by Rhyan Ellington

Twenty years ago I started having panic attacks, terrible panic attacks. Diagnosed with Severe Anxiety Disorder I would stay close to home and for a while and not even leave my house. In that time I had good stretches and terrible stretches, I didn’t think I’d ever be free! I put my faith in God and kept my world close to my comfort zone.

Flash forward a little, I’m married to a beautiful wife with 2 perfect children and still not pushing myself. Then I saw the Spartan Race page on Facebook and became obsessed! I got locked in health wise, followed the daily Spartan tips – you can sign up for the free workouts – www.spartanrace.com/wod and I used it to focus on the Indiana Spartan Sprint. That goal is what I needed to really change my life.

I dropped 115lbs and found myself with my wife smack in the middle of the event, pushing myself through panic, muscle fatigue and more importantly away from my comfort zone! After finishing I’m so much more aware of what I’m capable of when you push through fears and S.T.F.U. I thank you all your workers and participants for an incredible time and new addiction to life!

Spartan for life!

Rhyan Ellington, alive again!

Find your finish line.  Click HERE for events near you.

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I do not talk about myself when it comes to the Corn Fed Spartans because all of its success has been due to the dedication of everyone on the team and the family atmosphere each person provides. Through this family of racers, and a big help from Spartan Race, something was accomplished on April 21st, 2012 that had not been done before. A team, that was created to bring a Spartan Race to Indiana, turned into a family from different walks of life for one thing…each other.

Here is a brief history of the team. Nate and I ran the Midwest Spartan Sprint in Illinois in 2011. A few weeks later, during a phone call which we talked about bringing one to Indiana, he threw out the name, Corn Fed Spartans, and we knew that was the name. After volleying, spamming, and emailing people to death, the race happened and became the first ever “Founders Race.” After that race, restructuring of the team created a more family feel and unity driven team. Several road trips, races, and members later, Corn Fed has grown into a powerful family of racers all willing to trade time and speed in order to help each and every one on the team to cross the finish line.

Writing about the Indiana Spartan Race always touches my heart and fills me with so much emotion and tears. Imagine back when you did your very first obstacle race. You didn’t know what it was like, unsure if you could finish, and when you did, the emotion that you felt for the few minutes following. Indiana is that for me because of what it stands for. If it were not for Spartan Race, the Corn Fed Spartans would not be here….wow…. to me, and several others, that cannot even be imagined. When Nate and I thought of this and started the team, it was simply a place to gather to get the race, but after being on this ride for the past 17 months, it has and will continue to be a staple in the OCR community along with teams like the Weeple Army, Team SISU, and NE Spahtens to name a few. We will gladly share the battlefield with them as we all become the best families we can be.

An excerpt from someone that ran his first Spartan Race: “I “joined” this group with desire to spend more time with Rick Bosley. I ran my first OCR (CerebRun in Wrightsville PA) just to spend time with him, and do the things he does…to show interest in his life; I also did it because this OCR was based upon intelligence, and the two of us tend to strive in that area. I never planned on making a lifestyle change…but little did I know. Rick made me a part of the group and from the minute I started looking at posts on FB, I began to realize something big was taking place. I started mulling over the affordability of Indiana…and without hesitation Jonathan Nolan stepped up big for me. From the minute I stepped onto the grounds at Indiana, I knew something was happening…something awesome. I saw hugs and love; I saw strength and support. I regret that I didn’t meet most of you because home commitments limited my time there. When the race started, I found myself in an entire heat that embodied the Corn Fed motto “If you want to know…run with us” I saw an entire heat of runners helping out any and everybody in their path, and I followed suit. I apologize if I didn’t help all of you, because it became my intention to do so, I simply could not find myself staying on course for that long. After I finished, and after over an hour on the slippery wall, I couldn’t find Rick and Maribel, so knowing my time constraints I went to clean up. Post clean-up I put Rick’s bib number in the computer to look for his time, and 4 hours later he still hadn’t crossed. I stood by the slippery wall and shortly after I saw the tip of a flag come across followed by the signature red Mohawk…AWESOME! It was at this point that I felt the true love and determination that Corn Fed had…or so I thought. Then I started seeing pictures, and videos of that group carrying a Biggest Loser member across the traverse wall. This made me more proud then the comments about me helping people…this made me proud to be Corn Fed. You all, each and every one of you are an inspiration and you are ALL BEASTS!

