by Elliot Megquier, Spartan Pro Team

In 2010 I graduated from college and was moved out of my parent’s house for the very first time. I was 21, a brand new second lieutenant in the US Army, and my childhood hobby and livelihood of playing soccer was over. I was still working out, but I was just maintaining my fitness for the Army, I had no goal or competition to work toward. While down at Fort Lee for my basic officer schooling, I was recruited for the post Army Ten Miler team. I started to enjoy running as before I just ran to train for soccer and for the army. I ran a great race in Washington DC and then I was off to Fort Drum, NY where I am now stationed. I met my buddy Ross Montfort and he got me into racing pretty much every weekend. First we ran road races, and then we graduated into trail races, and then finally obstacle races. In June 2011 I ran my first Spartan Race in Tuxedo, NY. I was hooked immediately. I had only run around four miles, but I was more worn out than I was after a 10 mile obstacle course that I ran with another company.

My buddy moved and I was looking for more adventure. I continued without him and started traveling all around New England to every Spartan Race being offered. And then I decided to start flying. The first year I basically would show up, not talk to anybody, race, and then leave. However, the more I started seeing the same people at races, the more I started opening up. By no means am I a social butterfly, but I now really enjoy the camaraderie as well as the competition. Now instead of staying in a hotel when I fly or travel to races, I prefer to stay with friends. Nothing is better than seeing how friends and fellow racers live and I enjoy eating their home cooking or at their favorite restaurants. I have raced in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Virginia, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Las Vegas, Indiana, Colorado, and Montana. It is so exciting to be able to travel and experience different parts of the country.

Whether it is doing a pull up challenge in a Mexican bar in Glen Rose, getting Giordano’s deep dish pizza in Chicago, paddle boarding in Montana overlooking the Glacier National Park, riding horses in Texas, or climbing the mystic mountains of Vermont, my life has definitely changed in a positive way. Throughout college, when I wasn’t playing soccer, I would stay at home and do nothing more than running the same route in the neighborhood, surfing the internet, or watching TV/movies. I had no self-confidence and didn’t talk to girls that I was attracted to.

Now you’ll barely ever find me at my man cave (apartment), I have lots of confidence, and I am starting to talk to the beautiful women of Sparta. It’s been a fun journey so far, it gets me through the work week, and gives me something to look forward to practically every weekend. I have now done 40 Spartan Races and I still can’t wait for the next one. Funny how being a part of an obstacle racing series can change your life.

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I am TyAnn Clark. I’m a member of the Spartan Pro Team.  I’m a Mom, I’m a Runner, I’m a Fitness Trainer, I’m a Zumba Instructor, I am a Spartan Racer.

I look at my life every day and feel so amazingly blessed to be able to do what I love. One year ago, I never imagined that I would be in the position that I am – I race as a competitive athlete at the age of 32. My life is full of all the things that make me happy. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and three beautiful, amazing children. As a fitness trainer and instructor, I get to motivate others to be healthier and happier in their lives.

I’ve always been a runner – It is my life force. It’s as vital as breathing to me most days.
But after adding our third child to the mix, I found myself completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and quite frankly – depressed. Even as a fitness trainer, I found very little time to be able to work out or run. With a husband that worked very long hours, I was lost in the daily grind and forgot to appreciate what I had. The things that usually motivated me to run and stay in shape were races to train for – and not even that was doing the trick.

Hobie Call recruited me to run my first race in January 2013: The Spartan Super in Temecula. I have never been as scared and nervous at the beginning of a race as I was there. Self-Doubt had consumed me, but I decided to just take things as they came. It was a brutal race with mammoth hills, a freezing lake to swim in, and a gauntlet of obstacles all stacked within the last mile. I never found myself counting the miles or glancing at my Garmin to check my pace. It was exciting and brutal. My legs handled the hills, but my upper body failed me on a few obstacles. 90 burpees later I finished the race more exhausted than I ever had been, I had pushed my body harder than ever before, and I had found empowerment from what I had accomplished. I had won my first Spartan Race! The feeling of accomplishment was far greater than I had felt at the end of a race at any other time. It changed me. I knew if I could accomplish this, then I was capable of so much more than I knew.
What I didn’t know at the time was how my life would be changed by the people that were around me racing that day, and in races to come. I’ve raced with the best competitors and proven myself. At the Las Vegas Super Spartan, I remember looking around at the starting line and just being in awe of the amazing Spartan champions that I would be competing against. The most amazing part is that I’ve become friends with many of them and we all know at the end of the day that we have the upmost respect for the other person. We share training secrets, obstacle techniques, and tips on the spear throw. We all want to be able to finish the race and say, “I raced my best today”. These competitors have become family to me in a totally unexpected way. All of the people that I’ve met that run Spartan Races motivate me and inspire me and I’m so honored to know them.

