It all comes down to Vermont.

Spartan Racing reaches its pinnacle this weekend in Killington, Vermont. There are many opportunities to race, a Sprint or a Beast on Saturday and a charity Sprint, Beast and Ultra Beast on Sunday. Each course will present a challenge with the professional and Olympic level athletes expected to take about four hours to complete the Saturday Beast course. The weather in Killington on Saturday is expected to be cloudy with a high around 70 and a chance of rain. In other words, like in any Spartan Race, plan for anything. The majority of our racers will be out there most of the day and will need to be self-supported. Killington Mountain is no joke. Top elevation is 4,241ft with a vertical gain of 3,050ft. You can expect Spartan Race will make full use of this mountain.

All eyes will be on the World Championship Race Saturday morning. Top athletes from around the world will be present for what will be the most competitive race in Spartan history. In addition to the podium spots and cash purse available for the Saturday Beast, the US Spartan Elite racers will also be racing for their final placing in the 2013 Points Series.

So who will be racing in the Elite wave at the World Championship Beast on Saturday?
On the men’s side:
Australian Spartan Racers on their way include Matt Murphy, Will Lind and Shaun Phelps. The top 3 ranked racers from down under. From the USA you can count on seeing most if not all of the Spartan Pro Team and other Top 10 ranked racers including Hobie Call, Isaiah Vidal and Brian Hoover. Currently 7 of the Top 10 US Points Spots are occupied by Spartan Pro Team members, Elliott Megquier, David Magida, Brakken Kraker, Alec Blenis, Hunter McInytre, Cody Moat and Alexander Nicholas. Mexico will be represented by New York Marathon winner German Silva and Tavito Oliveros.

On the women’s side:
The Top 10 ranked US women are also dominated by Professionals. Olympic Cross-Country skier and professional mountain runner Morgan Arritola will be tough competition for returning champion Claude Godbout, a Canadian National Team biathlete and Olympic hopeful. Spartan Pro Team members. Top ranked April Luu will be racing to maintain her number one position and a number one spot on the podium. Battling it out on the course with her are expected to be Rose Marie Jarry, Hannah Orders, Leslie St. Louis, Jenny Tobin and TyAnn Clark. Beyond these Spartan Pro Team women other Top 10 to look for include Ameila Boone, Shaun Provost, Karlee Whipple, and Elise Fugowski. Mexico will be represented by Olympian Fabiola Corona.

New for 2013 are awards for the Master’s men and women in the Points Series. While some are also competing for a spot in the Top 20 overall, they will also be recognized for their performance as Master’s athletes. Brian Hoover, Christopher Rutz and Tadd Morris will be racing for the top 3 Spots for the men. Jenny Tobin, Andi Hardy, Jolene Wilkinson and Juliana Sproles will be battling on the women’s side.

Beyond these seasoned Spartan Racers look for some new faces and familiar faces from other sports to show us what they have to conquer Killington and the Spartan Race Sprint, Beast and Ultra Beast. There will be many high powered athletes looking to claim the title of Spartan Beast World Champion.

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As the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships edge closer, the number of elite heat athletes in the line-up continues to grow. The $250,000 cash and prize purse is attracting Olympians from around the globe as well as Xterra, USTAF, and Trail World Champions, Professional Obstacle Course Racers, Adventure Racers, Triathletes, and marathon winners for the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships taking pace in Killington, Vermont, Sept 21-22. The event will culminate with the naming of the world’s top male and female obstacle racers. The talented crop of athletes, including the Spartan Pro Team, will also be featured in the NBC Sports Network TV special about the World Championships.

Says Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, “We have some of the most talented athletes from around the globe converging on the Vermont course for the World Championships. It’s going to be the most competitive field we’ve ever seen on a race day. This is what this sport has been waiting for.”

Morgan Arritola
Photo courtesy blog.sunvalley.com

Spectators and participants will be able to watch the competition face off as well as take on the infamous Vermont course for themselves. The Vermont World Championships will feature the Spartan Beast, a half marathon of trail running and Spartan obstacles, a Spartan Sprint, roughly a 5K of trail and obstacles and the world’s only Ultra Beast, more than a marathon of trail running and obstacles for those brave enough to take on the challenge. The Spartan Beast will be the stage for the elite competition heat where the athletes will race head to head in an early morning heat Saturday, September 21st. Known for punishing hills in the Green Mountains, racers will tackle a gauntlet of challenging obstacles, including wall climbs, aerial traverses over water, challenging rope climbs, and barbed wire crawls.

