By Elite Spartan Racer Cody Moat

Hills that don’t quit? Check. Relentless sun baking the venue? Check? Breathtaking scenery from the tops of aforementioned hills? Absolutely. The occasional curve ball thrown in to keep Spartan racers on their toes? Ah yes – we must be in Utah again.

Spartan Race’s annual visit to Soldier Hollow – venue of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games – is always a red letter day on the Spartan calender, so it’s no surprise to see the event village and starting corral heaving with smiling faces, fists in the air and the echoes of “AROO!” reverberating around the hills.

Cody Moat is all smiles at the start line.

The Utah Beast started with a bang when John Yatsko started fast from the beginning. I knew he was going to go out fast and push the pace because that’s the way he likes to race. I was happy that I would be able to go out fast without having to push the pace myself. So I started out on John’s shoulder and within the first mile we had started up the mountain and had gotten a substantial lead on the field. I knew judging from the pace that it would be a battle the whole way.
And it was a battle through the first 4-5 miles at-least up until we hit the spear throw. John came into the spear throw first and picked up the spear and hit. I think maybe I was too concerned about whether he would hit or miss instead of about my own spear throwing or maybe I was a little  over-confident. My spear grazed the edge of the hay bale and broke out without sticking. So I did burpees while John ran away unscathed. Then throughout the rest of the race, John and I stayed pretty equal the whole way. So what should have been a great race was quickly turned sour with the spear throw. John finished in 1:41. and I finished in 1:43 and 3rd place went to Glenn Racz, who also brought an incredible element to the race. I would like to congratulate John Yatsko on an incredible victory.

The female elites also saw a dramatic race, with Alex Roudayna de la Huerta Susilla eventually managing to get a 3 minute gap on Rose Wetzell-Sinnet, with Jenny Tobin grabbing a well-deserved 3rd place after running an awesome race. With so many ebbs and flows in the race, it was hard to see a winner at certain sections throughout the race.

In the event village, it was all about the green medal, as some were proudly displaying their first and in some cases, their second Trifecta of the year. Muddy high-fives all around, as well as the obligatory muddy hugs. For some, it was their first time at a Spartan Race and choosing to start with the Utah Beast is a commendable feat. One racers at the finish line were overheard saying, “I’m broken and my body hates me, but I feel fantastic. How does that even work?”

As ever, the Spartans of the future rocked their stuff with a testing Kids Race. With the younger Spartans in the community growing ever more excited about emulating what they see from the adults, it’s comforting to know that there is another generation of  those pushing themselves.

I would like to thank Spartan for putting on such a great event.

See you at the next Spartan Race! 

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By Spartan Elite Cody Moat

Spartan race is coming to the mountains of Utah for the second Beast of the 2014 season. I hope you’re ready for a long grueling course at an elevation of over 5,000 ft. above sea level. The venue comes to Soldier Hollow near Midway, Utah, located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains.  In 2002, Soldier Hollow was home to the Winter Olympics. And now is home to one of the toughest races you’ll find in the United States, The Utah Spartan Beast. Spartan racers be ready for a tough 13 + mile course with 30+ obstacles. This course is not for the faint of heart.

On the men’s side things could get exciting! Every year an athlete shows up out of nowhere to claim a spot on the podium. Competition should get interesting with Glenn Racz and Alec Blenis coming to Utah with a vengeance and determination to not only podium but to be on the top. I am also coming to the Beast with a take-no-prisoner attitude.

The women’s field should also be very interesting with several outstanding athletes. Rose Wetzel, winner of the New York Tuxedo Spartan sprint, will be in attendance. Utah’s very own Tyann Clark is also coming with a determination to claim top spot. Never count out Idaho’s Jenny Tobin and Leslie St. Louis who will also be aiming to finish highly.  If you are looking for some excitement this weekend come and participate or volunteer at the clash of the Spartans Utah Beast. You will not be disappointed.

