by Matt Trinca, Malibu Race Manager

“This race was the closest to death that I’ve ever come without actually dying.” – Anonymous racer

It was another epic weekend of racing in California this last weekend, with Spartan Race’s 3rd annual stop at Calamigos Ranch for the Malibu Spartan Sprint presented by Dial for Men.  This was our largest West Coast event ever, with over 9,500 racers competing over the course of two days.  A little rain and fog could not dampen the spirits of these racers.  On the contrary, it only made them more excited to tackle the mountainous course, made even more challenging by the soupy, slippery mud created by several days of heavy rains.

The event was kicked-off by the Hurricane Heaters, who ran with the Spartan Race Founders at 6am on Saturday.  Over 100 participants came out and, during the almost 4 hour HH, completed hundreds of burpees, helped with some last minute work on the festival area, and ran the course in teams with their arms linked together.  It was a real bonding experience for everyone and helped set the tone for what was to be an amazing couple days.

The competitive heat saw a flurry of elite Spartans blasting through the course at near suicidal pace.  Hobie Call took first place for the men in a blazing time of 26:42.  Hunter Mcintyre took second place with 27:51, and Elliott Megquier got third with a time of 31:21.  For the women, Rose-marie Jarry won in a time of 38:03, Angela Reynolds finished second with 41:07, Irene Call placed third in 42:28.  After the race, I got the chance to talk to Angela, who said that she really enjoyed the course this year, and liked how the spear throw appeared towards the middle of the race, so that it was not necessarily the deciding factor in who won.  A notable mention goes out to Hawk Call (Hobie’s and Irene’s son) who ran his 1st Spartan Race in the adult division, after dominating the Junior Spartan races.  He finished in a time of 56:26, placing 1st in his age group, proving that the family that trains together, wins together.

As a long-time Spartan Race Street Team member, and Race Manager for the Malibu Spartan Sprint, I would also like to take a moment to reflect on the past year leading up to this event.  My fellow Street Teamers and I have traveled all over California in 2012, attending expos, races, and other running events, spreading the Spartan message and encouraging people to get off their couches and get active.  During our travels we met many unique individuals, some of whom were enthusiastic enough to take part in our burpee competitions, and many others who did not know what a burpee was.  And it was really inspiring to see these same faces out on the course last weekend.

There was the cancer survivor from my gym, the woman with the prosthetic leg that I met at an adventure run, and a teammate who completed the race with a broken arm (and some help from her friends).  The Biggest Loser resort, which makes its home at Calamigos Ranch, also reserved a heat, and I must say that I really admire all those runners who never gave up and completed the course to the best of their ability.

I was also moved by racer Daren de Heras’s words,  “Spartan Race is really about family.”

Daren and his friends demonstrated this out on the course at Malibu, where he committed to running the course seven times (including the Hurricane Heat).  Spartan Race usually does not allow this sort of thing, but when he found out that Daren was doing this to support a friend’s animal rescue charity (From There to Care), Joe Desena gave permission along with a special challenge – Daren had to run each lap with some sort of impediment or handicap, e.g., carrying a log, wearing a weight vest or elevation mask, carrying a log or war hammer, etc.  I ran into Daren on his 5th lap, and he was noticeably hobbled by the difficult terrain, but he was not going to quit, and with the support of his friends, many of whom ran a lap with him, he was able to complete Joe’s challenge.

The biggest team competition also illustrated this sense of community in the way that it brought The Weeple Army team together.  Last year, this team ran their first Spartan Race together at Malibu with a little over 20 members.  Over 2012, the team grew, running a plethora of other mud runs, training events, and Spartan Races.  At this year’s event, the team’s VIP tent (that they received for winning the competition) was barely big enough to contain the almost 200 team members who ran the race!

