by Carrie Adams

When we announced early 2012 that we’d be having the world’s first marathon(ish) distance Obstacle Course Race, the response was overwhelming.  Application only, thousands of race resumes flooded HQ with runners wanting to be a part of history.  When all was said and done, we had a line-up of Spartan Ultra-Beast participants that ranged from National Champion Trail Runners and Olympic athletes to first time marathoners.

When all was said and done, 386 were accepted (86 more than originally planned) to compete and on race day 345 would toe the line, 321 as individuals and 24 in eight separate three person teams.  Rules were laid out and it was decided at HQ that athletes could compete in both for cash prizes with the assumption that any Spartan tough enough to win both races deserved both cash prizes.  $5,000 was up for grabs for the top spot of the single and double loop Beast and Ultra Beast for top male and female, $2,000 would go to second place and $1,000 for third.  On the day, $50,000 would be handed out in cash prizes.  Other awards were also presented, making it the highest payday for any single obstacle race ever held.

When several of the Ultra Beast runners wandered off course, the time cut-offs were backed up so allow the runners to finish

the over 27 mile course.  Running as much as six miles extra, some were pulled from the course before they could finish when the dark and rain made it impossible for them to continue.  And when the day was over, 162 finished and 69 of those finished in less than 11 hours.  The Ultra Beast medals are special edition and will never be re-created.  They’re larger with a special ribbon, oh, and they glow in the dark.  That’s pretty badass.  We shared photos on our wall all day with breaking stories on Saturday that you can see HERE.

Some of the most compelling stories on the day were of those who DNF’d the course.  For those who missed cut-offs, dropped out due to injury, excuse, or exhaustion, they shared their candid stories with us that you can read HERE.

Results:

Men’s Ultra Beast Top Finishers:

Cody Moat – 7:01:26

Junyong Pak – 7:29:38

Brakken Kraker- 7:38:47

Female Ultra Beast Top Finishers:

Claude Godbout – 8:09:32

Amelia Boone – 8:35:55

Jenny Tobin – 9:00:46

Want to read the rest of the race report from the Ultra Beast?  Click HERE.   And if you want the Ultra Beast by the numbers including stats on fastest and slowest times, transitions in the pit, and average laps… click HERE. 

Not to be outdone, the Vermont Beast was the true World Championship of the 2012 season.  The monster Ultra Beast certainly captured a lot of attention, but the crowning jewel on the season was wrapped up in the Beast where a lot was laid on the line by those brave enough to race for the cash.

One look at the results board and one thing stands out immediately.  Hobie Call’s name is NOT at the top.  In our review of the male competitors coming to the race that we posted last week HERE, several names were visible at the top of the leader board that we predicted would be.  It would ultimately be Cody Moat’s day two times over, taking the top spot and besting Hobie Call in the Beast (one loop) and then continuing on and winning the Ultra Beast (two loops).  Call, nursing a hamstring injury was second on the day, finishing almost five minutes after Moat.  Other high finishers included Brakken Kraker who took third, Ben Nephew who captured fourth, and Sebastian Monette who snagged fifth.  We talk more about the Ultra Beast, HERE in this blog post published yesterday.

On the women’s side it was a tight race!  We previewed the ladies last

week HERE. The top spot went to Canadian biathlete and Obstacle Racing phenom Claude Godbout, who, like Moat, went on to a second loop capturing both race victories!  Godbout took not only top spot for females, but 7th overall, beating all but six men on the course.  Godbout was our top place finisher in the 2011 Vermont Beast last year and was able to reclaim her first place status.  Amelia Boone was a notable racer as well in Vermont.  The Death Race veteran swept in from the windy city of Chicago and took second place in the Beast and the Ultra Beast.  Like Godbout, she out paced many of our top men, her 14thoverall in the single loop Beast performance landed only 12 men total ahead of her.  Boone was followed by Ella Kociuba in third and Jenny Tobin in fourth a battle at the finish line.

