On the Las Vegas Strip, opulent waterfalls, sky scraping hotels and lush retreats abound.  On The Strip, you could almost forget that this bustling city began simply as a dream in a desert.

Yes, a desert.

This Saturday, thousands of Spartans will invade the infamous Sin City for the second-ever Las Vegas Super, which make no mistake, while conveniently located, is taking place on the outskirts of the metropolis, away from the ringing bells of casinos, the air conditioned biomes of pink clouds the billboards of lights, lights and more lights.

Spartan Racers should expect nearly nine miles and nearly two dozen obstacles in the dry, dusty plains of the Nevada desert.

With a new locale from last year aptly called the “Gravel Pit,” course designers are promising all the Spartan staples — spears, ropes, walls, pits, tires — amid both the natural, rocky topography and new, man-made terrain.  There will be muddy portions, but true to the setting, very little water, except for the planned three stations and one at the finish. If last year is any indication, participants should also expect some down and uphill climbs. At last check, the weather predictions called for sun with highs in the 70s and a slight wind.

The Racer Athlete Guide suggests everyone bringing an ID for check in (and any post-race drinks), arriving at least an hour before the wave start, carrying personal hydration and nutrition. If starting at 2:00pm or later, it’s also advised to carry a headlamp. Click here for the Las Vegas Athlete Guide.

Just like the desert itself, the elite heats will be scorching, with athletes from the around the nation all vying for spots on the podium and top ranking in the 2014 World Points Series, especially since this is a one-day event.

In the men’s elite, look for 2013 top-ranked Brian Hoover and the Spartan Pro Teamers Elliott Megquier, Chris Rutz, David Magida, current points leader, Hunter Mcintyre and Charlotte’s first place winner, Matt Novakovich.

Last year’s Vegas 2nd place winner TyAnn Clark and Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone are both expected to take the start line in the women’s heat, as are Leslie St. Louis, making her first 2014 return from injury, and Pro Teamers Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles and Tiffanie Novakovich.

Beyond the Super Spartan, there are other events taking place on Saturday: the not-to-be-missed Kids’ Races, the 6:00 am Hurricane Heat and the 12-hour Hurricane Heat (HH12HR), which serves as one of the qualifying events for the Peak Death Race.

While all of the events promise to challenge racers, the festival area will offer some Spartan-Style entertainment and fun, including food and refreshments, an SGX Warm up every hour starting at 7:30am, an SGX tutorial on rope climbing every hour starting at 9:00 am and Pull-up, Traverse Wall, Slosh Pipe and Tire Flip challenges happening throughout at the day starting around 10:00 am.

Amid obstacles, sweeping desert views and rousing “Aroos!” racers at the Spartan Super this weekend will likely discover something new to remember about Las Vegas, a city founded on dreams and a desert.

Click here for more information.

 

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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Leading up to the Charlotte Spartan Sprint the entire festival and base camp was submerged under water. Rumors began floating around that the Charlotte Sprint would become the first ever Waterworld Spartan Race. Thankfully, as the weekend approached the sun helped dry things up just enough to ensure another excellent Spartan weekend.

We want to thank everyone who came out this weekend. As late as Tuesday, we were questioning amongst ourselves whether or not we would pull this off. At one point our base camp was over two feet under water. As race day approached we had to change our parking plans multiple times. Thank you for Spartan’ing up and helping us play host to another extraordinary event.

The infamous Hurricane Heat commenced the weekend’s events starting bright and early at 6:00AM. Without those extraordinary teamwork of the Hurricane Heaters, the festival would have remained a disaster; together they hoisted several enormous hay bales from the parking lot to registration and the festival area. Per usual an impressive smoke session (ie. lots of burpees, sit-ups, planks, etc) took place before setting out onto sections of the course. During the PT several participants were broken off from the group to assist in constructing a Spartan mudman sculpture. It’s kind of like a snowman but made with mud. To wrap things up, each team had to mummify a randomly selected member from each team with the required cassette tapes they brought. Abiding by the Warrior Ethos, their fallen comrades had to be carried over a half mile through the course from the Spearman obstacle to the finish. In the Hurricane Heat you start mostly as strangers but finish as a single unified team.