Though the fog blocked out the sky, several stars did make an appearance at the Malibu Spartan Race.  Actor Scott Bakula (from Star Trek Enterprise and Quantum Leap) completed his first Spartan Race on Sunday and loved it, taking 5thplace in his age group.  Tony Besson (from Spiderman 3, Nip/Tuck, and Entourage) completed the Saturday event as well.  Evan Dollard (Winner of 2008 American Gladiator TV competition and American Ninja Warrior competitor)

Scott Bakula

ran his second Spartan Race, placing 32nd overall in the elite heat with a time of 41:14.  Evan acknowledged that the wet, slippery hills were a challenge. “I’m used to obstacle courses that run about 100 yards, so it was really difficult to keep up during the running portions of the race.”

We’d like to thank our incredible volunteers without which, we’d never be able to put on such incredible events.  In the end, I think runners at the 2012 Malibu Spartan Sprint will take with them not only a great deal of mud, scrapes, and bruises, but also fond memories of the camaraderie and the personal triumph they experienced at the event.  Look forward to seeing you all again in 2013.  Click HERE to register for 2013!

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by Carrie Adams

Originally posted in Carrie’s blog: www.leavingapath.com

“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness” –Unknown

SR_HURRICANE_BadgeAs I exited the hotel lobby at 4:30AM in the dark Southern California morning, I shuddered against the cold and watched my breath escape harshly into the air.  “So much for Malibu sunshine,” I remember thinking.  Hopping in the car with Tommy and Joe we drove over to the venue to kick off an early morning challenge with about 100 people in the earliest Spartan Race Heat – the Hurricane Heat.  Born in the belly of a hurricane it’s a heat that’s about everything BUT racing, it’s about making connections, completing tasks in extreme conditions and Malibu was the newest installment of an experience that was constantly evolving.  In the Hurricane Heat, I’m acting as facilitator not as the participant.  And it’s a new game when you’re on the other side of the ball. 

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by Carrie Adams

Undeterred by torrential rainfall Friday, Spartan Race’s Super Spartan presented by Dolphin Fitness went off without a hitch on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Wolfe’s Pond Park.  Lots of muddy mayhem lay in wait for the Spartan athletes brave enough to take on the eight mile course.

DSCN2098A new feature you’ll be seeing at upcoming races is the Hurricane Heat and Staten Island was the second installment of the new series of heats put on by Spartan Race at our events.  Starting in the early morning and before dawn, the Hurricane Heaters of Staten Island set off on the course led by Joe DeSena, Spartan Staffers (myself included), and with headlamps lighting the way on the muddy course.  Part Death Race camp, part team “fun” run, this early heat incorporated additional punishment and physical challenges inside the race course.  Thirty burpees were issued at every obstacle and picking up logs, rocks, and sometimes each other along the course, the final Hurricane Heaters came across the line, some being buddy carried for some extra toughness, after nearly four hours on the trail.

DSCN2154As the Hurricane Heaters were wrapping up, the competitive heat was just getting their day started!  Taking off at 9 AM, they attacked the course and Hobie Call, 34, once again ruled the day taking the top spot with a time of 56:03.  He was followed by Junyong Pak, 33, with a time of 1:00:22 and Matthew Kepler, 22, took third with a time of 1:01:09.  The ladies had a fantastic showing as well!  Stephanie Vaughan, 32, took first place female with a time of 1:16:37 followed by Una Broderick, 30, 1:21:26 and Courtney Kistler, 30, close behind with a time of 1:21:53.

DSCN2120Al Harrington, Jersey Native and Denver Nuggets star also took on the brutal course finishing in just over an hour and a half.  He ran alongside fellow Spartan athletes on the 8 mile course and had a lot of fun doing it!  Team Frado and his group of Biggest Loser runners also had a great showing at the race!  Their efforts and accomplishments are inspiring!

311379_10150289624796082_608446081_8341044_997695512_nThe star of the show on race day had to be the course itself.  Designed by Nick Moore and built by Russell Cohen, Nick, and the dedicated Spartan Race build team it made the beautiful venue of Wolfe’s Pond Park memorable for anyone who ran it despite rainy conditions during the build process!  The course featured some great single track trails, creek running, some of our signature obstacles near spectator areas including a barbed wire crawl, slippery walls, spear throws, and of 296970_10150319978619033_601879032_8025143_1691774055_n (1)course our Spartan Gladiator pit near the finish.  Beach running was another unique feature of this race with two portions of the course going over sand.  The crowing jewel of the event was the culvert crawl spanning five lanes of traffic.  Athletes swam beneath the highway in chest deep water to lead them to a two and a half mile loop in the woods.  Coming back they swam again under the culvert to get back to the course and head back towards the finish.

