It’s easy for us to make excuses. We use our schedules, our weight or our age as limiters to keep ourselves from doing things that we are simply too afraid to attempt. But there are people out there who are dedicated to breaking us of these beliefs. One such man is Stefaan Engels, a 51 year old man who, in 2011, ran 365 marathons in 365 days. When asked why he wanted to accomplish such a feat, Mr. Engels explained, “I wanted to inspire people by showing that if I could run a marathon a day for an entire year, that anyone could run or bike a little each day or do something about their weight problem.”.

At 49 years old, Mr. Engels was no spring chicken. However, he explained that the challenge wasn’t so much physical as it was mental. He kept his pace slow and steady, making sure to remain in the moment and not think about the next day’s race. His record broke that of Japanese runner Akinori Kusuda, who ran 52 consecutive races. At age 65.

If Mr. Engels 9,569 miles teach us anything, it’s that the only thing holding us back is the belief in ourselves. If you are able to conquer the mental obstacles that stand in the way of yourself and action, then the physical obstacles don’t stand a chance. We are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time that we start to prove it. And it all begins with a single step.

Start your journey. Sign up for a Spartan Race 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 the spirit of never standing still and always taking our competitions to the next level, we are introducing a team challenge to the Vermont Ultra Beast.  The first of its kind, The Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon(ish) distance Obstacle Race.  It will feature two loops of the main Beast course.  Racers will face the toughest course Spartan Race can bring TWICE before finding the finish line.  It’s not for the faint of heart but it does come with a pretty sweet payout for the fastest team… to the tune of $15,000.

 How it works:

Working in teams provides advantages in finishing a grueling course, working in teams in the Ultra Beast comes with additional risks and inherited challenges if you choose this route.  No Ultra Beast participant is obligated to run in a team, it is entirely voluntary and comes with conditions.  

If you elect to race with a team, you will have to abide by the following:

  • No one can apply as a team.  You must apply as an individual.  Once accepted into the event, individuals may form a team if they choose.  There will be opportunities to network in the group with other accepted UB runners.
  • Teams will be in sizes of THREE only.
  • There is a maximum of 100 teams being allowed entry. 300 individuals.  Once full, the team heat will close.
  • Team UB wave will kick off 15 minutes after the individual Ultra Beast heat.
  • Teams can be all male, all female, or co-ed, in any distribution.
  • Teams must have ONE person carry their support gear for the entire team at any given time.  That person can change, but one person must carry the load for the entire team at one time.
  • No bag drop at base camp for teams.
  • Spartan reserves the right for gear checks during the race at any time.
  • Teams start and finish together.  One DNF, all DNF.  Teams must also remain within 100m of one another.  The last person to cross the finish line will determine team time.
  • Teams will have to carry a team object that weighs MORE than 26.2 pounds.  This is an Ultra after all.  (We are partial to logs, sandbags, and rocks but it’s your decision.)  Choose wisely.  Only one person can carry it at a given time and it must be carried for the entire Ultra Beast course distance.  Weights will be evaluated and weighed before the start. 
  • Fastest team wins.  
Forming Teams:
Individual applications for acceptance must be sent to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  Include:
  • Race Resume
  • Three sentences on why you want to take part in the Ultra Beast.
Team formation requests for accepted individual racers must be emailed to carrie@spartanrace.com.  Include:
  • Names
  • Emails
  • Team Name
Welcome to the Ultra Beast, team style.  
Read more about the Ultra Beast HERE. 

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by Carrie Adams

thebeast-60The 2011 Vermont Beast was a game changer in the sport of Obstacle Racing.  The climbs, the insanity of the obstacles, and the technicality of the course left racers breathless and broken.  It became the crowning jewel in a calendar of events that just keep getting more challenging in 2012.  So true to Spartan form, the game is changing again.  We’re kicking it up a notch in two very dramatic ways.

UB_SM_FB_IMAGESpartan Race HQ is announcing the inclusion of a new event that will be added to the  Vermont Beast weekend in 2012, the Ultra Beast.  The first of its kind, the Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon distance Obstacle Race.  That’s right, roughly 26.2 muddy, hilly, and obstacle-filled miles of mayhem.  Intrigued yet?

There’s more.

The Ultra Beast will be ONE heat on Saturday, September 22nd.  Racers will be designated with Ultra Beast armbands and announced by our Emcee.  (The time of the heat will be announced at a later date.)  The Ultra Beast will feature two loops of the main course resulting in an approximate marathon distance.  Racers will face the toughest course Spartan can bring TWICE before finding the finish line.  No skipping obstacles and only serious athletes and hardened competitor’s apply.  The Ultra Beast is not for the faint of heart.  For your own safety and for the competitive nature of the event, you will have to apply for acceptance into the Ultra Beast.

Still interested in participating?

  • Send an email with your race resume and three sentences about why you want to take on the Ultra Beast to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  Upon acceptance, selected participants will be notified and given registration instructions by Spartan Race.

In addition to standard Spartan finisher amenities, Ultra Beast finishers will earn their thebeast-72own distinct medal and a one-of-a-kind T-shirt that will not ever be available for purchase.  Athletes will also earn DOUBLE points for their efforts when they take on the Ultra Beast on race day!

What else does Spartan Race have lined up for the VT event?

In addition to creation of the Ultra Best, Spartan Race HQ is making the entire Vermont Beast weekend of heats the first (almost) unsupported race in the Spartan Race line-up.  “Unsupported”, a concept in Adventure Racing and other endurance challenges, means racers will have to prepare and ultimately take on the course with everything they’ll need to finish.  This means they’ll carry their own food and water for the duration of their time on the course increasing both the challenge and the accomplishment when finished.  Spartan Race will provide ONE aid station at one point on the course for the Ultra and the Beast participants with water only, but it’s location will not be released prior to race day.  Come prepared.

thebeast-18In preparation for this unprecedented standard of challenge, Spartan Race will be providing information on how to self-support successfully straight from Spartan Race Director and seasoned Adventure Racer, Mike Morris.   Says Morris, “One aid station will up the intensity of this already difficult course.  A mostly unsupported race adds a new level of challenge to the game that no other event has.”

For the ultimate badass wondering how to compete in the Beast’s competitivewave AND take on the Ultra since they are happening on the same day,  there are two simple steps:

1. Register for the Beast’s competitive heat to confirm your spot as spaces are limited.thebeast-20

2. Submit your race resume and three sentences why you want to take on this historic challenge to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  If accepted, Spartan Racewill contact you with details.

For those participants wanting to take on a regular, non-competitive Beast heat and the Ultra Beast in the same weekend, we recommend applying for the Ultra Beast heat on Saturday according to the directions and registering now for a heat on Sunday, September 23rd.

Already registered for the Beast and want to try your hand at the Ultra?  Submit your application and instructions to transfer registration will be provided if accepted.

To find out more about the Ultra Beast click HERE.

Questions?  Check out our ContactPage.

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Reaching New Peaks: Andy Weinberg

by Carrie Adams

Growing up in Peoria, IL, Andy Weinberg, 41, always loved the water.  He swam competitively in high school and college, and when he did his first triathlon in high school, he fell in love.  At the time there weren’t many people doing them, and after college Andy spent a couple years really hitting the triathlon circuit.  He burnt out with swimming after a few years and decided to focus on running instead.  Admittedly never “super-fast,” he trained consistently and did 11 marathons in one year alone.

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