Guest blogger Michael Ainis

The air was chilly, but the energy was electric as everyone gathered at the RoadRunner lot and signed in with Stacy, who was asking everyone if this was their first Spartan event. There were a few Spartan veterans, but for the most part it was first-timers who were signed up for the Malibu Sprint in December. There was a 63 year old lady, who was going to be volunteering Saturday in Temecula to earn a free race on Sunday. There was a Spartan Family getting ready for the Sacramento Beast where they would be earning their Trifectas together.

The participants were arranged in 6 columns; “The Phalanx” about double-arms width apart front and back. Instructions were also given that any time “Spartans Assemble” was yelled they would have 10 seconds to be back in their lines or 30 burpees would be due. Don Devaney took the lead in starting off the warm-up with jumping jacks as shirt sizes were called, with the warning given if they took longer than 20 seconds, the burpee penalty applied. As everyone got geared-up in their “Improved Spartan Training shirts that were specially designed to make the participants sweat more,” the jumping jacks continued, and then it happened, one participant didn’t meet the 20 seconds and 30 burpees followed. After that Don made some more introductions and thanked RoadRunner for hosting the WOD, and then lead into the importance of “Joe-ga” and that practicing Joe-ga/deep breathing was not about perfecting the skill but more about doing the practice consistently as a daily routine.
Then it was SGX Trainer, Michael Ainis, who jumped in with “SPAR-TANS” Participants “AROO!! AROO!! AROO!!” High knee ramp-ups were explained; participants were instructed to start about 50% and then increase their intensity by roughly 10% each time. “Ramp-it-up” was yelled then followed some dynamic stretches and then the fun began. For the next hour and a half participants learned about the Spartan Philosophy, bear crawled, crab walked forward and reverse. They learned the “Wrestler Burpee” which Don explained, was devised in the Secret Spartan Lab to ensure there is always a way to make a “Regular Burpee” even harder.

A few participants came from a strictly running background (marathons/halfs) and remarked that they had never done that many exercises for their upper body without setting foot in a gym. The Active Rest position of the day was The Plank – on concrete… Yet the participants held strong, encouraging each other, yelling words of encouragement that “We can DO this together!” One participant (Eric Douglas) realized in holding a plank for so long he had made a “Sweat Angel” (see pics). They did buddy carries with a mom even challenging her teenage son to carry her back across the parking lot after she carried him to the turnaround point. Sisters helped each other with wheelbarrow walk and friends pushed each other to complete burpee-broadjump challenge. “You’ve done over 200 burpees” Don yelled as the final round of burpees were completed and the cool-down began. Shirts were sweaty, but smiles were beaming bright in the San Diego Sun! Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with the Spartan Crew and we even met a group of friends that crossed the border from Tijuana, Mexico to attend the WOD.

Everyone finished of inside the RoadRunner store as they were raffling off 1 free entry to the Malibu Sprint and 1 for the Temecula Sprint, which were won by two friends who had never done a Spartan Race previously. RoadRunner also raffled off some recovery products: Bodystick and a foam roller, and participants were also given 10% off anything in the store.
This workout was definitely harder than a lot of participants were expecting, some had no idea what to expect but everyone experienced their digging deep moment and found a new level of strength inside themselves. Don constantly reminded everyone that once they climbed to that next rung to never go back to the old one, keep moving forward, a little bit every day.

At this time, Spartan is discussing Round 2 for San Diego WOD and hopefully will be 12/1, the week before Malibu?

See here for more information on our workouts: Click here

Tags: , ,

by Shane McKay

My name is Shane McKay and I’m a Spartan.  My Spartan adventure started in August 2011 in Calgary, Alberta. Later that year I decided to take a short holiday and I competed in a second Spartan Race in Malibu…and then I was hooked! Over the next 12 months I competed at 16 venues and raced 18 times. Through racing I have met so many great people and formed solid friendships that will last forever.

