By Anthony Matesi

Just outside of Phoenix, AZ there was a disturbance in the normally desolate lands near Fort McDowell. The Spartans had arrived. Marking the second Spartan Race of 2014 the obstacles were erected all throughout the week to bring to this cactus filled paradise an event that would challenge all walks of life.

To kick things off, Hurricane Heat leaders devised a relatively creative plan for the brave souls looking to participate in the event which began in the early hours of the morning before the sun had a chance to rise up over the mountains off in the distance. Teamwork is essential in finishing one of Spartan’s challenging HH events. New Hurricane Heaters were put through everything from learning animal movements and body weight exercises that are the foundation of the Spartan SGX training program to having them dig up a treasure chest filled with zip ties only to be zipped together right arm to the next person’s left ankle and forced to inchworm as a one unit through a tunnel that went under the highway. The suffering these participants endure together takes a group of strangers and creates a bond like no other.

While those crazy Hurricane Heaters were suffering together in the festival area the Elite racers began to storm the grounds. Some of the top racers from the Spartan Pro Team were in attendance. For the men, Matt Novakovich from Alaska, mountain man Miguel Medina left his cabin in Vermont, with Christopher Rutz, Shawn Feiock and Elliot Meguier also in attendance. On the women’s side there was TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, Jenny Tobin, and Ang Reynolds. Outside of the pro team there was an impressive showing from Sarah Pozdol, Laura Messner, and Rose Wetzel as well as the local newcomer to Spartan Race, John Yatsko. The early hours of the morning were a bit brisk but things heated up very quickly as the race day began. The course was fast and hilly with all the usual obstacles to test the strength, endurance and agility of the racers. As the temperatures rose the cramps began to set into racers who didn’t take the time to properly hydrate. The Amphibious Medics team led by, David Gonzalez, was on site helping the Spartan Staff to help those who were injured on course back to safety or fixed them up to continue their journey.

The Elite wave took off early Saturday morning fighting for the prize money offered by Navy Federal Credit Union with a total of $7500 up for grabs. The competition was incredibly fierce. In the men’s division there was a grueling battle that brought had the top 3 finishers all finishing within a minute and 30 seconds of each other. At the end of the day it was John Yatsko, Glenn Racz, and Chad Trammel taking the first three spots and Matt Novakovich coming in fourth.  The elite women’s field was equally grueling with Kk Paul, Rose Wetzel and TyAnn Clark battling it out for the top 3 spots coming into the finish in that order with Rose and TyAnn finishing within seventeen seconds of each other. The Sunday Elite crowd was stacked once again with some of the top elites and Spartan Pro Team members. It was another tight battle with Matt Novakovich taking the first place on the podium followed by fellow Spartan Pros Miguel Medina in second and Elliot Meguier in third. For the women we saw the importance of counting your burpees out loud when Sarah Pozdol was bumped from what could have been a second place finish to fifth place. Kk Paul took first again on Sunday, Jenny Tobin came in second and Sue Luck saw her way back to the podium taking third. Spartan Pro Team member Shawn Feiock saw a top ten finish taking 7th and Christopher Rutz in 9th.

Spartan Weekends are about more than just the elites of course. There were a lot of families, Spartan Singles, and couples alike mingling, racing, and enjoying the warm touch of the Arizona sun. In the festival area the Spartan SGX tent was providing warm-ups and cool down exercises as well as stretching by the crew from Power in Motion CrossFit. Our sponsors Core Power Protein delivered some excellent post race recovery drinks, E-Boost kept everyone energized, Clif Bars took care of feeding the taxed muscles of everyone who crossed that finish line, and Zico covered the much needed hydration to keep up with the desert sun.

In addition to all the first timers and those looking to begin their quest for the coveted Trifecta there were some inspiring people out on course defining what it means to push beyond your limits. We saw the ever glowing smile from Misty Diaz, who conquers her Spina Bifida by traveling the country running half marathons and Spartan Races chasing after that double trifecta. On Sunday a racer by the name of Joel Brown was spotted on course making it happen. At only 54 years young Joel is a former Para-Rescue and has been a Krav Maga instructor since 1978 receiving all his training in Israel. In 1981, he lost his right leg in a motor vehicle accident. Regardless of this accident Joel has continued to train, instruct, and push himself. His journey to the Trifecta began here in Arizona will continue at the Super in Vegas and conclude with the Beast in Monterey.

As always the Spartan Kids were out in force to light up everyone’s day with their beaming smiles and mud covered bodies. Many of the elites including Miguel Medina, Matt Novakovich, Sarah Pozdol and Rose Wetzel came out and helped play the role of the rabbit that the kids try to catch on the course.

Another incredibly successful Spartan weekend filled with fun, smiles, mud, and even a little blood has come to an end. Next up Spartan Race will be invading Tampa with the first Special Ops event of the year taking place at Raymond James Stadium. This Special Ops Race will offer a combination of the traditional outdoor obstacles alongside some of the signature Spartan Stadium obstacles.  Sign up to earn your very own unique Special Ops Spartan Sprint medal andwe’ll see you at the finish line!