Want to learn more about the Spartan Pro Team? Click HERE.

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by Brad Fredricks

I’m 36, a father of a beautiful little girl and a boy, and actively living out a dream. If you ask me what I do for a living, I will tell you straight out that I am a full time athlete, competing in Spartan Races. People look at me funny when I tell them this, but I am serious, and after a minute they realize it. Things haven’t always been this way. In the past I was a marketer, manager, nerd, DJ, leader, prisoner, poet, and creative storyteller.

When I first got involved with Spartan Race, I was inspired to do so because I wanted to challenge myself to something I could not fake. I remember sitting at the desk of my last job, deciding that I wanted to pursue some sort of sport, but something that I thought could lead to something professional. It was a crazy idea, and a fabulous dream.

On January 5th, 2012, I left my job running a small start-up company in Boulder, CO. Call it inspired insanity, or perhaps a total leap of faith, but when I left that job I decided that I was going to pursue being a full time obstacle racer, and set my sights on Spartan Race.

Pursuing the dream lead me on an entirely new path, it transformed pretty much everything about me. In the process I lost 60lbs, got really honest with myself, and others, and found new friends who’ve become family to me.

It’s not all been easy. I’ve had my ups and downs, but along the way I’ve found myself, and found my way back to the dreams of the little boy I once was. I’ve found that it is easier to live in the light, being honest and genuine with others, than it is to live in the darkness of lies and deceit. I’ve found that anything is possible, even if not probable, but that it takes someone willing to dream, and willing to believe in their dreams to make it happen.

I truly believe that we are the light of our futures, not the darkness of our pasts. I believe that we all have something to contribute, be it big or small. I believe in the improbable, I believe in all of you.

I’m Brad Fredricks, and I am Spartan.

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My first Spartan Race was in Ottawa back in June 2011. I signed up with my volleyball team for fun. At the time, the idea of getting down and dirty seemed like such a crazy but fun concept so hey, why not give it a try, right?

I raced in an open heat not knowing what to expect other than lots of mud. Being competitive by nature, I wanted to give it my best shot. I was never much of a runner for fear of bringing back old fencing injuries. I had fenced from the tender age of 9 and put my weapons away at 21, fed up of the shin splints and the stress fractures. The idea of running around was certainly not my priority.

I remember that Saturday morning at Camp Fortune. The intensity of the crowd, my adrenaline pumping! I wanted to run it and give it my all. I was definitely out of my comfort zone but I loved it! I had never climbed walls, jumped through fire and yeah, it was a first to tackle gladiators! And let me tell you, that 5K felt like it was at least 15! I was bruised and had scrapes all over but, WOW! I was on a high!

After that race, all I wanted was to do another Spartan Race. And so, my search began. Seeing the next one was in Vermont but was a “Beast”, I figured I couldn’t do a “green level” Spartan before doing a “blue level” race – aka a “Super Spartan”. And so I signed up for the Staten Island Super and eventually upgraded to the Hurricane Heat.

Through Facebook I connected with other mud obsessed people. It was reassuring to see I was not the only crazy person out there. After reading about the Founder’s HH in Amesbury MA, I wanted to be part of it all… The Staten Island Super Hurricane Heat was LIFE CHANGING. I met my Spartan Family there. I was the sole Canadian girl. My team was the Damn Cannucks – despite everyone (except me!) being American. The people that I met during this HH are some of my closest friends up to this day. They are my OCR family. It’s funny to say because I’m usually more of an individual athlete. I have never been a big fan of team events but that HH changed it all! I was with people that understood me, that got the same high from exerting themselves through mud, barbed wire and carrying heavy buckets and running around doing countless burpees (for the fun of it!)

And so this was the beginning of my love story with Spartan Races. I had to wait quite some time to race again. My first competitive race was Tuxedo NY in June 2012. I finished 5th and then I just couldn’t get enough of Spartan Race. I had to do it all – from the Winter Death Race, to Death Race, to back to back races, might they have been Supers or Beasts… Ultra-Beasts (love the glow in the dark medal!)

