Spartans are extreme. No doubt about it. From founder Joe De Sena completing over 10,000 burpees a few weeks ago, to the origins of the Spartan Race series in the Peak Death Race DNA, Spartans are known for being up for any challenge. This one is a doozy!

Yesterday, the 703 mile QUINTUPLE “Ironman” Distance Virginia Anvil Ultra Triathlon kicked off and of the brave nine who started, FOUR are Spartans. Spartan co-founder Andy Weinberg, Rebecca Daniels Hansen, Olof Dallner (who took second in the Ultra Beast in Vermont), and Josh Zitomer. You can get live updates HERE.

Additionally, Spartan blogger and mastermind behind the Spartan WOD programming Jason Jaksetic will be taking on the Double later this week.

Stay tuned for updates on this epic feat of strength and endurance.  Aroo!

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Since arriving in Pittsfield on in late July, Danny Rodriguez is undergoing a full body transformation! On August 7, Danny weighed in at 374 pounds, a 36 pound loss from his initial arrival. The 10 days prior, he lived in a stone hut only accessible by foot, without power or running water. He was living on apples and water for his initial food detox.

He’s now down in the village doing daily workouts and work and living on a raw diet managed by Spartan founder Joe De Sena and spartan staffers and professional athletes. As of this week, Danny is weighing in at 345 pounds and taking on challenges he never thought possible. On August 24, Rodriguez completed a 10+ mile hike and has been tackling his workouts, nutrition, and healthy way of living with a vengeance.

We first met Danny at the Midwest Spartan and he has already come a long way. Then, he weighed in just over 400 pounds. That makes his total weight loss 65 pounds. He has a long way to go, but we know he will continue to make progress and push through to find new heights in his training and full mind-body transformation.

What is your excuse?  It’s time to get off the couch and outside in the mud!  Find a race near you HERE. 

Go #TeamDanny

[Photos courtesy of Marion Abrams, and Mad Motion]

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It’s no secret that Spartan Races are challenging for even the most prepared. The good news is Spartan has a lot of tools to help you prepare. Each day, we send out a FREE Spatan Workout of the Day (WOD) and a FREE Spartan Food of the Day (FOD). With these scalable workouts and healthy food options, it will make your race day preparation all the easier.

But Spartan Race is taking it a step further. Want to get a taste of what it means to be a Spartan? How about a Spartan Workout! Joe De Sena, co-founder of Spartan Race and members of his team are hitting the road and leading Spartan workouts across the country. Come out and find your inner Spartan!

Register NOW for a free Spartan Workout in your area and put yourself to the test! This is not a traditional workout. You’l lift, climb, crawl and run with hundreds of fellow Spartans in a fun and challenging workout. The workout is FREE and you’ll earn a cool “Training for a Spartan Race” t-shirt!

Cindy Ausman was able to participate in a recent FREE workout hosted by Spartan Race.  She said, “I’ve participated in two OCR before starting to prepare for the Spartan Sprint in Miller Park that’s being held November 2, 2013. What a difference there is in the camaraderie, support, encouragement, training, and attitude.  Attitude is the most important differentiator. Spartan is woven into every breath and fiber of your being.”

Ausman says, “Two quotes from Joe that stick with me through three different workouts, “You have it in you” when we were “going for an easy run on the beach.” Those words cannot be used in the same sentence – Easy –Run – Beach. But Joe’s energy is contagious. I ran more, hurdled higher walls more times than ever before, tried new moves, and worked as a team in new ways.”

What does a Spartan Workout look like? Check out this video from a recent Hawaii workout.

Are you ready for your Spartan experience?  Click HERE to find a WOD near you!

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by Matt Trinca

It’s Friday afternoon. The Death Racers have been going now for 5 hours, moving boulders and cutting branches to clear a path up to Joe’s cabin. Joe De Sena and Andy Weinberg are standing atop a climbing wall, explaining the theme – Gambling – and the rules for this year’s event. “We started the Peak Death Race to find people that we’d like to hang out with,” explained Andy. “We wanted to surround ourselves with people that inspire us.”