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By guest writer and Spartan Pro Team member Elliott Megquier 

Arizona is a unique state, you can experience all four seasons in one day depending on where you are traveling throughout the state. Reebok Spartan Race comes back to the Phoenix area for the four year and each year they have out down themselves. This year Fort McDowell Rodeo Grounds will host a Sprint distance of 3+ miles on Saturday February 8th and Sunday February 9th.  For more info on the venue check out this link.

For the course expect a rocky dessert terrain, running up and down steep ridges and hills. Cacti will be out in full force and for those not careful, they will get a sharp, prickly surprise. The weather Saturday calls for a high of 65 degrees with 0% of rain. While Sunday warms up to a high of 73 degrees, again with no rain in sight. Locals might complain that is cold, but for people like me that live in upstate New York that is marvelous weather.

Matt Novakovich a hot favorite to podium again

For the men the hyped up Matt “The Bear” Novakovich headlines the Spartan’s aiming for victory. In his first Spartan Race ever Matt took down the Champion Hobie Call, but ever since he has been unable to find the top honor with just a third place at the Fenway Stadium Sprint. Elliott Megquier will be back to Arizona for the third year in a row and he will look to slay the bear. Miguel Medina is taking a break from building his cabin in Vermont and he will also try to use his new found Mountain Man training to secure his first victory. Other racers expected to challenge will be Shawn Feiock, Chris “Tough Training Guy” Rutz, possibly the Arizona native John Yatsko who burst onto the Spartan scene with two podium finishes in Temecula. If present, John becomes the top contender.

On the women’s side, look for K.K. Paul to be the favorite. Paul is coming off podium finishes in Temecula (1st Place Sunday Sprint) and Glen Rose where she beat the likes of Rose Wetzel, April Luu, and TyAnn Clark. Clark will look to revenge her defeat and looks to be the top challenger. Laura Messner is another name to watch, as she is coming off a Saturday Temecula Sprint victory. Another name you can’t count out is former Spartan Champion Jenny Tobin. Jenny is known to always challenge for victory wherever she races and whatever the distance, in Temecula she had her first burpee free race so watch out she is on her game. Other racers planning on toeing the line are Ang Reynolds, Juliana Sproles and Sue Luck.

Tyann Clark is gunning for victory in Arizona

Other cool things to look for are the Painted Warrior Team of Stephen Sinek and Aeni Domme who always create amazing body paint that Sinek races in for racers/spectators to admire. The kid’s race is always a highlight as it is so amazing to see kids active and excited to become the next great Spartan as they grow older. Lastly I’m calling out my cousin Erik Carlson to race with me. Last year he became a Spartan, but since he has fallen off the wagon exercise wise, I’m using peer pressure to get him to race with me again.

Click here for more information on forthcoming events.

Elliott Megquier is a member of the Spartan Team and a veteran of 69 Spartan Races. He has many podiums to his name, but is still looking for his first Saturday victory. Last season Megquier finish 4th in the points series, after finishing 5th the year before.

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by Jenny Tobin, Spartan Pro Team member

Luzzi as he is known to most Spartan regulars is one of the main guys behind the Spartan race scene. He has been with Spartan since the beginning. He was introduced to Joe De Sena, one of Spartan’s founders through his College Professor Matt Soroka, a mutual friend. Joe De Sena is known as the boss who will try to “break you” and if you survive you’ll end up being a trusted and worthy employee of Spartan. Luzzi and two of his buddies, Matt Murphy (Spartan Marketing) and Ben Killary (Spartan grassroots sales) haven’t been broken, yet, and are still with the company and loving every minute of it!

They started working for Spartan as interns when Spartan only had 500 Facebook fans so their job was to increase that number. He said they did all kinds of things from crazy bar promotions to the usual canvassing of event locations promoting Spartans. They believe wholeheartedly in the mission of Spartan: rip people off the couch and get them moving. That is Luzzi’s favorite part about working for Spartan. He enjoys watching Spartan change lives. He says it’s cool to watch the elites but what really impresses him are those that might be overweight, disabled or have had a tough go at life and they are out there trying to finish a Spartan Race. Luzzi sees the athlete’s physical and mental challenges out there on the course and how they all strive to make it to the finish line. Some athletes get broken and others rise to the challenges put in front of them.

As Operation Manager, Luzzi makes sure all the events run smoothly. The race directors make a plan and Luzzi has to enact it. He designs and builds many of the obstacles and is involved with making sure all the equipment and supplies get from one event to the next. If something isn’t working right during the event, he has to go iron out the kinks. He loves most all of the obstacles, in fact, when I asked what his favorite was he started off with listing the rope climb, tyrolean traverse, and cargo nets because he has to actually rig them for the athletes. However, when pushed to give me one obstacle he said, “the barbed wire crawl”. He likes to see how the athletes go through it, crawl or roll, straight or zig zag to get to deeper sections, how they make it work best for them. I’ve seen him at most all of the races and he is sometimes counting my burpees or making sure athletes are doing the obstacles correctly. Sometimes he has to be the bad guy and tell someone them they have to do an obstacle over again. He doesn’t mind being the bad guy, he feels like it’s part of his job and that athletes should be good sportsman and do the obstacles correctly. All sports have rules and he’s the compliance officer so you’d better do things by the book or face the wrath of Luzzi.