I train 6 days per week including swimming, biking, running, stretching and CrossFit. I maintain a healthy diet, mostly Paleo, however I enjoy a burger, fries and a beer from time to time. I never feel guilty about it! I’m a disciplined business owner and a disciplined athlete. I have found the perfect balance (for me) with work, training, and relaxation. I’m always looking forward to the next Spartan weekend!

I AM A SPARTAN!

Tags: , , , ,

Indiana is a venue that is familiar with firsts. This was the first Indiana event and the first Founder’s Race in 2012. It was the first on-demand race we held in that season as well. 2013 brought another first, Todd Sedlak’s turn at the helm of the race course direction. Says Sedlak, “Having completed dozens of Spartan Races myself, I wanted to bring something different to the racers in Indiana. The Indiana Spartan Sprint was designed to truly be an obstacle racer’s course, averaging one obstacle every 300 yards over five miles. Haspin Acres offered some incredibly rugged terrain, allowing for tremendous natural obstacles like chasms, ravines, mud holes, river beds and steep, muddy climbs. The Rolling Mud into Barbed Wire was the muddiest, slipperiest one I have ever seen, and all uphill.”
Sedlak promised that no one would finish in under an hour. He was wrong, but not by much. “Though 13 men did break the one hour challenge I had set, I still feel I accomplished my goal of making an incredibly challenging Sprint that would rival much longer courses. We had great weather and a great time, I’m really proud of everything we accomplished together, Spartan Race and Corn Fed Spartans.”

Results were tight on the men’s side with familiar faces Brakken Kraker and Elliot Megquier battling for first and second, separated by 9 seconds.
1. Brakken Kraker 48:01
2. Elliot Megquier 48:10
3. Alexander Nicholas 54:10

The women saw Amelia Boone atop another podium with an impressive finish ten minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
1. Amelia Boone 1:01:27
2. Jillian Kenney 1:11:08
3. Tonya Stogsdill 1:12:30

The Cornfed Spartans came with a vengeance, topping the team results and boasting over 200 participants on the day. Said one participant, “By far, the toughest Sprint course and one that people will compare other sprints to. With many of us on the course for several hours, all there to help make sure everyone got over 1 more obstacle and 1 step closer to the finish line, family was the term used by many.”

Looking good, Indiana! And now we head farther West towards Colorado and our Military Spartan Sprint! Stay tuned for more to come!

Find your Spartan finish line.  Sign up today. 

Tags: , , , ,

by Brakken Kraker, Spartan elite athlete

When I arrived at Haspin Acres a year ago, I truly had no idea what to expect. As Spartan’s first ever “Founder’s Race”, it was being billed as a sort of return to the roots of ancient Sparta: a primal, stripped down race. It sounded intriguing, but it really didn’t paint a clear picture of what we were to expect come race time. No one had any real idea of what we were about to endure.

A little over half an hour later, I crossed the finish line smiling, having enjoyed almost every second of the race (other than the barbed wire crawl). The experience was very different from my previous two Spartan forays. From the start the “primal” theme was set as we were immediately directed into the frigid shallows of the lake before returning to the course. There was no rope climb, no traverse wall, no spear throw, no sandbags, and no balance obstacle; in truth, it was lacking any one of the defining “Spartan Race” obstacles. Despite this, the course had been a blast to race! It wound constantly up and down ATV trails. The trails were coated in an orange mud, soaked by the week’s rainfall, which made any sort of incline nearly impossible to run up.

And then there was the barbed wire crawl. The endless barbed wire crawl. It was littered with hay bales that prevented you from rolling. It forced you crawl its entire length, arm pull after burning arm pull. And just as you finally emerged from that torture, you ran around a corner and found yourself facing another identical stretch of wire. In your final strides you were confronted with a log barrier that loomed over your head. I watched as many a racer accelerated to the finish, only to find they could not make it over the final barrier. One of the top five racers lost his spot, just feet away from a podium finish.

