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/.

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

By Tony Matesi

FORT CARSON – SPARTAN MILITARY SPRINT

 There is no better place than one of the most well known Army bases in the nation to host our Spartan Race Military Sprint. Named in honor of legendary Army scout, General Christopher “Kit” Carson, who explored much of the West in the 1800s, Camp Carson was established in 1942 and Fort Carson was changed from Camp Carson in 1954. Fort Carson’s beautiful scenery has made it one of the most requested duty stations in the U.S. Army with Pikes Peak right there in it’s backyard. This venue is one you do not want to miss with all its natural beauty and history. Ft. Carson is a destination fit for an incredible adventure on and off the course.  

Fort Carson sits on a 137,000-acre (550 km2) installation just 40 miles north of Pueblo, Colorado in Pueblo County.  Given the nature of this being a military base naturally, there is a lot of history here. Did you know, more than 125 units were activated at Camp Carson and more than 100 others were transferred to the Mountain post from other installations. Nurses, cooks, mule packers, tank battalions, a Greek infantry battalion, and an Italian ordinance company trained at Camp Carson during the war years. There’s a lot of history at Ft. Carson military base so take it all in.

 OH, THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS WEATHER

Colorado is one of those less than predictable venues this time of year. Last year we saw everyone hanging around the festival area enjoying the warm sun on Saturday but come Sunday it was a sea of silvery foil blankets everywhere. Remember, Spartans show up prepared for anything and everything! Keep in mind when you are packing for this adventure, the average first weekend of May in Fort Carson can range from a high of 66 to a low of 39 with a record high of 86° and record low of 17°. With that in mind be sure to bring some cold weather gear – long sleeve compression shirts and compression pants – as well as some warm weather gear so you have your bases covered. Don’t forget to bring a towel for the showers, no matter what that water will be cold. Also be sure to have some spare warm clothes so you can take advantage of the food, fun, and challenges in the festival area after the race. 

 LODGING

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Fort Carson don’t worry we’ve got you covered. There are a bunch of great hotels nearby in Colorado Springs including the DoubleTree by Hilton Colorado SpringsFairfield Inn & Suites Colorado Springs South, La Quinta Inn & Suites Colorado Springs South AP, or the Hampton Inn & Suites Colorado Springs/I-25 South all of which are under six miles away from the venue.

TONIGHT WE DINE IN

If you’re looking for some grub in the area you are in luck, we’ve gone ahead and taken care of searching Yelp for you and found the best spots to crave that Spartan appetite you’ve built up on race weekend. For those looking to get a handle on their raw fish fix you can check out Sushi o Sushi or Sushi Ai located outside Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. If Pad Thai or Pad See-ew is more your thing head over to NaRai Thai or Thai Satay. Have more of a southern, BBQ appetite? Check out Colorado Smokehouse in Fountain, CO, just don’t forget to order your veggies with all those delicious meats they serve. Maybe you are looking for some Schnitzel? Be sure to check out the Edelweiss Restaurant in Colorado Springs. Or perhaps you just want some good ol’ American cuisine, look no further than a local favorite, Shuga’s, where you’ll be sure to find something to fill that Spartan appetite of yours.

THERE’S SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES

Looking for something to do with the whole family after the Spartan Race in Fort Carson? How about a visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo with over 200 species of animals sitting at an elevation of 6,800 feet. You can stop in for an hour or two for a wildly good time and you can even feed the giraffes from your bare hand! They even offer a sky lift that takes you to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, but we know you Spartans will probably insist on climbing to the top yourself to catch the magnificent sunset.

Garden Of The Gods Colorado

If you’re looking for other outdoorsy activities in the area don’t miss out on the Garden of the Gods also located in the Colorado Springs area. Where else can you catch such dramatic views of 300′ towering sandstone rock formations with a majestic backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and beautiful baby blue skies.

Colorado is a wonderland of outdoor actives so don’t forget to check out these other hot spots, Seven Falls, Cave of the Winds, Helen Hunt Falls, Palmer Park or America the Beautiful Park. No matter where you end up you are sure to find a place to capture some epic moments with your crew. Don’t forget to tag us in all those Instagram shots, #SpartanRace.

Sign up at Spartanrace.com for the Ft. Carson Military Sprint. We look forward to seeing you in Colorado!

Credits: jdpoyda.blogspot.com,  army.mil, samanthakrieger.blogspot.com

Tags: