Meet Keala Boncie Machin of Glenville, NY. She’s 6 years old, the only girl of 4 children, and in school, she’s quiet, not a fan of noise and commotion and is prone to bouts of shyness. Teachers will tell her parents that often she will sit in the corner of the class, coloring in books and keeping herself to herself. It could be argued she is your typical all-American little girl.

One day, she came home with a permission slip for a school talent show, expressing an interest in taking part. Surprised, her parents asked her what she wanted to perform, knowing that singing or dancing wouldn’t be something she would be at all interested in. She wanted to show her school what Spartan Race was all about. Her mother pointed out that dumping a truckload of mud in the school would not please the principal, so she decided that her act would be that of a Spartan Race workout she would design herself. Keala is a Spartan Racer.

The back story of this started when she witnessed her folks take part in an OCR that didn’t have a race for children. Her eyes widened and she knew that’s what she wanted to do. Her mother Rayn explains, “The first time she ran, it was as though she was born. Though she enjoys dressing up and wearing glitter, Keala does not fit into any sort of typology, but instead, finds comfort in areas which allow her to be herself. Though it would be easier for her to fit into a mold, Spartan Race is who she is, and who she is is beautiful.”

And so Keala embraced the lifestyle and threw herself into what the Spartan Race ideology is, she found a new kind of happiness. Not only does she do burpees alongside her mother, but helps out with her non-profit as Rayn explains, “I run a non-profit for children that have experienced extensive abuse and/or neglect, and those in at-risk situations. Spartan Race donates their entry fee so that we may teach these children that what they have endured, does not define who we are. It had not occurred to me that the same run may work with non-abused children, who may not fit into stereotypical demands, but may instead, flourish in situations not typical of their classmates”.

And Keala is a part of that. Rayn continues, “due to the economic downturn, Keala has, per her own desire, spent her out of school hours, helping children in emergency situations. She has given up her racing “career” (for a month or two), until we can raise money to get them to a Spartan Race.”

Keala explains how she sees it, “Bad people can’t hurt them at Spartan Race.”

And it’s all too evident when you see Keala when she is at her happiest – working out – that Spartan Race is a very important part of her life. When asked what Spartan Race has done for her, she points out, “They helped me….like cheering…they gave us a medal….Momma cheered, Dada took pictures…the other people say yay…they are nice…they are kind. I was happy in school and it was a great time, but everyone is loud. Everybody is really noisy they are just all loud. They always be like that, there is a lot of talking. I am the only one who is quiet. I am not shy at Spartan Race”.
And why is this? “Because the people are nice…they smile….they like me for me, and I like them.”
What do you worry about in school? “Sometimes I am kind of like bad at coloring and my class is a loud class….at Spartan Race, they have nice people….they like me even if I can’t color good….”

Why do you do this? “Cause it’s fun…they keep cheering at all the people…they give people high fives”

Is there any one person you remember from a Spartan Race? “Kim (McDonald; she was a volunteer at Tuxedo). She is kind. She gave us medals. They are cool. She likes kids. I like her.”

And so on the day of the talent show, Keala did exactly what she wanted to do. Something she would be comfortable with. Rayn smiles, “She performed without pretending she isn’t comfortable. She did exactly what she wanted to and knew that no matter what her classmates said, Spartan Race and its athletes would be behind her”.

Since they had been learning about the environment in school, she decided to do a Spartan Green Workout, using only items that were already around the house. A school bus tire that was used as a swing was recycled , a length of 2×4 from a building project was utilised and a piece of wood that had been cut from a stump would be used for flipping.

Letting her younger brother introduce what she was about to do, she prepared, came out and being careful not to scratch the auditorium stage, Keala went through her workout to a stunned audience of open-mouthed teachers and students.

Pausing only to take a bow, Keala bounced off the stage to cheers and applause.
When asked how Spartan Races and training makes her feel, see briefly ponders, “Well…it was fun to go in the mud”, then smiling cheekily, “and I do burpees better than Mom”.
Want to see how your kids will do at a Spartan Race? Sign them up now.

See you at the finish line…

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SNAP Infusion believes in giving back, especially to the young fun and restless as a proud supporter of Vitamin Angels, a non-profit organization that delivers vitamins to millions of children around the world each year. Essential nutrients enable young immune systems to fight infectious diseases, helping children attain good health and the opportunity to lead meaningful and productive lives.