From the Spartan Pro Team we saw a return to the Spartan circuit from female World Champion, Amelia Boone. Joining her were fellow Spartan Pro teammates, Matt Novakovich, Juliana Sproles, Hannah Orders, Elliot Mcguier, and David Magida. Also in attendance were Spartan elites, Valerie Smith, John Henderson, Jeffrey Bent, and Spartan SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol.

It was a grueling competition on Saturday that had all the racers fighting through the extra muddy obstacles. Focus, concentration, everything was tested on this course. Our returning Spartan World Champion, Amelia Boone, took the first place spot on the podium for the women. Spartan Pro Team member, Matt Novakovich also clutched another first place finish. Rounding things out for the women, Ashley Keller took second, just five months after having a baby, and Spartan SGX Coach, Sarah Pozdol came in third. In the men’s competition, Yuri Force crossed the finish just over a minute behind Novakovich snagging second, followed closely by Matthew Taverner in third. Spartan Pro Team members Elliot and David came in fourth and fifth, respectively and Juliana Sproles took eighth.

On Sunday, Spartan Pro Team members Matt Novakovich, Juliana Sproles and Elliot Mcguier returned for some more fun in the mud. The course, which was already a muddy mess, took a turn for the worse (or better in our eyes) after almost 8,300 racers conquered the Saturday Charlotte Sprint. The competition was fierce and Matt Novakovich once again came out victorious. Spartan Pro, Elliot Meguier came in second and Dennis Welch snagged third. The top three women were each separated by nearly a two minute gap with Brittany Duckworth leading the pack taking first, Juliana Sproles returning to the podium in second, and Melanie Jones in third.

Throughout the day, warm ups were conducted near the starting line by Spartan SGX Coaches, Sarah Pozdol and Steve Manns. Nearly 13,000 racers discovered the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a Spartan Race. Among those Spartans were a few incredible adaptive athletes that tackled the course. Operation Enduring Warrior, Wounded Warrior and More Hearts than Scars showed us once again that anything is possible especially with the strong support from their amazing community ambassadors.

There was one particularly outstanding moment that represents the embodiment of what it means to be a Spartan. At every Spartan Race there is always a sweeper heat that ensures the entire course is cleared, making certain that everyone out there crosses the finish. Our final racer of the day on Saturday, a young lady by the name of Ana Silva, injured her ankle on the course. She came to the realization that she injured herself near the three mile mark just as she began a hill climb at The Gamble obstacle. Determined to cross that finish line she found herself a walking stick and trudged on. Medical asked her numerous times if she wanted to be taken off the course; she refused. Her response, “I’m finishing this race!” Kudos to her, because that’s just what she did, giving it her all and collapsing to the ground at the finish line. Ana, is a Spartan and we applaud her unrelenting pursuit to finish what she started. Thank you to the sweeper heat and staff who kept her company for the remainder of her race.

We can’t forget about the Spartan Kids Race, offering youngsters ages 4-13 an opportunity to conquer their own obstacles on the course built just for them. The smiles on those little ones faces as they climb the cargo net and tackle the mud are so refreshing. It’s a wonderful sight to see these little people doing what they should be doing, getting out there and playing in some mud. “Don’t worry mom, its okay, I’m a Spartan.” Keep your eyes out for these youngsters over the next few years, there are some next generation Spartan Pro Team members getting a jump start on their journey!

In the festival and at the finish our sponsor Core Power delivered some delicious protein drinks, keeping our participants and spectators properly fueled throughout the day. Our friends at Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing race day coverage of all the day’s activities and SpartanUp! Graphix presented their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos. Be sure to check out your race photos and check out SpartanUp! Graphix for extra large prints and life-size cut-outs.

After a very long and exciting weekend here in Charlotte, North Carolina the Spartan Team is packing up and preparing to head west for the Vegas Spartan Super. You won’t want to miss out on the madness in Sin City, where we’ll be launching the first ever Hurricane Heat Twelve Hour!

If you haven’t signed up yet, SpartanUp! and make it happen today! Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!

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So here we all are again. Another year starts and yet again we look toward the sun kissed hills of Temecula in southern California to kick off another year of hills, pain, ropes, barbed wire and thousands upon thousands of delicious burpees. Don’t pretend you don’t like them.

