On the Las Vegas Strip, opulent waterfalls, sky scraping hotels and lush retreats abound.  On The Strip, you could almost forget that this bustling city began simply as a dream in a desert.

Yes, a desert.

This Saturday, thousands of Spartans will invade the infamous Sin City for the second-ever Las Vegas Super, which make no mistake, while conveniently located, is taking place on the outskirts of the metropolis, away from the ringing bells of casinos, the air conditioned biomes of pink clouds the billboards of lights, lights and more lights.

Spartan Racers should expect nearly nine miles and nearly two dozen obstacles in the dry, dusty plains of the Nevada desert.

With a new locale from last year aptly called the “Gravel Pit,” course designers are promising all the Spartan staples — spears, ropes, walls, pits, tires — amid both the natural, rocky topography and new, man-made terrain.  There will be muddy portions, but true to the setting, very little water, except for the planned three stations and one at the finish. If last year is any indication, participants should also expect some down and uphill climbs. At last check, the weather predictions called for sun with highs in the 70s and a slight wind.

The Racer Athlete Guide suggests everyone bringing an ID for check in (and any post-race drinks), arriving at least an hour before the wave start, carrying personal hydration and nutrition. If starting at 2:00pm or later, it’s also advised to carry a headlamp. Click here for the Las Vegas Athlete Guide.

Just like the desert itself, the elite heats will be scorching, with athletes from the around the nation all vying for spots on the podium and top ranking in the 2014 World Points Series, especially since this is a one-day event.

In the men’s elite, look for 2013 top-ranked Brian Hoover and the Spartan Pro Teamers Elliott Megquier, Chris Rutz, David Magida, current points leader, Hunter Mcintyre and Charlotte’s first place winner, Matt Novakovich.

Last year’s Vegas 2nd place winner TyAnn Clark and Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone are both expected to take the start line in the women’s heat, as are Leslie St. Louis, making her first 2014 return from injury, and Pro Teamers Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles and Tiffanie Novakovich.

Beyond the Super Spartan, there are other events taking place on Saturday: the not-to-be-missed Kids’ Races, the 6:00 am Hurricane Heat and the 12-hour Hurricane Heat (HH12HR), which serves as one of the qualifying events for the Peak Death Race.

While all of the events promise to challenge racers, the festival area will offer some Spartan-Style entertainment and fun, including food and refreshments, an SGX Warm up every hour starting at 7:30am, an SGX tutorial on rope climbing every hour starting at 9:00 am and Pull-up, Traverse Wall, Slosh Pipe and Tire Flip challenges happening throughout at the day starting around 10:00 am.

Amid obstacles, sweeping desert views and rousing “Aroos!” racers at the Spartan Super this weekend will likely discover something new to remember about Las Vegas, a city founded on dreams and a desert.

Click here for more information.

 

Leslie St. Louis is a trail runner, obstacle racer and mom of two mud-loving girls in Morrison, Colorado. She is currently ranked 9th in the Spartan World Points Series and the founder of a local obstacle group, resource and blog, Colorado Obstacle Racers, http://coloradoobstacleracers.com/.

 

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Leading up to the Charlotte Spartan Sprint the entire festival and base camp was submerged under water. Rumors began floating around that the Charlotte Sprint would become the first ever Waterworld Spartan Race. Thankfully, as the weekend approached the sun helped dry things up just enough to ensure another excellent Spartan weekend.

We want to thank everyone who came out this weekend. As late as Tuesday, we were questioning amongst ourselves whether or not we would pull this off. At one point our base camp was over two feet under water. As race day approached we had to change our parking plans multiple times. Thank you for Spartan’ing up and helping us play host to another extraordinary event.

