Written by Pro Team member Elliot Megquier

Reebok Spartan Race will kick off the first of two race weekends in Tuxedo, NY which is just north of New York City by 45 miles. To say this is going to be a big event is an understatement. Tuxedo is the only race in the USA Spartan circuit that is a double back to back weekend. Last year Spartan Race held 3 races in Tuxedo over the course of 8 days. This year they’ve bumped it up to 4 races in 9 days.

Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center is the venue and you can expect numerous climbs to the summit that has an elevation of 1200 feet. Set in the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, be prepared to see ascents and descents through the woods, challenging obstacles after your legs are destroyed from climbing, one of the hardest uphill barb wire crawls on the circuit and of course lots of mud in and around the finish line.

Hunter and Glenn share a joke in Vegas.

For the men look for points leader and championship contender Hunter “the Sheriff” McIntyre to continue his recent dominance of the series, his top contender looks to be Glenn Racz who beat the Sheriff in Vegas, mountain man Matt “the Bear” Novakovich will look to maul the pretty boy from Malibu. Other Spartan Team men that could contend include David Magida, Isaiah Vidal, Elliott Megquier, Cody Moat, Miguel Medina, Brian Hoover, and Alexander Nicholas. However you can never count out the locals to include 2013 Week 1 Champion Patrick Grevalding, runner up Randy Feeley, and Kevin Donoghue.

On the women’s side look for reigning champion Amelia Boone who is coming off a win in Indiana to be the favorite, however Rose Wetzel-Sinnett has been hot on her heels and is coming off three straight wins in Texas and Montana, and look for TyAnn Clark to return from a recent battle with illness to build on her impressive win in Las Vegas the last time she raced. Other women who will contend include April Dee, Ella Kociuba, Tiffany Novakovich, Karlee Whipple, and Laura Messner.

Amelia Boone will look to assert her authority in NY.

Most of the stars will only be present for the second week of racing, so look for a possible dark horse to shock the field. You can never count anyone out and sometimes it is the person who you do not know that is gunning for you that is most dangerous. Other events to look forward to include the Kid’s Race and all the festival challenges where you can win an entry into an upcoming race. Looking for other ways to get a free race? Volunteer one of the days or even a half day. These wonderful events cannot happen without you help, Spartan Race Staff members are amazing and tireless workers but they cannot do it all without you! This is going to be an amazing two weeks you’ll you kicking yourself if you don’t come and experience at least one of the races…

The 2014 Tristate Tuxedo Sprint marks the start of guest blogger Elliott Megquier’s fourth year doing Spartan Races. Back in 2011 when Spartan Race first hosted a sprint in Tuxedo NY, he toed the line for the very first time, now he’s completed 85 races and is still as hooked as he was during his initial experience. It’s true Elliott’s a junkie.

Sign up for your next race today and you’ll understand what it means to “know at the finish line…”

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By Pro Team Member Chris Rutz

“Everything is bigger in Texas” is phrase that Spartan Race was determined to live up to in Austin. The race returned to Reveille Peak Ranch for its third year and drew in excess of 12,000 athletes. New this year was the Super distance. In past year only the Sprint distance race was run. This year the Super was added. All racers on Saturday ran the Super and all runners on Sunday ran the Sprint. This created the opportunity for 2/3 of the Trifecta in one weekend. It also creates the opportunity to earn a Trifecta without leaving the state on Texas. The Dallas Beast will be later this year on 11/1.

The Sprint course was essentially the first 1/3 and last 1/3 of the Super course. The Super course added a number of challenges not seen by those that ran the Sprint. The highlight of the Super course was a hill climb on slick rock that reminded many of the runners of sections of trail near Moab, UT. Much of the added distance of the Super included off trail bushwhacking and stream crossings. In addition the Super racers had an Atlas Stone carry and double the distance on the tractor pull to name a few of the additional challenges.

Both courses had some significant challenges. The climbing ropes seemed to be especially slick. Perhaps it was the Texas mud. The Spear also seemed to have a higher failure rate than normal. In a twist which runners hate and obstacle racers love, most of the “burpee” obstacles were clustered at the end of the course. The Traverse Wall, the Hercules Hoist, the Rope Climb and the Spear were all within the last ¼ mile of the race. Just before entering the festival area where these obstacles were clustered, racers were challenged with a 150 yard swim section. PFD and a bypass were available for non swimmers. This definitely is a favorite venue by most the Spartan faithful.

