By: Kristine Iotte

There in the desert land of Vegas, the sun not even up yet, and already we had started with the burpees. In my mind 30 is a lot. Burpees are hard. We got to 40, 50, 75, 90 burpees. I began to think “Ugh I should have seen this coming why did I sign up for this”, then “this is ridiculous, we are never going to last 12 hours if we are doing this crap the whole time”, and then “there is no WAY we are doing more than 100” –and was pretty set on there being no chance we’d go past 100. Then we got to 101, 102, and something weird happened; I went into autopilot. Instead of focusing on when we were finishing I was focusing on each burpee because who knew how many these crazy jerks were going to make us do. Granted we ended up only doing a few more, but because anything over 100 seemed unreasonable and unsustainable (we still had over 12 hours to go, this was just the warm up!) and we surpassed it anyway, I didn’t really know what to do with it and just kept moving.

The same happened shortly after when they made us roll sideways through the rocks and dirt. When I saw how far they were making us roll, and thinking about how much I dislike being dizzy, all I could think was “when I barf, who should I aim it at: John or Cookie?” After deciding Cookie was my target, and feeling pretty good about that, I kept rolling. It was getting uncomfortable and I noticed I was only just over half way.

Figuring they would likely move the end point even further once we started getting close, it happened again. It got easier. The nausea went away and the sharp rocks no longer bothered me.

What? Again?  Not knowing how long I will have to subject myself to each of these awful tasks is somehow making them easier? How is my brain shutting down discomfort?

It was bizarre.

That pretty much set up the rest of the day. When they made us get tires and announced that we would be carrying them through the entire course, with obstacles, no one flinched. There was almost an air of confidence about us.

There were numerous other occasions (any one of the countless push-up, burpee, or awful-bodyweight-exercise sessions) where we somehow made it through ridiculous amounts of reps –but there was one other repeated task that didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The dunk wall. I hate wet clothes and get cold pretty easily.  I lost track of how many times we ended up there. Oh, you’re cold? Let’s head to the dunk wall. Your shirts are getting dry? Dunk wall. The sun is going down? Dunk wall. But somehow it bothered me less when I didn’t know how long we were going to be in there or how long it would be until we would end up there again. (And I noticed that no one was complaining about it anymore.)

When I only concerned myself with the task itself and not how long or how many times we would have to do it, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed it should have been. Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard 12 hours and I was plenty beat at the end, but we certainly did more than I had imagined. It makes me wonder how much our expectations and assumptions limit what we are capable of or are willing to try, and it made it very clear how much our minds baby our bodies.

Think you have what it takes? Sign up for an HH12HR today! 

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For the fourth time, Spartan Race brought the Spartans to the sunny, hot, ever scenic Oleta River State Park for the Miami Super Spartan.

It wasn’t just about surviving the heat in Miami. Competitors were thrown for a loop, encountering our newest iteration of the Monkey Bars obstacle, or should we say “Monkey Net”? That’s right – Miami introduced a version of the monkey bars obstacle which fashioned cargo webbing that began with an incline and ended with a decline traverse. The rule of the obstacle was no feet, just hands, and was meant to be performed in the same manner as you would the traditional Monkey Bars. All this, but over three feet of water. Fall off, and you know the drill. Burpees.

As per usual, the Hurricane Heat launched the weekend’s activities. Tony Matesi and John Ziegler took over 100 participants through demanding and sometimes seemingly impossible challenges that were developed to build camaraderie and teamwork. From team carries through the obstacles to being the first to test the new obstacle, this group of early morning Hurricane Heaters came together to figure out what it means to be a Spartan.

At first glance, the course may have appeared to be simple and flat given the nature of the Florida region. Assuming the lack of hills equated to an easier course would have been a massive faux pas. The course had unique terrain that acted as the ultimate obstacle in itself. Hard rocks, switchbacks and open waters delivered an exciting and exhilarating course which amplified the difficulty and created a course that was not to be taken for granted.

On Saturday the intense heat made for a very interesting day – never forget that hydration is key in these conditions. Drinking plenty of water the night before, the morning of and during a race with over eight miles and more than 20 obstacles, it is crucial to preventing yourself from cramping while out on the course.

Spartan SGX Coaches were on site leading warm-ups and cool downs. These highly educated coaches are there to assist racers in race prep and recovery of the taxing course. Joe Di Stefano, Co-Founder of the SGX lead the charge along with Coaches Sarah Pozdol and Casey Eischen. The Spartan SGX team will be traveling the Spartan Race circuit, so be on the lookout for the warm-up and cool down area near the start line.

