Last year, Spartan Race was embraced by the infinite warmth and hospitality of Kalispell. The inaugural Spartan Sprint that year will forever be remembered by not just the mountains, trees and views that just wouldn’t quit, but also by the generosity and friendliness of the community that welcomed Spartan racers from across the country into its heart.

This is why Spartan Race is so excited to return to Flathead Lodge Road and do it all over again. Arguably the most scenic Sprint on the schedule, but by no means the easiest. Many argued that Montana belied its beauty and hid one of the hardest – and therefore “ugliest” – Sprints in 2013. Remember that the terrain is there to break you. It’s beautiful, but it’s still your enemy.

Never was the term “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” more apt. Study your history, folks.

So what to expect? Hills. Lots of hills. They never seem to end, but it’s balanced out beautifully with that fantastic, lush smell of the trees as they wave to the gentle zephyrs that dance through the branches. Weather-wise, you can expect highs of around the mid 60’s, while lows can give you a sharp slap with a cheeky 39 degrees. Pack accordingly, as it can be a bit of a lottery. You didn’t expect this to be easy now, did you?

There are plenty of hotels to choose from if accommodation is proving to be a headache for you. In Kalispell you have the likes of Best Western, Hilton Garden, Aero Inn and countless others. Some of these hotels may even welcome Spartan Racers with a slight discount, although you’d have to check with them to be sure.

But given that you’ve traveled all the way to Montana, why not savor one or two tastes of the cultural stew that simmers away there? Check out this link for a site that will guide you through Kalispell’s downtown, including the museums, historical interest and what’s going on.

All that running around and rolling through mud mixed with forest debris will make you hungry and as such, you’ll need to know where to eat. Well, you are absolutely spoilt for choice. A quick check on Tripadvisor.com lists nearly 140 in Kalispell and there are no excuses for somewhere to replace everything you burnt off, or, should you need to carb-up the day before.

Are the kids with you? Well how about you take them to Family Fun Center in Kalispell? With Lazer Tag, bowling, inflatables, and everything in between, you can watch the kids wear themselves out and give you a quiet night as they recover. Check out this link that will give you all the information you need. Playing in a Bounce Zone with various inflatable shapes counts as Spartan training, doesn’t it?

This fine town also boasts a number of casinos if you feel that your luck is in. Why not try out a poker room or spin the roulette wheel?

A vast number of bars are also available, so there are no excuses for boredom when the race is over. Check here for a list to get you started!

All in all, if you miss this gem of a race, don’t say we didn’t warn you. One of the most underrated races on the circuit is offering you its hand. It’s down to you to accept and Spartan on.

See you at the finish line…

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The rolling, endless hills. That glorious scent of the trees that plays on the nostrils evoking an urge to be at one with nature. Those seemingly infinite trees that seem to wave at you as you negotiate the trails. Where better than to hold the 2014 Founder’s Race than in the welcoming arms on Montana? 

Expect around 4+ miles of inclines, mud and fiendishly designed obstacles to test your mettle. The terrain may be rugged and it may be metaphorically slapping you with one hand, but it’ll be rubbing you better with the other. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Your reward? How about the rare and coveted Founder’s Race medal and a t-shirt, not to mention the kudos and bragging rights that go along with it?

That’s right – Spartan Race is going “old school” style in Montana. Will you have what it takes to accept this challenge? Do you have it in you?

Sign up here and you’ll know at the finish line…

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In 2006, Luke Opps’ life changed.

The resident of Columbia Falls, Montana was changing a tire of his tool trailer at the side of the interstate when another motorist, while speeding, fell asleep at the wheel. Her car struck the tool trailer he was repairing and threw him over 35 feet away into a ditch. The result was a broken tibia in 7 places, a fibula in half and a shattered ankle. The resulting convalescence and inactivity caused Luke’s weight to increase from 190lbs to 255lb at his heaviest. Additionally, he now has a titanium implant in his left leg that runs from his knee to his ankle with a gear on his ankle end.

 In August of last year, he decided enough was enough and began a new regime. He recalls how it started all too clearly, “over the course of the months and grueling pain in my left leg from the wreck and being out of shape, the weight started to come off and I felt better.. In November I made the final leap and decided to run the Montana Spartan Sprint and jumped right in.”

Using his previous days as a Marine Corps veteran as the mental training that he’d already done as the fuel he needed, it was only the physical side that was stopping him. Along with this, Luke knew the right foods was also very important. “Still eating certain macros and counting grams daily, ie: carbs, fats, and protein and meeting them to the gram for my diet daily, I started to get stronger and healthier, I could run on hard surfaces which I had not done since the Corps. Finally a very dear friend of mine and Professional NGA Bodybuilder came to town from Havre, Montana and my workout and intensity level TRIPLED!”

Luke decided to set a goal that would be a goal weight of 177lbs by his wife’s birthday of April 15th. When that day came, he weighed 174lbs and had lost 15% body fat. A remarkable achievement by any standards. With his last goal set – the Montana Spartan Sprint – he was ready. Choosing not to go for a time, given that the Sprint was an unknown quantity, he and his team attacked the course and finished in 1 hour 21 minutes. “My team finished 24th out of 292 teams and I told myself when I was done with the race I was getting the Spartan Race Logo Tattooed, and that I did and man do I wear it proud!!!! My regime ( this one) is finished, I am stitting at 168 to date and slowly putting on more lean muscle and waiting for the day when I can do the next one and show off the logo with pride! No fitness trainer helped me with this, it was determination.”