303291_2371759222773_1514303834_32529137_107150313_nThe kids race, always a fun event, featured our littlest Spartans taking on a tough course of their own!  They did a great job in their 12:05 PM heat and the spectators got quite a show as they climbed cargo nets, ran the beach, traversed balance beams, crawled under ropes, and got nice and muddy in the process!

It was a memorable day in a great venue.  If you missed your chance to get some Spartan Gear, head over to our online store and order something to wear proudly after your amazing finishes on Saturday!

A big thanks to our volunteers for their help on race day with all the details!  Many more stories about our amazing event in Staten Island, including a wrap-up on Spartan Radio Tuesday night at 10PM/9PM Central time.  From everyone at Spartan Race, we would just want to THANK our athletes and their family and friends for coming out to spend the day with Spartan Race.  We loved having over 4,500 athletes and over nearly 2,000 Spectators come rock it with us on Saturday.

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Want to get registered?  Want to know what it feels like to call yourself a Spartan?  Get registered.  You’ll know at the finish line.

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Thank you to all our amazing sponsors who helped make SI fantastic!  Dolphin Fitness our Presenting Sponsor, Air National Guard & Rise to the Challenge Tour, 180 Body Clinic & Musceology, Army, CKO Staten Island, Intoxx Fitness, Apex Wrestling, Museum Replicas who does all our amazing trophies, Powerade, and Zico!

 

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Picture3When Hurricane Irene threatened the East Coast and the state forced us to shut down our Sunday Amesbury race in August, our staff, volunteers and crew were devastated.  Joe Desena, one our founders, was more upset than anyone about the unfortunate situation.  After some creative planning and 9,000 emails to set up the logistics, more than 150 Spartans showed up at 5am Saturday morning to tackle the Amesbury course with Joe and a few Spartan employees.  Little did they know, they’d be put on teams with strangers, forced to carry sandbags and do 30 burpees at every obstacle, whether they got through it cleanly or not. But they did not toil alone. Alongside their teammates they forged Spartan bonds of camaraderie and teamwork.

Over the course of two a half hours, members of Team Orange Hat, Team Green, and307192_10150273015585866_544365865_8255628_2393416_s others were challenged beyond what they had expected.  It was an emotional day, and no Spartan was left behind, as teammates waited at each obstacle to make sure everyone came out on the other side.   It was an experience that can only be described as priceless.  We’re doing our best to recreate that exact experience on Staten Island.

The Hurricane Heat gives runners the chance to meet and run with the Founders and staff of Spartan Race in a unique and memorable way.  Held at 5:30 AM September 24th on the Staten Island Wolfe’s Pond Park venue it will take you through the course in groups with the goal of just finishing the course.  No chips, no clock, just a fun run Spartan-style that represents what our company and our athletes are about… getting up when you’re knocked down and finishing what you start. 

Successful finishers earn a finisher medal, a Hurricane Heaters badge, entry into a closed networking group, a finisher t-shirt, and the chance of a lifetime finding the Spartan finish line a Hurricane Heater.   Hurricane Heats will be making appearances at other Spartan Races so stay tuned! 

Only 100 spots to fill… sign up now!

photo (32)Head to the Staten Island Registration Page to secure your spot!  The Hurricane Heat is available in registration for $150 and includes all the perks, and gets you a shot at Hurricane Heater status!  Registration for this closes at 11:59pm on September 22nd so get signed up today!

Already registered and want to add this special to heat to your existing race time?  We’ve got you covered!  Visit us HERE to find out how. 