The Elite heats on each day were won by the same athletes,  John Yatsko of Flagstaff, AZ and Rose Wetzel of the Spartan Pro Team from Seattle, WA.  They each took home $2,500 for their victories, $2,000 on Saturday and $500 on Sunday. Prize money for Saturday’s race was funded by Navy Federal Credit Union. Rounding out the top 3 on Saturday were, Hobie Call (Utah) $1,000 and Chad Trammell (Washington)  $500 and Chikorita De Lego (Mexico) $1,000 and KK Paul (Arizona) $500. On Sunday’s Sprint, home town racer Isaiah Vidal and Elliott Megquier, both on the Spartan Pro Team placed second and third, with Chikorita De Lego and Laura Lunardi taking those same positions for the ladies.

It was a perfect weekend for a race in Texas. The weather was just right, the racers were pumped and the course delivered on the promises of Spartan Race. Next up are the Tri-State Sprints.

See you at the finish line! 

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Written By Pro Team member Glenn Racz

The Colorado Military Sprint at Fort Carson Army Base delivered another solid race weekend for over 8,000 participants.  This Military Sprint adds various different elements as compared to other Spartan races such as the increased amount of obstacles (25+) packed into the Sprint distance of about 4.5 miles and the nose-bleed elevation of over 6,000 feet.  These two aspects of the race proved to be a challenge to all competitors in the race.  The stakes were high on this race as this was one of the Navy Federal Credit Union $7,500 prize purse races – which helped to pull in some of the most hardcore obstacle racers from around the country.

The race conditions were ideal with moderate temperatures throughout the weekend.  However, the temperature was the only moderate feature in this race as once the racers took to the course, they all very quickly realized that this race would truly test how one could manage the extremely “obstacle dense” course along with the short, yet steep hills scattered throughout the course.

For the elite men on Saturday, Pro Team athletes Brakken Kraker and Glenn Racz took an early lead by mile 1, but Glenn Racz soon fell back behind Matt Novakovich and Chad Trammell after the Atlas Carry.  Half way through the race, recent Boston Marathon finisher, Brian Gowiski joined the lead pack.  Then after the ruck sack carry, Chad Trammell powered by Matt Novakovich to take and hold the lead to emerge the victor and take his first 1st place finish for a Saturday race.  But just 14 seconds behind Chad was Brakken Kraker and Matt Novakovich “The Bear” as they battled it out though the final 7 obstacles all stacked up before the finish line to give the spectators a great show with only 3 seconds separating them.  Athletes Brian Gowiski and Isaiah Vidal came in a noteworthy fourth and fifth place.  Then on Sunday, Matt Novakovich wasn’t allowed an easy victory with Isaiah Vidal just 3 seconds behind him for another exciting finish.  Pro Team athlete Elliott Megquier held off Brian Hoover in the final obstacles to take a 3rd place podium finish.

With so many close finishes happening now, it’s clear that the courses on the circuit are highlighting the need for good, all-round training. While some may blitz obstacles and others build leads with running, regular podium placings and good times are now reflected in the fact that working all aspects of the body are clearly yielding better results. The days in which relying on running would see you through are starting to disappear.

The women’s elite Saturday race proved to be just as much of a nail-biter since race came down to the spear throw – which was missed by front runner and returning champion April Dee which allowed competitors KK Paul and Orla Walsh to overtake her for 1st and 2nd place.  April Dee took 3rd place for the Saturday race but then came back Sunday to take 1st among elite women. These 3 women were the only female competitors to complete the course in under 1 hour – a reflection of just how difficult the course was this year. With each year that passes, it seems Fort Carson ups the ante a little more. Looking forward, it makes for a brutal prospect in 2015.

As ever, Spartan Race would like to thank Reebok, Core PowerClif Builder BarsEco VesselSpartanUP! Graphix and Spartan SGX.

Of course huge thanks go out to all the staff at Fort Carson for their help and support for making the Colorado Sprint as epic as ever.

Sign up for the next Spartan Race here and you’ll understand what it means to “know at the finish line”.

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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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Spartan Race is pleased to announce the official signing of Isaiah Vidal to the Spartan Race Pro Team. After aiming for this goal for some time, the son of Marble Falls, Texas was clearly elated at having reached what he was aiming for.

“You can’t accomplish goals by doing them half ass. Look to the Lord and you will find the strength he gifted you with. When I first started my road into Spartan I never had the intention to become great at the sport, because I was merely doing it for fun. When I started to realize that I was beating my body from racing, riding across the country, becoming a 2 x Spartan Death Race finisher, I needed to flip the way I viewed OCR into what God wanted me to do it for. April was one of the major reasons why I began competing and started to use my athletic talent to the best of my own ability, together following our coach, Jim Warren, from Center 4 Champions training methodically to beat the best among the OCR community. It has taught me to represent the Lord and to be a model for young adults and children. 