In the words of Ricky Booby, you carried your feet to the start line, and you carried them over the finish. You got up the nerve to do this, and you completed it all on your own. It is for reasons like that, that I am proud to embody the Corn Fed name, and I wear it with pride. Thank you Rick for steering me away from sedentary behavior, and thank you Corn Fed for all you do. AROO!” -Adam Joseph Witmer-Bosley

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SNAP Infusion, one of Spartan Race’s newest partners, are the creators of SUPERCANDY and the official SUPERCANDY of Spartan Race for the 2013 season. They made their debut at the Spartan Race at Citi Field. At 2013 U.S. events, SNAP Infusion will set up aid stations on the course providing SUPERCANDY to athletes to help get them through the race, and compete at their very best.

SNAP Infusion is a proud supporter of Vitamin Angels, a charity that brings health to millions of children throughout the world. They recently launched a program, SUPER MOMS, that will be running through Mother’s Day and will feature special Spartan Race SUPER MOMS! We will be highlighting the SUPERMOMS of the Spartan Race Series, because we believe that every mom is super, and we are searching for the perfect pairing of the Super Spartan Moms whether it be for personal accomplishment, family or a cause.

Our first SUPERMOM is Katie Vescelus, who shaved her head bald and participated in the Spartan Race as a fundraiser for St. Baldricks. Katie is mother of two very special boys, Magnus and Matthias. At three months old, Matthias was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare cancerous tumor in his eyes. He spent the majority of his first year fighting for his life and endured six months of chemotherapy. Near the end of treatment, his main tumors started growing again and despite his doctor’s best efforts, Matthias’ eyes were both removed before his first birthday.

Matthias is now cancer free and hasn’t let blindness hold him back. He attends preschool with sighted peers and enjoys playing with his older brother and neighborhood friends, swimming, climbing, riding his tricycle and learning to play the piano. He will be under the care of an oncologist for the rest of his life due to a genetic mutation that makes him predisposed to developing other cancers.

This was Katie’s first Spartan Race. She was inspired last year as a spectator cheering on her husband, Craig, and older son

, Magnus. It looked like fun, and a great challenge. Katie admits that she was not at all in shape at the time, so it gave her something to work toward. She is now focused on training for the Midwest Spartan Super in July. Her training includes a lot of running and a big focus on upper body strength..oh and a lot of burpees

So, how does she find time to train and juggle being a full-time mom? Katie shares her secret “It can be difficult to find the time/energy to train, but I really wanted to finish this race. That kept me going. My family is a great motivator as well. Craig and I work as a team, both as parents and training partners. We push each other and help each other, often taking turns watching the kids while the other goes out for a run or other training session. Magnus (our 6 year old son) is a huge ball of intense sunshine who cheers me on and keeps me going. His energy is contagious. And Matthias inspires me as much as he inspires others. He is this little juggernaut wrapped in a cute little huggable package. Nothing stops him. Long ago we decided that if we were going to help him push his limits, we were going to need to be willing to do the same.”

Now that is a SUPER MOM!

Mother’s day is around the corner, is your mom your super? Share the story of your SUPERMOM with SNAP Infusion and Vitamin Angels #mysupermom

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by Brakken Kraker, Spartan elite athlete

When I arrived at Haspin Acres a year ago, I truly had no idea what to expect. As Spartan’s first ever “Founder’s Race”, it was being billed as a sort of return to the roots of ancient Sparta: a primal, stripped down race. It sounded intriguing, but it really didn’t paint a clear picture of what we were to expect come race time. No one had any real idea of what we were about to endure.