All the action will be captured by NBC Sports Group, culminating in a 90-minute TV special that will air on the NBC Sports Network on October 19, 2013.

Notable athletes include: Olympians Morgan Arritola (USA), Fabiola Corona (MEX), German Silva (MEX), and Anthony Famiglietti (USA). Canadian biathlete National Team member Claude Godbout, the defending Spartan female world champion will also be in Vermont alongside the 2012 Spartan Male World Champion, Spartan Pro Team member and USATF 50 mile National Champion Cody Moat.

Additional Notable Athletes:

Name M/F Age Country Hometown Athletic Background
Matt Novakovich M 39 USA Anchorage, AK Mountain Runner -Won the 2012 Mount Marathon and the 2013 VA Spartan Super
Hobie Call M 36 USA Erda, UT Spartan Elite (1st place Spartan Series 2013) / Marathon Runner / Fastest Lunge Mile 24:56
Brakken Kraker M 26 USA West Allis, WI Spartan Pro US – Runner
Hunter McIntyre M 25 USA Malibu, CA Spartan Pro US – Triathlete
James Appleton M UK London 3x Tough Guy Champion – Adventure Photographer
German Silva M 33 MEX Olympic & Professional Runner; 2x NYC Marathon Winner
Junyong Pak M 35 USA Beverly, MA Elite Racer
Cody Moat M 35 USA Filmore, UT 2012 Spartan World Champion; USATF 50 mile National Champion
Octavio Ontiveros M 20 MEX Professional Triathlete & Olympic hopeful
Alec Blenis M 19 USA Roswell, GA Spartan Pro US – Ultra Runner
David Magida M 27 USA Washington DC Spartan Pro US – Runner
Benjamin Boucher M 24 CAN Quebec Elite Obstacle Racer
Elliott Megquier M 25 USA Fort Drum, NY Spartan Pro US – US Army
Jake Rhyner M 27 USA Sheboygan, WI Elite Triathlete
Isaiah Vidal M 20 USA Marble Falls, TX Spartan Elite US (Racing for Mexico) Riding his bike from Texas to Vermont for the World Championships
Miguel Medina M 25 USA Redondo Beach, CA Spartan Pro US – Runner
Matt Murphy M 28 AUS Victoria Elite Obstacle Racer
David Franco M SVK Elite Obstacle Racer
Alexander Nicolas M 34 USA New York Spartan Pro US
Anthony Famiglietti M 35 USA New York 2x Olympian – Steeplechase
Christopher Rutz M 44 USA Scottsdale, AZ Spartan Pro US – Triathlete – Cyclist
Shawn Feiock M 34 USA Dallas, TX Spartan Pro US
Claude Godbout F 27 CAN Quebec Returning Spartan World Champion – Canadian Biathlon National Team – Olympic hopeful
Morgan Arritola F 27 USA Ketchum, ID Olympian – Cross Country Skiier – Pro Trail Runner – Team Solomon
Amelia Boone F 29 USA Chicago, IL Spartan Elite – 2nd Place 2013 Series, 2nd place in 2012 World Championship Beast and 2nd Place 2012 Ultra Beast
April Luu F 34 USA Peyton, CO Spartan Pro US
Fabiola Corona F 33 MEX Guadalajara, Jalisco Olympic Triathlete; ITU Triathlete – Adventure Racer – Xterra
Jenny Tobin F 45 USA Boise, ID Spartan Pro US – Xterra World Champion – Triathlete
Hannah Orders F 23 USA Charlotte, NC Spartan Pro US – Collegiate Cross Country Runner (Appalachian State)
Rose-Marie Jarry F 30 USA Montreal Spartan Pro US
Deanna Blegg F 43 AUS New South Wales Adventure Racer
Tiffanie Novakovich F 36 USA Anchorage, Alaska 15th place 2012 Mount Marathon (female division)
Tyann Clark F 32 USA Toquerville, UT Spartan Pro US
Lindsey Scherf F 26 USA Chapel Hill, NC Pro Runner
Menna Blumears F 37 USA Fishersville, VA Mountain Runner – 2013 Virginia Spartan Super Open Champion
Janna Macinska F SVK Elite Obstacle Racer
Irene Call F 38 USA Erda, UT Spartan Elite – Attempting to set World Record for Lunging a Mile, Collegiate Cross Country Runner
Angela Reynolds F 33 USA Valencia, CA Spartan Pro US;                           Marathoner
Andi Hardy F 44 USA Atlanta, GA Spartan Pro US; Trail Runner
Juliana Sproles F 44 USA Ojai, CA Spartan Pro US – 2x Ironman Triathlete
Corinne Kohlen F 31 USA Visalia, CA Spartan Pro US

 

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by Khaled Allen

Picture credit: oddsock on Flickr

Are you fit enough to save your own life? What about those of your loved ones? Are you fit enough to survive a natural disaster?

