When Johny Hendricks and Jamie Varner took on the Reebok Spartan Race in Texas, they had no idea how touch the course would be!  Varner had already conquered a Spartan Race course in Las Vegas earlier in the year, but now he had some stiff competition from Hendricks.  FoxSports.com captured the action of the two athletes in action as they navigated the course and ultimately finished the challenge.

With six wins in the Octagon under his belt and musings that he should have a long overdue shot at the Welterweight championship over Georges St. Pierre, Hendricks, “Big Rigg” took on the challenge with a gusto. “This is a training opportunity.” says Hendricks of his taking on the course.

Check out the video from FoxSports.com to see who came out on top when Varner and Hendricks went head to head in the Texas heat.

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Take a venue with rugged terrain, forests and water obstacles. Sprinkle over this a liberal number of obstacles that test your skill, strength, agility and determination. Stir in thousands of Spartan Racers then bake under a hot Texan sky for a weekend. The result? A delicious Reebok Spartan Sprint from which many people took a bite.  And boy were they hungry!

With the course boasting both shaded and sunny trails, elevation changes, water crossings, mud, rocks and even dry and sandy riverbeds, there was more than enough to keep everyone on their toes.

The elite heats boasted many familiar faces rubbing shoulders with not one, but two UFC fighters; Jamie Varner, fresh from his conquest of the Vegas Super, joined by Johnny Hendricks to see how a Spartan Sprint shapes up next to a fight in the octagon.

Jamie came through first of the two, coming in at 56m 44s, with Hendricks not far behind on 1h 10m 3s – both extremely impressive times. Hobie Call added another win to his already expansive resume with a time of 38m 17s. Second and third place were claimed by Chad Trammell and Brakken Kracker respectively. The ladies saw TyAnn Clarke romp home in 52m 18s, with Janice Ferguson and Jillian Kenney not very far behind in second and third place.

And sure as night follows day, like tock follows tick, stories of inspiration poured forth from the event like the feel-good machine a Spartan Race is. Elizabeth Rivera, putting behind her the issues of excess weight, diabetes and even spine damage, employed the same fiery passion that changed her life and crossed the finish line. Robert C. Wood put to bed the memory of his broken vertebrae after falling 25ft in a freak accident some time before. Turning his life around with his wife and young daughter behind him, he sees no fear anymore. Steve Carlisle rose from reconstructive back surgery to finish, despite knowing that, “if my doctor knew I was doing this, he’d kill me.” Many people were lucky enough to spot “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”, otherwise known as Eston and Andrew Jones, a father and son team that decided to do 6 laps of the course.

One of the biggest cheers of approval from the event spectators was when they saw they young Spartan Jake DeFiley struggling with the rope climb. In true Spartan Race tradition, fellow competitor Jeffrey Parish climbed the rope and leaning away, allowed the younger competitor to use his shoulders, hands and even his head as a “stepping stone” in order to ring the cowbell.

Even before stepping out of the course, many people brought battles with them, but refused to bow to them. David Villareal, who traveled from Monterrey, Mexico in order to take part, didn’t let the issue of his Celebral Palsy affect his attitude or performance, cheerfully pointing out that, “I’ve still got one good arm!”. On the course, Dereck Johnson repeatedly shooed away offers of help despite fracturing both ankles. Simply grabbing a nearby branch and making a rudimentary walking stick/staff, he completed the course in 5h 57m, punching the air in delight at having beaten 6 hours.

Staff Sergeant Jonathan Leal of 6 10th Security Forces Squadron, Fort Worth, was running for his charity “Running For A Cause”. Deliberately weighing himself down with an elevation mask, weighted vest and extra bricks that would symbolize the struggle injured veterans go through on the road to recovery, he successfully powered through every obstacle and burpee that presented itself.

Matthew Pevoto of Louisana – a sufferer of Spina Bifida since birth – was inspired by the video and pictures posted by Spartan Elite Ella Anne Kociuba and decided that he was going to take the Spartan Race head on. Failing only two obstacles, he pointed out that, “there’s nothing you can’t do if your mind can keep up with you”.

And if ever there was a fitting line that perfectly summizes what Spartan Race is about, that’s it.

As such, it was announced over the weekend that next year’s event in Burnet has been upgraded to a Super with a harder, longer course. Judging by the reaction of those grinning and rubbing their hands in glee at this news, it will be yet another event that the Spartan Race community will attend by the thousands. Will it be another punishingly hot weekend? Will it break people? Will it produce yet more stories of heroism?

You’ll know at the finish line…  get signed up today!

Check out more race day photos HERE.

