A year a ago a Spartan Race in a stadium sounded a little strange to many Spartan veterans. Many scoffed at the idea of a race without mud, water and fire. Once they were reminded of the whole theory behind Spartan training, to prepare for the unexpected, it began to make more sense. Leading up to Fenway 2012 many were unsure of what lay ahead.

 

How would the course be set up?

What would the waves be like?

What “traditional” obstacles would be on the course?

How much running would there be?

What new obstacles might be out there?

As expected Spartan Race proved that the stadium venue was just as challenging as a sprint out on the trails. In fact many find the stadium more challenging than a Sprint. CrossFit style obstacles are utilized: box jumps, rowing, jump ropes, ball slams and push-ups to name just a few. In addition, the stadium atmosphere makes it friendlier to spectators and easier for many athletes to attend.

 

That first race laid the groundwork not only for more races in the US, but also the first international stadium race in Mexico at Estadio Azteca. Coming in 2014 will be more stadium races including Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

What can you expect to see on Saturday in Boston?  Well the Pro Team will be well represented by Hunter McIntyre and Brakken Kraker. They had a photo finish a few weeks ago at the Miller Park race in Milwaukee. It will be a fierce battle for first with those two on the course. On the women’s side, look for TyAnn Clark, making her stadium debut, and Andi Hardy. In addition, other top talent from New England will be there to give them a run for their money. It should be another exciting weekend of racing at Fenway.

Next up, Malibu!

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by Leslie St. Louis, Spartan Pro Team

The Tri-State New Jersey Reebok Spartan Super has big shoes to fill this weekend at the Mountain Creek Waterpark. It is just a few weeks after a brutally tough Spartan Super in Virginia and just a few weeks before the Vermont Spartan Beast Championship.

However, if you are one of the lucky participants in New Jersey this weekend: don’t fret. The Tri-State Super is sure to stand its ground and make its own epic impression this 2013 season. There will be some serious challenges from the natural terrain on the ski hill, water park features and man-made Spartan obstacles.

While every Spartan Race is its own unique event, if last year is any indication, this course will likely take at least three hours and have you trekking up and down the mountain, scaling the infamous Tyrolean traverse, tromping through forests, swimming lakes, jumping cliffs, wading lazy rivers…oh and likely heading up and down the mountain a few more times! There are flotation devices available for all the swimming portions and four on-course water stations planned. Also, you may have some obstacles from Mother Nature too, as in 2012 there was plenty of rain, which helped create some extra mud and post-race stories.

In addition, the New Jersey Super will be the very first event offering a Special Needs course designed for individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD), where “considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical and cognitive limitations, and behavioral issues associated with the challenges” faced by these racers.

In both the Open and Elite Heats, points are also at stake, as this is the last Spartan Race until Vermont. Not to mention there are added cash incentives in the elite heats.

Expect strong showings from Spartan Pro Team Members Rose Marie Jarry, Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles, David Magida, Alec Blenis, Alexander Nicholas, Elliott Megquier and Christopher Rutz. Alexander recently took 1st in Hawaii, this will be Elliott’s 34th Spartan and David and Alec will be riding the momentum of podium finishes in Virginia. Last year in New Jersey, Rose Marie and Andi took 1st and 2nd on Saturday and Christopher placed 3rd on Sunday. On the women’s side, other elite racers to watch will be Tri-State New York winner Melinda Branch and past podium finishers Danielle Ross and Gretchen Krueger. On the men’s side, look for Kevin Donohue and LeEarl Rugland to likely place in the top 10.

There should be a few other showdowns this weekend too: in the Team Division between Mud and Adventure and VPX Team Xtreme, and in the 2013 Open Points Division between Stu Klaas and “The Painted Warrior” Stephen Sinek. Current 1st place point earner Sinek is sitting out in preparation for Vermont, but Klaas is only 20 points behind and is registered for the 10am heat.

In every Spartan Race, you need to summon your courage and expect the unexpected. Especially at the New Jersey finish line, you’ll know why!

About the Author: Pro Team Member Leslie St. Louis raced the New Jersey Spartan last year, placing 3rd and 1st on Saturday and Sunday. You can read about her 2012 experience HERE.

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by Jenny Tobin, Spartan Pro Team

The Pacific Northwest Reebok Spartan Sprint is sure to be a competitive one! The setting for the course is the Washougal Motocross Park. It is very picturesque with lots of hills and forests. Last year the course had a brutal start going straight uphill for about a mile! I guess I should have known a motocross park would have this kind of terrain. There was plenty of mud last year with the worst barbed wire uphill/steep crawl I’ve ever encountered. There was a good number of obstacles right at the start/finish area to make it very spectator friendly. This is a great course and sure to challenge everyone.

The Pacific Northwest Spartan is one of the regional championships and has a larger prize purse and extra points can be earned for the overall series; so the competition will be fierce with plenty of big names. On the men’s side, Hobie Call has a good chance to repeat last year’s victory. He has had Lasik eye surgery and is ready to race without the threat of losing a contact. It should be interesting to see if he can go faster in the mud pits than usual. However, he should be challenged by multiple Spartan winner and Spartan Pro Team member, Brakken Kraker. Brakken is very strong right now and just won last week’s Midwest Spartan. Alec Blenis and Elliot Megquier, two other Spartan Pro Team members are sure to be in the mix. Elliot has probably raced more Spartans than anyone (and gotten lost in more races, but if he stays on the course, he’ll likely be top 3). There are some other Spartan Pro Team noteables Miguel Guillermo Medina, Alex Nicholas, and Shawn Feiock (he’s back in action). In addition, we will see Paul Drew, Anthony Matesi, and Stephen Sinek (aka the Painted Warrior).

The women are having a tough battle for the series win and this race should be a good one with the extra points on the line. Amelia Boone looks to be in top form especially after her double win on Saturday and Sunday of the Midwest Spartan Super. She typically likes the longer races so we shall see if she can sprint with the best of them. My Spartan Pro Teammates Corinne Kohlen, Ang Reynolds, Andi Hardy, and Juliana Sproles will be onhand for the race.

You never know what will happen in a Reebok Spartan Sprint race; missing a spear throw or another obstacle could be too much to overcome in a Spartan Sprint. It promises to be an exciting event!

Are you ready to find your Spartan Finish line?  Find an event near you HERE.

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