by Carrie Adams

Race day always brings stories from the community.  This one is a doozy!

The Ultra Beast featured a team element that included a $15,000 payday for the winner.  Only eight teams were brave enough to take on the monumental task that included specific requirements for the team, including carrying at least a 26.2 pound team weight throughout the course.  One team, dubbed team Rollover, had a more than monumental start when their truck rolled just minutes before the race kicked off.  The team included Kevin Donoghue (his vehicle), Eric Matta, and Andrew Hostetler (who we featured in an “Every Obstacle Matters” post in Amesbury.  Read more HERE.)

They pulled up to the medic tent to unload their gear bin and didn’t see the ditch on the side of the road with a sharp drop off.  As driver Kevin Donoghue pulled up, the front tire slid over the side and the truck flipped.  All three team members were in the vehicle at the time and because they had their seat belts on, they were safe and able to race.  They crawled out with about 30 minutes before the start reorganizing their gear that had gone all over in the flip and ran up to the transition zone.  Donoghue spoke with police and with ten minutes to spare, the kind folks at Amphibious Medics (Donoghue’s brother’s company) took over the responsibility of getting the car flipped back over and the team took off!

When the team circled back after their first loop, the truck had been flipped, had the side mirror re-attached, cleaned, AND given an oil change.  It was even drivable!  Well, for a day.  Kevin got stuck in Rutland, VT just a few miles down the road and is currently awaiting additional repairs.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Fam

They were lucky no one was hurt in the accident and it also had no effect on their dancing skills.  They had the best half-time performance during their transition, busting moves to loud music while they ate and prepped for their second 14 mile loop of the day.   Bearing witness to their dancing skills, I’m prone to recommending they stick to the obstacle racing.  The pre-race car roll didn’t deter the team’s performance; however, they ended up finishing in second place. Not too shabby, guys.

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by Carrie Adams 

As a co-editor of a blog like Spartan’s we are lucky enough to get emails from our community about what inspires them to run.  More often than not, the stories are not about the ones contacting us at all, instead, they opt to tell us the story of fellow Spartans and how they themselves have been inspired by another.  I recently received an email from Jen Morgan who along with Sam Stark and her husband David Morgan met a fifteen year old boy named James at the Tri-State Super Spartan (his first race) and his heroic finish of the race. 

The Super Spartan, one of our most brutal to date, was James’ first obstacle race and even as he struggled through the course, the debilitating burpee penalties, and the worsening weather conditions, James managed to find it inside himself to finish the race and claim his Super Spartan medal and the pride that only Spartan finishers know.  

For those who witnessed his efforts, it was humbling and inspiring.  So, here, in Sam, Jen and David’s words is the story of James, the relentless young Spartan. 

James recently turned 15, and has never done any obstacle course… ever.  He chose the Tri-State Super (the mother of all Super Spartans) to be his first race.  We met James early Saturday morning as our team was sitting down in the festival area stretching and waiting for our start time.  A woman asked if anyone had a sharpie marker.  She was James’ mother, and visibly worried about her son’s decision to take this race on. A teammate offered up a marker and started up a conversation with this mom and her young son.

He was obviously new to the sport.  He had on a gray cotton tee shirt, shorts, no camel back, energy bars, or energy gels. She told us that he was racing alone and had never done an OCR before. It was at that moment that our teammate told the worried looking mom, “He will race with us.”   And so it was!   Our group snatched him up and stayed with him for the entire race.   His performance was nothing short of amazing.  Not once did he complain, whine, say that he wasn’t going to make it, or say he wanted to quit.  He was excited about the cliff jump and jumped off the 24 foot jump without hesitation.

At the pancake carry he struggled but never once gave up and only accepted just enough help to get him through it.    At the monkey bars he fell after a few rungs.   He was told to complete his burpees.  Wide-eyed he asked us innocently, “how do I do a burpee?”