The infamous Hurricane Heat commenced the weekend’s events starting bright and early at 6:00AM. Without those extraordinary teamwork of the Hurricane Heaters, the festival would have remained a disaster; together they hoisted several enormous hay bales from the parking lot to registration and the festival area. Per usual an impressive smoke session (ie. lots of burpees, sit-ups, planks, etc) took place before setting out onto sections of the course. During the PT several participants were broken off from the group to assist in constructing a Spartan mudman sculpture. It’s kind of like a snowman but made with mud. To wrap things up, each team had to mummify a randomly selected member from each team with the required cassette tapes they brought. Abiding by the Warrior Ethos, their fallen comrades had to be carried over a half mile through the course from the Spearman obstacle to the finish. In the Hurricane Heat you start mostly as strangers but finish as a single unified team.

From the Spartan Pro Team we saw a return to the Spartan circuit from female World Champion, Amelia Boone. Joining her were fellow Spartan Pro teammates, Matt Novakovich, Juliana Sproles, Hannah Orders, Elliot Mcguier, and David Magida. Also in attendance were Spartan elites, Valerie Smith, John Henderson, Jeffrey Bent, and Spartan SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol.

It was a grueling competition on Saturday that had all the racers fighting through the extra muddy obstacles. Focus, concentration, everything was tested on this course. Our returning Spartan World Champion, Amelia Boone, took the first place spot on the podium for the women. Spartan Pro Team member, Matt Novakovich also clutched another first place finish. Rounding things out for the women, Ashley Keller took second, just five months after having a baby, and Spartan SGX Coach, Sarah Pozdol came in third. In the men’s competition, Yuri Force crossed the finish just over a minute behind Novakovich snagging second, followed closely by Matthew Taverner in third. Spartan Pro Team members Elliot and David came in fourth and fifth, respectively and Juliana Sproles took eighth.

On Sunday, Spartan Pro Team members Matt Novakovich, Juliana Sproles and Elliot Mcguier returned for some more fun in the mud. The course, which was already a muddy mess, took a turn for the worse (or better in our eyes) after almost 8,300 racers conquered the Saturday Charlotte Sprint. The competition was fierce and Matt Novakovich once again came out victorious. Spartan Pro, Elliot Meguier came in second and Dennis Welch snagged third. The top three women were each separated by nearly a two minute gap with Brittany Duckworth leading the pack taking first, Juliana Sproles returning to the podium in second, and Melanie Jones in third.

Throughout the day, warm ups were conducted near the starting line by Spartan SGX Coaches, Sarah Pozdol and Steve Manns. Nearly 13,000 racers discovered the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a Spartan Race. Among those Spartans were a few incredible adaptive athletes that tackled the course. Operation Enduring Warrior, Wounded Warrior and More Hearts than Scars showed us once again that anything is possible especially with the strong support from their amazing community ambassadors.

There was one particularly outstanding moment that represents the embodiment of what it means to be a Spartan. At every Spartan Race there is always a sweeper heat that ensures the entire course is cleared, making certain that everyone out there crosses the finish. Our final racer of the day on Saturday, a young lady by the name of Ana Silva, injured her ankle on the course. She came to the realization that she injured herself near the three mile mark just as she began a hill climb at The Gamble obstacle. Determined to cross that finish line she found herself a walking stick and trudged on. Medical asked her numerous times if she wanted to be taken off the course; she refused. Her response, “I’m finishing this race!” Kudos to her, because that’s just what she did, giving it her all and collapsing to the ground at the finish line. Ana, is a Spartan and we applaud her unrelenting pursuit to finish what she started. Thank you to the sweeper heat and staff who kept her company for the remainder of her race.

We can’t forget about the Spartan Kids Race, offering youngsters ages 4-13 an opportunity to conquer their own obstacles on the course built just for them. The smiles on those little ones faces as they climb the cargo net and tackle the mud are so refreshing. It’s a wonderful sight to see these little people doing what they should be doing, getting out there and playing in some mud. “Don’t worry mom, its okay, I’m a Spartan.” Keep your eyes out for these youngsters over the next few years, there are some next generation Spartan Pro Team members getting a jump start on their journey!

