by Carrie Adams

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Neil Preston Death Race

Two weeks ago, I got an email from Neil Preston, 34, asking me not to publish his profile.  A nagging calf injury threatened his participation in the race.  The middle school teacher from Richmond, VT was devastated at the prospect of not being able to participate in the race.  He calls that “a dark day.”  On June 12, he sent a new message, one that was far more positive.  Hes said, “I’ve still lost tons of training time but baring further pre-race injury I will be there. upcoming race.”

The Vermonter is no stranger to the Death Race.  He did the Death Race in 2009 and 2010 and the Winter version of the race in 2011.  He has not yet finished the summer Death Race.

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by Carrie Adams

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Andrew Butterfield

When Andrew Butterfield graduated with his Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, he was well on his way to becoming a working actor.  Moving to Los Angeles he went through the usual pains associated with trying to get your career off the ground.  He had an agent and was going on eight auditions a day, getting told “no” eight times a day and then he booked a great part – a role on a popular television show, “Medium.”  “I was the guy who sold the drugs the guy who used to kill the guy.” he explains with a laugh.  “And that was my TV debut!  I had 5 lines and they cut four but it was an awesome experience!”  Shortly after his appearance he came to a shocking conclusion.  “I realized I was pursuing things for other people not for myself.”  So the classically trained actor did what any actor does when they find a new calling, he moved to Vermont.  I had spent three years in L.A. but I would come back to this awesome theater and equestrian camp on Mallat’s Bay [in Vermont] and through that I fell in love and when it came time to leave LA there was only one place to go.”

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by Carrie Adams

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” -Oscar Wilde

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Ray Morvan

Recently, Spartan Race has been covering profiles of the awe-inspiring individuals taking part in the Spartan Death Race.  An endurance event like no other on the planet that has been taking place every year in Pittsfield since 2005.  It’s an event aimed at giving competitors the ultimate challenge in the Green Mountains of Vermont and an opportunity for those brave enough to sign up the chance to find themselves and redefine their lives in a backdrop of unforeseeable challenges.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show that overcoming is worth the effort required to achieve it and being alive is a state of being where death is just a state of mind.

Ax in hand, Ray Morvan, now 48, hacked away at the stump in the ground for over an hour, using his hands at various points to dig and pry at the roots of the stubborn stump to extract it from the ground.  He’d removed his bib already that was previously pinned to it and now he worked at the stubborn, heavy stump expertly with his ax.  His reward for the task – to carry the heavy piece of wood for the rest of the day.  He would DNF that race at the 11 hour mark – his first attempt at the race in the summer of 2009.

In the winter race the following year, he was told to put together a wheel barrow and then cart 12 logs of firewood up the mountain in deep snow.  With no easy way to push the wheelbarrow in the drifts of snow, he had to improvise in order to navigate the trail with  the heavy logs and cumbersome wheelbarrow to reach the summit.  It was a daunting task.

This summer marks the fifth race for the veteran Death Racer, a mortgage banker from Springfield, VT.  His first attempt, he weighed in at just about 240 pounds and had recently left rehab for treatment of a drug and alcohol addiction.  He was admittedly not ready and when he left at the 11 hour mark, a spark had been ignited.  For a man who nearly died in 2002  from appendicitis and has endured more than a dozen abdominal surgeries since, he’s no stranger to death and he plans on competing in the race until they won’t let him anymore.

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