Luzzi went to Castleton State College in Vermont and got a degree in Sports Administration and Management. He did all kinds of jobs before landing in the Spartan world. He did landscaping, restaurant work, snowboard instructing and more but loves working for Spartan. He sees it being part of his life for a long time. He lives in Killington, Vermont when he is not on the road and guess what his favorite Spartan venue is? Surprise, surprise it’s Killington. He says it’s a beautiful mountain and it’s just so dang tough. It’s the Championship event and it will test you to the limit!

Working for Spartan can mean long hard days but it’s also a good time. Luzzi says there are plenty of funny stories to tell. Pretty much every day there is something to laugh about. He says he really enjoys Mike Morris. He is a great boss and people look up to him. Mike also has a great sense of humor and has been known to show up for work with a belly shirt, short shorts and a hard hat. Very entertaining! One of his favorite Spartan stories is when Kevin Donahue crashed his car right before the start of Killington last year and was able to leave the car upside down and go race. Kevin’s passenger Andrew Hoffstetler forgot his shoes at the condo 2 miles away and couldn’t get there in the crashed car so Luzzi took him in the gator/4 wheeler as fast as he could. Spartan life is always interesting!

Luzzi seems like a great guy, he always has a smile on his face (even when he has to be the bad guy) and I haven’t seen too many glitches at any of the Spartans I’ve competed in. The races seem to always run smoothly to me…Nice work Luzzi! So, the next time you’re at an event say “hi” to Luzzi and thank him for making your Spartan experience a good one!

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by Chris Rutz

The 2013 Points Season consists of races following the 2012 World Championship, beginning with the Carolinas Race October 13th, 2012 and culminating in the 2013 World Championship to be held in Vermont on September 21st, 2013. Over the course of the 2013 Spartan Race Season, we’re going to take your top 5 best races and use them to calculate your points ranking.

What are the rewards? Well in 2012 the top 20 male and female athletes split a $40,000 prize purse. The first place man and woman each received a check for $4,250. This weekend in Las Vegas we will be having an awards ceremony for the top 20 men and women to recognize their performance in 2012. Come and see some of the top Obstacle Racers pick up their prize at 11:00am in the festival area.

For the men:
1st Cody Moat
2nd Hobie Call
3rd Brakken Kraker
4th Christopher Rutz
5th Elliott Megquier
6th Walter Schmidt
7th Shawn Feiock
8th David Chandler
9th David Magida
10th Dallas Bessette
11th Joe Kauder
12th Rick Kraics
13th Shane McKay
14th John Hayter
15th Christopher Obertlik
16th Robert Coble
17th Kevin Donoghue
18th Isaiah Vidal
19th David Mick
20th Marko Vennerholm

For the women:
1st Jenny Tobin
2nd Leslie St Louis
3rd Rose Marie Jarry
4th Melinda Branch
5th Margaret Schlachter
6th Irene Call
7th Corinne Kohlen
8th Andi Hardy
9th Juliana Sproles
10th Lelya Di Cori
11th Angela Reynolds
12th Sue Luck
13th Ella Kociuba
14th Gretchen Krueger
15th Shaun Provost
16th Amanda Czapla
17th Ekaterina Solovieva
18th Raegan Chambers
19th Lauel Arnold
20th Angela Kalal

Note: Not all of the above athletes are scheduled to race in Las Vegas. Those not appearing will either get their “podium” check at their next scheduled race.

Are you ready to try to make the top 20 for the 2013 season? Here are the details.

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Racer

Hobie Call

This weekend, Reebok Spartan Race arrives in the Arizona desert. The 2013 Arizona Spartan Sprint moves to a new venue that captures the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and ramps up the difficulty level of the course. McDowell Mountain Regional Park is located northeast of Phoenix and provides a rolling terrain with miles of tight single track for the elite racers to challenge one another.

This is the first Spartan Sprint distance race since the Reebok/Spartan Race partnership was announced in late January in New York City.  Two weeks ago the SoCal Super went off at Vail Creek Lodge in Temecula, CA.

Many of the top athletes from the 2012 Season will be racing in Arizona this weekend for their share of the $7,500 cash purse generously provided by our partners at Navy Federal Credit Union for the Saturday Elite wave. We asked a few of them how they feel the Navy Federal Credit Union prize money impacts the sport of Obstacle Course Racing?

Hobie Call, resident Spartan elite racer  said, “…I want NFCU to know that I truly appreciate their sponsorship. Every little bit helps, and this year is looking even better than last.” and “As cool as the helmets and swords are, elite athletes follow the money. End of story.” 

Female elite racer Corinne Kohlen noted how it’s drawing new talent to the field, “I think the money is great. It is luring in exceptional athletes and runners such as TyAnn Clark (and many others) who may not have been as interested in this kind of sport before.”  

That sentiment was also noted by elite female Andi Hardy when she was quoted as saying, “Money brings more elite competition.” 

Jenny Tobin

Last year’s female point’s winner Jenny Tobin also had something to say about the infusion of cash prizes, “I’m all about making money for my exercise habit, I’d still do it but it is nice to make a little money and see different parts of the country.” 

The field is ripe with talent.  Male elites Hobie Call and Hunter McIntyre, first and third respectfully in the SoCal Super are scheduled to be at the race. In addition, look for the 2013 debut of Christopher Rutz, Elliott Megquier and Nick Maynard. Christopher and Nick, along with Arizona native Chase Stewart have the home trail advantage and will be ready to tear up their desert. Beyond the Arizonans, watch out for 2012 Top 10 Spartan Racers Dallas Bessette and Shawn Feoick.