In our elite heat, Spartan Pro Team members, April Dee, Isaiah Vidal, Brakken Kraker, also Founding Pro Team members Chris Rutz, Shawn Feiock and Hannah Orders were all in attendance. Other elite competitors included Arizona native and 2nd Male at the Vegas Super, John Yatsko, Chris McCorkle, Debbie Moreau, Valerie Smith, Sue Luck, Amanda Ricciardi and Sarah Pozdol.

Saturday’s men’s elite heat came down to the difference between making the Spearman Toss and having to complete a set of 30 burpees. Brakken Krakker successfully nailed the spear throw taking the top spot over John Yatsko. Coming in third for the men was recent Spartan Pro Team addition, Isaiah Vidal. April Dee of the Spartan Pro Team dominated the women’s division taking first place over Debbie Moreau and Founding Pro Team member, Hannah Orders.

On Sunday April Dee returned to once again take the top spot on the podium with a demanding lead over Debbie Moreau taking the number two spot and Geishel Valverde grasping a third place finish. In the men’s division, John Yatsko returned with determination after practicing his spear toss and captured a first place finish. An extremely friendly second and third place finish was taken by Isaiah Vidal who showed a tremendous amount of sportsmanship as he waited to cross the line with Joey Patriola after running a majority of the Sunday Super Spartan together.

Close to 10,000 Spartans came and conquered the course this weekend at the Super Spartan in Miami, but there was one very special set of finishing scenes that played out under the relentless Florida sun. Remembering that being a Spartan is about overcoming adversity, finishing what you start, and never giving up no matter the circumstance, it was a joy to behold the newest member of the Spartan family – a young man called Sean. His “Best Buddy”, Tripp Prevatt, has been running races for some time now, making sure to always do one lap for himself and one additional one so that he can give that medal to Sean. You see, Sean has Cerebral Palsy. After telling Sean countless stories about the races he conquered, he wanted to find a way to give Sean the opportunity to join him on the course so they could both earn Spartan Finisher medals, together.

Naturally, the Spartan Kids course again showed that same fighting resilience. Climbing over walls, crawling under neon green “barbed wire” and zig-zagging through a web of bungee cord providing a glimpse of the future Spartans of the world. Be on the lookout; one day these young ones will be standing atop the podium. Just you wait and see!

All of these incredible experiences are made possible with the support of our incredible sponsors, Reebok, ZICO Coconut Water, CorePower, Clif Bar Builders Bars, the U.S. Navy, Eco Vessel, Air Force Reserves, Nestle Water, and DeliverLean. With their support Spartan Race showed Miami once again what we mean by “you’ll know at the finish line.”

Congrats to everyone who Spartan’d UP in Miami. Next up, Spartan Race is headed to the Midwest for the Indiana Sprint. What started as a Founders Race has become a staple of the Spartan tour, it you’re not signed up yet, what are you waiting for?

Go ahead, sign up. We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.

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By: Casey Eischen

This past weekend we took part in the first ever Spartan Race 12 Hour Hurricane Heat. Honestly, had Joe Di Stefano not invited me I would not have considered it but who am I to pass up that opportunity? I had never done a Hurricane Heat so I had no expectations, but being a SGX Coach and finding out this was a Death Race qualifier I knew one thing, they would do everything they could to try to break us.

The nerves set in a week before when we get this ominous email from Tony Matesi saying they have been watching us and then proceeded to name a bizarre mandatory supply list each athlete must take. The list included a golf ball, flotation device, and Hooters poker chip to keep in our backpack that would carry enough food and hydration for 12 hours. Oh, and we will be in the desert so why not make us wear all black while we are at it!

Morning of, 32 of us HH12HR athletes met at 5:15am with the rest of the regular HH crew of 60, but we we’re distinguished by our reflective vests. We didn’t actually start til 6am and of course we kicked it all off with burpees. We did them together counting as a team until told to stop at 103. Next came the first of what would be MANY dunks in the ice bath. At first we were told to just sit in there and recite the Spartan Warrior Ethos and then we all had to cross over the other side by submerging our heads under a wall. This would be my biggest Achilles heel of the day.