Team SISU was started with the same premise. Two years ago, as Daren de Heras and Yesel Arvizu were training for their first Death Race, they formed this small team to help prepare themselves for an event cloaked in mystery and madness. Neither of them finished the race that year, but they came back with a burning desire to push themselves further, and that desire spread amongst their friends. In 2012, 7 members of Team SISU traveled to the Peak Death Race and 4 of them finished… ”unofficially.” Bolstered by this success, the team continued to grow, and now boasts more than 800 members across the country.

SISU is a Finnish word, meaning “ultimate determination, fortitude, and persistence, carried to an unfathomable level.” But to sum it up in one word, SISU means “guts.” The mission of Team SISU is to, “forge unbreakable athletes,” and nowhere was this more apparent than at the 2013 Death Race, where 10 members came to race, along with 5 members who came to serve as support crew and volunteers.

Bolstered by a team camaraderie developed through various team events, such at the 50+ mile Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim run in the Grand Canyon and the 24+ hour SISU Iron adventure challenge, the true grit of each team member was truly on display over the course of the 72 to 80-hour 2013 Death Race.

There was a point in the event where each racer was pushed to their limit, and faced with temptation to quit. Whether it was an injury, soreness, lack of sleep, mental fatigue, competitiveness, or fear, all had their own personal demons to face down. In a situation like this, just toeing the start line takes tremendous courage, and a “Did Not Finish” or “DNF”, is nothing to be ashamed of. But for those who were able to reach down deep and push through the pain and doubt, there was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Daren de Heras finally earned his first “official” finish. “It’s a great feeling. The 2013 Winter Death Race left me with some unanswered questions about myself, but I now feel like I have my confidence back. What a way to celebrate my 40th birthday!”

Will Bowden – first time Death Race competitor and 5th place male finisher – had this to say, “This race was a game changer for me. Any situation that brings you to your mental or physical boundaries (or both), and allows you to decide if you want to hold short or cross them and create a new boundary, will always change the core of your being. The Death Race did just that.”

Eric Wyler – another first time competitor and Death Race finisher – said, “The race was incredible. It’s truly an experience that strips you down and exposes parts of yourself you never though existed. During the 70-ish hours the race lasted, there was nothing on my mind other than the race. Time seemed to pass in a strange, continuous way such that I lost track of whether it was Friday or Saturday or Monday morning. It’s always incredible to do these races and meet so many inspiring people.”

Even the SISU support crew got into the act, staying up long hours to prepare food, shuttle supplies, and provide logistical support to the SISU racers. Three team members even took part in an overnight, 30+ mile hike that brought more than a few participants to their knees. And they did it not for money or glory, but merely for a mutual respect and love for their friends, a bond forged through shared experiences of hardship and triumph. Racers and crew alike bonded together supporting each other, and pushing each other to dig deep, not to quit, and show that true grit which embodies the word, “SISU”.

Team SISU will be back again for the 2014 Peak Death Race, where the theme will be the Year of the Explorer. Find Team SISU at www.facebook.com/groups/278263838919491/. And check out the Peak Death Race at www.youmaydie.com.

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by Edward A. Puente

On July 15 around 5:20 a.m. I was stabbed twice. Once to my left abdomen and once to my left chest in Austin, Tx while intervening on an attack on a friend. We were ending the night after celebrating a friend’s birthday. I was in my second week of Nursing School then. I went through surgery and a blood transfusion, stitches and staples. Due to my injuries and lack of mobility I was forced to drop the nursing program and I was unable to work as well. I lay in bed many days unable to move and depressed for sometime. Losing weight and muscle.

One of those days I was surfing the web trying to find a race that would motivate me to get back into running and shape overall. I stumbled across Spartan Race. Just seeing the obstacles and how many different people, some with limitations were pushing themselves beyond what one could not imagine. It seemed like fun.

Ever since I came across Spartan Race not one day went by when I didn’t check out the WOD or any new uploaded videos or Facebook status. I was constantly thinking about the Texas Sprint this May 2013. My first Spartan Race!

I attended a workout with Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena in Austin after seeing a FB post about him being in Austin with his crew to workout anyone willing to show up. It was a last minute trip so there wasn’t a lot of advanced notice. When I showed up there was only one other guy. The other guy Todd Kemper had driven 50 miles for the chance to meet Joe as well.

