by Carrie Adams

Building the sport of obstacle racing has been a passion of Spartan Race since we began.  As the only event with world rankings, points, and chip times, we rely on our timing to be the best in the business, particularly at championship events such as the recent Ultra Beast.

Our friends at J-Chip USA, who have been timing Spartan’s US events the past two years and recently shared with Spartan Blog their results from their experiments with obstacle split times (similar to swim/bike/run splits in triathlon) at the New England Sprint and Mid-Atlantic Super, have combed through the data collected from six timing checkpoints at the Ultra Beast and now offer their unique perspective on the Spartan Ultra Beast – By the Numbers.

UB Applications Accepted: 400
Athletes Who Showed Up:
366 (92%)
Athletes Who Finished:
156 (39%)
Fastest Time: Cody Moat (7:01:29)
Slowest Time: Spartan’s own Steve Halstead (17:59:52) who started at 4am with Chris Davis!  Don’t worry Steve, we know it was your birthday AND you were told to stay out there for a while to help with operations.

Average Time (Overall) – 11:11:35  (11:02:29 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Time (Loop #1)  – 5:01:58   (4:52:18 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Transition Time – 0:15:28   (0:15:09 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Time (Loop #2)  – 5:54:09   (5:56:23 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Ratio (Loop 2 vs. Loop 1) – Loop 2 was 18.5% slower than Loop 1 (22% excl. “The Lost Tribe”)

*NOTE: Stats are presented excluding the 24 “Lost Tribe” runners who went off course and lost 60-90 minutes in Loop 1.  Since many of them went on to “negative split” their 2nd loop, the UB stats are much more accurate excluding them.

Extremes in Transition:
*Fastest Transition: David Chandler (Cary, NC) – Only 25 seconds!
*Slowest Transition: Michael Sandercock (Milwaukee, WI) – 43 minutes, 16 seconds
*Junyong Pak completed Lap1 with over 26 minutes to make up on Brakken Kraker (then 2nd Place in the UB).  Kraker, who came in from Lap1 in under 3 hours  (earning 3rd in the Elite Beast behind Cody Moat and Hobie Call) took over 16 minutes in transition before heading out for Lap2.  Pak cleared transition in 3:07 – gaining 13 minutes on Kraker, which proved to be the difference between 2nd and 3rd, as Pak only edged out Kraker by 9 minutes.

Notable Ratios:

*Ultra Beast champion Cody Moat was 40% slower on his Lap2 (3:58:13) than his Lap1 (2:49:37).  After pushing so hard to complete his 1st loop in front of Hobie Call, Cody just needed to “coast” through his 2nd loop to maintain the 30-minute lead he’d opened.
*Joseph Nuara was 17% faster on his Lap2, since he carried 26.2 pounds of extra weight with his team (The Burning Muckmen) on Lap1.  When his teammates opted not to continue on after spending over 6 hours on Lap1, Joseph went out on his own and blazed through Lap2 by himself in 5:06:16!

In addition, the J-Chip timing crew caught two cheaters (who shall remain nameless) who cut out the 4-mile loop (out 2 miles from transition then back 2 miles to the festival area) on the 2nd lap.  J-Chip had strategically placed a mat to capture the time that it took everyone to leave transition and return to the 4-mile checkpoint.  Split times for this 4-mile loop on Lap1 ranged from Cody Moat’s 45 minutes to The Lost Tribe’s 2 ½ hours.  On Lap2, J-Chip noted two 4-mile splits under 10 minutes, meaning the runners headed out on the loop and immediately turned around on the return trail and proceeded through the checkpoint.  Both runners were promptly DQ’d…so let this serve as a notice to anyone who thinks of cheating at a Spartan Race – WE WILL BE WATCHING.

Like our course builders and race directors, our J-Chip timing crew is among the first to arrive on race day (4AM for the Ultra Beast) and last to leave (11PM departure), and for championship events, they take hours to audit the results before they are posted.  This year’s Ultra Beast results were delivered at 4:30am, then the crew went out and did it again Sunday.  Above are J-Chip’s (L-R) Disco Stu, Kurt, Andrew, and Russ.  Thanks guys, you ROCK!


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by Carrie Adams

Every obstacle counts when you are racing a Spartan course.  It’s not just about gaining ground on the technical running portions, it’s about using the obstacles as opportunities to make up  time as well.   Take the story of Andrew Hostetler in Amesbury, MA.  Our timing company J-Chip, added a split component to the sandbag carry and their data collection yielded some fascinating results for all our racers,  Hostetler in particular.   He went into the sandbag carry in 3rd place, down by 10 seconds.  He sped the hill with one of the fastest splits of the day (1:16), and in that one obstacle gained 32 seconds on the 2nd place runner, taking a 22-second lead that he was able to hold for the rest of the race, finishing in 2nd overall on Sunday.

Hostetler recounts the race  in his own words saying, “I went out in the lead and I was confident I would have no problem keeping it. Then I hit the log hop and slipped on the second to last log, winning me 30 burpees as 10 other racers passed me. I got up knowing that I had my work cut out for me. I caught up to Eric and Elliot around the Hercules hoist and did my best to hold second place. When we got to the traverse wall I had no idea Eric was so close to me and we ended up starting the sandbag carry together. I gave that hill everything I had left since I knew we didn’t have much running left, but quite a few obstacles. Half way up the hill my legs started burning and that only let me know that I could push even harder.”

That push earned Hostetler a second place finish and demonstrated the importance of pushing the pace at the obstacles and on the run.  Another interesting fact we learned from our J-Chip timing experiment is that times for the sandbag carry ranged from 1:16 to 11 minutes!  That’s incredible!

Remember to keep up the intensity, it may make all the difference!

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