After that, we had to duck walk up a mountain to where there start line was and of course, do more burpees. From there, we had to lay on the ground and roll about 100 yards to where we would build a “tunnel of love”. First person to arrives goes to plank, next person army crawls under to plank, and so on. I was third to fall in line which meant I had to hold a downward dog/plank for about 10 minutes while 90 people crawl under. Not so bad but your pack is on your head crunching your neck. Then we proceeded to some obstacles. First was the under/over where I was chosen as the person to not touch the ground. I would bear hug the hurdle and swing under which was most affective while I saw other groups lay down and pass someone on top. After climbing another hill we then proceeded to some more obstacles: cargo net, wall, and then to the rope climb where we all had to wait til every athlete hit the bell at the top. I hopped right to it nailing it and then watched as a bunch of men tried to get a larger fellow up without success. Finally someone grabbed the bell from the top and brought it down to him to ring.

By this time, athletes and spectators were filling in so why not parade us in front of them? So we had to do about 30 minutes of different exercises which included more burpees, push ups, lateral gorilla, planks, and kid n play. At this point, 3 hours was up and we went back to the dunk tank to chant the ethos, ran out jumping the fire that just kicked off near the finish line, and said goodbye to the HH crew. 3 hours was already up?! Easy, peasy I thought!

Then the tone of the game changed and things got real. Tony shows us a map and says, “you are no longer a team, it’s individual challenges”. So, our first mission was to run to a destination in the desert that’s off course, grab a tire, and meet back at the start line in x amount of time. I was the first girl to the tire graveyard picking what seemed smaller than others, little did I know the smallest ones were buried under to be revealed to the slower runners.

It’s about 10am and Tony says, “now do the whole 9+ mile obstacle race with the tire”. I was more than happy to oblige and excited to do all the obstacles in a 4 hour window. “Piece of cake”, I thought! Although time was on my side, it quickly became apparent we had entered the suck. Maneuvering up and down gravel hills was quite dangerous! Sometimes I chose to bear crawl because I couldn’t keep my footing with the weight of the tire. The whole time I kept thanking God I was not racing this at full speed. It would be all too easy to miss a step and injure yourself.

So through cargo nets, walls, the Hercules hoist, multiple carries, tire flips, crawls, and many other obstacles, I made it through with ease of my tire. I was lucky to be small enough to fit inside my tire where I could position it to rest on top of my pack so it actually helped in the gravel carry because I was able to use the tire to place the weight vs using strength.  But still, holding anything for that long burns your shoulders. If we missed an obstacle it was a 50 burpee penalty vs the usual 30. Rope climb and monkey bars with a tire? Not a chance!

So me and my new buddy Kristine stayed together through the entire course helping each other and laughing while we would nonchalantly take a pee break while chatting to people passing by. I really want to thank everyone who passed us that day. Everyone was so encouraging shouting words of praise. That’s the best part of the Spartan events, we all want to see the other succeed and hearing cheers from fellow racers made our will that much stronger that day.

I do feel I was well prepared for this event. I had all kinds of electrolytes, salt packets, and snacks to help carry me through such a long day in the desert. I even helped a few of the other athletes including some that were not in HH12HR but were desperately seeking salt for cramps. Not once did I have a physical limitation. Despite only being back in the game for 6 months after a year off from total knee recon and 4 surgeries to replace toxic breasts, I never experienced a twinge of pain or cramp. For me, it was the mental part of dealing with the environment. As previously mentioned, the terrain was incredibly wicked with multiple climbs on gravel and rock. And of course, it was blazing hot and I was surprised I was one of few to wear sunglasses (mine are prescription) to help block the sun. Another tool that helped me greatly that day was the dry fit handkerchief I tied around my neck. I used it to cool myself, pick dust globs out of my nose, to cover my mouth when crawling, to wipe things off, and to occasionally cover my whole face while some wicked sand storm would blast through. The weirdest thing about the desert is how quick the temp changes. You would be incredibly hot with dry mouth and burnt skin but then a cloud would come in creating a rapid chill, especially after you enter those dang ice baths!

So after another dunk in the ice bath, Kristine and I crossed the finish line just in time for the cut off. While waiting for everyone else to finish and trying to get warm, we were awarded a break to refuel and collect our finisher medals and shirts. All of us were delighted about having something warm to put on. However, only 19 of us successfully completed that mission. While the others were able to rejoin us, they were not eligible to receive the HH12HR patch.