On the women’s side, SoCal winner TyAnn Clark, multiple 2012 Spartan race winner Rose-Marie Jarry and winner of the 2012 Texas Sprint Ella Kociuba are schedule to race. Those three alone will make the race for the podium very interesting. By no means do they have a lock on the top three places. Expect to see some of the top names in the sport including Juliana Sproles, Ang Reynolds, Andi Hardy, Corinne Kohlen, Sue Luck and Shaun Provost literally give them a run for their money. As usual, the women’s race will be exciting to watch.

Get out to the Arizona Spartan Sprint this weekend and watch these athletes smoke through the course. After the finish, they would welcome the opportunity to share their passion for obstacle course racing (OCR) with you in the festival area. 

2013 has Spartan stepping up the game considerable.  With prize money, Reebok, and an incredible crop of top racers, it is shaping up to be another exciting weekend of obstacle course racing.   See you at the races! 

Not registered yet?  What are you waiting for?  Join the expected 500,000 Spartans that will cross one of our finish lines this year.  Find an event near you HERE

 

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by Steffan “Cookie” Cook

Reebok SoCal Super Spartan Champion
Hobie Call

The first Reebok Spartan Race of 2013 is in the books!  The Reebok SoCal Super Spartan at Vail Creek Resort in Temecula, CA was a bit shorter than last year, but the roughly 8.5 mile course was considered even more difficult. The addition of a water obstacle and the punishing hills at Temecula made the event an awesome test of wills.

Rain was an unexpected obstacle on both Saturday and Sunday, making the treacherous terrain and obstacles like the monkey bars even more difficult to navigate. It also marked the first ever collaboration with Life as Rx for WODStock! More to come on that event in a later post, but it was quite a hit!

It was an exciting elite heat, with top male competitors Hobie and Cody battling it out for the top two spots. But Hunter McIntyre was hot on their heels, finishing less than a minute behind Moat. He’s emerging as a man to beat!

Men:

1. Hobie Call 1:13:20
2. Cody Moat 1:17:01
3. Hunter McIntyre 1:17:33

On the ladies’ elite side, the top three were all over the age of 30! Familiar face and last year’s female point’s leader Jenny Tobin placed second with TyAnn Clark edging her out for first. Local Fayre Morgan nabbed third.

Women:

1. TyAnn Clark 1:47:25
2. Jenny Tobin 1:50:55
3. Fayre Morgan 1:58:52

For full results, click HERE.

The biggest team, yet again, were the Weeple Army, boasting team numbers well into triple digits.  They were our 2012 biggest team, and they are gearing up for the same honors in 2013.

Some great moments unfolded at the Super Spartan.

There was a proposal at the finish line (she said yes!) and Spider Man 3 actor Tony Besson, who first took on the hills of Malibu, returned for the punishing hills of Temecula.

There was a great story behind the appearance of Midwest Super Sunday open winner and Montana native Greg Stewart. His car died in Salt Lake City around 3 AM but he still managed to get to the race start line by renting a car at the last minute!

Perhaps most impressive was Taylor Jackson of Palm Springs. On December 11th, 2011 he was involved in a serious car collision and as a result, had to be treated for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and left-side neglect. He was had broken ribs, fractured C1, C2, C3 vertebrae, collapsed lungs, and a host of other injuries. Together with his father Brian, he got physically fit again and often practiced running up to six miles to prepare and he crossed the finish line on Sunday!

We’d like to recognize our friends at Livestrong who took on the course, the crew from Biggest Loser, and Project Hope Alliance who brought 30 homeless children to take on the Kid’s Race.  With a medal, shirt, and lunch and transportation, we’re told they had a great day at the races!  Thank you to our volunteers for helping us make it a great weekend!

Our West Coast invasion will continue in 2014 with the inclusion of a Sprint AND a Beast for the first time in Spartan history!  More to come on our West Coast take-over, but take advantage of the recently added races and sign up today!

The next Reebok SoCal Sprint will be on January 25, 2014.  Sign up HERE.  The Reebok SoCal Beast, is scheduled for September 13, 2014.  A link for registration can be found HERE.

Need your fix sooner?  Next up, Spartan rolls into Arizona in just two weeks!  See you on the course!

For a peek at some photos, check out our online album!

We’re on Twitter too!  See what’s happening in our community, and follow us today!

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Racer

This weekend, Reebok Spartan Race kicks off the 2013 calendar year with the Super Spartan SoCal in Temecula.

This is the first race since the Reebok/Spartan Race partnership was announced last week in New York City.

Many of the top athletes from the 2012 Season will be racing in Temecula this weekend for their share of the $7,500 cash purse generously provided by our partners at Navy Federal Credit Union for the Saturday Elite wave. 

Cody Moat, 2012 Men’s Points Champion

These Top 10 Athletes from the 2012 Season are scheduled to appear
this weekend:

Men:                                      Women:

Cody Moat                                Jenny Tobin

Hobie Call                                 Leslie St Louis

Christopher Rutz                       Margaret Schlachter

Elliott Megquier                         Corinne Kohlen

Shawn Feiock                           Juliana Sproles

Dallas Bassette                         Leyla Ester Di Cori

In addition to these top performers from 2012, watch out for Hunter McIntyre, who has already made a name for himself at the NorCal Beast and the Malibu Sprint, with podium finishes at each.