As Vail Lake prepares to open its arms to thousands of Spartans old and new, we now have the fortunate dilemma of just how much we want those Trifectas. Instead of hosting the usual Super to get proceedings underway, this year begins with the option of doing both the Sprint and the Super, or perhaps just one or the other. The mid-range Super will boast a minimum of 8 miles and at least 20 obstacles waits for you on Saturday. The shorter Sprint, a great option for those new to Spartan Race with a distance of around 3.1 miles, will also be held on a completely different track taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. Which Spartans out there will try to get two thirds of their Trifecta done in one glorious weekend?

The rolling hills of Temecula can be unforgiving. Have you been training?

Additionally, the ferocious lunacy of the always-demanding Hurricane Heat will be available for those who like their early starts sprinkled liberally with hundreds of burpees and random tasks that serve no purpose other than to build teamwork and exhaust your muscles.

Miguel Medina is looking to make the podium his own in 2014

The elites will be keen to reap more points. Especially the early 2014 season leader of the men’s elite division, Elliot Megquier. Currently Elliot has a paper-thin lead over Alexander Nicholas who was last seen showing us how to beat the Slippery Wall. Naturally well known heavy hitters in the form of Hunter McIntyre, Miguel Medina, Isiah Vidal, David Megida, Hobie Call and others will be sure to have their say in how those rankings look before too long.

The in the female division the competition grows equally as fierce with every race. Keen to shake off the dust following the winter break, Laura Messner will be all too aware that Danielle Ross, Jolene Wilkinson, Andi Hardy and the imposing pair of April Luu and Amelia Boone will quickly want to destroy her lead in the points tally. It’s looking very much like 2014 will become the most hotly contested year yet.

Also new to Spartan Race is the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Special Needs Spartan Race is an obstacle course race designed to test resilience, strength, stamina, and ability to overcome adversity. Sports are a universal language which unites people on and off the field of play, cutting across lines of race, ethnicity, education level, social status, and economic background. The Special Needs Spartan Race breaks new ground by increasing collaboration and raising awareness. Most importantly Spartan Race is providing a safe and structured athletic event where individual differences are embraced. This will be a place where children and families can feel comfortable to express themselves and engage fully in the Spartan community.


The Special Needs Spartan Race course is designed for participants with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Special considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges faced by race participants.

In keeping with the Spartan Mission, our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Spartans welcome racers of all abilities. We integrate people with special needs to challenge the public’s perception of what is normal. The spirit of the Spartan Race community encourages the development of skill, courage, sharing, and joy while transcending boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion. All racers receive a Finisher’s Medal, a T-shirt, and are embraced as a member of the Spartan Tribe.

With our usual mix of vendors, music and community atmosphere in the event village, it’s shaping up to be yet another outstanding event under the gloriously warm blue skies of California.

See you at the finish line…

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by David Magida, Spartan Pro Team

The 2013 Reebok Spartan Race regular season is over. The Spartan Super in Vernon, New Jersey marked the final race of the year before the World Championships in Vermont. New Jersey provided the athletes with one last chance to make a statement before the biggest race of the year.

That statement would have to come on the long slopes of Mountain Creek Ski Resort, which tested the grit and fitness of each competitor there. Contestants were relieved to find the course had been shortened from nearly 12 miles last year to a more standard 8 miles in 2013. Although not quite as steep as the Virginia course from two weeks earlier, the race opened with a 1.25 mile climb, an early spear throw and swim, then added another big ascent three miles from the finish that stole the legs of even the most fit participants.

Newcomer Elise Fugowski continued to take the Spartan women’s circuit by storm, winning her third race in a row, including her second consecutive Saturday victory on a mountain course. Her time of 1:32:35 gave her a comfortable victory and put the rest of the women attending the Vermont Beast on notice. She is a force to be reckoned with at World Championships.

Finishing second for the women was Debbie Moreau in a time of 1:36:10. Moreau sealed a successful weekend with a victory over Fugowski on Sunday. It was Moreau’s second consecutive Sunday victory, having won on Sunday in Virginia as well. In third place was Karlee Whipple, who claimed her sixth podium finish of the year in a time of 1:38:17.

On the men’s side, in a back and forth race, Spartan Pro Team racer David Magida edged out fellow teammate Alec Blenis by 12 seconds to win one of the closest finishes of the year. The two competitors passed each other half-a-dozen times during the race. With less than 600 meters to go, Blenis yielded the lead on the final climb. The athletes finished in times of 1:15:06 and 1:15:18 respectively, giving Magida his seventh consecutive podium finish.