Only 4 more hours to go and feeling great at this point! They decided to parade us again in front of everyone with our hands interlocked to each other between our legs and then back into the damn ice bath!!!! Really?!! Get us warm and then make us crawl under barb wire while freezing water sprays us only to fully submerge us in the ice bath again?! At this point, I was pissed! We get out and they say go make sand angels. My head was angry as I stared up at the sky flailing around arms and legs. The clouds rolled in and even though I cloud see the sun I was shivering so badly all I could do was pray the clouds would move. Just to mess with us a little more, they had us flip over face down to make sand angels while they kicked up dirt.

After another series of torturous exercises that included group sit ups, more rolling, fire man carries, reverse bear crawl down hill and crab walks back up hill, we were sent on another mission….after another trip to the ice bath of course. We partnered up and were told to retrieve our poker chips from the tunnel under the freeway off course. Lucky I’m only 5’1 because the first tunnel we had to cross was tiny, dark, and laced with spider webs. Then we met one of our slave drivers under the freeway where he demanded 100 push ups for the chip. We did them together in sets of 10 because our shoulders were absolutely destroyed at this point. After running back to hand in the chip, we were greeted with yet another damn ice bath!

Only 2 hours left and we were dragged to a car where we had to retrieve logs to carry. Once we reached our next destination it was exercise roulette drawing from a deck of cards that would determine what and how many of each exercise we would do together as a team. Finally, the golf ball and sharpie came into play writing our names on them only to have them chucked into the desert. After all, Easter is coming so why not celebrate with a hunt? Still not sure why we had to bring a floatation device to the desert, perhaps to slow us down as we crossed under water in the ice bath….?

Back to the logs and on to another destination of freezing water where we did more burpees. At this point I was so cold and the sand storms were so bad that I began coughing uncontrollably feeling like I had pneumonia. One more hour!!  Well, the sand storms got so incredibly dangerous that parts of the Spartan festival started flying around so they put us to work helping break down set ups and grab sand bags to reinforce tents. Thank god because I was praying for no more ice baths. I honestly could not wait to run out of there and get dry clothes after one last task, Indian run the festival while carrying a heavy ass tractor tire.

Finally, our day was done. We earned our shirts, and while only half of us earned the badge, we all earned honor! Some people must have quit along the way as well because the group pic does not have 33 athletes in it. Either way, it was a complete head trip and I totally cried at the end knowing that I can do anything as long as I keep a strong will. I would definitely do this event again, any day. As far as the Death Race goes, I think I may have to pass on that for now so that I can take on the Ultra Beast later this year.

Thank you to all my teammates, slave drivers, and everyone who encouraged our journey. Every bit of the suck was worth it. AROO!!!!

 

Do you think you have what it takes to do the HH12HR? Sign up today! 

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By Anthony Matesi

Just outside of Phoenix, AZ there was a disturbance in the normally desolate lands near Fort McDowell. The Spartans had arrived. Marking the second Spartan Race of 2014 the obstacles were erected all throughout the week to bring to this cactus filled paradise an event that would challenge all walks of life.

To kick things off, Hurricane Heat leaders devised a relatively creative plan for the brave souls looking to participate in the event which began in the early hours of the morning before the sun had a chance to rise up over the mountains off in the distance. Teamwork is essential in finishing one of Spartan’s challenging HH events. New Hurricane Heaters were put through everything from learning animal movements and body weight exercises that are the foundation of the Spartan SGX training program to having them dig up a treasure chest filled with zip ties only to be zipped together right arm to the next person’s left ankle and forced to inchworm as a one unit through a tunnel that went under the highway. The suffering these participants endure together takes a group of strangers and creates a bond like no other.

While those crazy Hurricane Heaters were suffering together in the festival area the Elite racers began to storm the grounds. Some of the top racers from the Spartan Pro Team were in attendance. For the men, Matt Novakovich from Alaska, mountain man Miguel Medina left his cabin in Vermont, with Christopher Rutz, Shawn Feiock and Elliot Meguier also in attendance. On the women’s side there was TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, Jenny Tobin, and Ang Reynolds. Outside of the pro team there was an impressive showing from Sarah Pozdol, Laura Messner, and Rose Wetzel as well as the local newcomer to Spartan Race, John Yatsko. The early hours of the morning were a bit brisk but things heated up very quickly as the race day began. The course was fast and hilly with all the usual obstacles to test the strength, endurance and agility of the racers. As the temperatures rose the cramps began to set into racers who didn’t take the time to properly hydrate. The Amphibious Medics team led by, David Gonzalez, was on site helping the Spartan Staff to help those who were injured on course back to safety or fixed them up to continue their journey.