If you workout just to get ‘in shape’, that isn’t good enough. It has no concrete value; what does ‘in shape’ even mean? It is a very vague goal, and vague goals never get you anywhere.

Here is a better set of goals, from Mark’s Daily Apple: be fit enough to survive a threat to your own life, to rescue your family if you must, and to endure any trauma you might experience.

Fitness is and always has been a means to an end. We train our bodies so that they might help us accomplish something. The Spartans trained from childhood not because they wanted to have higher levels of energy and look good in a loincloth. They had a city to defend and the honor of a culture to uphold. They put their bodies at the service of their city-state, and that is what gave them purpose in their training.

The most successful athletes have goals. Looking damn sexy is a fine goal, and it has motivated a lot of people in the past. Needing to be in shape to survive is a much better goal, and will let you push yourself to much greater heights of physical and mental prowess.

The greatest athletes in our civilization are the Olympians. They aren’t in it for the fitness. They are in it for the gold, literally. They don’t just want to be ‘in shape’. They want to be the best they can be, to perform whatever task is required of them as effectively as possible, and to leave a mark on the world. For them, it isn’t good enough to just go through their fitness routine; they need to see results.

If you want to become a truly accomplished athlete, you need something to train for, some objective to dedicate your body towards pursuing.

Fitness demands testing. That is why the truly fit – real athletes – are naturally drawn to challenge. They want to be tested. That is really the only way to know if you are fit, and to what extent.

CrossFit stakes its entire approach to fitness on measurable results. Fitness is meaningless if it cannot be measured and tested. The CrossFit definition of fitness is fairly straightforward. It is based on how efficiently you can complete a given task. Weightlifters are fit to move heavy loads. Runners are fit to cover a lot of distance quickly. How do we know? We measure it.

Being fit is important, make no mistake. The term fitness originally refers to the likelihood a given organism will reproduce and pass on its genes. You want to be fit, trust me. The desire to be fit is hardwired into your genes.

A great way to measure your real, applicable fitness is to consider whether your level of fitness is sufficient to save your life in the event it were ever threatened. The blog, The Art of Manliness, suggests 5 physical benchmarks that every man should be capable of performing should he need to save his own life. They include swimming half a mile, running at top speed for 200m, jumping over an obstacle at waist height, 15-20 pull ups, and at least 25 dips.

When fitness is necessary for survival, you have a much more useful measurement of ‘in shape’. Are  you fit enough to save your own life? Or are you just in shape to look pretty?

Most people are content to delude themselves into thinking they are fit based on cheesy infomercials and clever gym advertising. Nobody wants to admit that they’re not fit, because on a biological level, it is the equivalent of admitting you can’t survive and are not worthy to reproduce. And so our culture has come up with plenty of ways to let people avoid admitting that. You go to the gym for an hour a day and you pedal the elliptical like your overpaid personal trainer told you to, therefore you are fit. Never mind the fact that you still can’t climb your apartment building stairs without stopping to catch your breath.

Our definition of fitness has been divorced from actually demonstrating physical prowess.

Want to know for sure if you’re fit enough to save your own life? Run a Spartan Race.

The race doesn’t care if you look good in a muscle shirt. It doesn’t care if you have the latest running shoes. It doesn’t care if you can bench 300 lbs. All it cares about is whether or not you can survive and finish. Can you get the job done? That is fitness. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are trying to sell you something you probably don’t need.

That is why I love CrossFit so much. The CrossFit WODs don’t care how you get the job done, so long as you do it powerfully and efficiently. If the goal is to get weight overhead, you’ve got several different ways to do it. If the objective is to get yourself over a bar, by all means kick your legs and wriggle your way over the bar. If it gets you there faster than some muscle-head showing off his lats with strict pull ups, guess who will win the WOD? If you’re climbing for your life, guess who will survive and who will be found ‘unfit’?

Honestly, you don’t have to do either CrossFit or Spartan Races to test your fitness. You simply need to step up to a challenge that will push you out of your comfort zone. You need to put yourself in a place that is not easy and see if you can take it, and how well you can take it.

And you’re even allowed to fail. But if that happens, I expect you to train yourself to succeed next time. We have the luxury of simulating life threatening emergencies to test ourselves, and we should take advantage of that luxury so we’re ready for the real thing.

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