[Editor's Note] Ang Reynolds is a regular on the Spartan Race scene.  An active member of the Spartan 300 group, she’s a to points leader and she’s spent the year traveling the country racing Spartan events and making a name for herself as a competitor in the growing OCR sport.  The single mother of three is also a contributing writer for the blog Barb Wire 4 Breakfast.  Here she shares her year in review.  A year of racing, competing, and finding the family she never knew she had.

Saying Goodbye to 2012

by Ang Reynolds

It is tough to summarize the end of my racing season. With three races in four weeks, my weekends have been packed with the air of Sparta. The Sac Beast was cold and rainy with relentless wind, pitted mud, and straw thick under foot. My hometown race, the Malibu Sprint, was rainy as well. When a typically dry Southern California is drenched with rain for days prior to the race, a muddy course is easily delivered. The tough hills in Calamigos Ranch were slick and unforgiving as I trudged through two more cold wet days of racing. Four days later I boarded a flight to Texas to be reunited with many friends I had not seen since my wayward weekend in Killington, Vermont.

As we stood at the starting line on Saturday morning, facing a course that Mike promised would deliver Spartan’s best; I looked at the faces that surrounded me. A little over a year ago I ran my first Spartan race. A little over a year ago all of these people were strangers to me. Now, as I looked to the Spartans on my left, and the Spartans on my right, we ran into our battle united as a team.

I remembered the first time I spoke with Andi Hardy on the phone, inviting her to spend the weekend with my family in Utah for the Beast. I remembered the first time I met Corinne Kohlen, volunteering at the Spartan Super in Arizona.

I looked further to each side and saw more familiar faces. These were the people that were my greatest competitors. The people that I wanted to beat to the finish line at the end of the day, but also the people that I shared my days and nights with. We had stayed out many a night, and slept late into the morning. We had jumped in lakes, stood around fires, and huddled together in the pouring rain to warm our bodies. We had helped each other limp across the finish and wipe the blood off our broken and bruised bodies. We shared some of the roughest times in our lives and but also in each other’s greatest joys.  

After less than a year I was innately connected to each and every one of these individuals in some way, having shared so much more than just a race. We had not only raced together, but to also encouraged each other along the way, through our strong moments, and at our worst. The racers that stood beside me were my family, and for the last time racing in 2012, I was reminded how lucky I was to be a part of the Spartan community. I have gained not only everlasting friendships, but also a family that runs thicker than blood; a family that will continue to love and support me through so much more than just racing.

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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!

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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. 

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