We experienced a dose of the Hurricane Heat, which I had no idea what that was, and it was intense and amazing. I found something inside myself I didn’t know was there. We worked out with sandbags, a bucket full of sand, the slosh pipe and not to mention countless burpees! Some with the sandbags plus the running. When I thought it was over, it wasn’t…Never before had I done more than 20 burpees in a row and here Joe D was making us do 100 burpees straight in what I later found was only the MIDDLE of by far the toughest workout of my life to date!
I laughed when he said 100 burpees. That laugh didn’t last long. He was for real!

I really believed he was going to stop us and say something like, “Ok guys bring it in and let’s cool down.” I was absolutely sure of it, but he didn’t! Now, I’m so glad he didn’t. This guy knows that there’s a part in every one of us that does not know defeat just waiting to be found out. These people are amazing and fun. They get it. Now fully recovered and training since January, I’m ready to devour 2013! No doubt I’m completing the trifecta and aiming on a chance for the Ultra Beast this year. Will probably never stop saying, “AROO” for as long as I live.

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by Johnny Waite, Spartan Death Race finisher

Death Race 2013: The Year of the Gambler. Already the rumors are rampant and the speculation is swirling.

How long dare they make it? The last four years have seen it swell from 12 hours to 28 to 45 to 70 – Yes, that is SEVENTY HOURS, without rest! There is a reason why we see less than 10% finish this grueling challenge for survival in the haunting mountains of Pittsfield, VT.

Like every year before, the rumors are running rampant. There is talk of hard cut-offs for time hacks, disrupting many racers strategy of “slow and steady” and of teams being broken up and certain challenges planned to make even the toughest competitor fail. Of course, Joe De Sena and Andy Weinberg Death Race Directors are not talking, except when they are mocking participants and making sure the race mystery and intrigue stresses out the field and increases the chance of failure.

“We’ve gotten really good at getting under people’s skin,” boasted Joe. “We like to study them and figure out what is going to break them.”

Olof Dallner

More people are expected to start this year’s Death Race than ever before but, as usual, only a handful will ever finish.

Some names to watch are; Olof Dallner (defending Champion who also has 2 straight Winter Death Race wins and is looking to add his second straight Summer title for four in a Row and a claim to “best ever Death Racer”), Junyong Pak who finished a strong second last year and is always a threat, and the trio of Don Schwarz, Ken Lubin and PJ Rakoski who were leading last year at 50+ hours when they decided to pack it in (Don, in particular, has been training like a mad man looking to settle a score).

On the women’s side; Amelia Boone is always a threat and is expected to fare well in the mental and physical challenges on tap for the competitors. Nele Schulze came out of nowhere to win this year’s Winter Death Race and is looking to be a woman for all seasons, and Morgan McKay went from unknown to 2012 finisher and now to a woman on a mission for the top spot.

No one, veteran or rookie, knows what to expect or what to prepare for, except pain, exhaustion and utter frustration. That is what makes the Death Race so special. And so brutal. And it all gets underway June 21, 2013 in Pittsfield, Vermont.

Do you have what it takes?  Read more about the Death Race HERE.

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by Carrie Adams

When the average person thinks of Valentine’s Day, they envision fragrant bouquets of flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, elegant dinners on the town, expensive bottles of wine, and maybe even tiny boxes filled with sparkly diamonds.  When a Spartan thinks of Valentine’s Day the vision involves less of the chocolate and roses and more of the blazing fires, muddy pits, slippery walls, and barbed wire low crawls.  What could possibly be more romantic?  (Keep reading, there’s a WOD here too.  We can’t let you off the hook without getting you sweaty first!)

The Reebok Spartan Race series is well underway in 2013.  With SoCal and Arizona already logged an an upcoming Super Spartan race in Miami February 23 and 24th, Spartans are looking forward to their Spartan finishes.

But on this most romantic of days, we recognize that our races offer a unique opportunity for active couples to come have fun, push themselves together, and ultimately share a unique experience that will be unforgettable at any stage of a relationship… And if you’re single and looking for love, we’ve got you covered too.  I mean, have you seen the hard bodies that come to our races?

While finish lines are places of triumph and the end of a race, sometimes they are something else entirely, the beginning of a new life for a couple.  We’re no strangers to seeing love blossom on our muddy battlefields.  We’ve already had four marriage proposals in 2013!  (They’ve all said “yes” by the way.)