On the women’s side, Midwest Super champion and Ultra Beast and Beast second place finisher Amelia Boone may also make an appearance. With prize money, Reebok, and the great group of top racers, it is shaping up to be an exciting weekend of obstacle course racing. 

Many of the top athletes are excited about the agreement between Reebok and Spartan Race. We asked a few of them what they think it means for the future of the sport of Obstacle Racing.

Some quotes on their initial reactions to the news: 

Spartan emerging elite male Hunter McIntyre noted, “It will bring greater attention to the sport, coupled with stronger competition.”

On the Spartan female side top, ten athlete Leyla Di Cori remarked, “I think this is a great opportunity to give more credibility to obstacle racing as a sport.” 

Jenny Tobin, 2012 Female Points Champion

Spartan champion Hobie Call, who was onsite in New York City last week for the ground-breaking announcement, was quoted as saying, “It will be nice to have a large company come out with some obstacle racing specific clothing/shoes, and help sponsor athletes, which will help get serious athletes to more races.”

Leslie St. Louis, Spartan female elite athlete commented, “…maybe I am not thinking big enough yet, but as far as Spartan specifically, I foresee more momentum for CrossFit inspired events and obstacles, such as the WODstock event in Temecula and the obstacles at Citi Field.”

To find out more about what these and other athletes are thinking, get out to the SoCal Spartan this weekend and ask them. They would welcome the opportunity to share their passion for obstacle course racing with you.

See you at the races!  

Not registered yet?  What are you waiting for?  Join the expected 500,000 Spartans that will cross one of our finish lines this year.  

Click HERE to find an event near you. 

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by Carrie Adams

Not that you need 500,000 reasons to love Spartan Races  but they sure help!  In 2012, one of our most popular blog posts outlined our cash and prizes on the year.  Far and away, Spartan was the leader in the Obstacle Racing pack with our payouts for Champions and competitors.

Spartan Race was living large in 2012.  So large, we finally quantified it! Spartan Race HQ was proud to have given away $500,000 in cash and prizes!   Born out of the Death Race and growing rapidly since 2010 Spartan has continually worked hard to make our mark in the growing sport of Obstacle Racing.  With 34 global events in the season of 2012, and recognized as Outside Magazine’s “Best Obstacle Race” for the same year, Spartan Race, is building the sport of obstacle racing as the competition for the complete athlete – fast, strong, agile, with endless endurance, and strong of mind, body and character.  There is no doubt that Spartan is cutting edge with the world’s first and only global ranking system, an escalating race series from 5K to the first ever marathon(plus) distance race with the introduction of the Ultra Beast we worked hard to reward our Spartan community – handsomely!

When the season ended, the leader board had Cody Moat, who also won the  Trail National Marathon in Moab, UT on November 3rd, 2012, solidifying his position as an all-around athlete.  It came down to a fraction of points with the final tally for the men, Moat beating resident Spartan Champion Hobie Call by an extremely narrow margin.  On the women’s side, positioned at the top spot on the was former professional X-Terra athlete Jenny Tobin, with a first place point’s finish.  With 2013 already in full swing, check out the current points standings HERE.  To read the full details on the cash and prizes given away in 2012, click on the link HERE. 

We’ll be giving you even more reasons in 2013!  Our good friends at Navy Federal Credit Union have graciously agreed to sponsor the prize money at six Spartan Events in 2013.  The breakdown will be:

$2,000 1st Place

$1,000 2nd Place

$750 3rd Place

These prizes will be awarded in Arizona on February 9th, Las Vegas on April 6th, Burnet, Texas May 18, Washington, August 3rd, and the Mid-Atlantic August 24th.

More cash and prize updates coming soon!  You could win BIG with Spartan Race.  Don’t wait.  Register today.

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by Jason Rita

Should an Armageddon or Apocalypse ever threaten the human race, I am expecting that the Spartan Women survive and lead us back from oblivion.

The Spartan Race at Blue Mountain Pennsylvania in July was billed as a marquee match up of the best female Spartans, the sport’s top obstacle racers, battling it out for glory and cash, at one of the toughest Spartan courses on the circuit.  The poster proclaimed: “We Like Our Women Fast,” and the Spartan chicks proved it that day.    But at Killington, fast definitely won’t be enough to claim the 2012 Spartan Championship and the prize money on offer.   The toughest of all Spartan courses will demand a combination of speed, agility, strength, endurance, mental toughness and acuity – all these qualities and more will be required to be crowned as Queen of Sparta.

Jenny Tobin

At the PA race, former pro Xterra and Ironman triathlete Jenny Tobin came in unbeaten, fresh off a close win at the Pacific NW Spartan Sprint Race, and carrying the expectations that went with her clear victory at last year’s Spartan 2011 Championship in Texas.   But Canadian national team biathlete and Olympic hopeful Claude Godbout took 1st place.  (What is it about Canadian biathletes anyway? Maybe it’s the Timbits?)  Make no mistake; this loss motivated the take-no-prisoners Jenny to refocus her training in the mountains near her home in Boise, Idaho, in a calculated and determined mission to reclaim her title at Killington.    Both Jenny and Claude finished in the Top 10 overall in PA proving that Spartan women racers can challenge their male counterparts.   Jenny’s professional career in Xterra and Ironman proved that she is a money player, and she really likes collecting checks.    She has declared that she is aiming for 1st place in both the Beast and UltraBeast distances.

