by Matt Trinca, Malibu Race Manager

“This race was the closest to death that I’ve ever come without actually dying.” – Anonymous racer

It was another epic weekend of racing in California this last weekend, with Spartan Race’s 3rd annual stop at Calamigos Ranch for the Malibu Spartan Sprint presented by Dial for Men.  This was our largest West Coast event ever, with over 9,500 racers competing over the course of two days.  A little rain and fog could not dampen the spirits of these racers.  On the contrary, it only made them more excited to tackle the mountainous course, made even more challenging by the soupy, slippery mud created by several days of heavy rains.

The event was kicked-off by the Hurricane Heaters, who ran with the Spartan Race Founders at 6am on Saturday.  Over 100 participants came out and, during the almost 4 hour HH, completed hundreds of burpees, helped with some last minute work on the festival area, and ran the course in teams with their arms linked together.  It was a real bonding experience for everyone and helped set the tone for what was to be an amazing couple days.

The competitive heat saw a flurry of elite Spartans blasting through the course at near suicidal pace.  Hobie Call took first place for the men in a blazing time of 26:42.  Hunter Mcintyre took second place with 27:51, and Elliott Megquier got third with a time of 31:21.  For the women, Rose-marie Jarry won in a time of 38:03, Angela Reynolds finished second with 41:07, Irene Call placed third in 42:28.  After the race, I got the chance to talk to Angela, who said that she really enjoyed the course this year, and liked how the spear throw appeared towards the middle of the race, so that it was not necessarily the deciding factor in who won.  A notable mention goes out to Hawk Call (Hobie’s and Irene’s son) who ran his 1st Spartan Race in the adult division, after dominating the Junior Spartan races.  He finished in a time of 56:26, placing 1st in his age group, proving that the family that trains together, wins together.

As a long-time Spartan Race Street Team member, and Race Manager for the Malibu Spartan Sprint, I would also like to take a moment to reflect on the past year leading up to this event.  My fellow Street Teamers and I have traveled all over California in 2012, attending expos, races, and other running events, spreading the Spartan message and encouraging people to get off their couches and get active.  During our travels we met many unique individuals, some of whom were enthusiastic enough to take part in our burpee competitions, and many others who did not know what a burpee was.  And it was really inspiring to see these same faces out on the course last weekend.

There was the cancer survivor from my gym, the woman with the prosthetic leg that I met at an adventure run, and a teammate who completed the race with a broken arm (and some help from her friends).  The Biggest Loser resort, which makes its home at Calamigos Ranch, also reserved a heat, and I must say that I really admire all those runners who never gave up and completed the course to the best of their ability.

I was also moved by racer Daren de Heras’s words,  “Spartan Race is really about family.”

Daren and his friends demonstrated this out on the course at Malibu, where he committed to running the course seven times (including the Hurricane Heat).  Spartan Race usually does not allow this sort of thing, but when he found out that Daren was doing this to support a friend’s animal rescue charity (From There to Care), Joe Desena gave permission along with a special challenge – Daren had to run each lap with some sort of impediment or handicap, e.g., carrying a log, wearing a weight vest or elevation mask, carrying a log or war hammer, etc.  I ran into Daren on his 5th lap, and he was noticeably hobbled by the difficult terrain, but he was not going to quit, and with the support of his friends, many of whom ran a lap with him, he was able to complete Joe’s challenge.

The biggest team competition also illustrated this sense of community in the way that it brought The Weeple Army team together.  Last year, this team ran their first Spartan Race together at Malibu with a little over 20 members.  Over 2012, the team grew, running a plethora of other mud runs, training events, and Spartan Races.  At this year’s event, the team’s VIP tent (that they received for winning the competition) was barely big enough to contain the almost 200 team members who ran the race!

Though the fog blocked out the sky, several stars did make an appearance at the Malibu Spartan Race.  Actor Scott Bakula (from Star Trek Enterprise and Quantum Leap) completed his first Spartan Race on Sunday and loved it, taking 5thplace in his age group.  Tony Besson (from Spiderman 3, Nip/Tuck, and Entourage) completed the Saturday event as well.  Evan Dollard (Winner of 2008 American Gladiator TV competition and American Ninja Warrior competitor)

Scott Bakula

ran his second Spartan Race, placing 32nd overall in the elite heat with a time of 41:14.  Evan acknowledged that the wet, slippery hills were a challenge. “I’m used to obstacle courses that run about 100 yards, so it was really difficult to keep up during the running portions of the race.”

We’d like to thank our incredible volunteers without which, we’d never be able to put on such incredible events.  In the end, I think runners at the 2012 Malibu Spartan Sprint will take with them not only a great deal of mud, scrapes, and bruises, but also fond memories of the camaraderie and the personal triumph they experienced at the event.  Look forward to seeing you all again in 2013.  Click HERE to register for 2013!

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