The Elite wave took off early Saturday morning fighting for the prize money offered by Navy Federal Credit Union with a total of $7500 up for grabs. The competition was incredibly fierce. In the men’s division there was a grueling battle that brought had the top 3 finishers all finishing within a minute and 30 seconds of each other. At the end of the day it was John Yatsko, Glenn Racz, and Chad Trammel taking the first three spots and Matt Novakovich coming in fourth.  The elite women’s field was equally grueling with Kk Paul, Rose Wetzel and TyAnn Clark battling it out for the top 3 spots coming into the finish in that order with Rose and TyAnn finishing within seventeen seconds of each other. The Sunday Elite crowd was stacked once again with some of the top elites and Spartan Pro Team members. It was another tight battle with Matt Novakovich taking the first place on the podium followed by fellow Spartan Pros Miguel Medina in second and Elliot Meguier in third. For the women we saw the importance of counting your burpees out loud when Sarah Pozdol was bumped from what could have been a second place finish to fifth place. Kk Paul took first again on Sunday, Jenny Tobin came in second and Sue Luck saw her way back to the podium taking third. Spartan Pro Team member Shawn Feiock saw a top ten finish taking 7th and Christopher Rutz in 9th.

Spartan Weekends are about more than just the elites of course. There were a lot of families, Spartan Singles, and couples alike mingling, racing, and enjoying the warm touch of the Arizona sun. In the festival area the Spartan SGX tent was providing warm-ups and cool down exercises as well as stretching by the crew from Power in Motion CrossFit. Our sponsors Core Power Protein delivered some excellent post race recovery drinks, E-Boost kept everyone energized, Clif Bars took care of feeding the taxed muscles of everyone who crossed that finish line, and Zico covered the much needed hydration to keep up with the desert sun.

In addition to all the first timers and those looking to begin their quest for the coveted Trifecta there were some inspiring people out on course defining what it means to push beyond your limits. We saw the ever glowing smile from Misty Diaz, who conquers her Spina Bifida by traveling the country running half marathons and Spartan Races chasing after that double trifecta. On Sunday a racer by the name of Joel Brown was spotted on course making it happen. At only 54 years young Joel is a former Para-Rescue and has been a Krav Maga instructor since 1978 receiving all his training in Israel. In 1981, he lost his right leg in a motor vehicle accident. Regardless of this accident Joel has continued to train, instruct, and push himself. His journey to the Trifecta began here in Arizona will continue at the Super in Vegas and conclude with the Beast in Monterey.

As always the Spartan Kids were out in force to light up everyone’s day with their beaming smiles and mud covered bodies. Many of the elites including Miguel Medina, Matt Novakovich, Sarah Pozdol and Rose Wetzel came out and helped play the role of the rabbit that the kids try to catch on the course.

Another incredibly successful Spartan weekend filled with fun, smiles, mud, and even a little blood has come to an end. Next up Spartan Race will be invading Tampa with the first Special Ops event of the year taking place at Raymond James Stadium. This Special Ops Race will offer a combination of the traditional outdoor obstacles alongside some of the signature Spartan Stadium obstacles.  Sign up to earn your very own unique Special Ops Spartan Sprint medal andwe’ll see you at the finish line!

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Before the 2014 Spartan Race season kicked off with the Spartan Sprint and Super in Temecula, CA there was a storm brewing in the early hours of the morning. At 5:30AM the Hurricane Heaters descended upon Veil Lake Resort reporting to the parking for their warm-up. Anyone who did not show up on time subjected their fellow comrades to non-stop burpees until they were directed to stop. The Hurricane Heaters are always provided with a mandatory gear list which this time included bringing their own signed waivers as well as a questionable item, toilet paper. On top of late arrivals there were a few individuals who neglected to follow the instructions in their email which of course resulted in more burpees.