 

Claude Godbout would be expected to challenge Jenny for pre-race favorite, but like her compatriot and fellow national biathlete

Claude Godbout

Marc-Andre Bedard, Claude (and just like Marco, coming fresh off a win at Spartan Slovakia) is not racing Killington this weekend, removing one of Jenny’s biggest obstacles to a back-to-back Championship repeat, but the multisport veteran will still face strong challenges from an amazing group of racers.

Jacklyn Rust

Included in that group is the woman who finished second to Jenny at the Texas Super Championship Race last December, Jaclyn Rust. An All-Conference collegiate runner, Jackie was slowed down in Texas because she had to do 150 burpees.  Jackie decided on her strategy last year to train secretly and Killington will be her only Spartan Race since then, and she is going all-in to pull off an upset.

Ella Ann Kociuba

Another Texas challenger is the 19-year-old phenom Ella Ann Kociuba.  Ella’s athletic talent was obvious when she debuted in the Spartan Texas 2011 race clocking a time faster than champion Jenny Tobin in Glen Rose but in an open heat, not eligible for the cash prize.  For all her promise, Ella has had to show more grit than grins as she has battled injury after injury.  Sadly it is a common theme for Ella.  We featured Ella’s battle back from a debilitating horseback riding injury as a teenager to become a true Spartan competitor.   But Ella had to pull out of the 2012 Spartan Death Race in June with a leg injury, and when she recovered to race in Pennsylvania, another injury derailed her quest when she crashed on the trail soon after the race started breaking her shin open on her already injured leg.  Despite the pain, and with blood gushing from her wound she battled on to finish fifth, surrounded by some of the same women who came to compete against her.  Ella has warned she is fully recovered, and now sponsored by Flag Nor Fail clothing, she is determined to show the doubters that the only thing between her and the podium is a race without catastrophe.  Fair warning to Ella and all other racers:  that may not be possible in Killington.

Amanda Czapa

Another young-gun who hails originally from Texas, Amanda Czapla has in fact won more races in the USA 2012 than any other Spartan woman: first-place in Miami, Carolinas and Texas, so she could establish herself as the best female obstacle racer in the world with a win in Killington.  But she admits that she doesn’t know how to swim, in which case some of the Killington obstacles might prove more daunting and distressing than otherwise.  Amanda is one of the strongest runners in the field, but the now resident of Florida could be undone by the mountainous course – not a lot of hills to train on in the Sunshine State.  We hope she was able to find a tall office building with a staircase to the roof!

 

No such dilemma for Margaret Schlachter of Dirtinyourskirt.com.  Margaret has home field advantage, as

Margaret Schlachter

she is a Killington local, and she showed her endurance bona fides with a third place Beast finish in 2011.  Margaret has dedicated herself unlike many others to the sport of obstacle racing, and her ultra-distance training for this year’s Death Race will mean that she will be undaunted by the Killington distance and terrain.   One of the most popular obstacle racers in the fastest-growing sport in the world, Margaret has taken a leading role in the transformation of Chris Davis as he also toes the line at Killington in his quest.  We acknowledge Margaret’s dedication to another Spartan athlete.  The Spartan Code tells us that a Spartan gives generously, and Margaret demonstrates that quality like no other.

Rose-Marie Jarry

The only racer with more wins than Amanda Czapla is Canadian Rose-Marie Jarry, who has an amazing four wins in 2012, three north of the border capped off with an impressive showing at the recent Tri-State New Jersey Super.  Rosie’s pedigree is competing as a national 800 meter runner, representing her country on the international stage, so for sure she has the speed, and the second place finish at the Ottawa Beast coupled with winning in New Jersey Super show she now has plenty of endurance.  Rose is also leading the 2012 Spartan Race Points Series competition and is determined to maintain her standing with a strong showing in Vermont.  She is well known as the owner of all-natural sports nutrition brand Kronobar and now is sharing her healthy food recipes for training and living on the Spartan Blog.  Amazingly she has run 21 Spartan Races since 2010, earning at least a cake at Killington, maybe?   Knowing her, the competitive fire that has fueled her athletic success will not be satiated with cake; her sights are more set on devouring her competition.

Andi Hardy  has had a real breakout season, registering multiple wins and multiple podiums, but

Andi Hardy

more than that, transforming herself to a serious contender at every race she contests.  Her enthusiasm for the sport of obstacle racing has seen her embark on a veritable Summer of Spartan tour, a self-funded road-trip that included 8 races across the map, with more on the calendar, and made her into a one-woman roving Spartan ambassador.  She is currently 2nd on the Spartan Points Ranking table but more than results, Andi represents the best of Spartan racing and what makes our Spartan athletes incredibly special, always pushing herself to the limit, pursuing her passion to new realms of performance, and proving in action what is possible when you decide to change your life.