In the festival and at the finish our sponsor Core Power delivered some delicious protein drinks, keeping our participants and spectators properly fueled throughout the day. Our friends at Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing race day coverage of all the day’s activities and SpartanUp! Graphix presented their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos. Be sure to check out your race photos and check out SpartanUp! Graphix for extra large prints and life-size cut-outs.

After a very long and exciting weekend here in Charlotte, North Carolina the Spartan Team is packing up and preparing to head west for the Vegas Spartan Super. You won’t want to miss out on the madness in Sin City, where we’ll be launching the first ever Hurricane Heat Twelve Hour!

If you haven’t signed up yet, SpartanUp! and make it happen today! Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!

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By: Tony Matesi

Welcome to Atlanta where the Spartans play, and we hang on them traverse walls like every day. Big Heats, fit Elites, see Spartans roamin’ and the festival starts at eight in the mornin’.

Kicking off another extraordinary Spartan weekend for the 2014 season we saw another grueling Hurricane Heat that pushed participants beyond their limits. Wasting no time getting down to business the event started with a 100+ burpee penalty in response to a collection of late arrivals.

This weekend we saw some familiar faces from the Spartan Pro Team ready to tackle the Spartan Sprint. In attendance for the men we saw David Magida, Christopher Rutz, Elliot Megquier and Georgia Native Alec Blenis. Alexander Nicholas was also in attendance but did not race competitively this weekend. For the women we saw TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, and the Barbwire Queen Andi Hardy. Other Spartan Elites who made their way out for this incredible event included Cody Wright, John Henderson, Tony Matesi, Margaret Schlachter, Amanda Ricciardi, Kristine Iotte, Amie Meyer, Valerie Smith, and Sarah Pozdol.

Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a moment with race director Mike Morrris

The men’s Elite saw tough competition for the top three spots resulting in podium finishes for David Magida, Alec Blenis, and Elliot Megquier (finishing first, second, and third respectively). As if that wasn’t enough for the trio they suited up for battle again on Sunday crossing the finish line once again in the same order as the day before.

The women’s Elite however saw both familiar, and new faces, take the podiums. On Saturday Pro-Team member TyAnn Clark came in first with close to a seven minute lead over second place SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol while Emily Fowler took third. Unlike the men the women’s Sunday podium looked different than Saturday. New comer Kristine Iotte took the lead in the first minute of the race on Sunday and never looked back. Like TyAnn the day before, Kristine held nearly a seven minute lead over second place finisher Amanda Ricciardi. The third place women’s Elite finisher went to Valerie Smith who on Saturday participated in the grueling and mentally tough Hurricane Heat.

Alicia Keys evaluates the next obstacle

Taking care of our racers with post race fuel was the Core Power Team with their delicious Core Power Protein drinks awaiting finishers after they battled the Gladiators. Mellow Mushroom kept everyone fed with exceptional discounts for all Spartan Racers. Eco Vessel was on site with their eco-friendly water bottles. Our friends from Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing coverage of the day’s events and SpartanUp! Graphix offered up their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos.

Not only did we see familiar faces but there was even a celebrity on site as well. Alicia Keys came with a group of friends and tackled the course. Crossing the finish line in true Spartan fashion covered in Georgia clay, Ms. Keys was all smiles over becoming a true Spartan. Another music guest included Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After a long and exciting weekend of Spartan-filled, fun, mud, sweat and maybe a little blood, we’re signing off. We’ll see you at the next one. The Spartan Team will be invading Charlotte, North Carolina in a couple weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!!

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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 Juliana Sproles, Spartan Pro Team

Juliana Sproles

In keeping with Spartan tradition, Race Director Mike Morris has a sprint length course planned with plenty of elevation change, beautiful views, technical treks through the woods, and many challenging obstacles, making the Amesbury Sports Complex course a quick, but tough course to conquer.

A new twist to the Spartan starting line, a “remote start,” will be unveiled and implemented for the first time at Amesbury on Saturday morning, hopes of keeping both the festival area and starting line fun and fresh throughout the day for all racers and spectators. Stay tuned for more details from our team hard at work out at the venue.