This Indiana race will be wide open on both the men’s and women’s side, with several of the big names in Spartan Race taking the week off in preparation for the mighty Colorado Sprint which looms in the coming week. Spartan Pro Team racer Elliott Megquier will be joining me at the starting line, we will find out if LeEarl will be making his 2013 debut, and my brother McCauley may just make the drive down with me to throw his hat in the ring.

Race Director Todd Sedlak is making his debut in Indiana and has promised a brand new course completely different than last year, less than five miles in distance, but no finish times under an hour. It’s time to head to the Midwest! See you on the course!

Register today!

Tags: , , , ,

The hills were as relentless as the baking Nevada temperature.  Who can find hills in the desert?  Spartan Race!  Add to the mix the single most competitive line-up of Elite Spartan Racers in it’s entire history, sprinkle in some incredible finishes, our walls, ropes, tires, and gladiator pit and it proved to be a mouth-watering recipe.  We consider our first visit to the Vegas to be one for the record books!
An epic dual for 2nd and 3rd place in the men’s Elites was decided by a mere four hundredths of a second between Cody Moat and Hunter McIntyre.  The two almost “jostling” one another as they sprinted for the finish line, proved how high the standards are at that level of the sport.  Hobie Call topped them both by a narrow margin.

The women’s top five elites were separated by a mere two and a half minutes, each competitor pushing harder and stronger than ever before. April Luu took the top award with Tyann Clark and Amelia Boon taking 2nd and third respectively.

The times being :

Men
1. Hobie Call 1.04.09
2. Cody Moat 1.07.10
3. Hunter McIntyre 1.07.10
Ladies
1. April Luu 1.24.46
2. Tyann Clark 1.25.47
3. Amelia Boone 1.26.37

Away from the elites, more stories of heroism and inspiration spread amongst the racers. Travelling from San Diego, ex-military servicemen Brian Riley and Lionte Stores showed that even losing a limb is, to quote Brian, “is no reason to stop.”

When asked if a Trifecta was the plan, Lionte nodded, “of course, nothing is going to stop either of us earning that Trifecta!”

Andy Alvarez explained how the retina in his right eye detached, leaving him with deteriorating sight and the probability of losing it altogether. Using that as a catalyst to “go out and take more risks and live life”, he signed up for the Spartan Race to push himself.

With family hailing from Sparta itself, MMA UFC fighter Jamie Varner also finished his first Spartan Race, vowing he’s definitely going to return to his “new addiction.”

Connor Bradley serving out of Camp Pendleton, CA, topped off his Super Spartan with a proposal at the finish line to his fiancé Nicole De Silva which she happily accepted.

She said yes!

Given the overwhelming success of the inaugural Las Vegas Spartan Race, next year’s event will be a check you can take to the bank.

Are you ready for your Spartan finish line?  Sign up TODAY and join the toughest on the planet.

A huge Spartan “Aroo!” to our amazing volunteers who helped us really make Vegas the incredible day it was!

Tags: , , , ,

by David Chandler
I ran my first Reebok Spartan Race in March last year. I was at a low point in my life and was having trouble dealing with things and trying to find myself again. I was lifting weights like crazy and thought that the little bit of biking I did would get me through a race. I thought that I would be competitive in my first Spartan Race, but that race broke me. I am extremely competitive and from that breaking point, I decided I would turn myself into a Spartan. I started running and working more specifically on obstacle course race training instead of just lifting weights.

From March until July I trained like crazy between going to school and work. Training started to become my meditation and the place that I could go to escape everything else in my life. No matter what was going on in life I could get away from it and make myself a better person with each training session. My life consisted of two-a-day trainings; I’d train before and after school or work.

