By Scott Blough, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Times Square Team Leader

Where it Began

In August of 2012, I traveled to Leesburg, VA for the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan. This was my first exposure to the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR).  While on the festival grounds I heard bagpipes coming closer and noticed a group of soldiers entering the starting area.   The announcer informed us that these men were part of a group called Team X-T.R.E.M.E.  We turned our attention to the skies where we saw a black parachute open and the announcer told us during his descent that the team was going to run this course with two wounded warriors.  One of the wounded warriors, Noah Galloway, was being tandem parachute jumped in to the event.

The team assembled.  It was at this point when I got my first look at Todd Love.  Todd is a triple amputee.  Missing both legs being above the knee and his left arm below the elbow, he served as a Recon Marine before his injuries.  He is carried by the team in a backpack throughout the race.  I quickly snapped a picture on my phone and cheered them on as they took off to conquer the course.   That was the last time I saw the team that day, I stopped by the Team X-T.R.E.M.E. booth on the way out of the festival grounds and grabbed a t-shirt.

Joining the Team

Upon returning to North Carolina I began doing research on Team X-T.R.E.M.E. to find out who they were.  As the pictures and videos of the race came out they were nothing short of amazing.  The images of Todd climbing the 25 foot rope in Leesburg have become known throughout the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).  As I dug deeper into the articles on the internet I started to become more inspired by the team and the mission. The statement “We give opportunity not sympathy” was the final straw for me I was hooked.  I signed up as a Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Community Athlete (TXCA) then started looking for ways to join the team.  I learned that there was an indoctrination (INDOC) process to try out for the team.

Eduard Lychik, Todd Love, Hobie Call, and Joe De Sena

I signed up for the INDOC class 003-012.   We started with eight people trying out for the team with two wounded warriors.  Class 003-012 had six people finish, of those six; four were selected to join the team.  We were issued our Avon C-50 gas masks and welcomed to the team.

Times Square

Reebok Spartan Times Square Challenge was my first event as a team leader.  Times Square was an amazing opportunity for Team X-T.R.E.M.E. to get our mission out to the world and support Spartan Race, an organization that has lent us a great deal of opportunity and exposure.  The race course allowed the spectators to get right up next to the action and see the whole course.  Many of our community athletes were on hand, as well as two wounded warriors – Todd Love and Eduard Lychik.  As a team, we tackled the course in Times Square Lychik and Love demonstrating extreme acts of physical strength and endurance.  Watching them climb the ropes simultaneously was a sight I will never forget.   We got to meet many spectators and some celebrities like Tiki Barber and Brooklyn Decker.  We even met Reebok Spartan athletes Hobie Call and Spencer Hendel.  It was  a great day!

After the race the team headed to Ground Zero where we took a tour of the memorial that opened in 2011.  The memorial is overwhelming.  The names of the fallen line the outer edge the memorial appropriately named “Reflecting Absence.”  The mood of the team was very somber at the memorial.  We focused on how that day had changed our lives and where we might have been had that never happened.  Most of the team members have at least one combat deployment in support of the Global War on Terror.  To stand at the physical location that started it all was a great opportunity for the team.  We look forward to more events in 2013 and supporting our mission to honor, empower, and motivate wounded service members.

See additional Team X-T.R.E.M.E. pictures from Times Square HERE.  Photos courtesy of Kevin High Photography.

[Editor’s Note: Scott Blough grew up in Fairfield, Iowa and joined the Army in 2000.  Blough has served as a medical sergeant in Army Special Operations for the past 9 years.  Blough as deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 5 times between 2005 and 2010.  Blough is currently attending Campbell University where he will earn a Bachelor of health Science later this year.]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Racer

This weekend, Reebok Spartan Race kicks off the 2013 calendar year with the Super Spartan SoCal in Temecula.

This is the first race since the Reebok/Spartan Race partnership was announced last week in New York City.

Many of the top athletes from the 2012 Season will be racing in Temecula this weekend for their share of the $7,500 cash purse generously provided by our partners at Navy Federal Credit Union for the Saturday Elite wave. 

Cody Moat, 2012 Men’s Points Champion

These Top 10 Athletes from the 2012 Season are scheduled to appear
this weekend:

Men:                                      Women:

Cody Moat                                Jenny Tobin

Hobie Call                                 Leslie St Louis

Christopher Rutz                       Margaret Schlachter

Elliott Megquier                         Corinne Kohlen

Shawn Feiock                           Juliana Sproles

Dallas Bassette                         Leyla Ester Di Cori

In addition to these top performers from 2012, watch out for Hunter McIntyre, who has already made a name for himself at the NorCal Beast and the Malibu Sprint, with podium finishes at each.

On the women’s side, Midwest Super champion and Ultra Beast and Beast second place finisher Amelia Boone may also make an appearance. With prize money, Reebok, and the great group of top racers, it is shaping up to be an exciting weekend of obstacle course racing. 

Many of the top athletes are excited about the agreement between Reebok and Spartan Race. We asked a few of them what they think it means for the future of the sport of Obstacle Racing.

Some quotes on their initial reactions to the news: 

Spartan emerging elite male Hunter McIntyre noted, “It will bring greater attention to the sport, coupled with stronger competition.”

On the Spartan female side top, ten athlete Leyla Di Cori remarked, “I think this is a great opportunity to give more credibility to obstacle racing as a sport.” 

Jenny Tobin, 2012 Female Points Champion

Spartan champion Hobie Call, who was onsite in New York City last week for the ground-breaking announcement, was quoted as saying, “It will be nice to have a large company come out with some obstacle racing specific clothing/shoes, and help sponsor athletes, which will help get serious athletes to more races.”

Leslie St. Louis, Spartan female elite athlete commented, “…maybe I am not thinking big enough yet, but as far as Spartan specifically, I foresee more momentum for CrossFit inspired events and obstacles, such as the WODstock event in Temecula and the obstacles at Citi Field.”

To find out more about what these and other athletes are thinking, get out to the SoCal Spartan this weekend and ask them. They would welcome the opportunity to share their passion for obstacle course racing with you.

See you at the races!  

Not registered yet?  What are you waiting for?  Join the expected 500,000 Spartans that will cross one of our finish lines this year.  

Click HERE to find an event near you. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,