by Carrie Adams

Building the sport of obstacle racing has been a passion of Spartan Race since we began.  As the only event with world rankings, points, and chip times, we rely on our timing to be the best in the business, particularly at championship events such as the recent Ultra Beast.

Our friends at J-Chip USA, who have been timing Spartan’s US events the past two years and recently shared with Spartan Blog their results from their experiments with obstacle split times (similar to swim/bike/run splits in triathlon) at the New England Sprint and Mid-Atlantic Super, have combed through the data collected from six timing checkpoints at the Ultra Beast and now offer their unique perspective on the Spartan Ultra Beast – By the Numbers.

UB Applications Accepted: 400
Athletes Who Showed Up:
366 (92%)
Athletes Who Finished:
156 (39%)
Fastest Time: Cody Moat (7:01:29)
Slowest Time: Spartan’s own Steve Halstead (17:59:52) who started at 4am with Chris Davis!  Don’t worry Steve, we know it was your birthday AND you were told to stay out there for a while to help with operations.

Average Time (Overall) – 11:11:35  (11:02:29 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Time (Loop #1)  – 5:01:58   (4:52:18 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Transition Time – 0:15:28   (0:15:09 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Time (Loop #2)  – 5:54:09   (5:56:23 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Ratio (Loop 2 vs. Loop 1) – Loop 2 was 18.5% slower than Loop 1 (22% excl. “The Lost Tribe”)

*NOTE: Stats are presented excluding the 24 “Lost Tribe” runners who went off course and lost 60-90 minutes in Loop 1.  Since many of them went on to “negative split” their 2nd loop, the UB stats are much more accurate excluding them.

Extremes in Transition:
*Fastest Transition: David Chandler (Cary, NC) – Only 25 seconds!
*Slowest Transition: Michael Sandercock (Milwaukee, WI) – 43 minutes, 16 seconds
*Junyong Pak completed Lap1 with over 26 minutes to make up on Brakken Kraker (then 2nd Place in the UB).  Kraker, who came in from Lap1 in under 3 hours  (earning 3rd in the Elite Beast behind Cody Moat and Hobie Call) took over 16 minutes in transition before heading out for Lap2.  Pak cleared transition in 3:07 – gaining 13 minutes on Kraker, which proved to be the difference between 2nd and 3rd, as Pak only edged out Kraker by 9 minutes.

Notable Ratios:

*Ultra Beast champion Cody Moat was 40% slower on his Lap2 (3:58:13) than his Lap1 (2:49:37).  After pushing so hard to complete his 1st loop in front of Hobie Call, Cody just needed to “coast” through his 2nd loop to maintain the 30-minute lead he’d opened.
*Joseph Nuara was 17% faster on his Lap2, since he carried 26.2 pounds of extra weight with his team (The Burning Muckmen) on Lap1.  When his teammates opted not to continue on after spending over 6 hours on Lap1, Joseph went out on his own and blazed through Lap2 by himself in 5:06:16!

In addition, the J-Chip timing crew caught two cheaters (who shall remain nameless) who cut out the 4-mile loop (out 2 miles from transition then back 2 miles to the festival area) on the 2nd lap.  J-Chip had strategically placed a mat to capture the time that it took everyone to leave transition and return to the 4-mile checkpoint.  Split times for this 4-mile loop on Lap1 ranged from Cody Moat’s 45 minutes to The Lost Tribe’s 2 ½ hours.  On Lap2, J-Chip noted two 4-mile splits under 10 minutes, meaning the runners headed out on the loop and immediately turned around on the return trail and proceeded through the checkpoint.  Both runners were promptly DQ’d…so let this serve as a notice to anyone who thinks of cheating at a Spartan Race – WE WILL BE WATCHING.

Like our course builders and race directors, our J-Chip timing crew is among the first to arrive on race day (4AM for the Ultra Beast) and last to leave (11PM departure), and for championship events, they take hours to audit the results before they are posted.  This year’s Ultra Beast results were delivered at 4:30am, then the crew went out and did it again Sunday.  Above are J-Chip’s (L-R) Disco Stu, Kurt, Andrew, and Russ.  Thanks guys, you ROCK!


