After years of waiting, Washington, DC will finally host a Spartan Race. Well, actually, Maryland will, but the District is buzzing about the opportunity to compete in the “Washington, DC Spartan Sprint.”

The only other time DC had a race this close was the 2012 Super Spartan in Leesburg, VA, an extra long, 10.5-mile course featuring a 400 meter tractor pull and a mile that contained over 30 horse hurdles.

David Magida will look to add to his podium count.

The course this weekend, however, should be quite different. Hosted in Charlotte Hall, MD, the 4-5 mile course is expected to be hot, hilly and full of trail running. But if you’re reading this hoping for some clues as to what to expect this week, don’t hold your breath. Whether we get the twists of a super long tractor pull, an extended log carry, or even a surprise bucket brigade at the end of the course, like we had in Pennsylvania, is to be determined. At Spartan Race, prepare for the unexpected.

The one thing you can expect, of course, is top-notch competition. And this race is no exception. On the women’s side, look for up-and-coming stars Orla Walsh and Corinna Coffin to battle it out for victory. On the men’s side, Brakken Kraker, Elliott Megquier and Kevin Donoghue are prepared to challenge for the win. Stephen Vassallo, fresh off his 3rd place finish on Sunday in Pennsylvania, will be looking to contend for another spot on the podium. And look for DC local David Magida, the champion on Saturday and Sunday from the Atlanta race, to shoot for another victory on his home turf.

After the race Magida will be running the course again with Team Elevate, a group of Spartan Training clients from his Washington, DC training facility, Elevate Interval Fitness, who have spent the last three months preparing with him for this event. For most of them, this will be their first Spartan Race, but they have embraced the challenge and are eager to prove themselves and earn the title of “Spartan.”

Have what it takes to become a Spartan? Sign up now! And check out Spartan Coaching in your area!

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By Pro Team Member Tiffanie Novakovich

One of the main aspects of the Spartan Race that is hammered home time after time is that if you choose to take part, you should expect the unexpected. You can watch past videos, you can check out the dozens of online photo albums and you could even talk to experienced racers. It will give you a vague idea of what to expect. Bring those expectations to the start line and you’ll immediately be on the back foot. If the race isn’t what you were expecting, the terrain wasn’t what you thought it would be or the obstacles are not how you envisioned them, you were not prepared for the unexpected.

Bearing that in mind, the inaugural Connecticut Spartan event, held in the beautiful town of Uncasville, is now in the books, with medals around the necks of thousands of competitors.  Hosted at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, the race seemed to stay more true to the resort’s lavish atmosphere, with just a modicum of Spartan torture.

The course started and ended in the resort parking lot, between zig-zagging through the parking garage, along flat stretches of small-town streets and highways, and through picturesque leaf-covered trails.  The course was mostly flat and favored speed runners, totally flying in the face of some events where mountains, hills and incline after painful incline tested the Spartans.

However,  many staple Spartan obstacles were present, including over & under walls, tire flip, atlas carry, rope climb, slick wall, barbed wire, herculean hoist, and traverse wall. Conspicuously absent was mud!  The barbed wire crawl was shorter than what is considered “normal” and was on grass. This surprised many racers who thought they knew what to expect. The water pits under the rope climb and the slick wall were lined with tarps, preventing any grime on the rope or mud in the eyes obstacles.

The course was no cake-walk though. The sand in the buckets/bags at the Herculean Hoist was saturated with water, making the obstacle significantly and surprisingly heavier than usual.  Several top racers failed this usually doable obstacle, resulting in unexpected burpees near the end of the race. Complacency and thinking you know what to expect again catching people out.

In the end, racers enjoyed a spectacular scenery in a beautiful place, but were still tested to their limits on a course that was a little different than most Spartan events, but just as grueling. In the men’s elite race, Matthew Kempson ran away with a narrow victory of only 7 seconds over Junyong Pak. Elliott Megquier completed the podium in third place. On the women’s side, Elise Fugowski bested the field by over two minutes, with Karlee Whipple finishing second and Orla Walsh in third.

As with all Spartan races, you never know what you might or might not encounter when you sign up, show up and never give up.

But one thing’s for sure: You’ll know at the finish line!

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By Pro Team Member Tiffanie Novakovich

Brace yourselves, Nutmeggers! Spartan Race will make its Connecticut debut June 28, 2014. Hosted at the Mohegan Sun resort, a lavish Vegas-style hotel and casino, this Spartan Sprint will prove to be a first-class muddy event. The tourist town of Uncasville is located in the foothills of Eastern Connecticut, along the Thames River, adjacent to Trading Cove. As it’s less than 100 miles from Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Providence, RI, and just a 2.5 hr drive from New York City, the race is expected to draw visitors from all over New England. Approximately 8,000 competitors and 5,000 spectators are expected to attend the Saturday-only Connecticut Spartan event.

As with all Spartan Sprints, the race will include 15+ obstacles over 3+ miles, run through the breathtaking Connecticut woodlands of the Mohegan Tribal Reservation land. The venue includes a variety of terrain, including single-track and Thames River-view trails. With the Trading Cove body of water so close by, I’m sure you can expect to get wet and muddy at this race!

