My story is constantly changing and has so far, for the most part, been filled with a great deal of struggling. I have grown up with all the reasons to quit and all the excuses to justify doing nothing but sitting on the couch for the rest of my days. However, I cannot and will not settle for that, the thought of not being able to achieve my dreams disgusts me in so many levels. And my dream is to be the best version of myself in every aspect of my life.  Spartan Race is a big part of that.

The first Spartan Race I ever did unexpectedly altered my life in many ways. I had been running seriously for about two and a half months before the race and I stumbled upon the advertisement for it and decided to enter. I had no idea what to expect, as I stood there in the chilly winter morning, with the rain penetrating my face, nervous as could be, but I went out fast.  Before I knew it, I was accomplishing tasks I had never done in my life. I was climbing walls, carrying heavy objects, crawling under barb-wire, and climbing ropes. Throughout the entire course I had one of the biggest, silliest, smiles slapped on my face (especially after I won it). And since then, with every race that I do, I find my face in a constant grin even with all the injuries I accumulate.

From breaking my back in two places while training for a horse race to suffering from a stress fracture in my tibia during the Death Race of 2012, I am way too familiar with being sidelined. But the camaraderie of my fellow competitors has been outstanding, the support I receive has shredded light on some of the darkest moments of my life and it has given me the strength to push aside the pain and reach new limits.

I can recall busting my shin open during the Pennsylvania Sprint in 2012 and just as soon as I finished, I fell to the ground and was immediately surrounded by several athletes giving me their hands. At every race, no matter how intense the competition gets, or hard the course turns out, we all reach our hands out to each other. Spartan Race has given my life something beautiful, it has given me the chance to be able to live my dreams. There was once a time where walking was questionable for me and where I was completely unable to get out of bed, go to school, ride my horse, and more importantly I was unable to smile due to the pain. And with that being said, Spartan Race has given me my smiles back, my life back and it is constantly redefining what it takes to be unbreakable and I love that challenge. I love the sacrifices, the work, the patience you must endure to become the best you can be. And Spartan Race will challenge you to become the best you can be, so make the best of it.

Tags: , , ,

by Shawn Feiock, Spartan Race Pro Team Athlete

Spartan Race is gearing up for another Texas showdown that you won’t want to miss. It is time for the Spartan Sprint at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet Texas, a favorite venue by many top racers. Expect to see last year’s winner Hobie Call there to defend his title from last year. Hobie says, “I love this venue. Gentle rolling hills, single track and dirt roads. And……warm weather guaranteed!” Hobie finished in less than 45 minutes last year, with most racers having a hard time coming in under one hour. It was highly anticipated to see him go up against Quentin Ledbetter who won the race only one year before, this time falling short against the seemingly unbeatable champion. It is unknown whether Quentin will return for another chance.

Texas is also home for Spartan Elites like Isaiah Vidal and Ella Kociuba, as well as the infamous Spartan Race couple Shawn Feiock (me) and Sue Luck. Isaiah dominated the most recent Spartan Sprint in Colorado getting onto the podium both days. He was able to pull off a second place finish Sunday at the Texas Sprint last year, and also at the Texas Spartan Beast in December. He will likely be one of the strongest competitors on the course against Hobie, with the advantage of the well-known terrain that Texas has to offer. With a very similar record to Isaiah, Elite female Sue Luck (aka Mini Beast) just came from two inspiring finishes at the Spartan Sprint in Colorado, and also had a podium finish Sunday at the Texas Sprint coming in second-place female last year. Ella Kociuba and Shawn Feiock will be at the Race to cheer on fellow racers and to meet new faces at the “Meet the Spartan Team” tent, be sure to stop by and say hi after you’ve crossed the finish line!

Other Spartan Men Elites and favorites to watch for are Elliot Megquire, Michael Mauk, John Taylor, Joe Kauder, Brian Hoover, Evan Williams, and the father & son team Andrew and Eston Jones (aka Thing 1 & Thing 2). Spartan Woman Elites and favorites attending include TyAnn Clark, Jackie Rust, Corinne Kohlen, Janice Ferguson, Tonya Stogsdill, and Juliana Sproles. There is also speculation that Ultramarathon Jungle racer Johnson Cruz will be appearing for his Spartan Race debut, and first race on American soil. Many of the racers already listed can testify that he is a strong competitor after racing against him on Isla de Ometepe earlier this year.

