by Johnny Waite, Spartan Death Race finisher
How long dare they make it? The last four years have seen it swell from 12 hours to 28 to 45 to 70 – Yes, that is SEVENTY HOURS, without rest! There is a reason why we see less than 10% finish this grueling challenge for survival in the haunting mountains of Pittsfield, VT.
Like every year before, the rumors are running rampant. There is talk of hard cut-offs for time hacks, disrupting many racers strategy of “slow and steady” and of teams being broken up and certain challenges planned to make even the toughest competitor fail. Of course, Joe De Sena and Andy Weinberg Death Race Directors are not talking, except when they are mocking participants and making sure the race mystery and intrigue stresses out the field and increases the chance of failure.
“We’ve gotten really good at getting under people’s skin,” boasted Joe. “We like to study them and figure out what is going to break them.”
More people are expected to start this year’s Death Race than ever before but, as usual, only a handful will ever finish.
Some names to watch are; Olof Dallner (defending Champion who also has 2 straight Winter Death Race wins and is looking to add his second straight Summer title for four in a Row and a claim to “best ever Death Racer”), Junyong Pak who finished a strong second last year and is always a threat, and the trio of Don Schwarz, Ken Lubin and PJ Rakoski who were leading last year at 50+ hours when they decided to pack it in (Don, in particular, has been training like a mad man looking to settle a score).
On the women’s side; Amelia Boone is always a threat and is expected to fare well in the mental and physical challenges on tap for the competitors. Nele Schulze came out of nowhere to win this year’s Winter Death Race and is looking to be a woman for all seasons, and Morgan McKay went from unknown to 2012 finisher and now to a woman on a mission for the top spot.
No one, veteran or rookie, knows what to expect or what to prepare for, except pain, exhaustion and utter frustration. That is what makes the Death Race so special. And so brutal. And it all gets underway June 21, 2013 in Pittsfield, Vermont.
Do you have what it takes? Read more about the Death Race HERE.