Like moths to a flame, the Spartan Race community was drawn to Cliffs Insane Terrain Park in Marseilles, Illinois for two days of intense trails and obstacles that would test all those who were willing to push themselves. With this being the Super Championship for the year, the men’s elite line-up read like a who’s who of Spartan Race with the Spartan Pro Team seeing a lot of the podium all weekend.

On the men’s side the competition was tough.  Spartan Pro Team men Brakken Kraker, Hunter McIntyre and David Magida finished in a 1-2-3 ahead of so many highly skilled athletes.  In fact, the top three finishers in the elite heat Saturday and Sunday on the men’s side were all Spartan Pro Team athletes.

Amelia Boone kept her winning streak alive by winning both Saturday and Sunday, despite getting lost on Saturday for over

Iram Leon with Spartan Race Race Director Mike Morris

ten minutes and clawing her way back to the front of the pack. Boone has never failed to podium at a Spartan Race and her Sunday finish saw only five men finish before her, nabbing not only first female but sixth overall.  Behind Boone, Spartan Pro Team females rounded out the female podium Saturday with Hannah Orders in second and Leslie St Louis in third. Orders made many jaws drop at the fact that despite losing a shoe mid-race, she finished just two minutes behind the leader on Saturday. Leslie St Louis fought off brave competition for third in a highly competitive field.

Also racing in the elite heat both days was the quiet and unassuming Iram Leon. A terminal cancer marathon winner, Leon is an inspirational runner. Leon placed high, despite being very new to the concept of obstacle course racing. The marathon champion charged at the course, wearing a shirt with a runner being chased by the Grim Reaper, with the caption, “Make Him work for it”.

Brad Kloha, who is running 100 races in 52 weeksto raise money for Alzheimer’s was on-hand in Illinois. He is running to

honor the memory of his grandmother and great-grandmother who he lost to the disease and hopes to raise $1 Million to aid the charity. Kloha runs every race with a photo of his grandmother strapped to his forearm to remind him of his purpose.

The Unbreakable Joneses, a father son team we recently profiled who often does multiple laps, also took to the highly technical trails, mud and obstacles in Illinois.   Last seen sprinting around the Texas Sprint multiple times, the father and son team known affectionately known as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” successfully completed the course 3 times; once for speed, once carrying sledgehammers and once tethered together.

AC Auld – a Biggest Loser participant – remarked that finishing is, “an achievement that no one can take away from you.”  He smiled cheerfully and held up his hands bearing two wounds opened up while low crawling under the barbed wire.  Spartans wear their cuts and bruises with pride.

Love was also in the air!  In what is quickly becoming a tradition at Spartan Races all over the country,  Megan Pritchard happily accepted Michael Manning’s request for her hand in marriage amid huge cheers and applause at the finish line.  We wish them the best!

Danny Rodriguez

The longest and hardest journey of the weekend was that of someone who is no stranger to what a Spartan Race can offer. Weighing over 400lbs, Danny Rodriguez, along with some friends and a couple of staff members, hiked and fought his way through an epic nine hours to cross the finish line to a flurry of high-fives, knucklebumps and teary-eyed hugs. Personifying the “sign up, show up, don’t quit” attitude, Danny is now undergoing the very same regime Chris Davis went through with Spartan Race founder Joe Desena in Vermont in a bid to emulate the same weight loss and lifestyle change. Everyone at Spartan Race would like to wish Danny good luck for the next few months.

A big thanks goes out to the Cornfed Spartan team whose volunteering, work and course sweeping for the Midwest race was an immeasurable asset.  Thanks, Cornfed!

Next up, the Sprint championship in the Pacific Northwest. Who will come out on top? You’ll know at the finish line…

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by TyAnn Clark, Spartan Pro Team

The pressure is officially on for this weekend at the Midwest Reebok Spartan Spartan July 20th and 21st! Located at the Cliffs Offroad Park in Marseilles llinois, runners can expect to have heat, humidity, thick mud, unique obstacles, beautiful terrain, and competitive heats. The park is an off-road ATV trail park that winds through trees and trails – with plenty of dips perfect for a Spartan mud pit. Though the hills are not as steep as we’ve seen in other races, there will be plenty of them to keep it challenging. Don’t expect an easy course though. For the past two years, the mud has been extra deep and plentiful.

There were many obstacles unique to the Midwest Spartan in the past two years. In the past, logs have dominated the landscape: logs in the water, logs to cross, logs to climb. With the addition of severe muddiness, things will probably get interesting. If the rope climb and log hop looked hard before, try it covered in a nice thick layer of slop on top. Last year, cold temperatures had runners reeling, this year the hot and humid forecast will be a whole new challenge for those returning to the Midwest.

There will be plenty of strong athletes present to make the competitive heats worth watching. On the women’s side, there will

Amelia Boone

be several present that know how to win a Spartan race. Amelia Boone, the 2012 Midwest champion and recent winner of the Indiana race will be there, as well as Canadian and Spartan Pro Team member Rose Marie Jarry fresh off of an injury. The 2012 2nd place points champion, Leslie St. Louis will also be present. Other strong female competitors include: Sue Luck, Melinda Branch, Spartan Pro Team member Angela Reynolds, and Tonya L Stogsdill.

On the men’s side, there will be many athletes that will be hoping to challenge Spartan Pro Team Hunter McIntyre’s strong performance this year. Hunter is fresh off a win at the Citi Bank Spartan Sprint and has placed high in every race that he has competed in. Fellow Spartan Pro Team members Brakken Kraker (2013 Carolina Sprint 1st place) and Elliot Megquier (2013 Texas Sprint 1st place) came in first and second last year on Saturday’s course. Other men that to watch from the Spartan Pro Team are Shawn Feiock, David Magida, Miguel Medina, and Alec Blenis. Rounding out the stiff competition is Joseph Kauder and Brian Hoover.

Iram Leon

Two other notable men will be on-hand in the Midwest. Brad Kloha is running several Spartan Races this year as part of a campaign to run 100 races in 52 weeks to raise money for Alzheimer’s. He was featured on the Spartan blog earlier this week. See that story HERE.

Also, Iram Leon will be participating in the Chicago race. Leon is a well-known endurance athlete, who won a marathon in 2012. He is also a terminal cancer patient who participated in the Austin Spartan Race earlier this year and who won the Gusher Marathon in Beaumont, Texas, finishing in 3:07:35 and pushing his six year old daughter in a stroller. You can read more about his story HERE.

Make sure to check up on the race results this weekend to see who will be crowned the Spartan Super Champion.

Ready to run?  Sign up and find your own Spartan finish line HERE.

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