In addition to the elite Beast heat Nearly 6,000 competitors and spectators from across the U.S. and several foreign countries representing every walk of life, age and stage and varying degrees of athletic abilities converged on Killington, VT to tackle the 2012 Spartan Race World Championship. Consisting of a Beast (one loop) 13 + and a first of its kind Ultra Beast (two loop) 26+ mile race, presented by Dial For Men on Sat., September 22nd and Sunday, September 23rd it capped off our season with one hell of an Obstacle Race with $50,000 being handed out before the day was over for the top finishers.  The most EVER given out at an Obstacle Race event.

The Ultra Beast will be making an appearance in the 2013 season.  Stay tuned, details coming soon!  In the meantime? Can’t wait to race again?  We understand.  Click HERE and find your next Spartan finish line.

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by Alec Blenis

393595_10150389196771861_251061411860_8883561_1155940080_nAt times running over 100 miles per week in freezing temperatures, he takes endurance to a whole new extreme. Placing third in the Spartan Race World Championship, he won the World’s Toughest Mudder competition just two weeks later. Mechanical engineer by day, hardcore endurance athlete by night, he often doesn’t finish his grueling workouts until after midnight. This extraordinary gentlemen is known by some as Pak-man.

Sparta, meet Junyong Pak.

Junyong, 34, was born to a loving family in Korea. To survive the harsh winters in his homeland, extra body fat was sometimes a necessity. Always slender however, Junyong was actually considered unhealthy by his family. Now living in Boston, perhaps it is this background which helped him win the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24 hour test of endurance in which icy waters and harsh weather kept all but ten of the initial competitors from even finishing the event. With a 2:33 Boston Marathon finish previously this year, it’s no surprise that he did well. Second place was more than four hours behind. “I could have run farther,” he says, “but I didn’t want to get hurt.” Junyong has other big races coming up…

Junyong started racing in middle school when a friend convinced him to join the cross14641_590787849279_2811400_34885900_7814527_n country team. Never one to disappoint, Junyong ran hard for his high school coach but, regrettably, he didn’t run in college. He had always wanted to run an obstacle course competitively, but “there was nothing like [Spartan Race] when I was growing up,” he says. When he saw an ad for Spartan Race a few years ago, he jumped on the opportunity. An inspiring athlete, Junyong always places well at Spartan Races. With another successful racing season behind him, Junyong has big plans for 2012. He’ll be running in multiple Spartan Races: the infamous Spartan Death Race and the Spartan Race Championship to be held in Killington, Vermont.

So how does he balance a full time job and personal life with his rigorous training? Admittedly, he is not a morning person. He does all of his workouts when he gets home from work around 10:00pm, tired and hungry. It’s not always easy though. “Not working out is simply not an option. The rest of life starts when you’re done training. I just make it happen.” Junyong has no secrets. In fact, his training log is available for all to see online. What separates him for his competition is his grit, work ethic, and passion to succeed. He envisions each workout as the one that will make him a better and stronger athlete than the rest.

This year at the Spartan Race World Championships in Glen Rose, Texas, Junyong briefly overtook Hobie Call at the spear throw, only to be passed again at the herculean hoist. Never too far behind Hobie, the reigning champion, many wonder if Junyong has what it takes to claim the title next year. “Hobie’s on top,” says Junyong. “I don’t think anyone can beat him right now. I’ve gotten to be such good friends [with Hobie], I don’t think I would want to beat him even if I could.”

190201_194462037254114_126442634056055_566080_1122835_nI asked Junyong what new obstacle he would like to see in an upcoming Spartan Race. “A peg-wall… It would only be feasible for the top athletes, but it would be great to see at a championship level event.” This obstacle would be a wooden wall filled with holes. Athletes would climb the wall by hanging from two pegs which would would be moved from hole to hole.

Along with his World’s Toughest Mudder victory, Junyong took home a $10,000 prize.
“I’m giving it all to my dad,” he says. “The sacrifices he has made for our family are so great. He really needs to retire, and I want to help make that happen.”

It’s easy to see why everyone loves Junyong Pak.  We’ll be seeing a lot of Pak Man in 2012. 

Editor’s Note: Alec Blenis is an accomplished endurance athlete and Spartan competitor.  Finishing in the top three at several Spartan events and top five in the Spartan World Championships he was the youngest competitor in the field at 17 years of age. 

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