A little over half an hour later, I crossed the finish line smiling, having enjoyed almost every second of the race (other than the barbed wire crawl). The experience was very different from my previous two Spartan forays. From the start the “primal” theme was set as we were immediately directed into the frigid shallows of the lake before returning to the course. There was no rope climb, no traverse wall, no spear throw, no sandbags, and no balance obstacle; in truth, it was lacking any one of the defining “Spartan Race” obstacles. Despite this, the course had been a blast to race! It wound constantly up and down ATV trails. The trails were coated in an orange mud, soaked by the week’s rainfall, which made any sort of incline nearly impossible to run up.

And then there was the barbed wire crawl. The endless barbed wire crawl. It was littered with hay bales that prevented you from rolling. It forced you crawl its entire length, arm pull after burning arm pull. And just as you finally emerged from that torture, you ran around a corner and found yourself facing another identical stretch of wire. In your final strides you were confronted with a log barrier that loomed over your head. I watched as many a racer accelerated to the finish, only to find they could not make it over the final barrier. One of the top five racers lost his spot, just feet away from a podium finish.

This Indiana race will be wide open on both the men’s and women’s side, with several of the big names in Spartan Race taking the week off in preparation for the mighty Colorado Sprint which looms in the coming week. Spartan Pro Team racer Elliott Megquier will be joining me at the starting line, we will find out if LeEarl will be making his 2013 debut, and my brother McCauley may just make the drive down with me to throw his hat in the ring.

Race Director Todd Sedlak is making his debut in Indiana and has promised a brand new course completely different than last year, less than five miles in distance, but no finish times under an hour. It’s time to head to the Midwest! See you on the course!

Register today!

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Matthias Vescelus is one of five 2013 St. Baldrick’s Foundation Ambassadors. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money to fund the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

The five Ambassadors are a reminder that cancer affects more than 175,000 children worldwide each year – worldwide, every three minutes a child is diagnosed, and in the U.S. one in five kids diagnosed will not survive.

At three months old, Matthias was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare cancerous tumor in his eyes. He spent the majority of his first year fighting for his life and endured six months of chemotherapy. Near the end of treatment, his main tumors started growing again and despite his doctor’s best efforts, Matthias’ eyes were both removed before his first birthday.

Matthias is now cancer free and hasn’t let blindness hold him back. He attends preschool with sighted peers and enjoys playing with his older brother and neighborhood friends, swimming, climbing, riding his tricycle and learning to play the piano. He will be under the care of an oncologist for the rest of his life due to a genetic mutation that makes him predisposed to developing other cancers.

Matthias’ mom, Katie, shaved for the second time this year to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Matthias’ dad, Craig, and brother, Magnus, became Spartans last year after finishing the Founders’ Race in Indiana. This year Matthias and his mom, Katie, will participate in the race with the team Odin’s Raiders (a nod to Craig’s Viking heritage and Matthias, whose middle name is Odin).

This year Matthias is planning to participate in the kids’ Spartan Race, the race is another way for him to inspire others to not let cancer define them. Matthias’ excitement to compete in the Race blind is another way he is enjoying his role as a St. Baldrick’s Ambassador, to be a face, voice and name for kids with cancer, and by doing so, encourage other survivors to dream big and reach their goals!

It’s not too late to sign up and join Matthias in Indiana.  Click HERE to sign up!

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by Carrie Adams

555556_10150665851861861_251061411860_9829389_460044765_nFor the first time ever, Spartan Race offered a primal version of our race in Indiana coined the Founder’s Race and featuring a stripped down, raw encounter with Spartan elements.  Kicked off with a cannon blast, it was anything but typical even by Spartan standards.  Designed by Spartan Founders and engaging the athlete’s in the primal terrain, it proved to be one of our toughest courses to date.  70% of the participants can call themselves finishers.  Here is what people are saying about the Founder’s Race Indiana.