Blenis went on to win the elite wave the following day, marking his second consecutive Sunday victory. Third place was claimed by Junyong Pak, Runner’s World’s featured athlete for the month of September, in a time of 1:18:41.

Overall, nearly 10,000 participants finished the last Spartan Super race of the year. The tune-ups are finally over. Who will continue on to conquer the Beast in Vermont? We will know in 5 more days.

What’s your excuse? Sign up today.

Saturday Men’s Results:
1. David Magida – 1:15:06
2. Alec Blenis – 1:15:18
3. Junyong Pak – 1:18:41

Saturday Women’s Results:
1. Elise Fugowski- 1:32:35
2. Debbie Moreau – 1:36:10
3. Karlee Whipple – 1:38:17

Sunday Men’s Results:
1. Alec Blenis – 1:16:07
2. Elliott Megquier – 1:18:10
3. Brian Hoover – 1:19:05

Sunday Women’s Results:
1. Debbie Moreau – 1:31:24
2. Elise Fugowski – 1:35:29
3. Shaun Provost – 1:40:45

About the Author: David Magida is a member of the Spartan Pro Team who has competed in 18 Spartan Races this year.

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by David Magida, Spartan Pro Team

Before the race began, competitors were all smiles. Eager to take on the course at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia, participants had no idea what they were in for. Hours later, when they finally finished the hardest (and steepest) Spartan Super in race history, the only smiles were those of relief.

Race Director Norm Koch gleefully told me before the race that this course was going to be the hardest Spartan Super ever and I laughed at him. After the race, I told him that he’s a, “sick and twisted man.” The eight mile course included 8,600 feet of elevation change, countless ski slope climbs and descents, a barbed wire crawl from hell and some fun wrinkles. A great deal of the course was off-trail through waist high grass and bushes that both impeded running strides and hid the hazardous rocks and holes that downhill racers fear so much. The mile-long descent down the mountain through a rocky riverbed spread out the competitors, as did the new log flip obstacle and of course, the seemingly endless log carry.

But what really shook up the race was the dark horse competition that arrived on the start line. Enter mountain runner and former professional cyclist Matt Novakovich. First of all, the guy lives in Alaska, so he’s automatically the toughest guy I’ve ever met. He looks like he lives off a diet of nails and caribou jerky. He also ran cross country at BYU and gets the majority of his climbing ability from hours of daily training at a 40% incline on a specialized treadmill in his garage.

Novakovich took over the race after the first descent, pushing all racers to their limit on each climb. He and Hobie Call raced side by side for the first ¾ of the race before Novakovich took off to win in a time of 1:50:14. That marks the first loss in a Spartan Race for Call this year, who finished in 1:55:51. Spartan Pro Team Member David Magida crossed the line in 3rd place with a time of 2:01:30.

On the women’s side, relatively new racers are beginning to dominate. Elise Fugowski continued to make her mark on the racing circuit with her second consecutive victory. Previously the winner of the Sunday heat at the Pennsylvania Sprint, Fugowski cruised to a finishing time of 2:22:51. She was followed by Debbie Moreau (2:26:32) and Kristen Zielinski (2:30:54). Zielinski was also a double podium finisher in Pennsylvania.

The event also featured an appearance by Olympic Steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti, who did not reach the podium but left the race with a profound respect for the sport of Obstacle Racing and its athletes. After the race Famiglietti said, “That was the toughest race I’ve ever run,” and added, “Any road racer or marathoner who refuses to run a Spartan Race is just scared.” He plans to spread the word. Spartan Race is no joke.

Adding to the gravity of the day was the re-emergence of Operation Enduring Warrior. After 10 harrowing hours on the course, the team of men and women donning gas masks and including several Wounded Warriors and a team of community athletes crossed the finish line. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

What’s your excuse? Sign up today.