Don’t forget that UFC Lightweight Contender Jamie Varner and Welterweight Contender Johny Hendricks will be on-hand to Fight It Out at the event. Look for sparks when they collide.

Last year the Texas Sprint sold out quickly and it looks again like the course will be full of people looking to get a taste of the Texas mud. There will be some favorite obstacles and some less favored returns like the deadly Boa Constrictor tunnels that got our attention last year. But be ready for new surprises too as the Spartan organizers never fail to bring a good challenge, and an amazing course wherever they step foot. If you and your friends haven’t already registered, sign up now on the events page while there is still time! Adventure, competition, camaraderie, accomplishment… this is a race that can change your life!

Connect with Shawn Feiock, Spartan Race Pro Team Athlete and create your own Spartan Page HERE.

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

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.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Steffan “Cookie” Cook

The Reebok Spartan Race descended on the Arizona desert this weekend and while runners found a shorter course than 2012, it was far more rugged and technical than previous years. Cacti anyone? The weather also made the hot weather a factor in Sunday’s races.

In Saturday’s elite heat, Hobie Call held off yet another attack from Hunter McIntyre, finishing 1st and 2nd respectively, while Chad Trammell took third. The women’s Elites saw one of the closest finishes to date. Winner Ella Kociuba finishing a mere five seconds in front of April Luu to take 1st place. Tuann Clark picked up third place. April made sure she made up for this agonizing loss by taking first place on Sunday.

Women:

Ella Kociuba

1. Ella Kociuba (20 F) – 0:52:03.6
2. April Luu (34 F) – 0:52:08.6
3. Tuann Clark (32 F) – 0:55:19.7
4. Rose Marie Jarry (29 F) – 0:57:13.9
5. Corinne Hieatt (26 F) – 0:57:14.6

Men:

1. Hobie Call (34 M) – 0:39:11.7
2. Hunter McIntyre (24 M) – 0:40:19.0
3. Chad Trammell (29 M) – 0:43:35.7

Hobie Call

4. Elliott Megquier (25 M) – 0:44:07.3
5. Yury Shtankov (25 M) – 0:45:57.2

For full results, click HERE.  What does it look like at a Spartan finish line?  Click HERE for finish line photos!

Team “Intel” brought the largest crew but The Biggest Loser had another fantastic presence in the event village and on the course.  A notable story of the day was of Miguel Medina, member of the Weeple Army.  Medina was cleared to start training again in April 2012 after surgery to correct severe stenosis and two herniated discs. He managed yet another impressive run with a third consecutive top 10 finish Saturday. Brian Hoover had to stop racing at the beginning of the Saturday elite heat in order to find his lost timing chip on the course and after miraculously finding it, still placed 8th overall. He would finish in second place on Sunday.

Spartan would also like to thank local sponsors and charity partners in Arizona. While 98KUPD played some rocking tracks, booths from MBAA, Prankration, Team in Training and Biggest Loser all made new friends on the Spartan Festival grounds. Spartan would also like to thank Navy Federal Credit Union for their continued support. We’d also like to thank our Spartan volunteers and onsite medical teams for their support in helping make this a memorable and fun event in the Arizona desert!

Next up we head East for The Reebok Florida Super, The Reebok Georgia Sprint, and the Reebok Carolina Sprint before returning West for the Reebok Nevada Super.   Where will you find your Spartan finish line?  Sign up today. 

Miss your chance at Arizona in 2013?  Don’t worry!  We’re coming back February 8th and 9th in 2014.  Get registered TODAY!

For a few event photos, check out our Facebook album HERE.   Check out our Twitter page for more updates.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

by Jason Rita

“Phenomenally Phenomenal Women”
SPARTAN RETURNS TO GLEN ROSE WHERE THE BIGGEST NAMES IN OBSTACLE RACING WILL BATTLE FOR THEIR SHARE OF SPARTAN’S $40,000 POINTS COMPETITION PURSE.