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The Texas Reebok Spartan Race is set to pit two UFC fighters, Jamie Varner and Johny Hendricks in a head to head match-up on the heels of both athletes getting sponsored by Reebok Athletes. The course will consist of more than 4 miles of grueling obstacles and challenges. While both men can adminster a beat down, how will they fare on our course? Between the two, only Varner has experienced an actual Spartan Race taking on the Super in Vegas and finding a high finish in the open heats saying after, “It was probably one of the toughest things I’ve done in my entire life.” Then quickly added, “But it was so fun…crossing that finish line was one of the most rewarding things ever.”

Competitive in nature, Varner is setting his sights on Hendricks in Texas and in a statement to Fighters.com, said, “I anticipate the Texas course to be very tough and am hoping I can beat the hometown favorite Johny Hendricks with my experience.”

Varner plans on using his first race experience to help him in Burnet explaining, “The first event I competed in was a Spartan Super (about 8 miles), this will be a Spartan Sprint (about 4 miles), and I look to finish off the trifecta with a Spartan Beast ( about 13 miles) later this year. Staying in the competitive mindset between fights is big for me. I hope to finish in the top 5-10% of the field.”

Fighters.com recently published a story indicating that Hendricks’ next MMA test comes in the form of a title fight for the sports biggest prize, but he has to get through UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre to collect it. To stay in shape, and support his sponsors, Hendricks says he is really looking forward to the course. “This is going to be a great experience. We have been training hard for this event and I even have a few teammates from my gym set to compete in the race. I have heard nothing but great things about these events and I look forward to the course kicking my ass, says Hendricks. He concluded, “Jamie might be one up on the experience but I have got the home cooking!”

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by Shawn Feiock, Spartan Race Pro Team Athlete

Spartan Race is gearing up for another Texas showdown that you won’t want to miss. It is time for the Spartan Sprint at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet Texas, a favorite venue by many top racers. Expect to see last year’s winner Hobie Call there to defend his title from last year. Hobie says, “I love this venue. Gentle rolling hills, single track and dirt roads. And……warm weather guaranteed!” Hobie finished in less than 45 minutes last year, with most racers having a hard time coming in under one hour. It was highly anticipated to see him go up against Quentin Ledbetter who won the race only one year before, this time falling short against the seemingly unbeatable champion. It is unknown whether Quentin will return for another chance.

Texas is also home for Spartan Elites like Isaiah Vidal and Ella Kociuba, as well as the infamous Spartan Race couple Shawn Feiock (me) and Sue Luck. Isaiah dominated the most recent Spartan Sprint in Colorado getting onto the podium both days. He was able to pull off a second place finish Sunday at the Texas Sprint last year, and also at the Texas Spartan Beast in December. He will likely be one of the strongest competitors on the course against Hobie, with the advantage of the well-known terrain that Texas has to offer. With a very similar record to Isaiah, Elite female Sue Luck (aka Mini Beast) just came from two inspiring finishes at the Spartan Sprint in Colorado, and also had a podium finish Sunday at the Texas Sprint coming in second-place female last year. Ella Kociuba and Shawn Feiock will be at the Race to cheer on fellow racers and to meet new faces at the “Meet the Spartan Team” tent, be sure to stop by and say hi after you’ve crossed the finish line!

Other Spartan Men Elites and favorites to watch for are Elliot Megquire, Michael Mauk, John Taylor, Joe Kauder, Brian Hoover, Evan Williams, and the father & son team Andrew and Eston Jones (aka Thing 1 & Thing 2). Spartan Woman Elites and favorites attending include TyAnn Clark, Jackie Rust, Corinne Kohlen, Janice Ferguson, Tonya Stogsdill, and Juliana Sproles. There is also speculation that Ultramarathon Jungle racer Johnson Cruz will be appearing for his Spartan Race debut, and first race on American soil. Many of the racers already listed can testify that he is a strong competitor after racing against him on Isla de Ometepe earlier this year.

Don’t forget that UFC Lightweight Contender Jamie Varner and Welterweight Contender Johny Hendricks will be on-hand to Fight It Out at the event. Look for sparks when they collide.

Last year the Texas Sprint sold out quickly and it looks again like the course will be full of people looking to get a taste of the Texas mud. There will be some favorite obstacles and some less favored returns like the deadly Boa Constrictor tunnels that got our attention last year. But be ready for new surprises too as the Spartan organizers never fail to bring a good challenge, and an amazing course wherever they step foot. If you and your friends haven’t already registered, sign up now on the events page while there is still time! Adventure, competition, camaraderie, accomplishment… this is a race that can change your life!

