by Christopher Rutz, Spartan elite athlete

Two years ago, I ran my first Spartan Race, the 2011 Arizona Super. I did not know it at the time but my life would never be the same again. I did not realize how unique Spartan Racing was until I tried out some other events. The competition and sense of accomplishment that comes from running a Spartan Race is unparalleled. Later in 2011, I returned to Spartan Racing at the Malibu Sprint and declared that 2012 would be my “Year of the Spartan”.  2012 was an adventure for me. I ran 24 Spartan Races and hit more than a dozen different race venues.


 

 
Along the way, a group of top athletes developed a camaraderie that is unlike anything I have experienced in my athletic career. We are competitors on the course but we encourage and help one another along the way. This takes on many facets including training advice, racing advice, sharing hotel rooms and/or coordinating travel. Often we refer to one another as our “Spartan Family.”

In my athletic past, I have always been involved in competitive endeavors. My level of success varied from activity to activity. Spartan Race has allowed me to showcase the consistent and dedicated training over my athletic career.

When asked “how has Spartan changed my life?”, I have two thoughts.

One is the external focus. I have been able to build and be a part of the Spartan community as an athlete, a mentor, and a coach. I have helped people accomplish their personal goals.

Second is the internal focus. Spartan Racing has allowed me to truly think of myself as an elite/professional athlete. I have won prize money, I have secured sponsors and I have fans.  I am near the top of a new sport that will grow exponentially over the next few years.

I am excited to be involved in the first chapters of the book that is being written on Obstacle Racing and plan to be involved in the sport as the story evolves.

Are you ready for your shot at Spartan glory?  Sign up HERE.

[Editor's Note: Chris Rutz is a regular on our Spartan Race series.  Follow him @ToughRutz on Twitter and Tough Training on Facebook]

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by Hunter McIntyre, Spartan Elite Athete

Hunter McIntyre and Hobie Call

I am a Spartan.  I am not a mountain man born and raised for the tough harsh elements of this Earth.  I was born on the upper east side of Manhattan, raised in Connecticut where the biggest hill around was my in my backyard, which was used for sledding.  Growing up I spent my time in the woods running around with a BB gun and a pocket full of fire crackers looking to stir up a good time.

I began my sports career with wrestling and picked up cross-country along the way in my Junior year of high school (because my dad told me to.)  I never had much love for either sport.  I would have rather spent my time planning an adventure with my friends. As my high school years came and went my sports career became a thing of the past.

Fast forward five years.   I moved across America to live in the star-studded hills of Malibu in a bro mansion with seven of my buddies from school. I decided to put my adventure pants back on and begin exploring my surroundings, quickly falling in love with my new habitat. I began working out in the mountains all day everyday, running, climbing and lifting anything that got in my path. Around September one of my roommates charged into my bedroom screaming something about Spartans.  I was intrigued by the race and signed up myself.  So in November I was lined up at the starting line at Calamigos Ranch in my underpants and bandana, ready to show the world how to win a race in style.  Thirty five minutes later I was covered in mud and filled with an amazing sense of accomplishment.

 

I was hooked.  It was time to test the competition by taking a run for the gold. I did my research and quickly saw that Spartan Race was full of talented athletes.  Especially one man named Hobie Call. Training became more intense, I focused on a CrossFit style and logging the miles in the hills of Malibu. By the time November rolled around, I had raced four times taking first place at each so I decided that I would take my chance against the best in Sacramento.  After running the longest race of my life, I took an honorable third against Hobie but I walked away with much more than a smile from ear to ear and a pocket full of mud.

I was quickly adopted into the world of Spartan warriors that has spread worldwide. I was getting messages daily from people telling me that I was an inspiration and to keep up the good work. I now had a family of people I had never met cheering me on at my races.  Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is unlike any other sport.  Challenging, ever-changing, and exciting it’s become my sport.  The Reebok Spartan Race provides camaraderie and support provided amongst the racers, like no other sport I’ve seen.  Since I first set foot on a Spartan course in 2011, I knew my life had changed but with this New Year I have decided to take my commitment to another level. I am truly thankful to be a part of a sport that allows me to travel the world while experiencing all of its toughest challenges and amazing people.

It’s time to test yourself.  Get registered.  Find an event near you and join me in a Reebok Spartan Race in 2013.

 

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by Ang Reynolds, Spartan Elite Athlete

I hate standing at the starting line of a Reebok Spartan Race. I feel the same nerves each and every time. They felt no different at my last race as they did at my very first. I have come to realize that the sickness I feel in my stomach is as much a part of me as the race itself. My friends and I hug, wish each other luck, and take pictures, but we’re largely silent. This fear might be the fear of competition, the fear of adventure, or more likely, the fear of the unknown. Each and every one of us deals with our fears, our demons, my fear just happens to be a large part of something that I love.

Five years ago my husband walked away from our marriage. In the weeks that followed his departure, I ran more cumulative miles than I had logged in many years. I ran away from the pain. I ran to stay strong for my three children. I ran for my life. These “therapy runs” continued for hours and I began to heal. My life came back together piece by piece and I looked for my next challenge. I enjoy competition, and set my sights on The Boston Marathon. After qualifying and running Boston, I realized something was still missing. I began to forget why I once fell in love with running and started to slip away from the sport that I loved.
 

 
In December 2011, a friend asked me to join her for a Spartan Race. The Malibu Sprint changed my life. For the first time in a long time, I felt alive and I remembered why I love to compete. A Spartan Race is so much more than a race; it is an adventure, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Each turn brings a new obstacle and a new experience. Each race is not only a unique accomplishment but also something different to be proud of. I learn as much at the races that I lose as the races that I win, and continually meet amazing people along the way.

Over the last year I have met some of my best friends through theSpartan Race Series. These are the people that I wanted to beat to the finish line at the end of the day, but also the people that I share my days and nights with. We stay out late, and sleep late into the morning. We jump in lakes, stand around fires, and huddle together in the pouring rain to warm our bodies. We help each other limp across the finish line and wipe the blood off our broken and bruised bodies. We share some of the roughest times in our lives and but also in each other’s greatest joys. Our camaraderie is unparalleled. It is unlike anything that I have ever experienced.

My friends and I often talk about our Spartan tattoos. Our tattoos are not comprised of ink and a needle; our tattoos are made of rope burns, barbed wire, and rocks. These tattoos do not solely lie on the surface of our skin. Each of us has a special imprint on our soul for Spartan Race. This imprint will remain long after we are done racing, because this is an adventure we will never forget. My fears will never get the best of me. I will stand at the start line with my demons and when the smoke begins to fill the air, I will run into the battle because this adventure is too good to pass by.

Now it’s your turn.  Get registered.  Find an event near you and join me in a Reebok Spartan Race in 2013.

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