by Elliot Megquier, Spartan Pro Team

After rain hit Massachusetts for much of Friday, I expected similar weather to 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit Amesbury and the ever popular Hurricane Heat. However, when I awoke Saturday morning for the race the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. The course was a fast course starting midway up the hill and running briefly up through the woods towards a big opening. Then back to running through trails in the woods until racers came across the first ever Gamble. You had the option of running a hilly, technical route to the left which was 0.2 miles or you could go to the left and run 0.3 miles on a faster, less hilly route.

On Saturday I went left, but on Sunday I decided to go right. I would have to say the technical route was faster, but I was glad to go the more gradual route on Sunday due to tired legs. Both days on the men’s side the race was decided at the sand bag carry where racers had to scale the hill top to bottom with their respective sandbag. Another obstacle the factored in greatly was the spear throw. Out of the first three male racers to reach the spear on Saturday two missed it. Junyong Pak was battling Andrew Hostetler neck and neck when Andrew missed the target. I, (Elliott Megquier) came to the obstacle and saw an opportunity to take second, but missed it as well. Kevin Donoghue who went on to finish second hit his spear passing Hostetler and Megquier to claim his first ever runner up finish. Pak defended his 2012 Massachusetts Sprint title and Hostetler claimed third for the third year in a row. On the women’s side Orla Walsh finished first beating Karlee Whipple by a mere 16 seconds and third place finisher Laura Messner by only 24 seconds.

Sunday was another gorgeous day for racing. On the men’s side Elliott Megquier defended his Sunday Massachusetts title besting the Canadian challenger Benjamin Morin Boucher (racing in the US for the first time) who came in winning 9 races in a row in Canada including four in which he beat Megquier. Dennis Smith rounded out the top three. On the women’s side Laura Messner won her first Spartan Race wrapping up a successful weekend. Shaun Provost came in second and Karlee Whipple finished third. One highlight to see on Sunday was watching Kevin Donoghue, Saturday’s second place finisher run a lap in a diaper for losing a bet to Laura Messner on whether the Yankees would beat the Red Sox.

Sign up now as the Reebok Spartan Race returns in 2014 to Amesbury yet another year! This was my third year doing the race in Amesbury and it has improved every year so I would not wait and risk missing out on all the fun to be had. This year almost 12,000 people conquered the course between the two days, let’s shatter that number for next year! Aroo, Aroo, Aroo!!!

For more photos, check out our Google+ page HERE!

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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 Carrie Adams

In May 2012, Spartan Race announced the inclusion of a new event, one that would be the first of its kind in the world.  An obstacle race that would be a marathon(ish) distance held in the Green Mountains of Vermont the same weekend as our World Championships.  Two loops on the course, almost fully self-supported, and imposed with time cut-offs and rules for obstacle completion.  It was promising to be so intense, an application process was introduced, so that Spartan could hand pick he 300 that would be a part of the event.  When thousands of applications flooded our HQ, we painstakingly chose our field.  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.

Cody Moat, first place

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.

The course was a monster, considerably more challenging than last year’s course, and when the top finishers came down the mountain; it was Cody Moat who would take home the top spot for both the Beast and the Ultra Beast.  Not to be outdone on the female side, Claude Godbout took top spot in both events as well!  Amelia Boone, multiple Spartan Death Race finisher took second in both the Beast and Ultra Beast making it an incredible demonstration of athleticism by all three.

Claude Godbout, first place

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

Junyong Pak took second place followed by Brakken Kraker who took third place in the Beast behind Hobie Call.  The transition area was a hot spot for the athletes in between heats.  Grabbing food, gels, water, electrolytes, new socks, shoes, and clothes before taking off most of the competitors were all smiles and donning bright green arm bands they stood out in the crowd and battled most of the day as the rain started coming down late in the afternoon and persisted all evening.