The event officially kicked off at 6:00AM with 50 participants. To start these brave individuals were to complete 30 burpees, a few more stragglers showed up on top of five who neglected to bring their toilet paper rolls, which brought the total burpee count up to over 100 before continuing on to the first challenge of the event, stacking all the logs for the fire jump obstacle. What might seem like a tedious task actually doubled as a chance for the large group to begin learning what it means to be a team, during this time their minds were activated by teaching them to recite The Warrior Ethos together. To ensure the Hurricane Heaters were challenged they were given a time limit of fifteen minutes to complete the challenge. Just as the racers finished the sun began to rise and the use of their headlamps was no longer needed. At this time the entire group descended on the beach and entered the water, there were still some individuals that hadn’t figured out the need to communicate and work together as a team. This caused their fellow comrades to be subjected to…you guessed it, more burpees… in the lake. The Hurricane Heat strives to teach valuable lessons, one of which is how to effectively communicate and work together as a team. When that doesn’t happen, there are consequences, however when the group does finally figure it out, that’s when the magic happens.

After “playing in the sand” and rolling along the shoreline the Hurricane Heaters were sent to the rope climb obstacle back on the Sprint and Super course. Everyone had the task of reaching the top to ring the bell. What transpired next was the turning point for this group of friends and strangers. They worked together to ensure the success of all their teammates by building a human pyramid while another participant climbed along side their teammate motivating them to keep climbing all the way to the top. Ding, just like that all the racers succeeded in smacking that bell. It was a very rewarding moment for the group and everyone cheered and celebrated their success.

Anthony Matesi – your Hurricane Heat leader

The HH-044 Class had discovered the power of communication and teamwork, so to shake things up they were divided into four teams and sent out backwards on a section of the Super course. At the base of one the steepest inclines the teams were stopped and one person from each team was informed that one of their comrades had been severely wounded. Their mission was to be the first team to reach the top of this climb carrying their wounded comrade the entire way. At the very top each team had to help their wounded person up and over the seven foot wall. Once completed everyone was miraculously healed; after a quick group photo the teams set out on a run along the mountain ridge looking over the festival area to the left and Highway 79 to the right. The view was breathtaking. The first team to reach the bottom was subjected to 30 burpees. Each team that came in after also had to do burpees but as soon as the first team hit 30, everyone was instructed to come to a halt and the entire Hurricane Heat made a quick hustle to the next challenge they would face. As they approached the grassy area leading to the Inverted Wall obstacle the group was taught the proper bear crawl technique in accordance with the Spartan SGX training program and immediately began crawling their way to their next obstacle.

As the Hurricane Heaters approached the festival area they were greeted with a lot of strange stares and loud cheers. For those that don’t know about the Hurricane Heat it’s quite the spectacle to see such a large group of people already being pushed beyond their limits before the race has even begun. A quick stop over to the Spartan SGX booth resulted in a series of body weight exercises including fireman-carry squats, burpees, reverse burpees and the infamous super burpee. Once all the Elite Men and Women took off for the Spartan Super the Hurricane Heat made their way back onto the course from the Start and went through a series of obstacles until reaching a strangely placed throne-like chair that was found on the course. Here the challenge they were presented involved hoisting the one and only Johnny Waite from Spartan HQ into the air and carrying him for over an 1/8th of a mile through a very swampy section of the course. The teamwork here was top notch, all the participants worked together to swap out as needed and to make sure Johnny was sitting pretty.

Next up the four teams combined into two teams at the Gamble obstacle, here you had to choose which direction to go, more difficult terrain but shorter distance or easy terrain over a slightly longer distance. The two teams were sent in different directions, Johnny Waite and John Ziegler from HQ led the team on the easy course, as I led the difficult. The final destination was the monkey bars. The harder section proved to be the faster route arriving a few minutes ahead of the other team. When the team that took the shorter route arrived, a female on the team was cramping up quite horribly. Together everyone helped, providing her with water, salt tabs and a granola bar to boost her nutrition. In this moment the Hurricane Heaters had a new mission, never leave a fallen comrade.

With less than a mile to go the Hurricane Heaters once again made their way into the now booming festival area and made their way toward the center of it all. They gathered around in a large circle and at the top of their lungs shouted out the 7 Pillars of Spartan and the Warrior Ethos followed by a set of 30 burpees. Thinking it was all over, Johnny Waite presented them with one last challenge, everyone was to hold up their toilet paper rolls to show they had protected it from the elements, if everyone succeeded in keeping the rolls clean and dry they were done if not another 30 burpees. At least three people failed to protect their toilet paper rolls. More Burpees!!!

This group of strangers came together in the early hours of the morning, failed to read instructions, arrived late, and appeared to be a complete mess. By the end they had learned to work together making sure every single person who started finished together as a team. When you suffer together there are many lessons to be learned. Either you can overcome the obstacles or you can fail to. The choice is yours. Remember, “I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.” This is your Ethos.