With this being only the second Beast on the calendar, many racers will be looking at completing their set of medals in order to become Trifecta holders. However, with the unforgiving inclines that wait for them in Midway, it won’t be as easy as showing up and simply collecting what is due. Beast medals and finish lines are earned the hard way!

Also something to look out for will be the Spartan Kids race. Going at various times throughout the day, get a chance to see the Spartans of tomorrow as they take on half and full mile courses, with the coveted orange medal waiting for them at the finish line.

Remember to hydrate well and we’ll see you at the finish line! 

Bio of the Author: Cody Moat from Fillmore, Utah, began his Spartan journey here at the Utah Beast in 2012. Some highlights of his 2012 season were World Spartan points winner and Spartan World Champion. In 2013,  4th place in the World Championship.

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How many times in the life of the average person can they say that they competed at an Olympic-quality venue? When was the last time you were in an event at the same place Olympians were tested in their pursuit of gold? We’d wager that the number would be quite low. But register for the Beast in Utah and you will be scaling the very same hills that competitors from around the world were tested on during the winter Olympic games in 2002. And let’s not make any mistake here, we’re talking about events that needed not just muscle, but will too; the biathlon, cross-country skiing and Nordic combined (the cross-country skiing portion).

Since the Olympics and Paralympics, Soldier Hollow has continued the tradition of ski racing and biathlon, by playing host to the Under 23 World Championships in 2004 and U.S. Championships in 2005 and 2006. Spartan Race takes its choice of venues very seriously. This is the Spartan Beast and you’re going to know and feel it.

In less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, just outside of the beautiful Swiss-settled town of Midway, the Soldier Hollow venue sits under the watchful eyes of the Wasatch Mountains. A truly epic venue and one of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the Spartan Race calendar. With the weather also expected to reach its usual high 80’s temperature, be prepared for a testing, but memorable day. Naturally, running at altitude in this heat, we’d always advise you to carry your own hydration in addition to the water stations we will have on course.

For the traveler, there are a range of accommodation options very close to the venue in the aforementioned town of Midway.  On the Midway website of the town itself, you will find lodging options there and given the friendly and hospitable nature of the locals, this may be an avenue you’d like to explore. Drink in the atmosphere of the Swiss theme throughout the town, making note especially of the architecture which oozes Germanic charm and overtones.

If you’d prefer the bright lights of the big city, a wider selection of hotels can be found here for options when it comes to accommodation. Given that you’ve made the journey, why not make a long weekend out of it and try out some more fun things to do? There’s go-karting, Seven Peaks Waterpark or even the always fun time of paint-balling.

But naturally, you’ll be hungry. Whether it’s the carb-loading the day before, or replenishing those calories that you burned off, frankly, you are spoilt for choice. There is even a specialized site you can use that is all about the Herber Vally area. Within this, there are drop down menus for the cuisine style, category and even price level, so you can choose precisely the type of experience you like. This very same site offers options for places to stay, and things to do, so be sure to check that out.

If you’d prefer to head back to Salt Lake City, Urban Spoon has listed almost a thousand places for you to choose from. With the same handy drop down menus that can target specific cuisine styles, prices and even the neighborhood local to where you are staying. So, should you decide that something Asian would tickle your taste buds after conquering the Soldier Hollow course, then the options are there. Brazilian, Indian, European… it’s all there.

Salt Lake City always welcomes Spartan Racers.

If a taxi is what you need, Yelp has a great selection and naturally, as is the nature of Yelp, you can read past reviews of their service. Of course, if you’d much rather hire a car and drive yourself, there are plenty of car hire options via Expedia right here.

You may have heard about how alcohol is dealt with a little tighter in Utah than perhaps other states. To make it very clear for visitors, Utah.gov has neatly listed the laws regarding the buying and consumption of alcohol right here. Naturally, Spartans behave appropriately at all times anyway, but sometimes if you’re unsure of local laws, it’s always wise to make sure you know what the situation is.

So get ready for the Beast and make sure your training includes lots of muscle memory. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.

See you at the finish line…

credit: balladspahr

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