The first Beast of the season did not disappoint.  The hills at Toro Regional Park in Monterey seemed to get a little higher over the past year. Racers returning for the second year were remarking about how the course difficulty had increased from 2013.  The nearly 5,000 athletes that turned out on a perfect Monterey morning were greeted with new challenges and just the right amount of water and mud.

The rugged terrain was fully utilized in this Beast. The course included all types of running surfaces, from fire roads, to single track and off trail bushwhacking. Many racers site this as being the toughest Beast course this side of Vermont and this race has only amplified that claim by somehow making it even harder than it was last year. New obstacles making their California debut included the new Monkey Net and the Laguna Seca inspired Tire Rope Swing.  In addition to the terrain the course layout ramped up the difficulty. What made this course especially demanding was the obstacle cluster at the end of the race. These included the Tire Flips and Atlas Stone Carry, which can take a toll on already taxed hamstrings, quads and calves. Despite this obstacle, the challenges were not going to prevent many racers from finishing their third race of the season and getting their Trifecta. The Trifecta is completing a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year.  

Starting the day was the second ever 12 hour Hurricane Heat. With all manner of testing challenges, both mental and physical, the team was put through it’s paces and brought about a new record. The team contained Daren De Heras who is now the only person in the world to have successfully completed every race and challenge that Spartan Race has to offer, from the touring workout right through to the Death Race.

The elite heat racers started promptly at 8AM and charged up the first mountain at a fast pace. The fastest men completed the course in about 2 hours and the women in 2 ½ hours. For the men, the top three spots went to Chad Trammell, 30 from Yakima, WA, Brian Gowiski, 24, from San Diego, CA and in third place James Appleton, 27, from London, who again appeared from nowhere to quietly come in and assert some British bulldog spirit onto the field. Look out for more from the reigning UK Tough Guy champion, as the rumors are that he’s moving to the states. With his impressive record and stats that speak for themselves, could we have another heavy hitter in the men’s elites soon? Stay tuned!

On the women’s side Spartan Pro Team athlete, Jenny Tobin 45 from Boise ID finished first, followed by Lesley Moser, 30 from Menlo Park, CA and Monica Jo Nicholson, 32 from Aromas, CA. Our other Spartan Pro Team athlete on hand, Christopher Rutz, won the men’s masters (40+) race.

Veteran Earl Granville deals with a wall with ease.

As wave after wave went out, Spartan SGX coaches Andi Hardy and Michael Ainis were on hand to talk participants through some warm ups, cool downs and helped with general advice and instructions.

On the course, the story of the day went to a Team made up of Amanda Sullivan, Earl Granville of Operation Enduring Warrior, Matt Pevoto and Misty Diaz. Aided along the way by Slosh Pipe Champion, Kevin Kierce, a staff member and many members of the Weeple Army – who again took the biggest team title for a record 12th time – the team known as “The Avengers” took on the course and battled their own demons in order to achieve, in some cases, their Trifectas. Look out for a feature in the future from Spartan Race covering the day that these amazing competitors had.

The next race on the Spartan Race calendar is also a Beast, only this time in Utah. Don’t be surprised if Spartan Race tries to outdo the challenge they presented for you in Monterey. The hills are there for a reason. Get out of your comfort zone!

For those of you on the East Coast, the Connecticut Sprint will also be making its debut the same day, Saturday June 28th. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.

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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By Leslie St. Louis

The Colorado Military Sprint is a one-of-a kind, race like no other! Taking place on the Fort Carson Army Base and featuring a slightly longer length, special medals, unique finisher shirts and more than 15 obstacles, including some designed by the 4th Infantry and Special Forces Unit, the weekend also promises military tributes, over $7,500 in cash prizes and the added elements of Colorado’s unpredictable weather and high altitude.

Isaiah Vidal wins the Colorado 2013 Sprint.

Volunteers have been working all week to build the obstacles for this western-area event, and with 14,000-foot Pike’s Peak towering nearby, racers can expect to take full advantage of the base’s up and down rolling terrain, to complete many of the usual Spartan challenges and perhaps even try the new, net monkey bars that made their debut in Miami. If the past Military Sprints are any indication, runners may also find themselves using the army’s “weaver” training obstacle and hiking up hills with rock-filled ruck sacks.

There are important instructions for parking (see below) and racers should allow at least an hour or more before their start times. While parking is free, there is a shuttle to race site that costs $5 per person ages five and older.