Grace Cuomo Durfee

For all the favorites above, we know there will be surprises to come to challenge the experienced racers?  Grace Cuomo Durfee suffered though 40 miles of brutal tests over 2 days during the 2011 Death Race, showing incredible physical and mental strength to finish 4th overall and 1st female. At Killington, she is expected to compete ferociously during the 26-mile challenge of the UltraBeast, and could blaze her way through the Beast field as well.

First time Spartan racer and recently retired professional Ironman triathlete Kate Pallardy is confident about her chances.

Juliana Sproles

And last year’s first female finisher at the World’s Toughest Mudder, Juliana Sproles has been preparing for the Vermont race by scouting and training runs at Spartan PA and MA, and the long course format of the Beast will suit her well.  Now a bona fide member of Spartan Chick’d Nation, Juliana is sure to leave it all on the course as she pursues Spartan glory.

Some other names that could shake things up include Spartan300 athletes Liz Law, Leyla De Cori, Sue Luck, Angela Reynolds, Corinne Kohlen and Irene Call.  All have raced well in 2012, and they too will be out to tame the Killington Beast and claim their place in the pantheon.

An intriguing battle awaits.  Any of these women will be worthy Spartan champions.  We know that the Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity.  But for my money, it is modern Spartan Race Women that carry the battle to new heights of accomplishment and inspiration.

 

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by Carrie Adams

Corinne in the PacNW, Second place finish

It’s been an epic year for Spartan women and we’ve had some regular faces on the scene.  One such face is Corinee Kohlen.  Like so many of our Spartan women, Kohlen is strong and determined.  The 30 year old from Visalia, CA made her first appearance in SoCal in January and in the Pacific Northwest she took home second place and $750 courtesy of Navy Federal Credit Union, who is generously providing cash prizes at select Spartan Race events.  Check out Corinne’s impressive stats and hear her Spartan story and how she keeps learning and growing in the emerging sport of Obstacle Racing.  

Corinne Kohlen 6 F 30-34 19 5 3 10,932
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SoCal Super Spartan Race 2:35:31 167 17 9 0
SoCal Super Spartan Race 2:14:40 89 7 3 491
Arizona Super Spartan Race 1:35:18 69 7 4 493
Colorado Military Sprint Spartan Race 2012 1:18:15 57 4 3 4947
Colorado Military Sprint Spartan Race 2012 1:08:50 10 1 1 5001
Pacific NW Sprint Spartan Race 45:02 23 2 1 0
Utah Spartan Race – 2012 2:36:42 143 22 9 6109

My first Spartan race was the super Spartan in Temecula, CA in January.  I had done other obstacle races before but was new to Spartan racing and was encouraged to try it out by a few friends.  In Temecula I decided to race both days since I would have to travel about six hours to get there I wanted to maximize my experience.  Saturday  I lined up to the starting line feeling pretty confident and thinking how experienced I was and how prepared I was and that I had the race “in the bag”.  My Saturday race didn’t quite pan out how I had hoped though…

It was hot, I was overdressed, it was hilly, I was doing burpees which to be honest, I had never done before, I was playing mind games and getting really discouraged as I saw competitors pass me.  I was overheating and dehydrating and miserable that I was not winning.  I finished the race thanks to encouragement from a fellow competitor (Sue Luck) whom  I didn’t even know but have since become friends with and she has been a huge inspiration to me.   After hours on the grass recovering from the race in fetal position, I went back to my hotel, bruised, depressed, nauseated, and discouraged.  That night the results of the race were posted online and as I compared my race times to other peoples I started thinking – I should have done better than that, I can do better than that,  I will do better than that!

I went back Sunday and although I was scratched up, sore, and sun burnt I was much more prepared mentally and had the spark in me!  Sunday I finished the course almost 20 minutes faster than my Saturday time and improved my placement a lot.  From that moment on I was hooked on the energy, challenge, and competitiveness of Spartan racing.

Since Temecula I have competed in the Arizona Super, both days of the Colorado Military Sprint, and just last weekend in the Pacific Northwest Sprint.  I have become a member of the “Spartan Chicked” facebook group and the women of that group have given me immeasurable amounts of support, encouragement, and training tips.  I am inspired by the stories I am able to share with my fellow Spartan chicks and love the camaraderie between the ladies.  I have met some great women and we have shared hotels, dinners, and travel to races together and I am so happy that among these girls I “fit in”.

So onto the PNW race.  I originally was not planning to travel to this race but when I read the description on the Spartan website I knew I had to go.  Spartan Race promised that PNW would have some extreme and long sections of the bob wire crawl and this is my absolute favorite obstacle, and one that I am pretty fast at.  I was going to be in San Francisco area anyways that weekend so the flight was not ridiculously expensive and I was really hoping to place and be able to at least break even budget wise.   When I got to Washington I had heard that the course was short but that the first mile or so was all uphill, and that the bob wire was also uphill.  I immediately panicked.  Hills are my biggest weakness and I was worried that if I could not run fast enough on the first mile of hills I would be passed my many people, then end up getting behind on the obstacles.  Also, an uphill mud crawl meant rolling would be nearly impossible.   I was nervous and this race meant a lot to me.  When I got to the race site I was met by a few familiar faces and many new ones.  I tried to size up who might be my competition and one woman stood out instantly.  She was petite but strong, looked very athletic, and was wearing a pearl izumi workout suit and shoes.  She was warming up, checking out the obstacles, stretching, talking to people.  I was thinking that she was probably a sponsored runner and would be fast on the run.  I was hoping that running would be the only thing she was good at but I was so wrong!   As it got closer to our heat time she changed into running attire and we began to line up at the start.  We were given red wristbands to identify that we were in the competitive heat and in hopes that we would be able to avoid waits at obstacles.  I dumped half a gallon of water on my head because to me it was on already hot, and before I knew it – we were off.