Our founder Joe De Sena proposed to his wife on a race course, as did our storied Race Director Mike Morris.  In fact, just this year, Spartan staffer Jennifer Sullivan married her muddy Prince Charming after meeting him at the original Hurricane Heat in Boston in 2011.   And from that day in August of 2011 Jennifer and Danny went from strangers, to friends, and then on August 23, 2012 they became husband and wife.

Sullivan and Allen

So, on this day of love and romance, don’t just go for the traditional, there is a great big muddy world out there!  (Not to mention seven foot walls,  sandbags, and single track trails.)

How better to celebrate your love, or find it?  We can’t imagine anything more romantic.  Get signed up!

Diamonds are optional.

Not sure you’re ready?  Here’s a WOD we posted to get you ready.  Let’s get physical.

Sharing the Burden Together:  A Valentine’s Day Spartan WOD

The weight of the world is a trifle, if we all put our two fingers under it and try to lift together.

- Vera Nazarian

Warm-up
Spartan Stretching
25-50 synchronized jumping jacks.

Main Set:
5k walk/run/hike with 1 sandbag/log/rock/child
25-50 synchronized burpees

Cool Down:
We’ll leave this up to you.  Feel free to start on the far end of the intensity spectrum, but try and work it down to deep, long stretches and massage.  Take a hot bath, and, if and only if you burned over 1000 calories together, grab some chocolate.

Spartan Fit Tip:  If you are going to consume chocolate-y goodness, post workout is a great time to let this empty carb into your system.  Here are some facts to ease the guilt of bringing a glass of chocolate milk with you into the bath tub.

-  A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20% lower risk of stroke than those who had fewer than 9 grams a week.

-  Being high in fiber, dark chocolate can help you feel full, so you’ll eat less.

-  An ingredient in chocolate is theobromine which seems to reduce activity of the vagus nerve, which is the part of the brain that triggers coughing.

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By Scott Blough, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Times Square Team Leader

Where it Began

In August of 2012, I traveled to Leesburg, VA for the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan. This was my first exposure to the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR).  While on the festival grounds I heard bagpipes coming closer and noticed a group of soldiers entering the starting area.   The announcer informed us that these men were part of a group called Team X-T.R.E.M.E.  We turned our attention to the skies where we saw a black parachute open and the announcer told us during his descent that the team was going to run this course with two wounded warriors.  One of the wounded warriors, Noah Galloway, was being tandem parachute jumped in to the event.

The team assembled.  It was at this point when I got my first look at Todd Love.  Todd is a triple amputee.  Missing both legs being above the knee and his left arm below the elbow, he served as a Recon Marine before his injuries.  He is carried by the team in a backpack throughout the race.  I quickly snapped a picture on my phone and cheered them on as they took off to conquer the course.   That was the last time I saw the team that day, I stopped by the Team X-T.R.E.M.E. booth on the way out of the festival grounds and grabbed a t-shirt.

Joining the Team

Upon returning to North Carolina I began doing research on Team X-T.R.E.M.E. to find out who they were.  As the pictures and videos of the race came out they were nothing short of amazing.  The images of Todd climbing the 25 foot rope in Leesburg have become known throughout the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).  As I dug deeper into the articles on the internet I started to become more inspired by the team and the mission. The statement “We give opportunity not sympathy” was the final straw for me I was hooked.  I signed up as a Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Community Athlete (TXCA) then started looking for ways to join the team.  I learned that there was an indoctrination (INDOC) process to try out for the team.

Eduard Lychik, Todd Love, Hobie Call, and Joe De Sena

I signed up for the INDOC class 003-012.   We started with eight people trying out for the team with two wounded warriors.  Class 003-012 had six people finish, of those six; four were selected to join the team.  We were issued our Avon C-50 gas masks and welcomed to the team.