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Chris Davis and Anna Gargan

As he walks over to the emcee, Spartan Race veteran and all-round nice guy Chris Davis smiles the smile of someone who has just survived a brutal beating. He points at the mountain that looms over Blue Mountain Ski Resort and shakes his head, “that thing is the Killington of Sprints!” Davis is making a reference to the Vermont Beast that many racers will tackle later this year at the second annual Spartan World Championships. And indeed, the Pennsylvania Sprint has long been regarded and argued as being the hardest Sprint on the circuit, something all too evident as many racers new to the Reebok Spartan Race series were to discover.

The Blue Mountain course features an incline so long and so steep that it requires a ski-lift in order for most people to scale it’s face. And competitors from around the country – and a small contingent from Slovakia – spent months training for a race that would prove an incredible test of endurance. The fact that the course was “only” 4 miles set a beguiling false sense of security.

The Elites set the standard very early on. Spartan Pro Team athlete Hunter McIntyre blazed through the course in an incredible time of 41m 53s, with his Pro Teammate David Magida coming in a close second, only 19 seconds behind him. Andrew Hostetler took third place on the podium with a time of 43m 42s.

In the ladies Elite wave, Kristen Zielinski powered through with a time of 56m 08s, coming ahead of Gracie Wikie and Cassidy Watton who took second and third respectively.

In the open heats, stories of how Spartan Race not only changed people’s lives, but brought them together as a community. A

Ben Braverman

group of friends since high school and through work calling themselves “Team Lionhearted” came together from Reading, Philadelphia and various parts of New York in order to help their friend Louis Valencia get off the couch. Together they stormed the finish line and high-fives were the order of the day. “You *CAN* do it”, being the simple message Louis gives to those contemplating a race.

Ben Braverman, in active service with the Pennsylvania National Guard, decided to wear all his equipment – weighing in at over 40lbs – with the simple explanation that, “you train how you fight. There’s no point in my training without the weight and getting used to movement without what I would have to wear”.

At 9.30pm, some five hours after she started, Annie Wills crossed the finish line with her husband Andy by her side. After seeing him complete the Vermont Beast, she decided to train long and hard to do a course together with him. Setting about a regime that would see her train four days a week every week for four months, Annie lost 7 inches from around her hips, and dropping three dress sizes in the process. With pure grit and determination, she completed her first Spartan Race. There was not a dry eye in

Amy and Andy Wills

the venue when they crossed the finish line. Amid cheers and applause from all the staff, volunteers and remaining racers, the couple from Houston, Mississippi kissed under the finish line. Exhausted and completely drained, but proud. It was a true moment of Spartan togetherness and how something can become greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Next up on the tour? Two days of Super Spartan madness in Illinois. See you at the finish line.

Sign up today!

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By David Magida, Spartan Pro Team member

David Magida

Reebok Spartan Race returned to Tuxedo, New York for two weekends in a row and for the third annual running of the Tuxedo Spartan Sprint June 2, 3, and a bonus day of June 8, 2013. And while the course offered the familiarity of the same brutal mountains of previous years, the layout was entirely different, providing even the veteran racers with a new feel and a number of additional challenges.

Now the one thing you can always count on from a course in Tuxedo is climbing. Lots of climbing. This race was certainly no exception, with seven leg-burning climbs over the 4.2-mile course. The result was a tight race, where the pure runners lost their speed advantage and were dependent on their endurance to hold off the strength of stronger, power-based athletes. Avoiding obstacle failure was critical.

A great deal of the course was on winding trails up and down the mountain, as well as quite a bit of bushwhacking. The footing was treacherous, and racers had to focus on each step to ensure they didn’t twist or roll an ankle. This intense focus just adds to fatigue, as it makes it difficult to find a running rhythm.

In an unusual twist, Race Director Dan Yotive added a spear throw into the middle of the race with the goal to make it more exciting. This shift significantly altered the lead pack as numerous leaders missed their throw.

The race was also shaken up by the addition of the heavy tire-drag obstacle, which resulted in a burpee penalty for many of the pure runners once again again. Combine that with a nasty sandbag carry and a daunting uphill tractor pull and this race became very much about grit and strength.

And that’s without considering the BRUTAL and seemingly endless uphill barbed wire crawl over rocky terrain, shredding competitors knees and shins along the way. Many veteran racers claim this barbed wire crawl was a step down in intensity from the insanity of previous years.  Add in the first time use of an “inverse wall” obstacle” and this race had its fair share of twists.