Being held on a Native American Reservation will give the race a special feel, marrying the warrior philosophy of Spartan Race with the warrior heritage of the land. Kevin Brown, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council says, “I am very glad to hear that our reservation land has been chosen for the Reebok Spartan Race.  Let’s face it – the Mohegan Tribe traces a lineage and a heritage of brave Native American warriors who lived, worked, and fought in these Eastern Woodlands. The race will bring a modern challenge into historic territory – it’s a great fit.”

Some familiar faces are expected in the men’s Elite race.  Expect Elliott Megquier to be racing for a podium spot. He’s coming off of an impressive showing in the Tri-Cities New York Spartan event, where he raced four times in nine days, pulling in two second- and one fifth-place finish. Also expected to show some dominance is Spartan Pro Team member and Ninja Warrior extraordinaire Alex Nicholas, who pulled off an impressive 12th place finish at the highly-competitive NBC-televised Tri-Cities Sprint. Expect some speedy New Englanders to fight their way into the top 10 on this low rolling-hills course.

With the Utah Beast (held on the same day as the CT race) drawing the attention of many left-coast pros, several top spots in the women’s elite race are up for grabs. Some East-Coast race favorites include Karlee Whipple, who took first place in the first Saturday race of the Tri-Cities Sprint and eighth place in the NBC-televised second Saturday race. Don’t be surprised if Orla Walsh, who recently moved to Vermont to train, shows up to test her grit. She’s had impressive finishes lately in the Colorado Springs Military Sprint as well as the NBC Tri-Cities Sprint.  Don’t forget East-Coast staples Laura Messner and Amanda Ricciardi, who may throw their hats into the ring this weekend. And you never know what pro-team members might decide at the last minute to show up and dominate!

Also on the docket for Saturday are the Spartan Kids Race and the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Kid’s race includes two distances for younger and older kids and always proves to be one of the many highlights of every race. The Spartan Special Needs Course is a new addition being included at several events this year. There will be a course designed especially for intellectually and/or developmentally disabled individuals who want to challenge themselves against Spartan obstacles and also want to challenge what is “normal.” Spartan Pro Team members will be participating as mentors and volunteers in the Special Needs Race. As Spartans, we defy the perceptions of “normal” at every race, while our special needs competitors do the same everyday in a way that is highly impressive and honorable.

If you haven’t already registered, do it now!  You don’t want to miss the beautiful scenery and punishing obstacles of Connecticut’s first Spartan Race. Put yourself to the test and . . . You’ll know at the finish line.

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Written By Pro Team member Glenn Racz

The Colorado Military Sprint at Fort Carson Army Base delivered another solid race weekend for over 8,000 participants.  This Military Sprint adds various different elements as compared to other Spartan races such as the increased amount of obstacles (25+) packed into the Sprint distance of about 4.5 miles and the nose-bleed elevation of over 6,000 feet.  These two aspects of the race proved to be a challenge to all competitors in the race.  The stakes were high on this race as this was one of the Navy Federal Credit Union $7,500 prize purse races – which helped to pull in some of the most hardcore obstacle racers from around the country.

The race conditions were ideal with moderate temperatures throughout the weekend.  However, the temperature was the only moderate feature in this race as once the racers took to the course, they all very quickly realized that this race would truly test how one could manage the extremely “obstacle dense” course along with the short, yet steep hills scattered throughout the course.

For the elite men on Saturday, Pro Team athletes Brakken Kraker and Glenn Racz took an early lead by mile 1, but Glenn Racz soon fell back behind Matt Novakovich and Chad Trammell after the Atlas Carry.  Half way through the race, recent Boston Marathon finisher, Brian Gowiski joined the lead pack.  Then after the ruck sack carry, Chad Trammell powered by Matt Novakovich to take and hold the lead to emerge the victor and take his first 1st place finish for a Saturday race.  But just 14 seconds behind Chad was Brakken Kraker and Matt Novakovich “The Bear” as they battled it out though the final 7 obstacles all stacked up before the finish line to give the spectators a great show with only 3 seconds separating them.  Athletes Brian Gowiski and Isaiah Vidal came in a noteworthy fourth and fifth place.  Then on Sunday, Matt Novakovich wasn’t allowed an easy victory with Isaiah Vidal just 3 seconds behind him for another exciting finish.  Pro Team athlete Elliott Megquier held off Brian Hoover in the final obstacles to take a 3rd place podium finish.

With so many close finishes happening now, it’s clear that the courses on the circuit are highlighting the need for good, all-round training. While some may blitz obstacles and others build leads with running, regular podium placings and good times are now reflected in the fact that working all aspects of the body are clearly yielding better results. The days in which relying on running would see you through are starting to disappear.

The women’s elite Saturday race proved to be just as much of a nail-biter since race came down to the spear throw – which was missed by front runner and returning champion April Dee which allowed competitors KK Paul and Orla Walsh to overtake her for 1st and 2nd place.  April Dee took 3rd place for the Saturday race but then came back Sunday to take 1st among elite women. These 3 women were the only female competitors to complete the course in under 1 hour – a reflection of just how difficult the course was this year. With each year that passes, it seems Fort Carson ups the ante a little more. Looking forward, it makes for a brutal prospect in 2015.

As ever, Spartan Race would like to thank Reebok, Core PowerClif Builder BarsEco VesselSpartanUP! Graphix and Spartan SGX.

Of course huge thanks go out to all the staff at Fort Carson for their help and support for making the Colorado Sprint as epic as ever.

Sign up for the next Spartan Race here and you’ll understand what it means to “know at the finish line”.

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