For the month of JULY, SNAP Infusion SUPERCANDY and Vitamin Angels will be highlighting the stories of SUPERKIDS of Spartan Race. Here is one about Eric Syso!

Eric’s mom Adrian says, “My 7 year old son is a bit on the shy side. He had seen me run Spartan Races. So Tuxedo 2012 he

Eric and Adrian Syso

decided to run his first Spartan Race. And he was hooked. He then ran the Fenway Park Spartan and his most recent one he dragged his 10 year old uncle along with him. They had a blast and ran the 1 mile race! I am so unbelievably proud of him. Now at home he likes to “workout” like mommy does and train for his Spartans. We go on tons of hikes and he loves to climb and jump off things. I have never seen him more in his element then I do when he races. This has been an amazing opportunity to share plenty of time together doing healthy and productive activities.”

When asked to summarize his experience Eric said, “Before Spartan Races, my adrenaline is pumping and I am ready to take off to get through the obstacles. My favorite obstacle is crawling through the mud because I like getting the mud all over so after the race I can see how hard I worked with the amount of mud I got on me. I also like winning medals! So far I have 3 of them!”Are you ready to Spartan up?  Find a race HERE and get registered!

Follow SNAP Infusion SUPERCANDY on Facebook and Twitter

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When Matthias Vescelus crossed the finish line of the Reebok Spartan Race in Indiana, there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. Young Matthias, just four years old, had completed a difficult course with the challenge Spartan set forth, but for the child who had survived cancer, a cancer that took his eyes and his sight, it was just another example of how he overcomes all his personal obstacles. The ambassador for St. Baldricks’s took on the race after he heard his father and older brother did the Spartan Race the year before. Not quite old enough at the time, he and his family spent the year getting prepared for his chance to take on the Spartan Kid’s Race.

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Kaitlyn Cain, age 8
Richmond, KY

On April 27th, 2013 I had a ton of fun running a Spartan Kids Race!

I was a little nervous in the beginning, but soon I forgot all about it. After standing at the starting line for what seemed like a long time, I wanted to start running because I was cold! There were some adults that led the kids out onto the course, but I wanted to run past them all! There was the male and female winner of the adult race, another male racer and my dad. Before the race I got to meet Amelia Boone, the female winner, and I got the first poster signed by her.

It said “To Kaitlyn, To a future Spartan Superstar!”

The race started and everybody took off running as fast as they could. There were lots of obstacles. We had to run up and down a bunch of hills, climb up a net, crawl under a bunch of ropes, and crawl under a long black net. We had to jump in lots of deep mud holes and then climb out over a big mushy, muddy hill. It was really fun because normally, us kids get in trouble if we jump in the mud with clean clothes on! We had to jump over some small walls and climb through the middle of one. There were some small triangular walls that we ran up and over and they were easy.  We had to walk across balance boards and try not to fall off. That was only half the race. Then they made us run the whole thing again to complete one mile.

I got tired during the race and there were a couple of times when I wanted to stop, but I didn’t! In the middle of the race my dad ran with me for a couple of minutes and then he went ahead to hand out the medals at the finish line. I felt really good when I finished, even though I could barely breathe because I was so tired!

My dad gave me my medal when I finished and said, “Great job! I’m so proud of you!” At the end I was muddy and had to wash off. The weird thing was that I wasn’t at my house, so I had to wash off with cold water, something else that us kids aren’t used to. I got most of the mud off, but I still wasn’t that clean, but that was okay. I am happy that I finished and I can’t wait until the next Spartan Race! I’m happy that I’m a Spartan racer!

At Spartan Race, our mission is to inspire children to develop a love for fitness at an early age. Our “Jr. Spartans” obstacle course races for kids 4-8 are about a 1⁄2 mile and our 1 mile kids spartan races are for older “Varsity Spartans” aged 9-13. Both kids races are filled with obstacle styles and amounts tailored just for them.

Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher’s Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation. As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit.

So remember, Spartan Races are not only limited to adult fun! Bring your kids ages 4-13 and they can participate in their very own Jr. Spartan Race. Just like you, they will enjoy the thrill of the run, a variety of scaled down obstacles and their own mini festival area filled with games and children’s challenges!

Sign your kids up for a Spartan Race – it’s for the whole family!  Click HERE to find one near you!

