One competitor laughs of the cold and takes time to tell the photographers that it really isn’t that bad under the water.

You’d have been forgiven for thinking you were not actually in sunny California, but perhaps Chicago, Detroit or somewhere not altogether unfamiliar with ice and below freezing temperatures.
With the typical Spartan Race rain on the Saturday and the malevolent grin of glinting frost and ice beckoning the competitors to the start line on Sunday, the elements had already conspired to make the competitors suffer.

Spartan Race elite male and female podium finishers

With many regular faces descending on Malibu from all corners of the country, the all-too familiar feeling of a reunion in was in full force. However, once stepping over that start line, all friendships were put temporarily on hold. Tellingly, a water obstacle again proved to be the undoing of Hobie Call as he only briefly misjudged a plan of attack. This merest hint of a chance was something Hunter McIntyre exploited and punished by pushing past and snatching first place by only 33 seconds. Brakken Krakker took third place by crossing the line only just over a minute after Hobie, proving just how tight the men’s elite class is now. It seems as though every race is now a guarantee for a nervous and exciting fight for 1st place.

The female elites didn’t fail to add to the tension, either. Rose Wetzel (1st), Lauren Ho (2nd) and Tiffanie Novakovich were separated by only just over 3 minutes. The female elites are crashing through into 2014 with higher rates of training and motivation than ever before, so it was unsurprising that numbers into double figures were finishing faster than some male elite runners. Competition has never been fiercer!

Despite having no legs, Mathew Webb failed only one obstacle – the spear throw.

Away from the professionals the Spartan Race inspiration machine was in full force. Travelling over 7 hours to make the event to represent the ever-present and all-conquering Weeple Army (taking their 8th biggest team win), Mathew Webb crushed the course despite having the “minor inconvenience” of having had no legs since being only 18 months old. Making jokes that the water in the lake was so cold that he couldn’t feel anything below the knee, he powered through failing only the spear throw.“Overcoming Obstacles” was led by Slosh Pipe champion Kevin Kierce. Containing competitors  Michael Aygin, Brian Tom, Michael Yu, Durrell Johnson, James Mogana, Joel Senteno, (who are all hard of hearing or blind) and previous Spartan Race blog subject Misty Diaz who battles Spina Bifida, they all went through the course in a flurry of high-fives from well-wishers and a  volley of “AROO!” chants. Accompanying Kevin was his 74 year old mother, Linda Barber. Together, this one group alone pushing the fact that there are simply no valid excuses.

Linda Barber, 74, has completed every Malibu Spartan Race to date.

Team SISU,led by Daren De Heras made multiple loops of the course over the weekend, choosing to continue their Death Race ethic by carrying logs, tires and wearing elevation masks in order to make “things more interesting”.

From Hollywood, actors Tony Besson – making his third Spartan Race appearance – and Josh Peck ran in a wave shortly before Eric Colley fromTMZ made his debut at the start line.

As 2014 winds down to a close, Texas will see thousands of Spartan descend on Glen Rose where host the last race of year. Spartan Race will see out 2013 with a Beast and the last chance to qualify for a Trifecta before the new season starts in January. Will you be one of them?


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by Anthony J Matesi

Team SISU is built on the foundation of going above and beyond our limits.  You can see this in everything SISU does, from training, to motivating others, to taking on extreme challenges, and even sacrificing their own bodies to support a great cause.   For the Malibu Spartan Sprint SISU has looked to helping their own, Shawn Parsons and his family.  To support them, all donations will go to From There To Care, a no-kill animal shelter located on 8 acres of land in Riverside, CA. In California, especially SoCal, there is a large problem with homeless pets resulting in the euthanasia of thousands of animals every year.  Organizations like “From There to Care” aim to help curb this trend by pulling animals from city and county shelters, rehabilitating them, and re-homing them with their forever families.  We’re asking people to support Daren’s generous effort, but pledging whatever they can.  It’s estimated that the average cost of rescuing and re-homing one animal is about $300.  But even if a donation is for just a few dollars per lap (more on that follows), every little bit helps.  Donations can be made via PayPal by going to the following URL:

Now, you are probably wondering what SISU will be doing to encourage donations, right? 

 The Challenge

Allow me to introduce you to Daren de Heras, a founding member of Team SISU.  Daren is an extremely active athlete, he coaches his daughters AYSO soccer team, runs a flexible packaging company; a family owned business, and a frequent Spartan Racer who takes on challenges all over the country including a few that he has helped organize even.  When Daren decided he wanted to help From There to Care he made a point to contact Joe Desena to discuss what kind of challenge he should take on.  Joe was inspired by the performance of James Ogden at the Carolina Spartan where he ran six laps to raise money for Wounded Wear.  Joe suggested Daren go after seven laps at the Malibu Sprint.

After some brainstorming back and fourth between the two the challenge was laid out.  Daren will begin with the first “lap” a la the Hurricane Heat which will lead straight into the standard course laps, beginning with a 40 lb. Team SISU War Hammer.  Next, Daren will be tethered to a friend thanks to Hobie Call lending the tether he used when racing with his wife at the Arizona Spartan Race.  Lap number four will be with the one and only LOG!  The mad man won’t stop there for his fifth lap he is going to wear a weight vest through the course and following that he will switch over to an elevation mask, because who really needs oxygen.  As if that wasn’t enough already, Daren will be running his final lap as a tribute to the Death Race Panda.  From what I’ve heard, Daren is a gambling man; he survived the Betrayal of the 2012 Death Race and is preparing himself for a return to Pittsfield, VT in 2013.  If you don’t know about the DR Panda, beware, it has been said he can either come to your aid or lead you to your demise.

Joe has challenged Daren to take on this challenge and he has accepted.  Now its up to you to help donate, help the animals without homes, prevent unnecessary death, and give these animals a chance to live.  With your donations, From There to Care will be able to provide a sanctuary for many, many abandoned animals that deserve some tender loving care.  Let’s support Daren as he tackles this tremendous challenge and donate to helping give the animals a second chance at life. Donate here


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