by Steffen Cook

Spartan Race first met Zack Askins at the Colorado Sprint in May 2013. Nonchalantly strolling across the finish line after having the gladiators bounce off of him, he finished like the race was no big deal. Cheerfully accepting a cup of water and proudly accepting his finisher’s medal like all the others, he paused only to so that we could take his photo, then he left in order to take of the full bomb disposal suit he’d been wearing for the previous couple of hours.  We saw him come back for a full serving of the Beast in Utah where he finished the race again in the full bomb disposal suit.

“Originally I got the idea off of a fellow EOD tech namds Eric Johnson. He holds the record for the bomb suit mile at 8:05. He did it as charity, I was looking at it and my thought was I’m not faster than him, but I bet I could out last him. So I came up with the idea of running the Spartan in the suit.”

He continued, “Eric at the same time was thinking of one upping himself and was training to run the a race in Philly in the suit. Rather than compete against each other we just piggy backed I went first to try and get some attention for him and more money for the EOD wounded warrior charity.”

And he was pleased with the attention he got in Colorado.  ”Y’all did great considering I surprised a lot of people by coming out that day and gave me more headlines than Eric got.”

It’s well documented how strongly Spartan Race feels about the military and the ties that there are between the two, evident by our races at Colorado Fort Carson and in Tampa Bay, Florida. So when Zack goes on to explain where the drive comes from, it makes perfect sense; “Our purpose was simple, the military as a whole makes up a small portion of the population, and of the whole Army the EOD community makes up less than .01%. We have endured a larger portion of the wounded and killed than our numbers tell but we’re a very close community. We take care of our own, and we wanted to help take care of those who remain behind.”

“For where Eric and myself are trying to go is push ourselves and get some headlines and more money flowing into the EOD wounded warrior to help all those who made it back broke and missing pieces. We want to make sure that we help get all of our wounded taken care of, and this is the best way we can think of to do it.”

For more information about their team, please contact: https://www.facebook.com/bombsuitmudder.org?fref=ts

See you at the finish line…  Sign up today!

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SNAP Infusion is a proud supporter of Vitamin Angels, a charity that brings health to millions of children throughout the world. Through this partnership, SNAP Infusion and Vitamin Angels will be sharing the stories of SUPERMOMS worldwide. Here’s a story of a woman who managed to be an amazing mom and find time to train for no easy challenge, a Spartan Race.

Our second SUPERMOM is Kati Scheetz, a mother of a very special two-year old, Faith-Rose, who is better known as “Bug”. Kati has always been very active and fit. When Kati became pregant with her daughter, she found out early that Bug was way too small and they didn’t know why. At 26 weeks of pregnancy, Kati was placed on strict bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy, which was extremely difficult for a woman who was so active. At 37 weeks, Bug was born at only 4lbs. She came into this world with no heart beat and not breathing. She has been fighting ever since and is now 2 years old.

Bug has been in and out of the hospital because she won’t grow, can’t eat anything by mouth and vomits all the time. No doctor can explain why this is happening. She is now fed 100% by feeding tube which is a full time job. Kati, her husband and Bug take everyday one day at a time, and they do so with a positive attitude. Kati tell us “She is definitely my motivation, I want her to grow up in an environment where healthy eating and being active is the everyday normal.”

This was Kati’s second Spartan Race. She thinks that OCR is an amazing sport. It not only challenges you physically, but also mentally. Kati trained by doing a lot of running, taking bootcamp classes and carrying Bug around, which is like carrying a Spartan sandbag around 7 days a week! This year, Kati shaved 45 minutes off her time from last year, now, that’s a SUPERMOM.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Is your mom your super? Share the story of your SUPERMOM with SNAP Infusion and Vitamin Angels. #mysupermom

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The elements proved to be the unknown factor in Colorado for the second annual Reebok Spartan Military Sprint this year. With competitors getting sunburned and dehydrated on the first day, to those suffering from hypothermia the following day, it certainly was an event that tested every single competitor to the limit.

The men’s Elites was won by Justin Jindra, followed closely by Isiah Vidal and Nicholas Joseph taking second and third respectively. It was a home-grown 1-2-3 for the ladies as Colorado’s finest filled all three spots on the podium. April Luu successfully defended her title with typical fiery determination, with Tobie Rippy and Ashley Swallow making the home crowd proud with a sweep of the awards. Navy Federal Credit Union again generously donated the prize money to the winners.

The course took no prisoners at all. With even the most innocuous of obstacles such as the moats claiming victims, it was a wake-up call to all that thought this was a run-of-the-mill OCR. Both days had people failing to finish, proving that Spartan Race, even on “short” distances, demands your total attention and will punish those that do not prepare.

The event village saw support from many sponsors and promoters ranging from the Colorado National Air guard, Werner Climbing Equipment and Whole Foods. Of course, many competitors and spectators were thankful to Coors Light for the refreshments they offered. Red Bull gave the racers wings while Snap Infusion gave them the stamina to carry on.