From our Amesbury Hurricane Heaters, Class of 2011:

“Thank you to all the organizers for putting together and making the hurricane heat possible. It was above and beyond the call of duty and something we all will never forget.” – Kevin Andrews

“I am so thankful that I made it through that hurricane heat! I think about it daily and wish I could be carrying buckets of rocks up hills with good friends everyday.” – Jennifer Coletti

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by Carrie Adams

photo (8)When news of the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene began to circulate, Spartan HQ worked diligently to keep race doors open for the weekend.  When the State of Massachusetts shut down the site and the venue for Sunday’s August 28th day of racing, and declared a state of emergency we were forced to cancel the heats.  Amidst the disappointed racers and staffers, no one was more upset than our own owner, Joe DeSena and the crews, course designers, and builders ready to race in Amesbury. 

Plans for possible Sunday heats evaporated when we were notified that streets would be shut down and the Sunday permit would no longer be valid.  A new plan was necessary.  Phone calls, site visits, and last minute adjustments were made and SR staffers managed to negotiate an alternative for a few Spartan athletes brave enough to take on the challenge.  By noon on Friday, an invitation went out to all Sunday racers giving them the chance to try Spartan’s course with a unique twist.  An early morning run through the course led by some of the Founders of Spartan Race.  And just like that, Running with the Founders: The Hurricane Heat was born.

Running in teams with self-determined names like “Team Orange Hat”, “Team Death”, “Team Sandbag”  and without chips at 6 AM, Saturday, August 27th more than 150 people spent nearly 2 1/2 hours with Joe DeSena and other Spartan staff racing the course, doing burpees together, hauling sand bags and getting a taste of what motivates our company of athletes to do what we do with our races. 

The athletes, dubbed the Hurricane Heaters, earned their finisher medals and in their own words, told of their experience out in the woods, in the mud, and in the company of some other amazing runners who took part in the first heat of it’s kind. 

295983_10150268187534094_719939093_7734733_2197212_s“1st Spartan ever! Thanks to “Sandman” team! I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to the Founders and letting us race with you at 6AM! See you next year!!!” –Elizabeth Leonard

“Couldn’t let Irene get in the way! PROUD member of Team Orange 319538_184409291631773_100001881097696_452202_3039320_sHat! –Stacie Dufour

“Team Orange Hat Forever!! :) – Domenic Fernandes

“Running the Amesbury Race twice in one day was awesome! Hobie is def a damn Beast. Joe once again thanks for taking the 6 am Hurricane Heat and making it worth the 2 1/2 hour drive to the race. Team Disconnected rocked it.” – Nathan Holmes

“Team Green of the Hurricane Division. You all rule!! No questions.” – Jennifer Sullivan

307192_10150273015585866_544365865_8255628_2393416_s“Can’t thank Joe enough for making the Hurricane Heat happen! It was 2.5 hours of torture but we loved every minute of it! Thanks for designing such a challenging course, pushing us to our limits, and running along with us carrying a sandbag! Thanks to Team Orange Hat for killing it! And Mr. Orange Hat himself for dragging that sandbag under the barbed wire for the team!” –Alison Brown

“Thanks, Spartan organizers, for putting together this morning’s Hurricane Heat. Wish Irene would have let us have Sunday, but this was a great and perhaps more memorable alternative. Toughest course I’ve done (so far). Go Team North Shore!” – David Elston-Pollock

“The Amesbury course was awesome this year, even better than the last.. Thanks for lettling the Hurricane division run and Team Death kick axx!” – Jonathan Rheaume

“Thank you to all the organizers for pulling together and making the hurricane heat possible. It was above and beyond the call of duty, and something we all will never forget. For all those people who complained about the situation, I hope you were there to enjoy the heat with us, and recognize how hard they worked to make it happen. Special thanks to Joe for running with us at 6am with a sandbag for the entire race!” – Kevin Andrews

185366_10150267168401861_251061411860_8237135_5236174_nWe were thrilled to give some Spartans a memorable experience in Amesbury Running with the Founders. It should come as no surprise to you that Joe D and few Hurricane Heaters took to the trails on Sunday to get in a training run…

On a more serious note, our thoughts go out to all those still at the mercy of Hurricane Irene.  Our own HQ in Vermont has been hit hard and many people are without homes, power, and have been evacuated with no sure sign of when they can return.  We hope that Irene passes soon and the recovery can soon follow.  Stay safe until we race with you again, Spartans. 

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