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by Carrie Adams

Our first ever Spartan Ultra Beast has come and gone.  More than a marathon on three mountain peaks in Killington, where 325 would begin and only 162 would finish.  There are a multitude of reasons why the DNFs were so prevalent, including a crew who have since dubbed themselves, “The Lost Tribe” who got lost on the first loop that added an additional six miles to their trek.  There were those who were admittedly ill-prepared and those who developed injuries, there were those who just simply didn’t want to continue, the thought of returning for another loop or taking another step too much to bear.

Image courtesy of Timothy Burgher

We’ve recounted the high points and the winners, the ones who can call themselves finishers who can wear their glow-in-the-dark medals with pride, who conquered the Ultra Beast, met the time cut-offs, survived the storm, and crossed the finish line.   And that story is inspiring.  But there is another story, the story of the 163 others, the ones who left the mountain without a medal, who had no ceremonious step over the finish line… the story of those with the designation DNF: Did Not Finish.  A painful designation that many had never experienced, the agony of something started that will remain unfinished and whether they were three miles or a full loop from the end, a DNF is just that; something that is left to be completed.  A DNF leaves a mark not easily overcome.

There are those who will rail and rant against it, who will excuse it away and who will make it a reason to never return.  And the emotional reaction is wrapped up in a moment that almost was… but never will be, and it’s not easy to reconcile.  For some, the DNF has come to represent something else altogether… something to redeem.  It has become the ignition of a fire that won’t easily burn out.  Because the only thing worse than living in the past is not recognizing that there is a future ahead.  And for many of them, that future is set on finishing what eluded them in Vermont.  A Spartan Ultra Beast finish.   Redemption.

Here are their stories in their own words.

I originally pictured the finish line as a goal.  But the real finish is so much further than the finish line.  It’s at the Pickle Barrel for the after party.  Its Sunday when those racers take the field.  Its next month when people are still asking “Well how bad was it?  Really.”  Its next year at the Amesbury Sprint.  The NJ Super and at the Death Race.  The finish will be every single day after the race, whether its training for another race or just having a run.  It will be that sense of pride when I talk with these other crazy Spartans and we smile at the word “Crazy”.  The finish line is so much more than an inflated arch.  It’s that accomplishment of completing the task, whatever the task maybe.” – James Horgan (read more from James HERE.)

“DNF’ing a mere 3.5 miles from the finish and missing the time cutoff by minutes is a bitter pill to swallow.  One can’t help but look back at the race and see where minutes could have been easily shaven off had they truly gone 100%, which would have turned this failure into success.  It’s painful to fail and fall short but to fail knowingly that you didn’t lay it all on the line and could have prepared better is worse because it’s almost lie cheating yourself and squandering an opportunity.  It was a valuable lesson and given the chance at redemption, which I do crave, I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I’d come out on top.” – Paul DiMarino

“I’ve been racing for a year now, both in road races and in five Spartan Races.  I have succeeded and suppressed my goals in every race I’ve tackled.  My goal for the UB was to simply complete it.  I did not meet that goal.  What was going to be a crowning achievement in maiden year of racing was a failure. I’m settled on redemption.  I feel this is a great lesson, not only for me but for my children.  I want to show them that when life challenges you, you don’t just curl up in a ball and give up.  You take your past experience and use it to train tougher than you ever did, fight harder and go get what you want.  I’ll be training everyday with my green wristband to remind me of this.” – Tanya Logan

“It was supposed to be a representation of how much I have changed my life.  I was supposed to leave my old self on one side of the finish line and hold my UB medal on the other side.  Getting lost was my own fault, I didn’t push hard enough, I didn’t train on enough hills, too many diet cheat days, doubt after doubt… and it hurts.  How much more of my old self do I still carry with me?  How much of my old life is still weighing me down?  My old self constantly accepted failure.  This current me cannot and will not.  I need to know that I am no longer who I was.”  -John Pollock

“DNF Ultra: No regrets, no excuses, no more words about the past!  SR better give me a tougher course and the chance for redemption because I will not be defeated twice!” – Chad Weberg

“This is my first ever DNF.  The disappointment is still lingering today.  All I can think about is signing up for next year’s race to earn the redemption I feel I need.  I did not quit, I was pulled at the 10 mile check point on my second lap.  I now know that even though I could have finished it if allowed, I need to move a little faster.  I can only hope that I will be allowed to redeem myself.” – Jason Ross

“I left a piece of me on those mountains, I want it back.  Plain and simple.” – Hector Puente.

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