See you at the next race!

For more information about the Hurricane Heat, click here.

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In light of the new 12 our Hurricane Heat that now stands as part of the qualifying for entry into the Death Race, Spartan Race are proud to announce the arrival of the new Hurricane Heat coordinator, Spartan Pro Team athlete and Death Race veteran, Anthony Matesi. 

Clearly very excited about his role at Spartan Race, Anthony said, “I bring with me the knowledge gained from hosting three 20-25 hour events that I built around the idea of Death Race preparation. Trying to break as many racers in less time to simulate the experience. That knowledge will be translated into a 12 hour event that will break you down and, if you don’t break, build you back up.”

Drawing on not only his experience as a Pro Team and Elite racer, but also from taking part in the Death Race, Anthony knows what the Hurricane Heat is about, what it needs and how those choosing to taking part expect to happen. (link)

“Those who want to complete a HH better know and possess the 7 pillars of Spartan; stamina, power, athleticism, readiness, tenacity, attitude, and nutrition,” he explains.

“Team work and individual challenges that will test you ability to adapt and react. The typical heavy lifting, off course exploration and camaraderie development will remain the staples of what an HH is.”

The Hurricane Heat is for experienced competitors and first timers alike. The same sense of camaraderie and togetherness is how people will get through. For those unfamiliar with the Hurricane Heat, Anthony explains, “there are no timing chips. Challenges will take place on and off the Spartan course and will often times require a team effort. You will do burpees. You will carry heavy objects, both individually and as a team. Mental toughness and quickness will be tested. You may have to memorize something individually or as a team. You can expect a HH to go up to 4 hours so you’ll need food and hydration and an HH12HR will obviously go up to 12 hours. 

For more information about the Hurricane Heat, click here.

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by Carrie Adams

I remember getting a phone call from Joe Desena that the Amesbury permit had been pulled from our Sunday heats for the 2011 Spartan Sprint Race.  I panicked.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time.  It was our first two-day event in Spartan’s race history and now we didn’t have the opportunity to hold our second day of heats.  We were devastated.  Of course, true to form, Joe D had a plan.

“Tell them to come early Saturday morning.” said Desena.

“Who?” I asked.

“All the people in the Sunday heats.  I’ll take them out and we’ll do the course my way.” And then he hung up before I could ask what that meant.

And just like that, the Hurricane Heatwas born.  With some last minute scrambling and coordination between staff on the ground and staff at HQ, I emailed the entire roster of Sunday racers offering them the chance to run with us early Saturday morning.  Not knowing what would happen next, we all held our breath wondering if anyone would come.  And come they did.  Saturday morning, over 150 of would-be Sunday Spartans showed up to get put through their paces by Joe and other Spartan staffers in what would become a Spartan Race tradition.  They formed into teams, gathered up sandbags, and set off to spend nearly three hours on the Spartan course before the Saturday crowds.

The Original Hurricane Heat Amesbury 2011

Two of those racers were Jennifer Sullivan and Danny Allen.  Sullivan is now a full-time Spartan employee but they have both been a part of our community as well as two of the founding members of the Storm Chasers since that fateful morning.  And from that day in August of 2011 Jennifer and Danny went from strangers, to friends, and then on August 23, 2012 they became husband and wife.

At Spartan Race HQ, we are a tight knit family.  Despite our growth, we’re still a pretty small shop and we’d like to wish a warm and loving “Congratulations” to Jennifer and Danny.   They aren’t the first marriage as a result of Spartan Race, but they’re certainly very special and we are thrilled with their good news.  It’s only fitting that it began in the midst of a hurricane.  That’s the Spartan version of a fairy tale.   Congratulations, Jennifer and Danny.  We love you both very much, wish you all the best, and are thankful to be a part of your story.

Our Spartan Wedding

by Jennifer Sullivan

We can thank Irene.

Unknowingly, Danny (my now husband) and I both signed up to run the Sunday, Spartan Race Sprint in Amesbury, MA in August 2011. However, due to Hurricane Irene’s predicated landfall, the State of Massachusetts shut down the race venue. Thankfully Spartan Race (With a special Thank You to Carrie & Tommy) was able to create a new heat, based off of teamwork, which was to take place before the storm: the Hurricane Heat. That heat changed my life.

