Three years ago, April 2012, the Spartan Race series descended upon the small town of Laurel, IN playing host to the very first Founders Race. This past weekend, the Spartans returned and with them they brought all of their comrades. What started out three years ago with around 2500 Spartans has now grown to over 10,000 Spartans who embraced the ethic of “knowing at the finish line.”
Starting the weekend off as usual were those seeking that extra bit of challenge via the Spartan Hurricane Heat, this time taking place on the Friday evening before the race. After four hours of brutal team building challenges, Tony Matesi, with the assistance of Andé Wegner, Ian Nichols, Todd Sedlak, and JJ Lipetzky, led 130 Hurricane Heaters from being complete strangers to a proud finish, exemplifying the Warrior Ethos imprinted on the HH dog tags they earned through bumps, bruises and burpees.
The sun rose the next morning welcoming the elite racers with the warmest weather seen in Indiana since that Founders Race three years back. Spartan warm-ups were led by Spartan SGX Coaches, Sarah Pozdol and Steve Manns. Ready to tackle what just might be one of the toughest Sprints of the season were Spartan Pro Team members, Brakken Kraker, Amelia Boone, and Elliot Megquier. Joining them were Spartan elite racers, Joseph Kauder, Tonya Stogsdill, Brakken’s brother McCauley Kraker, Laura Messner, Ben Lehman, Kevin Donoghue, Laura Lunardi, Margaret Anthony, Chris McCorkle, and Andé Wegner.
The course offered an incredible challenge to runners, with obstacles frequently spaced to break things up just enough to prevent the runners from getting into too much of a groove. That wasn’t enough to slow Spartan Pro Amelia Boone from absolutely dominating the course and leaving her competition twelve minutes behind and in doing so, establishing another 1st place podium finish. Rounding out the women was 2nd place finisher, Amy Pajcic and taking third was Tonya Stogsdill. On the men’s side, Brakken Kraker and his brother McCauley led the pack almost all the way to the end but a fall off the traverse wall prevented the brothers from delivering the one-two punch. Brakken came in first over Spartan Pro teammate Elliot Meqguir and in third was Jordon Buscemi.
Spartans come from all over the country to attend Spartan Races and the same held true for the Indiana Spartan Sprint. With people coming from Chicago, IL, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia, it’s impressive to see how many people will venture out into the “unknown” to conquer their fears and push their limits. This held more true than ever when we met Eddie Ramos who biked 140 miles from Fort Wayne, IN to attend not only the Friday night Hurricane Heat but also the race Saturday morning followed by volunteering throughout the weekend. Eddie demonstrated the spirit of being a Spartan and we look forward to seeing if he’s able to take on the challenge presented of biking from Fort Wayne to Vermont for the World Championship this September.
The Amphibious Medic Team was back on the scene providing their unbelievable abilities to assess any situation and provide the necessary care to all of our racers all weekend long. We cannot express the appreciation we have for their incredible team led by David Gonzales and staffed by Jennifer Dierks.
Not surprising at all were the amount of teams in attendance encapsulating the spirit of the Midwest. From the biggest team who originally brought Spartan Race to Indiana, the Corn Fed Spartans, to the breadth of teams here to conquer the course through pure camaraderie including: Fire, Illuminati, Midwest Vikings, Team Ninja, and the Chicago Spartans. You could see the always helpful hands of all these teams on and off the course helping each other, cheering each other on and making sure everyone crossed that finish line.
Always bringing the biggest smiles to the crowd were the Spartan Kids as they conquered the Spartan Kids Race course and showed us just a taste of what the future of Spartan looks like. Returning to the kids course was the always happy face of Matthias Vescelus who refuses to let his lack of sight prevent him from tackling the obstacles with pure determination. Congrats to all the Junior Spartans who conquered their course.
It was another incredible weekend of Spartan filled fun and we look forward to the next time the Spartan Race series returns to the welcoming town of Laurel, IN. Thank you for your hospitality. Next up, Spartan Race brings the return of the Military Sprint to Fort Carson, CO. There’s still time to sign up and we’ll see you at the finish line.