Members of the Spartan Pro Team planning to race this weekend include: Alexander Nicholas and Chris Rutz. For the women, Andi “Queen of Green” Hardy, Juliana “The Shark” Sproles will be racing. Elite female Irene Call will also be onhand. Irene took a break from Spartan racing after the Texas Beast last winter and she is now preparing for her attempt to break the World Record for lunging a mile. The word from training camp is she is looking fit, strong, agile and fast!

There are a few returning Spartans, racing in Elite and Open Heats, who will be coming fresh out of Dirt In Your Skirt Training Camp this Friday (from upstate New York, in the Adirondacks) to make their way to Boston to finish o

ut a grand week of obstacle racing training). These racers include: Heather Cammarata, Theresa Capobianco, Kim Girard and Amy Johnson (who will be racing her very first Spartan Race on Sunday). Welcome to the family, Amy, and all of our first-time racers!

Since there are only six more weeks remaining in the Reebok Spartan Sprint 2013 Series, and there is a Spartan Beast race happening simultaneously on Saturday in Monterey, there will be much movement in the national points standings this weekend.The weather is supposed to be partly sunny, with a chance of showers, with a high of 80 degrees for the day on Saturday, and less humid on Sunday with little chance of rain.

The season is heating up and we will fly into an exciting World Championship weekend in Vermont before we knew it. We are all part of an emerging sport, taking the world by storm. Time to Spartan up and we will see you out there.

Find your finish line.  Click HERE.

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by Margaret Schlachter, guest blogger

2010 may have been the start of my Spartan journey when I was one of the original Spartans racing in the first Spartan Race in early 2010. 2011 marked my first podium and an invitation to join Spartan Chicked from the beginning, but it’s 2012 that will forever go down in the history books.

2012 was an incredible year, little did I know that in June when I started my 2012 season I would race nineteen official times and a few laps to help out, amass seven podium finishes and never out of the top 15. Little did I know I would travel throughout the country, race countless miles, make lasting friendships, and change careers all because of Spartan Race. I could write novels about the year but instead condensed it down to my Top 10 Moments in Spartan for 2012.

Top 10 Moments in Spartan Race of 2012

10.       The Perfect Race – finishing my first race with a single penalty burpee in Amesbury, MA Sprint.

9.         Finishing 3rdboth days in the Mid-West Super Spartan. It was an incredible weekend where two great races happened.

Margaret Schlachter and Juliana Sproles

8.         Watching the Spartan Chicked movement grow over 9,000 members. We started with a dozen women brought together with an idea by Carrie Adams and today it’s grown beyond what any could have imagined a year and a half ago.

7.         A Book Deal – Because of OCR and Spartan Race I am working on my first book due out in Spring 2014, dedicated to getting more people into racing and getting over the hurdles that stand in the way.

6.         Racing in Fenway Park – I went to college in Boston and that’s when I first got into baseball. Racing in Fenway was a surreal experience, hugging the Green Monster, burpees on the warming track, and seeing parts of the park otherwise closed to the public was priceless!

5.         The People – The Spartan Community is unlike any other in sport. The bonds and friendships formed are closer than many friendships I have had for years. Some of my biggest competitors are my best friends. The conversations on the trails during races are what sometimes got me to the finish.

4.         DNF’ing the Death Race after 25 hours of racing – More was learned in about myself in that DNF than I could have ever known.

3.         Finishing the Ultra Beast – it was more than a race for me, a goodbye to Killington, Vermont where I started my fitness journey. My last time on “my” mountain before moving to Utah, it was a race that transcended the rest.

2.         Chris Davis – Meeting and helping Chris to train for the Vermont Beast was an experience that not only allowed me to help train another Spartan but more importantly I got a great friend out of it. The first time he got over the 8ft wall in my backyard is a treasured memory of 2012

1.         Turning “pro” – In July, I quit my day job and simultaneously became the first female professional obstacle course racer. My life is my website, Dirt in Your Skirt, racing and training.

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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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