It was my 3rd Spartan Sprint. Will be doing more!!! This was by far the most “Raw”580295_10150665851906861_251061411860_9829390_417070038_n course out there. No fancy obstacles mainly what was already out there in nature or modified with a tractor/backhoe etc……AROO!!!!

Second Spartan Race and Third Obstacle Course race.  This made all others seem like the teacup ride at Disney.

After this, I can’t wait to see what waits in Colorado! 

This was my first race of any type and I am so glad I did it. Butterflies in my stomach leading up to this race almost made me back out. So very glad I didn’t. I will definitely be doing more of these types of races and every SR that comes to the area! 

First race. Will do more. Race was a blast but all the people involved made it. All around friendliness and support was amazing.

538561_10150665851966861_251061411860_9829392_1575634716_nAtmosphere was great, the staff was extremely supportive, hilarious, and downright insane at times. I liked how a lot of obstacles forced you to work as a team, the cannon for a starting gun was a plus, and I liked how their were not a huge amount of bottlenecks during the race.

My third this year by far the hardest you guys did great!

First race, the feeling of family, helping, cheering made the race, of course I hated the barb wire part I now know I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was, doing the Chicago super now!

This is what I say when I encourage people to come to Spartan Race: You train and578929_10150665854986861_251061411860_9829469_1617895391_n run and lift and put yourself through workouts that no couch potato would ever attempt. Now what have you done to set YOUR STANDARD? What is your benchmark of your achievement? Mine is Spartan Race. Those of you posting above, the rookies, newbs, whatever you call yourselves, have set your mark HIGH. As I shouted out to the Spartans in my heat when I went through the first barbed wire crawl, a paraphrase quote from 300 “To this challenge, give NOTHING, but take from it EVERYTHING!”

My first of any sort also, and not only am I doing another (Palmerton in July) I’m taking the better half along with me for her very first also.

My 16-year old ran her first race yesterday and by the time we were headed to the car she had changed from “I don’t think I will ever do one again” to “I will do another one, but will wear something different.” It’s contagious!

My daughter can’t wait to be old enough to do the “real” race. She ran her first junior and did the entire mile, but most of it was with one shoe! She said she could do without it and the course could keep it.

536398_10150665855526861_251061411860_9829480_1612557632_nThroughout the entire race (and I was on the course more than 4 hours) everyone worked together and encouraged each other and I do mean EVERYONE. I can’t tell you the number of times that other Spartan racers made the difference in whether or not I got through an obstacle. I am simply in awe of how great this race was!

I know that my group sacrificed our finish time in order to spend time holding the nets for people and to chat along the way. I don’t care how long I was out there. I was just happy to be doing it with my family and friends!

My husband and four of our friends were with me too and we helped others out along the way but there were a couple obstacles that I needed additional assistance. Example: the 2nd cargo net, a woman stayed at the top encouraging me until I crossed over. Another was on a steep hill climb, I was near the top but struggling and two young Spartans each took a hand and basically pulled me to the top. This was just way too cool and a great lesson for me in learning to accept help too! This is why I will do another Spartan and believe me there were times I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing our here?” I knew when I crossed the finish line!

148918_10150665856461861_251061411860_9829499_859343158_nIt was my first, had a great time and not in too much pain today. I’m already signed up for the Midwest in Oct. Can’t wait!

So many people have mentioned the teamwork and the willingness of so many to sacrifice individual times to help others…I spent my fair share of time holding nets and pulling people up hills or out of the mud pits too and I think that was my absolute favorite part. It was awesome to see how people who were otherwise complete strangers in most cases were so ready and willing to extend that hand and help someone out. I’m already signed up for next years and so are a couple of my friends with more planning to do so tonight or tomorrow. We’re hooked!