On the team side, the top team that earned a $15,000 payday, The Rat Pack – Finishing time – 10:41:46, who crossed the line at about 7:09 PM.  The team consisted of Kenneth Lubin, PJ Rakoski, and Don Schwartz.  That was no easy task, forced to carry a team weight weighing at least 26.2 lbs, it had to stay with them for the entire course and be toted through each obstacle for them to earn their pay day.  Another notable team finish was Team Rollover – 11:05:21, who crossed the finish line at

Amelia Boone, 2nd place female

7:32 pm.  Their team included Kevin Donoghue, who rolled his truck while driving to the event and was thankfully not hurt in the accident, Eric Matta, and Andrew Hostetler.  This team was never in poor spirits, seen dancing in the bin drop to Skrillex in between the first and second lap.

Nearly 6,000 competitors and spectators from across the U.S. and several foreign countries representing

Kevin Donohoe’s truck post accident

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.

Looking for Ultra Beast results: Click HERE.

Photos from Race Day?  Saturday Race Day

Your FREE Race day images coming soon from our friends at Nuvision Action Image.  

Can’t wait to race again?  We understand.  Click HERE and find your next Spartan finish line.

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by Jason Rita

There are no favorites in the Vermont Beast except maybe Mike Morris and Russell Cohen.  Whatever the result, those two are guaranteed to be laughing at the start of the race and the end.  No, they are not members of the Spartan300, they are not obstacle racers, they are the Race Director and Course Designer for the Vermont Spartan Beast and Ultra Beast, and they are promising that this race will be unlike any other Spartan Race in the past.

Throw out the stats, the results, the preconceptions, and the betting lines.   Anything can happen and probably will.   There will be carnage, devastation, tears, swearing, prayers to deities, and bargains with demons.  At the end, someone will emerge victorious; someone will earn the crown as Spartan Champion and be called the World’s Best Obstacle Racer.  The question is “Who?”

Marco Bedard

Last year’s victor was Marc-Andre Bedard, the Canadian Olympian biathlete.  Being a biathlete coming to race Killington is actually a handy skill because you might encounter both snow and wolves on race day.  Marco recently represented Spartan Race in the first Spartan event in mainland Europe, where he showed his class and dominated in the Slovakia Spartan Race.   But Marco’s Canadian national team coaches have Marco on a tight training schedule as he prepares for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and as of press time, he is not entered and not expected to race.  A cryptic Facebook post on Sunday night hinted that a Canadian storm might be blowing in from the north, so don’t be surprised if a man on skis with a rifle emerges from the Green Mountain forest on Saturday morning, grabs a bib number and toes the line.  It could be Marco.

2011 proved that Hobie Call could not master the Killington course.  The pre-race favorite was shocked by the length and toughness and finished a disappointing 9th.  But last year’s race was barely a month after the Death Race, which saw Call put in a 40 hour ultra-effort as he chased Joe Desena’s $100,000 Holy Grail

Hobie Call

for anyone who could win 15 Spartan Races andthe Death Race in one calendar year, and recovery might have been an issue.  Call severely bonked about 2 hours in to the Killington challenge.  He still ended up winning 15 races last year, including the year-end championship held in Texas.  But so far the scoreboard reads:  Vermont 2, Hobie 0.  Call has continued to dominate the Spartan Race series this year, racking up an amazing ten wins.  Call has been winning easily, winning in style, winning even while wearing a 10-lb weight vest.  The only event where he participated but didn’t take top spot was the Super Spartan in Arizona, that one he ran tethered to his wife, Irene.   She was last year’s third place female in our World Championships in Texas. Call

has focused his training over the last month specifically to redeem his performance from last year.  But the Beast doesn’t care about resumes.  If Hobie is to be this year’s champion, he will have to do something he hasn’t done to date, and that is win in Vermont.

Junyong Pak

With the defending Killington winner uncertain of racing and Vermont being Hobie’s Kryptonite, the race does shape up as an open question.  In 2011, Junyong Pak finished 2nd to Marco in Vermont, and 3rd in the Texas Championship Race, and since then has not rested in his quest to become a Spartan Champion.  Winner of the Spartan Sprint in New England, JYP has also proved his long course pedigree by finishing 2nd at the 2012 Spartan Death Race, an amazing result considering he was moving as fast at hour 60 as many were at hour one.  Junyong is one of the most passionate and dedicated competitors in the field, as well as one of the most honorable, and must be counted as one to watch.