Times Square

Reebok Spartan Times Square Challenge was my first event as a team leader.  Times Square was an amazing opportunity for Team X-T.R.E.M.E. to get our mission out to the world and support Spartan Race, an organization that has lent us a great deal of opportunity and exposure.  The race course allowed the spectators to get right up next to the action and see the whole course.  Many of our community athletes were on hand, as well as two wounded warriors – Todd Love and Eduard Lychik.  As a team, we tackled the course in Times Square Lychik and Love demonstrating extreme acts of physical strength and endurance.  Watching them climb the ropes simultaneously was a sight I will never forget.   We got to meet many spectators and some celebrities like Tiki Barber and Brooklyn Decker.  We even met Reebok Spartan athletes Hobie Call and Spencer Hendel.  It was  a great day!

After the race the team headed to Ground Zero where we took a tour of the memorial that opened in 2011.  The memorial is overwhelming.  The names of the fallen line the outer edge the memorial appropriately named “Reflecting Absence.”  The mood of the team was very somber at the memorial.  We focused on how that day had changed our lives and where we might have been had that never happened.  Most of the team members have at least one combat deployment in support of the Global War on Terror.  To stand at the physical location that started it all was a great opportunity for the team.  We look forward to more events in 2013 and supporting our mission to honor, empower, and motivate wounded service members.

See additional Team X-T.R.E.M.E. pictures from Times Square HERE.  Photos courtesy of Kevin High Photography.

[Editor’s Note: Scott Blough grew up in Fairfield, Iowa and joined the Army in 2000.  Blough has served as a medical sergeant in Army Special Operations for the past 9 years.  Blough as deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 5 times between 2005 and 2010.  Blough is currently attending Campbell University where he will earn a Bachelor of health Science later this year.]

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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

Even before the sun began to rise over 42nd and Broadway, the short course of the Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge was fully illuminated and the grounds were buzzing with activity.  Encased beneath a clear plastic tent were a dozen obstacles, signatures of the normally much longer course.

“It’s an urban experience!” exclaimed Joe De Sena, one of the Spartan Race founders and CEO.  “Let’s see how fast our Spartans can move today!” 

Before the event officially began at 11AM, various media outlets, Spartan staff, and some new faces settled into Heartland Brewery just around the corner from the downtown demonstration.  The new faces belonged to Reebok staffers.  Before long, Joe Desena addressed the crowd, joined by Yan Martin, Head of Global Brand Marketing from Reebok.  Over the course of fifteen minutes, De Sena and Yan outlined the ground-breaking multi-year partnership of the company that first pioneered the sport of Obstacle Course Racing and the global fitness brand company that would help bring it the masses, both in the United States and Internationally.   In addition to the global partnership, Spartan unveiled plans for an upcoming Spartan Sprint at Citi Field April 13, 2013.  The event, previously released to a small internal Spartan community already boasts nearly 1,000 registrants already.

Brooklyn Decker and Tiki Barber

The agreement would bring with it apparel, footwear and accessories and the Reebok Spartan Race will be featured in the brand’s upcoming global marketing campaign – the first time obstacle racing has been featured in a major campaign. Reebok also plans to develop a range of products specifically created for the demands of Reebok Spartan Race athletes, which will be available in fall 2013.

By 11AM the course itself was in full swing.  Spectators stopped and watched as Spartans of all ages navigated the short course in the early afternoon hours.  Joined by familiar faces from Team X-T.R.E.M.E. the onlookers were treated to an inspirational sight of the team taking on the course together.  Later, former professional football player Tiki Barber and actress Brooklyn Decker would take on the course.  Barber, a ten-year veteran of the New York Giants loved his experience on the course telling ESPN, “I might start training for the real one to see if I can do it. This might be something I’ll gravitate toward.”

Resident Spartan champion Hobie Call, who was also announced as a new Reebok athlete went head-to-head with CrossFit Games athlete, Spencer Hendel with Hendel besting Call by a mere 11 seconds in the tight race.   He looks forward to the upcoming Citi Field Sprint.  As the day wound down and the last of the Spartan crossed the finish line, it was one of the most exciting day in Spartan’s history.  With a new partner and the first race

Hobie Call and Spencer Hendel

of 2013 set to kick off January 26th and 27th in Temecula, it looks like the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is on the rise.  Lace up those Reebok kicks… it’s going to be an epic year of racing!

For more on our Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge, you can visit our FB page.  For additional photos taken on the day of the Challenge, click HERE.  Our season kicks off this weekend in SoCal, stay tuned for all the exciting news coming out of HQ!

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