This was my first OCR / mud run ever, plus I did the HH the night before, and I thought it was totally bad ass. Signing up for Midwest Super and Indiana 2013 tonight!

564319_10150665855991861_251061411860_9829491_1102842321_nI’m signed up for the Midwest Super on October 27th!

Yesterday was my first. June 2, 2007 my platoon was ambushed in Afghanistan and my legs were severally mangled. I have never had them tested in this capacity since that day. I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t have been tested any better and I’ll be back!

It was my first and far from last! Already signed up for next years with my girlfriend. Also going to sign up for the mid west super sprint. It was a great event well put on and run. The HH was a blast they did a great job pushing us. If this was a “bare bones” Spartan, I can’t wait to see the full on event! Maybe then they will have the spear throw and the gauntlet to run through.

Well, I’ve ran a couple of Spartan Races in my days, and I have got to say that this was a great race, especially considering the lack of some of the more traditional obstacles. The terrain was absolutely awesome, and you did a great job of putting it to use. I liked how there were two rope climbs and log carries. Kept it challenging, but don’t think it felt the least bit redundant. The barbed wire crawl was awesome. Breaking it up like you did made it much more challenging mentally and physically than it would have been if you would have just made it one long stretch. Personally, I think the race had all it needed to be a great event, and would rank it in the top three of hardest “Sprints” to date.

My first and it was awesome. I loved the barbed wire. I need to perfect my rope climb. I533446_10150665856981861_251061411860_9829511_894262425_n think the terrain was the best character in this obstacle course. Some of those ravines and gullies were brutal. I feel like there was a really important mental part of it to, just when you thought you were thinking you were in the last leg, there was another hill to climb stepper than the last. Aroo!

If you made it from start to finish, I don’t care how long it took you, if you stayed in the game and came out the other side. There is not any Spartan Race you can not do! I know I’ve done sprints, supers and the Beast. If you got through the founders race you can do them all!

For the distance…one of the toughest.

This was my first Spartan Race but not my first Obstacle Course Race I have done 2 Warrior Dash’s and a Farmathalon and this was by far harder than the 3 of those put together. One of those was on a ski resort so it was literally on the side of a mountain. The total distance was about 10.1 miles for all 3 and total time of about 127 minutes. My time Saturday was 123 minutes for the 4.3 miles!!! That’s pretty crazy. Definitely feel a little pride for completing this one.

This was my 3rd Spartan Sprint and by far the hardest! It didn’t have all the staple obstacles but I liked the change up. It was challenging and ultimately that’s what most people want, no matter what the challenge is. I LOVED the extra three feet of barbed wire around the corner, it was such a mind screw lol. And the team spirit was everywhere!! great to see strangers working together. And will I do another??? I’m doing 5 more this year AROOOOOOO!!!

The barbed wire was great! My group was fortunately narrow enough in the hips and shoulders to roll through parts of it – work smarter not harder, right? I loved all of the mud pits but my favorite was the pond swim because it caught people off guard.

I was going to hold back my two cents but I’ll toss it in. This course was a monster! I really love Spartan Race and can comfortably say I have an idea of what obstacles I will encounter. This course destroyed any other I have been to! You may not have climbed a wall, balanced a board, moved over the ninja wall or even thrown a spear, and I hear that. Let me tell you, no one but you who showed on Saturday will ever do what you did. Anybody can do the standard Spartan obstacles anywhere, some people have them in you back yard to train. No you guys had the most grueling, spirit draining, ego deflating, humility building course I have ever done or even seen. And on top of it all it was freezing! I personally say to each and every one of you who completed the course to register for the Beast in VT! If you did this four miles you can do the Beast. If this course didn’t break your spirit right in the beginning at the Devil’s Backbone, or that barbed wire, or those damn hay bails that just seemed to keep coming with water on either side. If you dragged your self out of those mud pits and climbed those cargo nets. Nothing can stop you!

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