When I learned about the Spartan Ultra Beast, I knew I had to do it. I had to take on the biggest challenge of my life and conquer a race that scared me. Crossing the finish line of the Ultra Beast (and all the other Spartan Races I’ve finished) was the biggest feeling of accomplishment I have ever experienced.
I have become friends with many of the elite Spartan racers that I am in competition with, but I love each and every person that is putting his or her body and heart on the line each and every race. Even though I only see these people during race weekends, the camaraderie that we have makes all of them my good friends. Since I started training for Reebok Spartan Races my life has been more of an adventure than I ever could have imagined. I travel the country to compete with my friends. Each race and every race is a new adventure with all the new things Reebok Spartan Race throws at us each event. Spartan has helped me find myself and helped me to be happier than I have ever been in my life.

Tags: , , ,

by Jeffrey Bent

Life Changes
Sometimes our lives take abrupt turns. In 2011 I was living in Orlando Florida, a husband of 15 years and a father to two wonderful children. I owned a broadband engineering company and traveled the United States extensively for work. Life was good. The tides can change all too quickly. By the end of that year, I found myself separated from my wife and lacking a purpose in my life.

I began 2012 with a life-changing seminar that motivated me to begin a physical transformation. I set some lofty goals to make 2012 a year not to be forgotten. I had thought about maybe my first marathon or two, maybe even a triathlon? After a June 2nd Warrior Dash in Oklahoma City was cancelled, I knew this was my opportunity to try a Spartan Race. I had heard about Spartan but the opportunity to race had never presented itself. So after a Friday with friends in Charlotte North Carolina, I decided to take the ten plus hour drive to Tuxedo, NY for my first one.

A New Beginning
I arrived late Saturday evening at a college friend’s home. On just a few hours of rest, I headed over to the venue to register for the “elite heat”. I remember before I had even attached my bib a stranger was offering me a pre-race fuel mix; that stranger is now Spartan friend Walter Lyon. I remember wandering to the front of the starting line & hearing the MC talk about the previous day’s women’s winner. That woman, Andi Hardy, is now one of my best friends. She was at the starting line as well and I remember looking over at her and her battered and bruised legs. Thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The adrenaline was unlike any I had ever experienced before; the mountain and obstacles were unlike any challenge I had previously undertaken. An hour into the race I was tangled up in the barbed wire and several racers immediately came to my aide. 1:02 was my official time. I was the 7th man to cross the finish, 8th overall, and 2nd in my age group. The sense of accomplishment from this race was amazing. I knew this was the race that had changed my life forever. An epic achievement!

Keeping the Peace
As fun as this race was, I knew that at 40 years old it would be a challenge for me to remain healthy and also injury free. I decided my best chance to remain in good health would be to take up Yoga. When I first began my Yoga practice, I had no idea of the benefits that it would have, both mentally and physically. After almost a year of yoga, I am in the best physical condition of my life. The calm and peace that I have in my everyday life is beyond comparison. As an elite racer, I have many opportunities to share my yoga with the world. Many people have started a Yoga regiment because I passionately share it everywhere I go. The sense I get from sharing has given me a purpose. I found this purpose because of Spartan Race.

I have always been an adrenaline junkie but the competition and camaraderie that exists within Spartan is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I have completed 5 Sprints, 3 Supers, and 2 Beasts. The friends I’ve meet though Spartan share a passion for wellness and a desire to improve, just as I do. These people have become my Spartan family. I look forward to each race weekend as much as anything I have ever anticipated. Each race brings a new challenge, but the only one that I have to compete with is myself.

Namaste.

Tags: , , , ,

by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

The Reebok Spartan Race is off to Nevada this weekend. Lake Las Vegas will be the site of the first Spartan Race in Nevada. This Super Spartan is attracting the best racers in the sport. Prize money from Navy Federal Credit Union is a huge draw. In addition to the cash, Las Vegas is easy to get to and, well, it is Las Vegas. This will be a one day, Saturday-only event. This will undoubtedly be one of the deepest fields of talent this side of a Championship Race. Who will we be seeing at the start line?