Coming from Canada, every trip was and still is, a time for me to see my Spartan Family. The camaraderie can’t be explained. It has to be experienced. Yes… You’ll know at the finish line but it doesn’t end there. Spartan Race changes lives. It changed mine. It has built my confidence and has shown me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I never expected to become a ranked top athlete and today I am proud to say I have people looking up to me, especially women. SR empowers people… It has even brought my mother and I closer than ever… That’s probably the most epic moment of my racing life thus far: crossing that finish line with my 72 years-young mom. If you haven’t read about that, well you better click on this: http://blog.spartanrace.com/tag/johanne-di-cori/

Obstacle racing is my passion. It’s my fuel. It keeps me sane even if the races look insane. Sure, winning is of course a great feeling, but above all, it’s knowing you gave it all you got at that time. I know I am stronger than yesterday and that fortitude to improve every day burns within me thanks to Spartan Race.
I could go on and on about the different races I have done but the best part of it all: the friendships I have made. I treasure them.

AROOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Unleash the Beast Within

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“Fun!” this is why we do anything more than once isn’t it? I’ve done 13 Spartan Races in 13 states in 2012, including the Killington Ultra Beast and I’ve already done 5 races in 2013 with another 6 on deck. I keep going because they never get boring and 1 race just isn’t enough! Racing is about the adventure!

The days are short, so I make sure to make mine as long as possible, take advantage while I can! Training in the morning, work during the day, training at night, spending time with my dog, my fiancé, close-by friends and family, making sure I never miss a beat, catching up on nutrition clients, training clients, and furthering my education. I want to make sure that I look back at each day knowing it was my best.

I learned how these races compare to everyday life in the fact that no obstacle, location, distance, venue, date, or timing is ever the same and you need to adjust if you want to succeed. If you expect the unexpected then you will never be surprised, so why not train that way and train to be prepared for anything?! A few years back that was the exact approach I took with my training, to never repeat a workout and do things that were out of the norm.
You name it I have probably done it, and if I haven’t, I promise I will.

The people who compete in Spartan Races are remarkable people with even better stories. I have met tons of new people who have all taught me a little something that I always keep in the back of my mind. The individual effort and camaraderie alone is more than enough reason to keep me coming back for more.

We have created a team here in North NJ and have been a part of over 100 people completing over 250 races in the past 18 months and these people are what motivates me day in and day out. I remember the feeling that came over me when I was able to beat the race and cross the finish line for the first time and the only thing better than that was crossing it with a friend, a group, or a team of people that never thought they could.

Fun? Absolutely it is!

Don’t get me wrong, the races are hard and challenging, and that’s the best part about it. You not only get to test yourself and put your body to work but at the same time when you’re not racing, and just dealing with life’s obstacles… you realize, “eh, this isn’t so bad, Spartan Race was tougher.”

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After three incredible days of Spartan Racing in Tuxedo, NY earlier this month and a week of hosting amazing friends and athletes in my home, I’ve had some time to reflect on how my athletic career has come full circle.

As a child I grew up without the privilege to play on many sports teams so the outdoors became my playground. Running through the woods, climbing trees, building forts, and catching animals with my bare hands is how I began to build my self-esteem and confidence. Unfortunately this wasn’t very popular with my classmates. I ended up taking a lot of grief for it, but I would not let constant ridicule change or deter me. I knew deep down who I was and didn’t want to give up the great feelings my outdoorsy life gave me.

Entering HS, fueled by frustration and anger, I thirsted for contact and to further distinguish myself athletically. I began playing football and I discovered the brotherhood I had always desired. Not only was I able to channel the frustration and pain that had built up from being bullied, but I found true friendships that I still cherish to this day. For the first time in my life I felt truly happy and accepted.
However when HS, College, and Semi-Pro Football came to an end I was left with a void that was difficult to fill. Running and training for Ultra-marathons turned out to be to isolating. Jumping from planes is a quick adrenaline rush but way to expensive and skiing with my pals only lasts a few short months.
Luckily for me I discovered Spartan Race due to a chance in meeting with a local Tuxedo, NY Policeman. Ironically enough, I knew him from the private school where I was bullied.

Now, because of that first Spartan Race I ran in 2011, I have filled a huge part of that void. I was able to rediscover the joy in running, climbing, and chasing things throughout the woods again. I have finally found a sport that gives me the adrenaline rush I was seeking while building friendships with fantastic athletes from all different walks of life.