Alec Blenis

One of the youngest competitors in the Spartan universe, Alec Blenis, has quickly become a star endurance athlete.   Already sponsored by Amazing Grass, the organic green superfood company, this 17 year old vegan has racked up some impressive road racing and triathlon wins at:  the Callaway Gardens Marathon – 1st place, Chattahoochee Challenge 10k – 1st place, Historic Roswell 10k – 1st place, Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon, 1st place, and Red Top Roaster 15k, 1st place.

Often racing with 67 year old dad Robert, Team Blenis, usually takes home the Spartan age-group prizes.  Alec’s passion for the sport of Spartan obstacle racing is legend through his extreme workout videos on the Spartan Race Facebook page showing his commitment and athleticism.  A former pole vaulter in high school, Alec is second in the Spartan Point Series, showing amazing consistency, trailing only Hobie Call himself in the Points Competition, which runs through to the end of the year.  Is it possible that Alec could pull an upset and vault over Hobie?

Chris Rutz

As captain of Team Juwi, Chris Rutz can also be counted on to provide a tough challenge.  One of the world leaders in large-scale solar photovoltaic projects, juwi solar Inc. is the first company to sponsor team of Spartan athletes and has provided a great model for far-sighted corporations to engage with the fast-growing sport in the world.  Along with Chris, fellow Team Juwi athletes Nick Maynard, Mark Husted and Elliott Megquier have all featured on the Spartan podium in 2012.  Elliott is one of the top Spartan racers and would be expected to challenge in Killington, but this 1st Lieutenant in the US Army is on a training exercise that prevents him from being at the Killington Beast – unless he goes AWOL.  His teammates are sure to represent him well.  Chris is on pace to earn an amazing seven Spartan Trifecta medals in 2012 and plans to complete seven Supers (five done) and seven Beasts (one done) to go with ten Sprints (eight done).  (Rest assured Chris, Spartan will honor you with a medal for each Trifecta you earn.)  As Chris writes on his blog, Live the Tough Life:  “Some think I am a little crazy for doing all of these races, but hey it is what I love to do and like the saying goes “Do more of what makes you happy”, and Spartan Racing makes me happy.”  An avid CrossFit athlete, Rutz has been training and racing for over 20 years, including triathlons, bike racing, yoga, surfing, canyoneering, rock climbing, and backpacking.  According to Scottsdale Health magazine:  “I could see the progress I was making with CrossFit, but I was still missing something. I didn’t know what I was missing.”  Rutz discovered his missing link when he signed up for the Spartan Race in February 2011.”

Sebastian Monette

While Canadian Olympic coaches might keep Marco north of the border, another threat from the land of the midnight sun, Mounties, moose and poutine (look it up) is Sébastien Monette.   Sponsored by women’s race favorite Rose-Marie Jarry’s Kronobar company, Sebastian has proven he can win at home – Ottawa Sprint, Montreal Super, Toronto Sprint – and away, recently crushing the Americans at the tough Tri-State NJ Super Spartan.  Don’t lose track of this fierce competitor.

Cody Moat

Who else can challenge?  Cody Moat who finished 2nd to Hobie in the Utah Beast is a dark horse.  Don’t underestimate this high school teacher despite him only having only one Spartan event in his resume: Cody comes to Spartan as winner of the Mid Mountain Marathon, an incredibly torturous high altitude race that will give him great confidence in the Killington mountains.  Did we mention that Killinton is a ski resort?  That means lots of vertical…  A great mountain runner like Cody is sure to be there at the finish to upset the Spartan regulars.

Team Inov-8 sponsored athlete Ben Nephew might also have something to say about who walks away with

Ben Nephew

the top prize of $5,000 at the Killington Beast.  Notable results for Ben include 6th at the IAU World Trail Championship and 11th at the IAU World Road 50k Trophy in 2011.  He holds the course record at the Escarpment Trail Race, FKT’s for the Great Range Traverse in the Adirondacks, Devil’s Path in the Catskills, and the Pemi Loop in the White Mountains.

What is amazing about the Spartan Race series is that so many great athletes are competing.    As last year’s race showed, the winner might come from anywhere so stay tuned.  In tomorrow’s update, we will preview the women’s race where the field is deep and talented.

Less than one week until it all goes down.

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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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