Written by guest writer and Elite Pro Teamer Amelia Boone

For the third year, Spartan Race will be back at Haspin Acres in Laurel, Indiana, setting the stage for a Midwest showdown. Located an hour and half from Indianapolis and an hour and a half from Cincinnati, don’t let the remoteness of this race venue fool you – it’s anything but cows, pastures, and spotty cell phone service.

Three years ago, Indiana was the site of the first-ever Spartan “Founder’s Race” – a race stripped down to it’s bare essentials. While the race now has all the trappings of modern-day Sparta that we know and love, expect a test of grit true to its Founder’s Race origins. An off-road park when it’s not invaded by Spartans, Haspin Acres promises 4+ miles of muddy trails through woods and fields scattered with 15-20+ Spartan obstacles. And don’t call the Midwest no flat land – plenty of quick hill climbs and scrambles will keep you on your toes.

Amelia and Todd Sedlak discuss the course.

Indiana has proven to be one of the longest Sprints out there – last year, course director Todd Sedlak promised that no one would finish in under an hour, and only 12 athletes managed to prove him wrong. With a new race director this year, it remains to be seen whether this challenge will stand.

For the elite waves, both male and female winners from last year, Spartan pro team members Brakken Krakker and Amelia Boone, are expected to race. And if he doesn’t get lost in the Chicago airport finding deep dish pizza, Elliott Megquier will be joining them. On the women’s side, fresh off her two-podium weekend at Citi Field, Laura Messner will be looking to extend her streak. And as we’ve seen of late, expect plenty of elite challengers when you least expect it.

The good times never end in Indiana.

Also of note, Danny Rodriguez will be making his 2014 Spartan Race debut. You all remember Danny as the Chicagoan who packed up his life, moved to Vermont to live and train in Pittsfield with Joe, and lost over 100 pounds in the process – his transformation of his life and his health served as inspiration to thousands of Spartans worldwide. Last we checked in with Danny, he’s back in the Midwest, training hard, with his sights set on, among other things, the Chicago Marathon this fall. Welcome back to Sparta, Danny!

With team showings by the Chicago Spartans, Corn Fed, and even some rumors of the NE Spahtens making the road trip, expect a great turn-out and a festive atmosphere.

See you in Indiana!

Are you ready for your Spartan Race? Sign up now and we’ll see you at the finish line… 

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By Pro Team member Miguel Medina

Last weekend over 12,000 Spartans scurried over and under shock cord, flew over walls and ascended an onslaught of stairs at the second Stadium Sprint in Citi Field. The weather was absolutely pristine as wave after wave of participants tested their strength and fortitude to overcome the obstacles in their path. In just over three miles racers were faced with over 20 obstacles at a blistering pace, mixing some old favorites such as the Traverse Wall and Spear throw in addition to the stadium themed obstacles like Farmer Carries and Ball Slams. The Monkey Bars had a challenging twist, as they were widened and elevated in addition the Hawaiian Squats making their debut on the mainland. 

Both the men’s and women’s elite waves were stacked with competition as some of Sparta’s best came out to battle for a spot on the Podium. Among the men Spartan ProTeam members Hunter McIntyre, Miguel Medina, and Elliot Meqcuier lined up with an impressive array of elites such as Dennis Smith, Brandon Dupont, William Ferullo and many others. The women’s elite shared an impressive throng of athletes as well such as Shaun Provost, Karlee Whipple, Laura Messner, and Elise Fugowski to name a few.  On Saturday, Hunter McIntyre held a strong lead throughout the stadium finishing first for a second year in a row. With two spots left on the podium Miguel Medina, Brandon Dupont and William Ferullo battled for the lead until the very end.  Ultimately it came down to who moved down the cargo net fastest and sprinted to the finish. Medina took 2nd place with William Ferullo seconds behind in 3rd and Brandon Dupont finished 4th. Among the women, last year’s winner Shaun Provost finished 1st as well with Karlee Whipple and Laura Messner rounding out the women’s podium.

Sunday the men’s elite went out with break neck speed as Spartan Pro, Miguel Medina finished in 1st , followed by Brandon Dupont in 2nd and Dennis Smith in 3rd. Among the women, Laura Messner set a swift pace, meeting an emotional sprint to the end and finishing in 1st with Elise Fugowski in 2nd and Julia Falamas in 3rd.

Citi Field also hosted the first Special Needs Spartan Race within a stadium for Spartans with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD).  These athletes along with their guardians and volunteers met adversity head on. Blazing a trail for increased awareness and collaboration within the Spartan community and shattering the status quo once again, showing the world that Spartans from all walks of life can overcome obstacles to be more active, fit and healthy. The course was a 1/2 mile long and took into consideration athletes sensory profiles, physical and cognitive restraints associated with IDD. However, they rose to the occasion and overcame the challenges of the race triumphantly. Spartan Race looks forward to holding many more IDD courses in the future.

Sign up for your next Spartan Race and we’ll see you at the finish line… 

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By the time you get to the tire flip at a Spartan Race, you’ll have been worn down a little. We’ll have made sure that your legs have had some punishment and that your arms feel like they are full of cement. We’re trying to break you. You’re welcome.

So, when it comes to flipping a tire that can be 2 or sometimes even 3 times your own bodyweight, it’s going to be hard. The last thing you want to do is to do it incorrectly. There are ways of lifting tires and luckily, Pro Team member Laura Messner is here to help guide you through what you ought to consider when the time comes.

Credit: explore

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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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