I’m so grateful to Spartan Race for creating an environment where the athletes have been able to breed a culture of intense competition, built on a platform of respect and camaraderie. It is a culture that has blended the passions of my past into the passion of my present and future.

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by Isaiah Vidal

Why Obstacle Racing? Drastic change is what I call it. In 2011 I was in a downfall situation in life, but when Spartan Race entered my timeline at Glen Rose, Texas I completely changed my life upward. Spartan Race taught me look at different views and philosophies. Life is an obstacle race and it can be perfectly smooth at one moment, but then one hits issues. Overcoming the obstacle just depends on the person you truly are. Spartan Race was my adventure to an awakening life. Participating in obstacle racing is a constant reminder to never back down and to keep overcoming the chaotic scenarios in my daily and social life.

When I get scrapes and cuts from races, the comments I get from most people are that I’m crazy. In reality it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of me, because I’m being the athlete I was born to become. There’s a lot of people that don’t have this view when hitting an obstacle in life, one starts to question the issue by saying, “Why did this happen? Why-why-why?” Spartan race has taught me to not complain about any issues, but to have the wisdom and the courage to overcome the obstacles themselves when presented. It has brought out a unique athlete in me.

I am also pushing forward to open the minds of young adults. I want to make it clear that there is more to life than just partying and getting wasted on the weekends. By doing a Spartan Race on a typical weekend is more beneficial. By sending this clear message it is my goal and there is no telling what could happen in the future for every human being.

I enjoy competing against other amazing athletes at Spartan Races. The camaraderie and the relationships I have been able to build with people is a true blessing. Being able to surpass my accomplishments at 20 years old, by finishing the 2012 Spartan Death Race and also placing in the top 10 at every event I’ve attended is a big advancement in my life. When I was young I thought that I would be playing college football or soccer, but no, God had different plans for me than just being some average jock. I have begun to quickly display that I am an elite obstacle course racer.

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By Leslie St. Louis, Spartan Elite Athlete

My feet and body are a symphony. My mind is clear and focused. The blue skies, the warm sun, the Colorado mountains embrace me as I crunch through brush, cactus and sage. I spy an orange arrow pointing into a ravine. I hustle down, see a stream, leap, feel the cool splash, the squish of mud, the jagged firmness of a river rock. I surge forward, grasping grass, weeds, bushes. I claw, use my legs, push up and out and am back to running.

The rhythm returns.

There’s another competitor ahead, and at least three more obstacles. What I can’t see is the finish line, but I can hear it. I know my husband and two daughters are there. I feel peace. For a brief moment, the Old Leslie butts in and whines “Can you really do this?” But it’s too late because I am strong and in synch. That doubting voice becomes a dimming hum, fading and floating away into the horizon. I surge forward even faster to a new confident beat. I am sure. I do believe. I am on a mission. I am Spartan.

The Colorado Military Sprint marks the one year anniversary of my first-ever Spartan Race (I came in third!) and the beginning of a life change. In the few years prior, I had quit my job as a teacher, had two girls 18 months apart and became a stay at home mom. On one hand, I was overjoyed with this new phase of my life, but on the other I was completely overwhelmed and exhausted. If you have young children, you probably know that feeling of being soooo busy, but not really getting anything “done.” Depressed and 15 pounds overweight, I had signed up for Spartan as a stepping stone to weight loss.

Amid the process of training, I rediscovered my passion for trail running and started working on my strength. My friends and I brainstormed workout ideas, integrating our little ones or switching off.
By the time I stepped up to the start line in Fort Carson, I had already forgotten about my initial goal of losing weight (that had happened along the way), and was more interested in putting all my new muscles to work!
The Colorado race, led to the Utah race, which eventually led to traveling the country, including scaling the mountains of Vermont (for 10 hours!) and swimming in the picturesque (frigid) lakes of SoCal. Through Spartan, I found “permission” to be competitive, and all within a very open and accepting community of inspiring and friendly athletes.

Every time I step up to the start line of a Spartan Race, I am a bit scared and nervous because I know that in the process of getting to the finish, I will feel exhaustion, fear, pain, uncertainty, surprise, exhilaration….I will be vulnerable and then build myself back up again. The secret of Spartan is that when you rebuild, you can construct any version of yourself and most likely it will be a stronger, more confident one than you ever imagined. This becomes a part of your everyday life too, and I think I am a better wife and mother because of it. In my best races, I am creating mental and physical symphonies: I am Spartan.