Coloradoans often joke about the state’s temperamental weather, so there is the possibility of sunny skies or snow storms, even the possibility of both occurring during the same day! Three water stations and one at the finish are planned, but keep in mind that this event has averaged longer finishing times than other Spartan Sprints; the fastest men and women averaging an hour or more and two hours or more for open heats.

With an Olympic Training Center only a few miles away and the state’s cities filled with some of the nations fittest* athletes, professional racers from around the nation will face a challenge in making this weekend’s podium, as locals have dominated in years past. To top off the appeal, the Navy Federal Credit Union is offering $2000 for first place, $1000 for second and $750 for third. Currently in first place for Spartan Points, April Dee of Peyton – who  served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and later the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson - has won the Saturday race both years and is returning to reclaim her title. Last year’s first and second place men on Saturday, Justin Jindra of Larkspur and Isaiah Vidal of Peyton are also returning.

Founders Pro Team Member Leslie St. Louis of Morrison, won last year on Sunday, will be competing again both days. Flying in for the race are Pro Teamers K.K Stewart-Paul, Amelia Boone (possibly), Corinne Kohlen, who took second on Sunday last year, Brakken Kraker, who won last week’s Indiana Sprint, Shawn Feiock, Matt Novakovich and Elliott Megquier, who will be looking for redemption after his flight to Colorado was delayed last year (he still managed to squeeze in the fastest open heat time on Saturday and take second Sunday).  Also taking their spots on the elite start line will be top ranked Casey Jindra, Jenny Harper, Tonya Stogsdill, Sue Luck, Chad Trammell, Brian Gowiski and Brian Hoover. Look out for the ever-present Stephen Sinek, aka, “The Painted Warrior” sporting the latest artistic creation made by his fantastically creative make-up and FX genius, Aeni Domme.

In addition to the elite and open races, there will be Junior Spartan Races and fun activities in the festival area, including Spartan Group Training Warm-ups and Tutorials, beginning at 7:30 am and Festival Challenges, starting around 10:00 am.

Finally, one of the most meaningful aspects of the Colorado Military Sprint is the additional opportunities for racers to honor current or retired military members.“I wear blue and run to remember the fallen, the fighting, and the families,” said Lindsey Leiker of Palmer Lake, who is racing Saturday. Her husband Jeremy is on active duty and is racing on Sunday.  Former Marine John Becker of Greeley will be running both days and said while he always appreciates those that have or are currently serving, this race will have special significance. “I will be running Saturday in Memory of an Army soldier that was KIA (killed in action) in Afghanistan and was stationed at Fort Carson.”

Spartan recently announced their charity partners, which fittingly includes Homes for our Troops.

Want to know more about this unique race? Colorado Obstacle Racers has a three-part series, including a Visitor’s Guide.

Colorado Crowned Fittest State - click here to read more.

Please be aware that parking on Fort Carson will be strictly organized by staff onsite. A such, please heed the following advice.

RACER & SPECTATOR PARKING – SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Fort Carson Army Base

Fort Carson, CO 81240

HEAT TIMES THAT END IN :00 OR :30 (E.G., 10:00 OR 10:30): YOU MUST GO TO THE EAST LOT VIA FORT CARSON GATE 20 @ EXIT 132 OFF I-25

HEAT TIMES THAT END IN :15 OR :45 (E.G., 10:15 OR 10:45): YOU MUST GO TO THE WEST LOT VIA FORT CARSON GATE 5 @ HWY 115 AND TITUS BLVD (2 MILES SOUTH OF GATE 1)

PLEASE BRING THE CORRECT PARKING PASS FOR YOUR LOT (download above)

BE PREPARED TO SHOW “CURRENT” STATE, MILITARY OR D.O.D. IDENTIFICATION, AS WELL AS PROOF OF INSURANCE AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION

FOLLOW ALL SIGNS TO PARKING ONCE IN FORT CARSON

FORT CARSON IS A FEDERAL INSTALLATION. NO WEAPONS OR DRUGS ALLOWED.

THERE WILL BE A ONE-TIME SHUTTLE FEE OF $5 PER PERSON (CHILDREN 5 AND UNDER RIDE FREE)

Leslie St. Louis is a trail runner, obstacle racer and mom of two mud-loving girls in Morrison, Colorado. She is currently ranked 9th in the Spartan World Points Series and the founder of a local obstacle group, resource and blog, Colorado Obstacle Racers, http://coloradoobstacleracers.com/.

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