By Pro Team Member Tiffanie Novakovich

One of the main aspects of the Spartan Race that is hammered home time after time is that if you choose to take part, you should expect the unexpected. You can watch past videos, you can check out the dozens of online photo albums and you could even talk to experienced racers. It will give you a vague idea of what to expect. Bring those expectations to the start line and you’ll immediately be on the back foot. If the race isn’t what you were expecting, the terrain wasn’t what you thought it would be or the obstacles are not how you envisioned them, you were not prepared for the unexpected.

Bearing that in mind, the inaugural Connecticut Spartan event, held in the beautiful town of Uncasville, is now in the books, with medals around the necks of thousands of competitors.  Hosted at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, the race seemed to stay more true to the resort’s lavish atmosphere, with just a modicum of Spartan torture.

The course started and ended in the resort parking lot, between zig-zagging through the parking garage, along flat stretches of small-town streets and highways, and through picturesque leaf-covered trails.  The course was mostly flat and favored speed runners, totally flying in the face of some events where mountains, hills and incline after painful incline tested the Spartans.

However,  many staple Spartan obstacles were present, including over & under walls, tire flip, atlas carry, rope climb, slick wall, barbed wire, herculean hoist, and traverse wall. Conspicuously absent was mud!  The barbed wire crawl was shorter than what is considered “normal” and was on grass. This surprised many racers who thought they knew what to expect. The water pits under the rope climb and the slick wall were lined with tarps, preventing any grime on the rope or mud in the eyes obstacles.

The course was no cake-walk though. The sand in the buckets/bags at the Herculean Hoist was saturated with water, making the obstacle significantly and surprisingly heavier than usual.  Several top racers failed this usually doable obstacle, resulting in unexpected burpees near the end of the race. Complacency and thinking you know what to expect again catching people out.

In the end, racers enjoyed a spectacular scenery in a beautiful place, but were still tested to their limits on a course that was a little different than most Spartan events, but just as grueling. In the men’s elite race, Matthew Kempson ran away with a narrow victory of only 7 seconds over Junyong Pak. Elliott Megquier completed the podium in third place. On the women’s side, Elise Fugowski bested the field by over two minutes, with Karlee Whipple finishing second and Orla Walsh in third.

As with all Spartan races, you never know what you might or might not encounter when you sign up, show up and never give up.

But one thing’s for sure: You’ll know at the finish line!

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Written by Pro Team member Elliott Megquier

Spartan Race really outdid themselves again, serving up the best course Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center has hosted in 4 years. The course was relentless with constant climbs of the mountain, carries of heavy obstacles, and crawling up a never ending hill under the barbed wire. Over 11,000 people completed the race over the course of Saturday and Sunday. You couldn’t ask for better weather, both days it was sunny, no rain, with a mild breeze. Not too hot and not too cold. Racers were also treated with a new obstacle. This obstacle entailed climbing a vertical wall out of the water without foot holds until you got out of the water and halfway up the wall. The monkey bars were also modified to provide racers with more of a challenge. They went up and down throughout the obstacle, even some elite racers were falling off. Another fairly new obstacle that debuted in the Northeast for the first time was the Monkey Cargo Net, which is all about grip strength as you traverse over a pit of water to ring the bell on the other side.

In the elite heats Saturday Matthew Kempson ran away to victory winning by over two minutes in impressive fashion for his first ever Spartan podium. He was followed by Elliott Megquier and Miguel Medina. For the women New York City resident Karlee Whipple claimed the win, with Laura Messner taking second, and Helene Dumais rounding out the podium in third.

Sunday Matthew Kempson repeated his winning ways, with Elliott Megquier closing the gap just one minute and nine seconds behind, and Dennis Smith rebounding from a fourth place finish Saturday to finish third. For the women Laura Lunardi rebounded from a fourth place finish to win Sunday’s race, with Debbie Moreau – hailing from the great state of Maine – placing second, and Helene Dumais of Canada placing third again.

Other great stories were Ilene Boyer who battles from brittle bones marking her one year anniversary doing a Spartan Race, over a thousand plus children who completed the Kids Race, and countless other untold stories of people overcoming tough times in life to kick butt at a brutally demanding Spartan course. The best part, is Spartan is serving up another round, on June 7th and 8th Tuxedo willing be rocking again with over 10,000 Spartans preparing for glory. Don’t miss out! NBC will also be there on Saturday to film and share all this amazingness with the world.

Till Saturday live a Spartan life, Spartan Up, and prepare for greatness.

Sign up now and we’ll see you at the finish line! 

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