The hill climbs were brutal.  Grown muscle men were lying on the ground, dropping like flies around him, but James kept going.  Putting one foot in front of the other, he just got the job done.  When we rounded the corner and saw the cargo net attached to the trees the look of excitement on his face was priceless.  When one of our group member’s legs cramped up and had to rest, he sat down next to him and waited with the rest of us to make sure he was ok.

The weather was also deteriorating quickly around us.  When the storms rolled in with the thunder and lightning, he was only worried that he would not have the opportunity to finish.  We had already gone 10 miles and only had one mile left to go.  He was determined to finish and wouldn’t let anyone or weather conditions stop him at this point.   It was the most inspirational, and motivational thing we have seen in a long time.   His mother was able to see him at the last of the obstacles that were open.  She was beaming with pride.

James crossed the finish line in just over seven hours. What did he do after?  He commits to running Super Spartan in NJ again next year and the Tri State Sprint in Tuxedo with his mom in 2013.  A true Spartan! James Signed Up! Showed Up! And Never Gave Up!

*Photos by Sam Stark and Denise Byrne

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by Katie Idle, Western Canada Spartan

Jake Zimmerli conquers the Beast – TWICE – and is on his way to earning TWO Trifectas in 2012!

Twenty-four-year-old Jake Zimmerli from Utah is definitely up for a challenge, and totally addicted to Spartan Races.  Having completed not one – but TWO – Beasts back-to-back in Utah last week, Jake is signing up for the Super Spartan in Squamish on September 22nd.  His aim – to run two Supers to qualify for two Trifectas in the same year.    His ultimate goal?  The DEATH RACE!

During the day, you can find Jake managing a Pediatric Endocrine Clinic in Utah, in the evenings and on the weekends he’s snowboarding, wakeboarding, and now travelling around North America to take part in Spartan Races.  His list of achievements this year include the Colorado Military Sprint (twice), the Vancouver Sprint, the Utah Beast (twice), the Dirty Dash (10km race), and RAGNAR, a 192-mile relay race.  “I started doing Spartan races because of a buddy, and RAGNAR because a friend at work knew I was doing the Spartan, thought I was a runner, and invited me to do the 48 hour relay”, laughs Jake.

Jake and a buddy put together a team of 38 people, under the team name of the ‘RUFUSES’, which placed 3rd overall in the team category for The Beast.  Pretty amazing considering they are not runners!  “Our goal is put the ‘RUFUSES’ on the podium in every race that we compete in, and to gain recognition within the Spartan community”, he adds.  Jake had friends in both the 8am and the 2.30pm heats, so he signed up for both – but then they switched the 2.30pm heat to 12.30pm and made it even tougher!  Aroo!!

One of the factors driving Jake is the memory of his young friend, Josh, who tragically died of cancer at the tender age of thirteen.  Josh was diagnosed with osteo-sarcoma, or bone cancer, at only eight years old, at which time he had to have his leg amputated and went into heart failure.  However, after a long battle, Josh enjoyed a two year cancer-free remission.  Unfortunately the cancer came back last year, and less than a month ago he passed away.  “Before the Beast, our team – the Rufuses – had bracelets made up with the running ‘Rufus’ logo on them and the last time I saw Josh before he passed away, I gave him one.  We ran that race for him”, adds Jake.

“My goal is to do the Death Race with a few buddies in Josh’s memory and have all my friends, family and contacts donate $1 for every mile that we run, and maybe $10 extra if we complete.  We plan to donate all the money to Primary Children’s hospital in Utah, the hospital that josh and our family spent so many years in and out of. “

“In the meantime, I’m excited to get back to Canada for the Squamish Super, and for the last qualification for the Trifecta”, says Jake.  Jake intends to run with his cousin, who ran the Vancouver race with him in May, and has now caught the ‘spartan bug’ – he can’t wait to step it up to the next level and get a Super under his belt.


What’s next?  Calgary offers another chance to for a Spartan Sprint … but space is filling up fast.  Or … why not push it up a notch and sign up for the Super Spartan in Squamish on September 22nd. Click HERE to register.

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