“When I get scrapes, cuts: the answer I get from most people is that I’m crazy. In reality it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks, because I’m being the athlete I was risen to become. There’s a-lot of people that don’t have this view when hitting an obstacle in life, one starts to question the issue by saying ‘why did this happen?’, ‘why-why-why.’ Spartan Race has taught me to not complain about any issues, but to have the wisdom, the courage to overcome the obstacle themselves when presented. It has brought out a unique athlete in me that now I want to share with my family and fellow companions.”

Despite already having established a strong name for himself, Isaiah admits that he believes he hasn’t really got started yet. Training every day, he’s very much in agreement with his mentor Yancy Culp that he’s “barely scratching the surface” of his running ability. An ominous thought, given the powerhouse that he is!

“Being on the Spartan Pro Team is going to impact the way I compete against even the finest OCR athletes in the circuit. Training & living in Colorado, while still focusing on my studies will completely change me overall as an athlete.

Looking forward, Isaiah aims big, but remains humble in what he sees long term.

“Live each day as if it was your last is the mentality of greatness. I don’t plan to back down or become bitter against my competition. I plan to toe every start line and race like it was my last. This continues to be an epic journey and I want to say thank you to my family for all of their support. Thank you to all my sponsors, Spartan Race, Neogenis Sports, Pacific Healths Labs, LIFEAID, Training Mask, ATP Extreme, Leonidas OCR and, a big shout out to my coach, Jim Warren, from Center 4 Champions keeping me from plateauing! Thank you all for believing in me. I pray and thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to live up to my potential through him.”

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When Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena issued the challenge of riding his bike from Texas to Vermont for the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships, Isaiah Vidal jumped at the chance. “I shook his hand immediately. I knew it was something I had to do.”

His journey would take him from Central Texas to the small town of Pittsfield, Vermont, home to the Peak Death Race, an event that Isaiah has completed in the past. It took 16 days, and 133 hours of bike time to make the trek that wasn’t without its fair share of mishaps.

On day 15 he posted on Facebook, “Made it to Amsterdam, New York unfortunately how I got here was the most dangerous thing I have ever done and its one to always remember. Its 7:30pm and I biked 20 miles In the rain and it was getting dark….. Yeah I know it was risky, but I wasn’t going to let this rain stop me anymore.”

Flat tires, loose pedals and heavy rain didn’t deter Vidal from finishing what he set out to accomplish. When he arrived in Pittsfield September 14, he had mixed feelings. “I’m here in Pittsfield the place I call my second home due to many accomplishments I’ve made here. It feels weird being social with other people. Not being on the bike is a relief, but…we must overcome anything that we put ourselves in or we are thrown in no matter the pain or suffering.”

With the help of friends on the way, and warm wishes and encouragement from family, friends, and supporters following his journey he has arrived!  Now that he’s settled into Vermont, he has just a few short days to prepare for the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships where he will be representing Mexico in the elite heat!

More to come on this incredible journey!

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by Isaiah Vidal

Why Obstacle Racing? Drastic change is what I call it. In 2011 I was in a downfall situation in life, but when Spartan Race entered my timeline at Glen Rose, Texas I completely changed my life upward. Spartan Race taught me look at different views and philosophies. Life is an obstacle race and it can be perfectly smooth at one moment, but then one hits issues. Overcoming the obstacle just depends on the person you truly are. Spartan Race was my adventure to an awakening life. Participating in obstacle racing is a constant reminder to never back down and to keep overcoming the chaotic scenarios in my daily and social life.

When I get scrapes and cuts from races, the comments I get from most people are that I’m crazy. In reality it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of me, because I’m being the athlete I was born to become. There’s a lot of people that don’t have this view when hitting an obstacle in life, one starts to question the issue by saying, “Why did this happen? Why-why-why?” Spartan race has taught me to not complain about any issues, but to have the wisdom and the courage to overcome the obstacles themselves when presented. It has brought out a unique athlete in me.

I am also pushing forward to open the minds of young adults. I want to make it clear that there is more to life than just partying and getting wasted on the weekends. By doing a Spartan Race on a typical weekend is more beneficial. By sending this clear message it is my goal and there is no telling what could happen in the future for every human being.

I enjoy competing against other amazing athletes at Spartan Races. The camaraderie and the relationships I have been able to build with people is a true blessing. Being able to surpass my accomplishments at 20 years old, by finishing the 2012 Spartan Death Race and also placing in the top 10 at every event I’ve attended is a big advancement in my life. When I was young I thought that I would be playing college football or soccer, but no, God had different plans for me than just being some average jock. I have begun to quickly display that I am an elite obstacle course racer.

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