FOLLOW ONE EPIC WEEKEND OF LEGENDARY SPARTAN RACING AS THE SPARTAN300 POINTS LEADERS FACE OFF IN THE SEASON’S FINAL BEAST RACE IN ORDER TO SETTLE WHO WINS THE 2012 SPARTAN POINTS SERIES COMPETTION. YESTERDAY WE PREVIEWED THE MEN’S RACE; TODAY WE FOCUS ON THE WOMEN’S RACE.

Maya Angelou wrote her anthem to a woman’s strength, “Phenomenal Women,” in 1978, but she might have been describing our Spartan women athletes:  “It’s the fire in my eyes and the flash of my teeth, the swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet.  I’m a woman.  Phenomenally.  Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”  These women have the fire and flash, the swing and the joy.  They are phenomenally phenomenal.  But only one can be Spartan Points Champion.

Rose-Marie Jarry

While the Spartan men’s race in Glen Rose, Texas, on Saturday may feature two titans of the world of obstacle racing in Hobie Call and Cody Moat, who sit atop our sport like two colossal mythological figures, the Spartan women’s field features a constellation of competitors, a magnificent and impressive array of athletes/warriors/goddesses, a panoply of serious “playas” (I think that’s how the kids say it), all of whom are striving  this weekend to write their name into Spartan legend and the win the inaugural Points Competition title as the crowning achievement on the Spartan racing year.

This weekend, the field of Spartan women is like one of those ensemble comedies where everyone is an A-lister.  It is the Emmys, Grammies, Golden Globes and Oscars all rolled into one star-studded and mud-splattered extravaganza.  It is the All-Star game and the Pro Bowl except everyone is really competing from the first AROO to the final obstacle.

Rose-Marie Jarry is leading the women’s field in the Points Series heading into Texas, having won the most recent two Spartan Races, the Malibu Sprint last week and the Spartan Beast in Sacramento three weeks ago by an incredible 21 minutes ahead of 2011 Spartan Champion Jenny Tobin.  The fast, flat and dry Texas conditions will suit the Kronobar founder even more than the cool and muddy conditions from Sacramento, and the former 800m Canada national team track and field star will be fast away from the starting line.  An experienced and accomplished front-runner, Rose will force the pace and demand that everyone try to hang on to her raw speed.  She already has 15 Spartan races under her belt this year with a sweep of the Canadian sprint, super and beast races in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, to which she added first place finishes south of the 49th parallel not just in Malibu and Sacramento, but also in the Mid-West Super, Tri-State NJ Super, and the New England Sprint.  Rose needs to win in Texas to make certain of the 21012 Points Series crown, and in the absence of the Vermont champion Claude Godbout, Rose enters Texas as the favorite.  Her recent wins prove she is the in-form racer but there have been many thoroughbreds who have been Triple Crown contenders after winning the Derby and the Preakness only to falter in the Belmont, and Rose will need to prove she has the character and mettle of a true champion to hold off the charging challengers. If she can, she will claim not only the $1,500 first prize being awarded by Navy Federal Credit Union to the top female finisher on the day, but she will also win the Spartan prize of $4,250 being awarded by Spartan Race to the 2012 Points Series champion.

Andi Hardy has done more Spartan races this year than Rose, a staggering 20, in her first full-year of obstacle racing, and is

Andi Hardy

in second place in the Points Series table.  Since Andi already has points from four Beast races that make up the points calculation, Andi can’t overtake Rose but can improve her tally to ensure she preserves her shot at the 2nd place $2,000 cash prize.  One of the most popular Spartan athletes with a large following at races and on her blog BarbWire4Breakfast, she is easily recognizable in her lime green racing kit and will have a lot of support to help her conclude the 2012 season on the podium as well maintain her AG lead over Juliana Sproles.