Over the next few weeks, via Facebook and text, those strangers from my team became my friends. When Spartan Race offered us the

Storm Chasers in Chicago, 2011

opportunity to race in Illinois, we all jumped at it. Twenty-five of us from states across New England worked together to coordinate a road trip that would get us there. We decided to name our team the Storm Chasers, in tribute to that original Hurricane Heat (because we were following the ‘storm’).

It was on this road trip I first met Danny, well; I heard his voice over the walkie -talkie while we were all sharing ‘war’ stories. Danny was the crazy outgoing, totally over sharing guy from the road trip and I was the girl that showed up with a binder, itinerary, map, list of contact numbers and waivers pre-printed for everyone…in his words, “a total dork”.

After this trip our team became like a second family to both Danny and I. During the next year many of us from the team would go out together, run races or just hang out. Eventually Danny asked me out… well more like eventually he got me to say yes to a date. He drove from Connecticut to New Hampshire to take me to dinner; and to be honest; it was the worst date ever.

We both ended up telling our friends how badly the date went. I may even have dodged a few phone calls in the aftermath of the terrible – awful – really bad date. Thankfully, we had some history with the Storm Chasers and we were able to stay friends, and even got to hang out a few more times with the team. At this point most of Danny’s time was spent in a pineapple under the sea… aka out in a Submarine. My time was spent convincing Spartan Race to hire me, which entailed me being on my computer for hours on end. This gave Danny and I plenty of time to spend emailing and chatting on the phone (when he was out of the pineapple), thank god for technology!

Around Christmas, Danny invited me to the Navy’s Submarine Ball down in Connecticut.  This was a really big deal; people bought crazy fancy dresses, got all dolled up and it sounded… well terrifying to me. I’m an introvert and Danny, well extrovert almost covers it – ask someone who knows him or come to a Hurricane Heat and hear him. He will be the one in the middle yelling out the Warrior Ethos…But anyway, that Navy Ball sounded terrifying and although I agreed to go, I ended up backing out. I think I may have used my new job with Spartan Race as an excuse (Don’t feel bad for him, he found a backup date and has yet to let me live it down!) His favorite way of introducing me to his Navy friends and co-workers is by saying, “this is my wife Jennifer, and she’s the one who ditched me at the ball last year.”

Shortly after the ball Danny left on an underway (fancy Navy jargon for riding around in a submarine practicing secret squirrel stuff). During this time we emailed daily, actually multiple times a day, and I started realizing that he might be the one for me. The more we wrote, the more I found we had in common outside of Spartan Race. Even more exciting than that, I found that he challenged me to think about things in a way I had never really done before.

Now, I only had one more time to see Danny before he left on another underway lasting almost two months (these are a big part of his job and something that I am still learning to deal with). We went on an amazing date to a NASCAR race with some fellow Storm Chasers. We were able to walk around and talk, which was something we hadn’t really had a chance to do alone or in person for quite a while. We started talking about having a life together and our ideas about the future and I realized he felt pretty much the same way I felt about him: he loved me too. I guess this was obvious to everyone else in the (Spartan) world, but I tend to be a little oblivious to this type of thing. The first time I realized the extent of how he felt was when we told his brother we had eloped and his response was, “Jeez Danny it took you long enough, you’ve been talking about her forever”.

Over the last year Danny had become my best friend, the person whom I would turn to when I had a bad day, and the one person I could see spending the rest of my life with. Two months later, on the day he got home, we were able to video chat online and I asked him to marry me.   He said “yes!” and we decided to elope the week after Spartan Race returned to Massachusetts, in August 2012.

On August 23, 2012 Danny & I were married. We only told two of our closest friends and teammates and asked them to join us on our trip to the Virginia Spartan Super which was also our Honeymoon. We then decided to wait until the October South Carolina Beast to tell our families. After completing the Beast with my Dad, Brother and Danny we went back to the hotel, and before anyone even took showers we announced it: “Mom- Dad… Danny and I eloped!”

~ Nothing worth having in life is easy to come by ~

Ms. Jennifer Sullivan & Mr. Danny Allen

Storm Chasers

We also want to thank all the friends and family who helped us get to where we are today. Whether you were part of the Spartan Race team (Carrie, Tommy, Joe) that helped get the HH to happen, Storm Chasers who helped us meet, or our families who supported us and continue to support us – You are all part of our lives and we are thankful to have you.

[Editor's Note: As we see the East Coast yet AGAIN staring down a hurricane with Sandy, we would like to wish everyone a safe week as it bears down the seaboard.  Stay safe, Spartans!]

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