On the women’s side look for these ladies in the Elite Heat:

Amelia Boone – 2012 Midwest Super winner Saturday
TyAnn Clark – 2013 SoCal Super winner Saturday
Andi Hardy
Ella Kociuba – 2013 Carolinas and Arizona Sprint winner Saturday
Corinne Kohlen
April Luu – 2013 Arizona Sprint winner Sunday
Ang Reynolds
Leslie St Louis
Juliana Sproles
Jenny Tobin – 2012 Points Series winner – 2013 SoCal Super winner Sunday

On the men’s side the field is equally as strong in the Elite Heat:

Brakken Kraker – 2013 Carolina’s Sprint winner Saturday
Cody Moat – 2012 Points Series winner
Hunter McIntyre – 2013 Mexico City Sprint winner
Elliott Megquier – 2013 Carolinas and Arizona Sprint winner Sunday
David Magida
Junyong Pak
Miguel Medina
Alexander Nicholas
Christopher Rutz

This will be an interesting race as many of these racers are either Sprint racers or Beast racers. The Super will challenge the racers to alter their game plan in order to make it to the podium. Also challenging them for the podium is Hobie Call. We expect to see him at the race on Saturday!

Joining the fray is former WEC champion, MMA UFC lightweight Jamie Varner, who we announced was participating last week.  The seasoned fighter is trying his hand at a new style of competition as he seeks his next fight.  Also on hand is the inspiring Joei Harrison who suffered the devastating loss of a child and alongside her son was severely injured in an accident only to battle back.  Harrison has not only raced Spartan Races, but finished the infamous Spartan Death Race in June of 2012.

When is your next Spartan Race?  Register today.

Tags: , , ,

by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

David Chandler

The Reebok Spartan Race Carolinas Sprint continues a new program with some of the best Spartan Racers in the sport of obstacle racing. It is called the Reebok Spartan Race Invite Series. We have asked our top racers to invite someone to run a Spartan Race with them. The top Spartan Racer will host someone they have been trying to get into Spartan Racing. It may be their best friend, their wife, their son, their coach or anyone who can coerce and invitation out of them. It just has to be someone that has never done a Spartan Race.

For the Carolinas Sprint, David Chandler has invited his mom, brother-in-law and sister to join him in a Spartan Race. They will be running together in one of the Open heats on Saturday afternoon. David competed in 10 Spartan Races in 2012. He finished 8th overall in the 2012 Series and won $1,000.

David told us “I will be running with my Mom, Sister, and Brother in law. They have seen me race before and see me train all the time. They think that I am crazy for doing it, but see how much fun I have. I decided to surprise them this Christmas with entry into the Reebok Spartan Sprint in Charlotte as their gift that I will run with them!”

We asked his family a few questions:

How do you know the Spartan racer?

Rhonda Chandler (Mom): David is my Spartan Crazed son, whom I watched train like a maniac last summer and who sparked my interest in strength training. Brian Alexander: I’m part of his entourage (Brother in law). Marissa Alexander (Sister): My brother, he is the one with the Mohawk.

What is your athletic background?

Rhonda Chandler: I’ve been casually running for the past 30 years. After being challenged by David this summer, I added a variety of strength training and interval training to my weekly workouts. I’m really enjoying all the variety and have gotten much stronger and improved my race times. Marissa Alexander: I like to run and swim for fun in my neighborhood.

Why did you say yes when you were asked?

Rhonda Chandler: I thought it would be neat to see the middle portion of a race as the beginning and end are so neat to watch. I also thought I could be a good sport and give it a try. Brian Alexander: Because it was a challenge. Marissa Alexander: I had no choice…….it was my Christmas present!

What are you most excited about?

Rhonda Chandler: I’m looking forward to jumping over the fire at the end of the race. I hope I haven’t used all my energy up on burpees! Brian Alexander: Having fun and competing with my family. Marissa Alexander: Getting the tee shirt and being able to say “I am a Spartan!”

What are you most worried about?