Numerous racers can overtake Rose in the points standings with strong showings on both days of racing including Melinda Branch, Ella Kociuba and Jenny Tobin.  Ella and Jenny come in to the weekend banged up from a season of obstacle racing that has pushed them to their physical limits.  If they can survive Saturday, their challenge will be to recover in order to thrive on Sunday.  Jenny will be drawing on a wealth of experience as a pro athlete in Xterra and Ironman competition for the mental tenacity to race on less than 2 legs.  While Ella is one the youngest racers in the field and lacks Jenny’s racing resume, her legendary workouts for sponsor Flag Nor Fail will give her the endurance edge to overcome her lack of recent training and finish the season with one last chance at fulfilling the promise that we glimpsed one year ago at Glen Rose, when she had the fastest time over the weekend in any wave. Melinda has quietly positioned herself with a chance at a high points series finish, and proved at the South Carolina Beast, she is a podium threat.

Podiums are not foreign to another of the most well-known and popular Spartan racers, Dirt in Your Skirt alter ego Margaret Schlachter, who despite having 17 races in her legs this year before coming to Texas, is aiming to have two of her best finishes all year in the Saturday/Sunday elite waves.  An experienced competitive skier, she knows what it is like to race hard multiple events over a two or three day competition.   If Rose falters, Margaret could find herself on the top spot of the Points Series table come Sunday afternoon.  Irrespective of finding her on the podium, you can always find Margaret supporting other Spartan racers, giving medals to racers all afternoon, doing sweep heats, setting up the “Meet the Racers” tent where beginner obstacle racers can get training and racing advice from the competitive Spartan300 athletes.

Despite the great camaraderie and friendship amongst all these Spartan women athletes, make no mistake that for two hours

Margaret Schlachter

on Saturday and Sunday morning this weekend, no quarter will be given nor asked. Too much is on the line – cash, pride, titles, glory.  Seriously, what more could a girl want?

Maya Angelou’s powerful words concluding her famous poem say it best as a celebration of spirit that our Spartan women athletes represent:

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels, 
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 

AROO AROO AROO!

See – even Ms. Angelou knew from Spartan Chicked.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

by Michael Mills

Last week, I was introduced to Sparta and my quest to take on the Conyer’s Georgia Race on March 9, 2013.  Notably, I’ll be taking on the majority of the course on my hands and knees.  As a T-12 paraplegic, that is my best option for completing what I have been told is a grueling course.  It all started with seeing a picture of Todd Love and Team X-T.R.E.M.E.’s efforts in Lessburg that made me want to take on this epic challenge.  That means I have to get prepared.  So, for my first blog post, I thought I would just give you a little bit of info on how I am training.

Being a disabled athlete, I get the question a lot, “how do you train for a Spartan Race?” As an established wheelchair racer, I knew I needed a plan, I knew I needed coaching and I knew I needed advice with this sport I knew nothing about except from what I could find on YouTube. I needed help, so I started branching out to other Athletes like Ella Anne Kociuba, an already accomplished Spartan Racer and the only athlete by www.flagnorfail.com , Hobie Call whom needs no introduction, Andi Hardy, Stacey Shuler and Steve Power, All gave me quick little tips and advice on how to train. I started training but with racing, I knew I needed a plan of attack. I needed some more coaching. So, after searching and getting information from these great athletes, I contacted Travlete and that is how I came in contact with Adrian Bijanada and intern he helped me find an amazing coach named Adam Lake. Adam is a NYC Firefighter, Ironman Coach, Strength Trainer and a coach at www.trilife.org in New York and he was eager to try something new with me. We talked a little and he soon built me a baseline training program to get me started with my Spartan training. Adam took the time to put himself in my shoes to design my workout. After receiving my workout, I went straight to work.

So, this leads me to the question of “how do you train for a Spartan Race?” I train like any other true Spartan would. I see something and I go after it. I adapt to any obstacle I see and I overcome it. For example, I am going to be crawling for a better part of three miles in the Spartan Sprint, so I spend time on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness in Covington, GA and I crawl on my hands and knees for 3 minutes and off of the treadmill for 1 minute. While I am off of the treadmill for 1 minute, I am actually doing a push or pull exercise like pushups, pull-ups, or dips and then I am back on the treadmill for another 3 minutes. I repeat this exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on my training schedule. Other days, I am outside flipping a tractor tire, dragging cinder blocks, climbing ropes and rolling around in my hilly neighborhood with 40lbs strapped to my back and my Elevation training mask on from www.trainingmask.com to simulate high altitude training. I am currently training twice a day, three days on and one day off. All of the Spartan training along with the racing chair training is building the strength and endurance I will need for my Spartan Sprint.