Of course, it wasn’t just the main course that left competitors gassed and begging for mercy. The kids race itself was quite formidable. Starting with a 200m climb to open each lap of the one mile course, the race left a line of exhausted children in its wake. Winding trails and a long wire crawl stretched the contestants into a line nearly a quarter mile long.

At the finish, a steady stream of muddy kids triumphantly crossed the finish line with the same big smiles and look of exhaustion as their parents.

Saturday Results—Men (weekend one)
1st Place: Patrick Grevelding 50:50
2nd Place: Randy Feeley 52:03
3rd Place: Elliott Megquier 52:08

Saturday Results—Women (weekend one)
1st Place: Melinda Branch, 1:10:44
2nd Place: Leyla Di Cori, 1:12:45
3rd Place: Juliana Sproles, 1:13:15

Sunday Results—Men (weekend one)
1st Place: David Magida, 47:05
2nd Place: Elliott Megquier, 49:09
3rd Place: Kevin Donoghue, 51:33

Sunday Results—Women (weekend one)
1st Place: Jillian Kenney, 1:02:22
2nd Place: Juliana Sproles, 1:10:20
3rd Place: Karlee Whipple, 1:12:25

Fine June 8th results by clicking HERE.

Want to sign up for a Spartan Race? Click HERE.

[Editor's Note: David Magida is a member of the Spartan Pro Team with nearly 20 Spartan Races under his belt.]

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by David Magida, Elite Spartan Athlete

“You’re too competitive.”

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that in my life. Growing up I had to win everything I did no matter how obnoxious my desire to be victorious appeared to others. When I discovered running I found an appropriate outlet for that competitive fire.

I won my first cash prize race in fourth grade and never looked back. A conference champion in high school, I abandoned the sport I loved after a brief stint running collegiately. Years of mileage, repeated injuries, poor performances, and numerous clashes with the head coach left me burnt out and with no desire to run. And so I didn’t run for over five years.

I stayed in decent shape, lifting weights and playing pickup basketball and flag football daily, but something in my life was missing. My competitive fire faded. More importantly, running had been my way of clearing my mind, my period of reflection, and I no longer had it. Then I encountered Reebok Spartan Race and everything changed.

It was March 2011 when I heard the race was coming to Florida. After reading the description, I knew I had to run this race and I had to win. I trained for a few weeks, peaking at a run of four miles, and registered. The race was a Super Spartan, 8 miles of brutal intensity. I raced the noon heat, with temperatures peaking at 97 degrees.

At the starting line, I started to get that feeling I had missed the previous five years. That nervous anticipation, the intensity you can pick up off the other athletes, and that competitive fire within myself. As the race began, I nestled myself in with the leaders. About a mile in I saw it: The eight-foot wall. The race leader, a pure runner, had reached the wall about six seconds before me and was just standing, staring up at it, trying to figure out how to conquer that beast.

I didn’t hesitate, I leapt up and over putting myself into the lead. It was at that moment I realized, “I was made for this.” I never relinquished the lead that day, running as if my life depended on it. Upon crossing the finish line I could barely stand and the only thing I could say was, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

That day I was reinvigorated. I immediately doubled my training and began an intense running regimen that led me to two marathons and countless road races over the following eight months. Since then my free time has centered on two-a-days, unconventional workouts, nutrition, and recovery.

My time with Spartan has taught me a great deal. These races test my limits in a way other races haven’t been able to. I learned a lot about myself when I was pushed to the max. I learned how much I really care about winning, not only while I race but while I train as well. And I found out that I can tolerate pain.

I also learned that there are a lot of awesome people with the same mentality as me. I’ve immersed myself in a community of athletes who compete like champions but genuinely care about one another. Once we cross that finish line, we’re a family again. The camaraderie is incredible. We share advice on nutrition, training, injury prevention, and recovery. We often travel together and room together. I have a whole circle of Spartan friends from around the country that I never would have known otherwise, and I’m proud to say they’re just as crazy as I am.

Spartan Race has given me a new training goal. After the Ultra Beast, I realized the need to apply myself specifically to Spartan Race. While last year I focused on endurance, this year will be about speed and power. My training has shifted from pure distance running to a combination of high intensity intervals, hill repeats and unconventional strength work. Passersby may see me carrying a large rock or my bucket full of cement down the sidewalk, running with a weight vest or doing lunges with a large log on my back. I know they think I’m insane. Many of them tell me, as do my friends.