Rhonda Chandler: David knows this answer. I’m worried about the water events. I don’t like getting wet and cold. A little mud would be ok, but soaking wet and covered in mud is a different story. Brian Alexander: Potentially having to run with wet shoes. Marissa Alexander: The large number of burpees I will have to do.

Think you’re ready to take on a Reebok Spartan Race?  Get signed up today!

Tags: , , , , ,

by David Magida, Elite Spartan Athlete

“You’re too competitive.”

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that in my life. Growing up I had to win everything I did no matter how obnoxious my desire to be victorious appeared to others. When I discovered running I found an appropriate outlet for that competitive fire.

I won my first cash prize race in fourth grade and never looked back. A conference champion in high school, I abandoned the sport I loved after a brief stint running collegiately. Years of mileage, repeated injuries, poor performances, and numerous clashes with the head coach left me burnt out and with no desire to run. And so I didn’t run for over five years.

I stayed in decent shape, lifting weights and playing pickup basketball and flag football daily, but something in my life was missing. My competitive fire faded. More importantly, running had been my way of clearing my mind, my period of reflection, and I no longer had it. Then I encountered Reebok Spartan Race and everything changed.

It was March 2011 when I heard the race was coming to Florida. After reading the description, I knew I had to run this race and I had to win. I trained for a few weeks, peaking at a run of four miles, and registered. The race was a Super Spartan, 8 miles of brutal intensity. I raced the noon heat, with temperatures peaking at 97 degrees.

At the starting line, I started to get that feeling I had missed the previous five years. That nervous anticipation, the intensity you can pick up off the other athletes, and that competitive fire within myself. As the race began, I nestled myself in with the leaders. About a mile in I saw it: The eight-foot wall. The race leader, a pure runner, had reached the wall about six seconds before me and was just standing, staring up at it, trying to figure out how to conquer that beast.

I didn’t hesitate, I leapt up and over putting myself into the lead. It was at that moment I realized, “I was made for this.” I never relinquished the lead that day, running as if my life depended on it. Upon crossing the finish line I could barely stand and the only thing I could say was, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

That day I was reinvigorated. I immediately doubled my training and began an intense running regimen that led me to two marathons and countless road races over the following eight months. Since then my free time has centered on two-a-days, unconventional workouts, nutrition, and recovery.

My time with Spartan has taught me a great deal. These races test my limits in a way other races haven’t been able to. I learned a lot about myself when I was pushed to the max. I learned how much I really care about winning, not only while I race but while I train as well. And I found out that I can tolerate pain.

I also learned that there are a lot of awesome people with the same mentality as me. I’ve immersed myself in a community of athletes who compete like champions but genuinely care about one another. Once we cross that finish line, we’re a family again. The camaraderie is incredible. We share advice on nutrition, training, injury prevention, and recovery. We often travel together and room together. I have a whole circle of Spartan friends from around the country that I never would have known otherwise, and I’m proud to say they’re just as crazy as I am.

Spartan Race has given me a new training goal. After the Ultra Beast, I realized the need to apply myself specifically to Spartan Race. While last year I focused on endurance, this year will be about speed and power. My training has shifted from pure distance running to a combination of high intensity intervals, hill repeats and unconventional strength work. Passersby may see me carrying a large rock or my bucket full of cement down the sidewalk, running with a weight vest or doing lunges with a large log on my back. I know they think I’m insane. Many of them tell me, as do my friends.

I train like this because I want to be the best. There’s nothing I want more than to raise a Spartan Helmet over my head in victory. I’m chasing some pretty amazing athletes and it’s going to take countless hours of dedication to catch them. I can’t get back the years I didn’t run. But I can devote myself to getting the most out of the rest of my life. Nobody tells me I’m too competitive anymore. They just tell me I’m crazy. I don’t mind it though, because I’m a Spartan. Spartan Race reunited me with running and in doing so it brought me peace.

Where will your Spartan finish line be? Sign up today.

Tags: , , , ,