When Winter Vinecki began her Spartan Race at Soldier Hollow in Utah, the fourteen year old was on a mission. It was far from her first race, she’s been racing since she was a young child… but unlike most 14 year olds, her mission is to educate the world on prostate cancer and raise funds. So far, she’s raised over $700,000 and she’s not slowing down. The youngest finisher of a complete marathon on Antarctica, she’s traveling the world spreading her message and running some of the world’s toughest races along the way. Her message about prostate cancer and it’s devastation is born out of her own tragic loss of her father to prostate cancer when she was just nine years old, shortly before his 41st birthday. At the Utah Race she shared what motivates her, what moves her and how Spartan Race is the newest addition to her impressive list of race finishes. To learn more about her cause, visit her website for Team Winter at www.teamwinter.org.

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As the thousands of excited and nervous faces made their way through the registration tables in Soldier Hollow, Utah, with newbies rubbing shoulders with veterans of Spartan Race, it was all too apparent that everyone was all too aware of mountains that loomed over them as they arrived. They were there to be beaten. Just another day in the life of a Spartan Racer.

The unforgiving mountains, the malevolence of the thin air and punishing heat would all play their part in what was the first Spartan Beast of the year. Changing the course from last year to include more elevation, many competitors soon discovered what it is to tackle a Beast.

The men’s Elites set the standard with the now familiar 1,2,3 of Hobie Call, Hunter McIntyre and Cody Moat. April Luu continued her dominance of the female Elites, with Leann Brinton and Hally Tollner taking second and third respectively.
Many people chose Utah to be their first Spartan Race. One notable example being Winter Vinecki who at only 14 years of age, has already completed numerous long distance events including the Antarctica and Inca Trail marathons. Despite being in the middle of a schedule that will see her run seven marathons on seven continents, she took time out from her busy schedule to test out a Beast. Running for her charity Team Winter, inspired by the tragic loss of her father to prostate cancer, she now honors his memory by raising money through incredible feats of endurance including triathlons and marathons. Winter’s story can be seen here: http://www.teamwinter.org/

It wasn’t just a blazing sun that shone over the event. Yet more stories of heroism lit up the venue, inspring others to run just that little bit harder. Weeple Army member Kristen Sifers successfully completed the coveted Spartan Race Trifecta after successfully beating cancer. Having already beaten the Sprint in Malibu and the Super in Temecula – both in her home state of California – she finally realized her target and proudly wore the Trifecta medal that some suggested would be beyond her.

James Moody, having overcome throat cancer, explained how despite at one point being too weak to even cross a street now has, amongst other things, a Spartan Sprint (Colorado) and now a Beast medal in his collection. That same formidable determination that saw him beat the terrible disease now sees him take on Spartan Races. With a Super being on the cards, he’s sure to become another Trifecta member sooner rather than later.

Proudly supporting the EOD Wounded Warrior charity, ZJ Askins took on the mammoth task of completing the grueling course whilst wearing a full bomb disposal suit – a task that he successfully completed in an ordeal that took almost 10 hours. For more information about the charity, check here: https://www.facebook.com/bombsuitmudder.org

James Cannon, despite having never done a Spartan Race, didn’t just complete the course once. He went around again to complete the twice and then, just to bump up the mileage from 24 to 26.2 to make his own personal “Beast Marathon”, he added another 2.2 miles. A remarkable feat in itself, made all the more impressive when you consider all of this was done without any penalty burpees.

Through a mixture of planning and guile in partnership with Spartan Race staff, Corey Peterson proposed to his stunned girlfriend Bekka Bingham at the finish line amid cheers and tears of joy, bringing the day, which already had a party atmosphere, to that of a celebration. Spartan Race would like to wish them both much happiness for the future.

And so, as the Spartan Race continues to roll with Pennsylvania as the next stop, will we see yet more stories of life-changing decisions and tales of gritty determination?

You’ll know at the finish line…

Sign up today!  Find a Reebok Spartan Race near you!

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by Cody Moat, Spartan Pro Team

Cody Moat

Reebok Spartan race is coming to the mountains of Utah for the first Beast of the 2013 season. 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 at an elevation of over 5,000 feet. This course is not for the faint of heart.

On the men’s side we have last years champion Hobie Call returning and looking to repeat as champion. I (Cody Moat) placed 2nd last year behind Hobie and am looking to better last years performance with a 1st place finish. But this is not all on the men’s side. Rumor has it Hunter McIntyre with be in Utah hungry for blood. Also looking for gold are the following Spartan elite athletes- Elliot Meguier, Rob Michaud, Joey Patrolia, Christopher Rutz, Rick Kraics, Paul Buijs, Joseph Kauder, Kevin Donoghue, Larry Jannotti, David Tathum

The women’s field should also be very interesting with favorite April Luu who has looked strong all year.  Also strong women elites who are looking to win gold are Utah’s very own Tyann Clark and Margaret Schlachter. Other elite women coming to this year’s beast are: Ang Young Reynolds and Andi Hardy.

Winter Vinecki

Joining the women is Winter Vinecki, the youngest person to complete a marathon on Antartica and seasoned distance athlete by the age of 13. Also an ambitious young triathlete, Vinecki has been racing since the age of five, and by the age of nine, she found herself competing in an Olympic Distance triathlon; a distance usually reserved for adult triathletes. She runs in support of her foundation, Team Winter, an organization committed to fighting the aggressive prostate cancer that took her father from her when she was just nine.  To date, Team Winter has raised over $400,000 in support of prostate cancer awareness.

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.  Who will be standing at the finish line?  Come to Utah and see for yourself!

Not registered yet?  No problem!  Click HERE to find an event near you.
[Editor's Note: 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. He is looking to build upon these performances in 2013 and is excited to complete one full year of Spartan racing.]

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