As I had been warned, the first part of the race was all uphill.  I was passed by almost all the guys and about six girls.  Being passed so early and by so many people never feels great but I have learned to get used to it, and for this race I had mentally prepared myself to understand that this would happen.  I am not a fast runner, and to keep moving forward up that first hill I was expending serious amounts of energy.  I began breathing very hard, which is actually normal for me, but seemed to worry other competitors.  Multiple guys asked if I was OK and one very sternly warned me to “control your breathing”.  Was it really that bad I wondered?  It didn’t matter.  I knew I had to keep pushing to the top because I knew this was a short race and if I didn’t give this hill 100% I had no chance of finishing in the front.  I knew within an hour my race would be over so I was going to spend that hour pushing as hard as I could.

When we reached some “top” of a hill the trail began to mellow out a bit and became more rolling and even downhill at times.  This was my first chance to shine.  I love the downhill and began passing people, catching up to my original place at the starting line.  I passed all of the woman I could remember except that one – the one I had been worried about.  She was no where in site and I hadn’t seen her for a while.  I can’t really remember the order of the obstacles but was relieved by the waterslide that launched me into some super cool water.  I was so excited to cool down I slid down before the volunteer wanted me too and got yelled at –sorry volunteer, I was already sliding by the time you yelled at me.  A bit after that there was the sandbag carry – still no girl, and then the first mud crawl.  This was tricky because it was over motorcross  bumps  with very thin mud and sharp rocks pointing up from the dirt – AND the volunteers would not let us roll!  What!??? No rolling???  So I crawled, slid and wiggled as fast as I possibly could, slicing my knees up with every movement.  It was not as fast as a roll but I was still passing men when a volunteer yelled at me: “The first girl is still in the mud, you can catch her”.  My knees went into overdrive and I crawled faster than ever before but still no sight of her.  More obstacles followed the traverse wall which I love, the rope climb, the spear throw – automatic 30 burpees for me, still no sight of the girl.  Time passed and it seemed like the race must be at least halfway over and I came to the chain pull.  It was here that I finally saw my competition – the first time since we had been at the starting line together.  As I was going to head up the hill, she was heading down.  Was it possible?  Could I catch her?  No, not yet.  The chain pull is hard for me, and again she disappeared.

Now the uphill bob wire crawl.  This was so steep Spartan added ropes.

The top finishers from PacNW

It was steep, my knees were bleeding, people were complaining and moving like slugs but I loved it.  I made good time up the crawl and moved on to the monkeybars where I saw her – girl number one doing burpees.  I was so surprised that she had fallen and again, thought this may be my opportunity.  I cruised through the monkey bars right when she finished her burpees but she quickly sprinted up a mini hill and I followed at least 100 feet behind.  This was it.  It was now or never.  We ran, her much quicker than me.  I could see the finish line and see her in front of me.  She was going to win I thought, and I was OK with this but I was still going all out.  She made it over the slanted rope all and I followed very close behind her.  About 50 feet from the gladiators and finish line was the last obstacle.  The balancing stepping log obstacle.  I couldn’t believe what I saw – she had fallen and was doing burpees, just feet from the finish line.  I had never fallen at this obstacle before and thought at this moment I might just have it.  I tried to choose my line wisely and made it about 5 steps, then the last log I moved to wiggled just enough to make me lose my balance and fall!  I was heartbroken, and joined her doing burpees.  She finished hers when I still had about 10 left, and I knew I came in second place.  I was bummed that it was so close and felt like I let it slip away but still really happy to come in 2nd.  It would be my best Saturday finish to date.  As I finished my burpees I ran through the gladiators and one gave me a high 5 instead of hitting me.  This brought a huge smile to my face and I crossed the finish line, proud and exhausted.  I told “the girl” congratulations and told her how fast she was and how I tried to catch her then asked her name.  Jenny.  Jenny Tobin?   The girl with the braids upside down on the traverse rope who won the Spartan Championship last year?  The girl who beat some really great competitors to win $10,000.  Yes, Jenny Tobin.  I felt honored to come in second place to her, and relieved that it was “her” who beat me.  I was a happy girl.  Less than a minute later another woman I had met at the start finished in third place and I realized she must have been on my tail, as I was on Jenny’s, and I was thankful I had given every part of that race everything I had and never given up.  I hadn’t realized I was being chased!

I will forever look upon my PNW with a smile.  It was a fun race, I really worked hard on keeping my attitude positive and optimistic during the race, and I never gave up.  Thank you to Spartan Race for putting on yet another great race, thank you to Navy Federal Credit Union – because of you I can afford my next race, and thank you to all my new friends I have met racing, and the support of the Spartan chicked community.

 

 

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