Getting to be where he wanted to be was a very simple procedure for Luke. With his focus, he explains how he got to be where he wanted to be, “When it comes to training, I wake up daily at 3:45 go workout and then go to work a twelve hour day running my own construction business here in Montana, I run my own show start to finish, I do log work and building. When it comes to thinking of giving up while training I have severe drive, early on in my training I would think of corporal Todd Love, and actually train for him to keep going and a lot of time I use the simple saying “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. I am very determined and driven mentally, like I said, you can tell your body to do anything.
I also contribute alot of my drive and strength to my wife’s support and my faith in Christ”. 

When asked about any advice he may want to give others about where he is and how he could help someone get to that point, he pauses briefly to collect his thoughts. Smiling, he says, “Everyone is tough in their own way…if it were easy everyone would do it…giving up is the first stage of quitting, never give up and push through the pain. I work for a living and find time to train…if you want it you will work for it.”

See you at the finish line…

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It was all too clear when you arrived in Kalispel that something very big was happening. There was an exciting buzz in the air and they were ready for Spartan Race to arrive.  The restaurants, motels and hotels all proudly displayed “Welcome Spartan Racers” to their sleepy, but beautiful mountain town. Posters were in every store window and even the TV and radio proudly boasted the inaugural event happening that weekend. The Spartans were invading and the local community were greeting them with open arms, and the people of Kalispell and Big Fork didn’t disappoint. Seasoned racers and curious first timers rubbed shoulders as they hastily made their way through the registration tents, keen to test their mettle in the inaugural Montana Reebok Spartan Sprint.

The men’s and women’s elites ran together at 8am, all keen to defy Race Director Todd Sedlak’s bold claim that nobody would

Men’s Winner Cody Moat

conquer the course in less than an hour. Indeed, it has quickly been suggested that this race was arguably the hardest Spartan Sprint has offered to date. However, four racers from the men’s elites broke the 60 minute barrier, Cody Moat being the fastest at 50m 25s. Second and third going to Chad Trammell (52.31) and proud local Brian Suttle (59.19) respectively. The ladies winner was Beverly Watson, with Jolene Wilkinson and Margaret Schlachter taking third. What’s notable about the women’s elite is that Beverley Watson rocked the course to first place despite being 60 years of age. “Too old to do a Spartan Race” now more than ever is no longer a valid excuse!

More defiance was shown throughout course of the day as competitors sweat and strained through the punishing hills and forests. JD West, a truck driver of 43 having lost 80lbs prior to the race, signed up for the course simply “because”. LA-based fitness fanatic Grant Zaragoza joined his friend Jozee Hofman for their first Spartan Race, refusing to let a little thing like the Cerebral Palsy they both suffer from get in the way of them finishing the course together.

Brad Ludden from First Descents, a non-profit organisation that enables young adult cancer survivors to try their hand at kayaking, climbing and other outdoor pursuits, was joined by those that battled and defeated the terrible disease, in the shape of Kelsey Tanner, Andy Bonnet and Denise Pearson all the way from Denver via a 16-hour drive in their sleeper van. More of their information can be found at http://firstdescents.org

Ian Reynolds and his service dog Miles also enjoyed the race. Some years ago, Ian made the decision to have the lower half of his right leg amputated after an incident involving fireworks left him badly injured. Despite this and in his own words it being “a blessing in disguise”, Ian now has a career in prosthetics having learned from the very guy that built his new leg.

The arduous terrain and punishing obstacles left many experiencing a gamut of emotions at the finish line. Some crossed not knowing whether to laugh or cry as the months of training finally came to fruition. None moreso than Nyk Kuntz who was surprised to see his girlfriend there: Specialist Kaela Causey, an active service Black Hawk mechanic. Keeping it a surprise for two months that she would be there before a 9-month deployment in Kuwait, she waited at the finish line and they embraced amongst deafening cheers.

As the day drew to a close, both spectator and runner eventually had to be encouraged to leave, despite the good times being in full flow. The folk of Kalispel, Big Fork and the surrounding communities know how to party and wanted more! As such, it was quickly established that Spartan Race would be back next year, definitely for one day, maybe for two – who knows?

With so many vendors, companies and charities involved, next year’s event is shaping up to be closer to a reunion of new friends, rather than that of another regular Spartan Race event . Will you be there?

As an aside, Reebok Spartan Race would like to extend thanks to the warm welcoming reception that was given when we came to town. See you next year!

Ready to find a Spartan finish line?  Sign up today.  Click HERE.

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Spartan Race is headed to a brand new place this weekend for a Spartan Sprint – Montana! This is Spartan Race’s first time ever at this location and in Montana. This race will be located near Kalispell, the Gateway to the Glacier National Park! Our Race Director Todd Sedlak promises a brutal course but “worth it when you reach the summit.” Oh, and by the way you better be dressing in layers as the forecast is 34 degrees for race day! We have yet another race with the locals having an advantage of living at altitude.

On the men’s elite side we have Cody Moats, Chris Rutz, Elliot Megquier, Brad Fredricks, and Rob Michaud going. The Cody Moats vs Elliot Megquier match-up being the favorite. Let’s see what ya got boys!
On the woman’s side we have Juliana Sproles, Andi Hardy, Margret Schlacher, and Bev Watson. The woman’s side should prove to be a close race also. Good Luck to all stay safe and warm! Navy Federal Credit Union putting up some cash 1st $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $100!

Are you ready for a Spartan Race?  Click HERE to find one near you!

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