 41:53.  Congratulations, Hunter!]

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