Connect with Shawn Feiock, Spartan Race Pro Team Athlete and create your own Spartan Page HERE.

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The Las Vegas Super Spartan had one of the closest finishes to date in the male elite heat. It was a weekend of new athletes in a new venue and one of those new Spartans was MMA UFC lightweight fighter Jamie Varner. Varner finished high in the open heats, placing 10th in his age group.

Varner enjoyed his experience on the course and promises it won’t be his last Reebok Spartan Race either! He challenges anyone in the UFC to come take on an event! See him in action training at his gym and check out a Spartan Race. You’ll know at the finish line.

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The hills were as relentless as the baking Nevada temperature.  Who can find hills in the desert?  Spartan Race!  Add to the mix the single most competitive line-up of Elite Spartan Racers in it’s entire history, sprinkle in some incredible finishes, our walls, ropes, tires, and gladiator pit and it proved to be a mouth-watering recipe.  We consider our first visit to the Vegas to be one for the record books!
An epic dual for 2nd and 3rd place in the men’s Elites was decided by a mere four hundredths of a second between Cody Moat and Hunter McIntyre.  The two almost “jostling” one another as they sprinted for the finish line, proved how high the standards are at that level of the sport.  Hobie Call topped them both by a narrow margin.

The women’s top five elites were separated by a mere two and a half minutes, each competitor pushing harder and stronger than ever before. April Luu took the top award with Tyann Clark and Amelia Boon taking 2nd and third respectively.

The times being :

Men
1. Hobie Call 1.04.09
2. Cody Moat 1.07.10
3. Hunter McIntyre 1.07.10
Ladies
1. April Luu 1.24.46
2. Tyann Clark 1.25.47
3. Amelia Boone 1.26.37

Away from the elites, more stories of heroism and inspiration spread amongst the racers. Travelling from San Diego, ex-military servicemen Brian Riley and Lionte Stores showed that even losing a limb is, to quote Brian, “is no reason to stop.”

When asked if a Trifecta was the plan, Lionte nodded, “of course, nothing is going to stop either of us earning that Trifecta!”

Andy Alvarez explained how the retina in his right eye detached, leaving him with deteriorating sight and the probability of losing it altogether. Using that as a catalyst to “go out and take more risks and live life”, he signed up for the Spartan Race to push himself.

With family hailing from Sparta itself, MMA UFC fighter Jamie Varner also finished his first Spartan Race, vowing he’s definitely going to return to his “new addiction.”

Connor Bradley serving out of Camp Pendleton, CA, topped off his Super Spartan with a proposal at the finish line to his fiancé Nicole De Silva which she happily accepted.

She said yes!

Given the overwhelming success of the inaugural Las Vegas Spartan Race, next year’s event will be a check you can take to the bank.

Are you ready for your Spartan finish line?  Sign up TODAY and join the toughest on the planet.

A huge Spartan “Aroo!” to our amazing volunteers who helped us really make Vegas the incredible day it was!

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Reebok Spartan Race is scheduled to invade the Entertainment Capital of the World in just ten short days. And what’s more entertaining than a former WEC lightweight champion currently fighting in the UFC taking on the Reebok Spartan Race course? Jamie Varner will be there April 6 to take on the first ever Reebok Spartan Race in Las Vegas.  The 28-year-old is recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of action since his UFC 155 victory over Melvin Guillard and will be facing his first, but not last Spartan Race course.

And he’s taking this race very seriously. “I’m a competitive person. I fight people for a living!” He goes on to say, “I was medically cleared  two weeks ago and this gives me motivation to train.  It’s a different kind of motivation and that’s exciting.”

The MMA fighter is no stranger to intense competition and has few worries about race day. “I don’t have to worry about someone punching me in the face,  but it is a bit more mileage than I’m used to running.  That might be the only thing in the back of my mind.”

To prepare for the Super Spartan Varner has added more mileage to his regular training regime. “I added more aerobic conditioning with long runs. I’m most looking forward to the finish line!”

Varner is proud of his Greek heritage and the Spartan Race is right up his alley, “My great-grandmother moved to the US from Sparta. This race is so fitting! To be in Vegas and do the event makes me proud to represent my family and my origin.” He even has a Spartan inspired tattoo on his arm.

After the Spartan Race April 6th Varner is looking for his first MMA match-up for 2013 but doesn’t count out more Spartan events. “I want the fastest road to the title spot. Looking forward to getting my chance.”

First stop on that road? A Spartan finish line in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll be sure to warn our Gladiators that he’s coming…

Meet and watch him in action on April 6th! Register today!

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