I train like this because I want to be the best. There’s nothing I want more than to raise a Spartan Helmet over my head in victory. I’m chasing some pretty amazing athletes and it’s going to take countless hours of dedication to catch them. I can’t get back the years I didn’t run. But I can devote myself to getting the most out of the rest of my life. Nobody tells me I’m too competitive anymore. They just tell me I’m crazy. I don’t mind it though, because I’m a Spartan. Spartan Race reunited me with running and in doing so it brought me peace.

Where will your Spartan finish line be? Sign up today.

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

The Reebok Spartan Race Florida Super continues a new program with some of the best Spartan Racers in the sport of obstacle racing. It is called the Reebok Spartan Race Invite Series. We have asked our top racers to invite someone to run a Spartan Race with them. The top Spartan Racer will host someone they have been trying to get into Spartan Racing. It may be their best friend, their wife, their son, their coach or anyone who can coerce and invitation out of them. It just has to be someone that has never done a Spartan Race.

For the Miami Super Spartan, David Magida has asked one of his friends Greg Malone to join him in a Spartan Race. They will be running together in one of the Open heats on Saturday.

David finished the 2012 Spartan Race Points Series in 9th Place overall. He is kicking off the 2013 race year with the Miami Super Spartan.

We asked Greg a few questions about David and Spartan Racing:

How do you know the David?

I have known David Magida for over 15 years. I went to middle school and high school with him and ran cross country with him briefly when we were younger. He was the Spartan racer that initially sparked my interest in obstacle course racing. He suggested that I participate in the a short, local mud run in Miami as an introductory obstacle course race. He offered to run with me, for his third lap of the day, in my afternoon heat so that he could give me tips to conquer the obstacles as well as provide encouragement during. Elliott Megquier and Isaiah Vidal, whom I’d met earlier while waiting for my heat to begin, also offered to run with me. I also met Andi Hardy and Ella Kociuba at the Obstacle Racing Magazine tent and later was able to pick their brains about obstacle course racing, Spartan Race and training methods. Andi recommended that I sign up for the Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) as a good place to begin my training.

What is your athletic background?

I played baseball in high school and wrestled for 3 years. After high school I really fell out of shape; I indulged in everything the college life had to offer. Unfortunately that lifestyle carried into my 20s and one day I found myself winded after walking up a flight of stairs at work. It was at that point I decided I had to do something about my fitness. Being friends with David for so long, I knew that he was someone I could ask for advice as I began a regimen to get myself back into shape. I began slow, running a couple miles and doing some push-ups  Now I try to go to the gym/workout a minimum of 5 times per week. I am an avid cyclist and while running is certainly not my forte, I try to do it as often as possible. I also enjoy swimming and have recently started going to a gym called Orange Theory Fitness, which holds classes that focus on high intensity interval and circuit training. I am definitely nowhere near where I want to be fitness wise, but I can see the path, I know my goals, and I finally have the motivation and desire to change my life around and reach those goals.

Why did you say yes when you were invited to race?

My experience at my first mud run was amazing. It pushed me mentally and physically and tired my body in ways it hasn’t been fatigued in years. Not the mention it was incredibly fun. When I was able to complete it without having to drag my body across the finish line I knew that I wanted my next race to challenge me even more. When David Magida told me there was a Super Spartan coming to Miami I jumped at the opportunity. Knowing there’s a race coming up and then signing up for it has forced me to push myself to another level when it comes to my training. I had such a feeling of accomplishment crossing the finish line and I can’t wait to run a Spartan race and recreate that feeling.

What are you most excited about?

The obstacles. If I just wanted to run a foot race I could sign up for a half marathon or a 10K. Breaking up the race by having to navigate through difficult and often very unique obstacles is definitely what makes the race fun for me. That being said, it’s been a very long time since I ran 8+ miles at once. I’ll definitely be incorporating a few long runs into my training, but at this point I’ll also be very excited just to cross the finish line. And drink a beer.

What are you most worried about?

My endurance. My fitness level is definitely much higher, but I’m still concerned about how tired I am going to be near the end of the race. It’s really important to me to complete every obstacle and unless they’re part of an obstacle, I’d rather not have to do any burpees during the race.

 

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