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by David Chandler
I ran my first Reebok Spartan Race in March last year. I was at a low point in my life and was having trouble dealing with things and trying to find myself again. I was lifting weights like crazy and thought that the little bit of biking I did would get me through a race. I thought that I would be competitive in my first Spartan Race, but that race broke me. I am extremely competitive and from that breaking point, I decided I would turn myself into a Spartan. I started running and working more specifically on obstacle course race training instead of just lifting weights.

From March until July I trained like crazy between going to school and work. Training started to become my meditation and the place that I could go to escape everything else in my life. No matter what was going on in life I could get away from it and make myself a better person with each training session. My life consisted of two-a-day trainings; I’d train before and after school or work.

When I learned about the Spartan Ultra Beast, I knew I had to do it. I had to take on the biggest challenge of my life and conquer a race that scared me. Crossing the finish line of the Ultra Beast (and all the other Spartan Races I’ve finished) was the biggest feeling of accomplishment I have ever experienced.
I have become friends with many of the elite Spartan racers that I am in competition with, but I love each and every person that is putting his or her body and heart on the line each and every race. Even though I only see these people during race weekends, the camaraderie that we have makes all of them my good friends. Since I started training for Reebok Spartan Races my life has been more of an adventure than I ever could have imagined. I travel the country to compete with my friends. Each race and every race is a new adventure with all the new things Reebok Spartan Race throws at us each event. Spartan has helped me find myself and helped me to be happier than I have ever been in my life.

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by Jeffrey Bent

Life Changes
Sometimes our lives take abrupt turns. In 2011 I was living in Orlando Florida, a husband of 15 years and a father to two wonderful children. I owned a broadband engineering company and traveled the United States extensively for work. Life was good. The tides can change all too quickly. By the end of that year, I found myself separated from my wife and lacking a purpose in my life.

I began 2012 with a life-changing seminar that motivated me to begin a physical transformation. I set some lofty goals to make 2012 a year not to be forgotten. I had thought about maybe my first marathon or two, maybe even a triathlon? After a June 2nd Warrior Dash in Oklahoma City was cancelled, I knew this was my opportunity to try a Spartan Race. I had heard about Spartan but the opportunity to race had never presented itself. So after a Friday with friends in Charlotte North Carolina, I decided to take the ten plus hour drive to Tuxedo, NY for my first one.

A New Beginning
I arrived late Saturday evening at a college friend’s home. On just a few hours of rest, I headed over to the venue to register for the “elite heat”. I remember before I had even attached my bib a stranger was offering me a pre-race fuel mix; that stranger is now Spartan friend Walter Lyon. I remember wandering to the front of the starting line & hearing the MC talk about the previous day’s women’s winner. That woman, Andi Hardy, is now one of my best friends. She was at the starting line as well and I remember looking over at her and her battered and bruised legs. Thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The adrenaline was unlike any I had ever experienced before; the mountain and obstacles were unlike any challenge I had previously undertaken. An hour into the race I was tangled up in the barbed wire and several racers immediately came to my aide. 1:02 was my official time. I was the 7th man to cross the finish, 8th overall, and 2nd in my age group. The sense of accomplishment from this race was amazing. I knew this was the race that had changed my life forever. An epic achievement!

Keeping the Peace
As fun as this race was, I knew that at 40 years old it would be a challenge for me to remain healthy and also injury free. I decided my best chance to remain in good health would be to take up Yoga. When I first began my Yoga practice, I had no idea of the benefits that it would have, both mentally and physically. After almost a year of yoga, I am in the best physical condition of my life. The calm and peace that I have in my everyday life is beyond comparison. As an elite racer, I have many opportunities to share my yoga with the world. Many people have started a Yoga regiment because I passionately share it everywhere I go. The sense I get from sharing has given me a purpose. I found this purpose because of Spartan Race.

I have always been an adrenaline junkie but the competition and camaraderie that exists within Spartan is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I have completed 5 Sprints, 3 Supers, and 2 Beasts. The friends I’ve meet though Spartan share a passion for wellness and a desire to improve, just as I do. These people have become my Spartan family. I look forward to each race weekend as much as anything I have ever anticipated. Each race brings a new challenge, but the only one that I have to compete with is myself.

Namaste.

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