Snap Infusion’s nomination for Supermom, Kati Scheetz, was not just running for herself or for the prize of the finisher’s medal. Her daughter – having been induced at 37 weeks weighing only 4lbs with no heartbeat or breathing – currently suffers from a condition that is baffling doctors. Of the last 6 months, 4 of those have been spent in the hospital trying to treat with the mysterious illness which means she has to be fed 100% of the time via tube. With caring for her daughter now being a full time job and all the stresses that come with it, Kati somehow still manages to train and successfully completed the Military Sprint for her little girl.

And like night follows day, more stories of triumph over adversity and inspiration came bleeding through. Zack Askins, a native of Colorado, decided to wear a full 85lb (when dry) bomb disposal suit throughout the course, with a shrug of polite indifference greeting those who ask him if it was difficult.

Brad Fredricks of New York explained, “I was sitting behind a desk and thinking, ‘life must be more than this’ and I saw one of your videos and I wanted the next challenge. I wanted something that was going to be the next level of my life.” Despite having broken his hip in June of 2012, he now is taking part in every Spartan Race this year.

Then there was Shane Tisdall, who having lost his left hand in a motorbike accident some years earlier and suffering paralysis, was seen cheerfully going through his burpees one-handed after failing to negotiate the monkey bars. When asked about how much of a hindrance it was, he smiled and simply pointed out, “it was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time I wasn’t living very good”.

James Moody, after being clinically dead due to throat cancer and then underwent extreme and brutal throat surgery, offered the simple suggestion of, “don’t quit. Just stick with it, keep working at it”. Good advice not just for Spartan Race, but for all of life, perhaps.

The highlight of the weekend was that of the marriage on course between Arizonians DiAne and Mike Santos. Beneath the romantic monument of the cargo climb that stood before the fire pit, they exchanged vows before witnesses then went on to jump the fire pit together and have the Spartan gladiators form a guard of honor before Mike carried his bride over the finish line. A fitting end to an event that saw many either fall in love, or renew their passion for Spartan Race.

A special mention to go to the medical team that had to step up several gears in order to handle those unfortunates that succumbed to the course, the weather or a combination of both.

Is it your turn to find a Spartan finish line?  Find an event HERE.

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by Leslie St. Louis, Elite Spartan Athlete

The Colorado Military Sprint is coming to Fort Carson Army Base May 4th and 5th and expect a race like no other! It has a unique finisher medal and shirt, as well as its own rules and rankings. If last year’s nearly five-mile-length inaugural event is any indication, it will be longer than an average Sprint and obstacle-heavy, including Spartan favorites, such as the spear throw, rope climb, monkey bars and traverse wall, as well as military-themed obstacles, such as The Weaver, barbed wire crawl with training guns and heavy rock carry with backpacks. Of course, expect the unexpected too, as there are sure to be plenty of new surprises from a collaboration of efforts from Spartan organizers and 4th Infantry and Specials Forces units!

All the top three women from last year’s Saturday Military Sprint are coming back again, including:

* 1st place finisher and Spartan Athlete April Luu, who has been on a winning streak this season and is currently second in Spartan Points overall right now, only six points behind Hobie Call

* 2nd place finisher Taryn Haas, who just raced in the Las Vegas Super, coming in 15th, but completing the loop THREE times for “training.”

* 3rd place finisher and Spartan Athlete Leslie St. Louis (that’s me). I came in second for 2012 Spartan Points and in the 2013 SoCal Super and will be racing for the first time after recovering from a foot injury.

Not to mention, two of the top three women from last year’s Sunday race will be returning, including Spartan Athlete Corinne Kohlen, who took 1st last year and has already raced eight events this season, and Spartan veteran Sue Luck, who took 3rd last year and comes to Colorado having raced nine events this 2013 season.

Other women to watch are Spartan Athlete Andi Hardy, who made a strong showing in her first event post injury at the Indiana Sprint last weekend and Tonya Graham Stogsdill, who took 3rd in Indiana.

Look forward to an exciting match-up on the men’s side, too. Some of the Spartan veterans making a return appearance to Colorado include Joseph Kauder, Chris Obertlik, Chase Stewart and Spartan Athlete Shawn Feiock, who took 7th for 2012 points and has already made the podium twice in 2013.

Although these men will have familiarity of the location, each event is different and they will have tough competition from Spartan-sponsored racers Miguel Guillermo Medina and Elliott Megquier, who has made the podium eight out of 15 races this 2013 season, as well as Brian Hoover, LeEarl Rugland, Rob Michaud, Eric Hansen, Evan Williams, Joey Patrolia and Brad Fredricks.

Just like the obstacles though, there is always the possibility of a surprise. Ultra Racer Tyler Tomasello and Professional Xterra Triathlete Cody Waite are just two of the athletes racing Saturday who may fare well in their first ever obstacle event.

Finally, amid the army base setting there will be awesome stories of personal and group triumph, including the Project Sanctuary Team that will be racing at 10:30 on Saturday and include a combination of active military members and veterans as well.

There are more than 7000 participants expected at this unique and sure-to-be epic event. Are you one of them? If not, sign up or start planning now to head west next year!

Connect with Colorado racers and read more about what to expect at the Military Sprint as well profiles on many of these athletes on the website and facebook page, Colorado Obstacle Racers. https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoObstacleRacersPage#!/ColoradoObstacleRacersPage

Or http://www.coloradoobstacleracers.com/

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