[Editor's Note: Michael Mills  is a T12 paraplegic, the victim of a head on collision with a drunk driver in 1993 and though he’s been tackling wheelchair racing since 1996, competing in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times, he saw the Spartan Race series and realized it was the next challenge he wanted.  He'll be doing the Georgia Spartan Sprint on 3/9/13.  Want to stay tuned in to Michael’s journey? He’ll be regularly posting his story and training on our blog in a series we’ll be calling “Chasing Michael Mills.” Follow his facebook page. Want to support his cause? Check out Spartan Sprint for Berts Big Adventure | Michael Mills’ Fundraiser on CrowdRise. ]

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

by Carrie Adams

The Spartan Chicks of PA

On July 14th, 10 of the fastest female Spartans lined up to take on the mountains of PA in an event being billed as the “Mini-Beast” to see who would emerge in the top spot.  It was the first time that so many talented female Spartans would be at the same event and there was quite the build-up leading up to the start.  We introduced you to the women in a blog a week ago.  Click HERE to read it.  From a tried and true Spartan professional – Jenny Tobin, who won last year’s World Championships and Claude Godbout who won last year’s inaugural Spartan Beast to virtual unknowns to Spartan start lines like CrossFitter Janice Marie Ferguson it was set to be an epic race for our female athletes.

A campaign was launched and several faces graced a poster announcing the line-up headed into PA and the excitement was growing.  The women arrived in good spirits, in good company, and with high expectations of themselves and each other.

The Women of PA Poster

One of those at the start line was familiar face Ella Kociuba, a Death Racer and female athlete known for her speed and strength.  She was coming into PA with high hopes of finishing on the podium. Just one month ago, she’d suffered a hairline fracture in her leg and was still recovering but chose to come to PA regardless to try her hand and compete with some of the best.

Her race did not go as planned as she hit a log shortly into the race breaking her shin opened on her already injured leg.  Despite the pain, and with blood gushing from her wound she battled on, surrounded by some of the same women who came to compete against her.

Ella at the Finish Line

Of her injury, Ella says, “It wasn’t very far into the race, and part of the trail went straight down a path with huge logs laying across the trail. The momentum I had was incredible and I began to just fly down the trail.  Then, I got nervous because I felt so out of control and sure enough I jumped over a log and hit it with my foot and fell first on my right quad and rolled.”

The damage wasn’t done, Ella had another log in her path.  ”I got up” she said, “and I hit a bigger log straight on with my right shin and cracked it open and fell.”  She had just reinjured her damaged leg.  ”It hurt like hell.” she explained, “And it was directly above my old hairline fracture I got four weeks ago from the Death Race.”

Down but not out, Ella chose to continue her race, despite the wound, the hardest part being the mental wound that she sustained.  ”Mentally I felt so down and negative, I was in back of the pack after it happened and it kept splitting further open with every step.”  She wouldn’t quit, however and she says, “Well, I pushed though and finished!”  And finish she did, collapsing beyond the finish line receiving immediate medical attention and swarmed by her other female competitors giving her words of encouragement and support.  Admits Kociuba, “It was a very uncomfortable run for me.”  But she adds, “Everyone was so sweet and so amazing. I loved it.”

The event proved to be a feat of incredible athleticism with Claude Godbout, Canadian Olympic Biathlete ended up taking the top spot and then it was Jenny Tobin, former Xterra professional, and rounding out the top three was Andi Hardy Jory, another Spartan top finisher.  But athleticism isn’t the only thing the women of PA showed that day.  It was a true day of camaraderie and support for one of their own who wouldn’t see the podium on this day.  Kociuba is home and recovering, but she proved that some races aren’t about getting to the podium they’re just about getting to the finish line.  That’s a true Spartan.

Want to see what it’s all about?  Get signed up today and find YOUR Spartan finish line.

Tags: , , ,