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Matthias Vescelus is one of five 2013 St. Baldrick’s Foundation Ambassadors. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money to fund the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

The five Ambassadors are a reminder that cancer affects more than 175,000 children worldwide each year – worldwide, every three minutes a child is diagnosed, and in the U.S. one in five kids diagnosed will not survive.

At three months old, Matthias was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare cancerous tumor in his eyes. He spent the majority of his first year fighting for his life and endured six months of chemotherapy. Near the end of treatment, his main tumors started growing again and despite his doctor’s best efforts, Matthias’ eyes were both removed before his first birthday.

Matthias is now cancer free and hasn’t let blindness hold him back. He attends preschool with sighted peers and enjoys playing with his older brother and neighborhood friends, swimming, climbing, riding his tricycle and learning to play the piano. He will be under the care of an oncologist for the rest of his life due to a genetic mutation that makes him predisposed to developing other cancers.

Matthias’ mom, Katie, shaved for the second time this year to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Matthias’ dad, Craig, and brother, Magnus, became Spartans last year after finishing the Founders’ Race in Indiana. This year Matthias and his mom, Katie, will participate in the race with the team Odin’s Raiders (a nod to Craig’s Viking heritage and Matthias, whose middle name is Odin).

This year Matthias is planning to participate in the kids’ Spartan Race, the race is another way for him to inspire others to not let cancer define them. Matthias’ excitement to compete in the Race blind is another way he is enjoying his role as a St. Baldrick’s Ambassador, to be a face, voice and name for kids with cancer, and by doing so, encourage other survivors to dream big and reach their goals!

It’s not too late to sign up and join Matthias in Indiana.  Click HERE to sign up!

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Take me out to the ball game!  Citi Field is officially in the books!  With one of the biggest single day events in Spartan history, it was a spectacular weekend at the ballpark!  From push-ups in the locker room to scaling a cargo rope in the outfield, the Spartan Stadium races are quickly becoming fan favorites with the unique chance to take on a Spartan Race in beloved ballparks around the country.

The elite field found themselves navigating new terrain inside the ballpark, but it didn’t slow them down!  For the men’s side, Hunter McIntyre, Vegas’s third place photo finisher took the top spot with over two minutes between him and the next closest finisher.

Hunter McIntyre and Gretchen Krueger

Hunter McIntyre 26:56
Conrad Yaney 29:05
Daniel Armstrong 29:27
Alexander Nicholas 29:29
David Magida 30:27

On the ladies side, Shaun Provost, Fenway’s top female had a repeat at Citi Field finishing a minute and a half ahead of second place finisher Robin Ruiz.

Shaun Provost 36:53
Robin Ruiz 38:34
Gretchen Krueger 39:19
Jillian Kenney 39:48
Portia Lack 39:59

For a full listing of Citi Field Race Results, click HERE.

The Spartan Kid’s Race was one of the largest to date with the big screen capturing all the action as the junior Spartans ran, jumped, and climbed their way to Spartan glory!   We even  had a live feed from Kandahar, Afghanistan with Army troops sending off our start waves. Spartan Race teamed up with Pro vs GI Joe, a nonprofit organization connecting our troops in Afghanistan with their families and they set off the racers from the start line.

To see more pictures from Citi Field from the festival to the outfield, head over to our Spartan Race Facebook page and see how all the action went down.

Did you miss out on Citi Field this time around?  Don’t worry, you didn’t strike out yet!  We have more chances for you to take on a Spartan Sprint at one of our Stadium Series events in 2013.

4/13 – Citi Field
8/31 – Citizens Bank Park
9/7 – Miller Park
11/16 – Fenway

It’s never too late to sign up for the event series that will change your life.  Sign up today!

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We sat down with Mitch H., Navy Federal Credit Union User Experience and Design Manager and his daughter Lucy, 1st grade student to get the inside scoop on how they stumbled upon the obstacle course style race and their training tips.

Navy Federal: What got you interested in running the Spartan Race?
Mitch: The end of 2011 started my fascination with obstacle course racing, and the Spartan race series easily bubbled to the top of my list. I admire the comraderie and motivation you find in the Spartan community and from the people you run along side. They also have kids races, which lead me to the idea of having my daughter, Lucy, partake in a race too.
Lucy: I like mud!!

Navy Federal: How many Spartan Races have you both run?
Mitch: My first Spartan race, and only one I have completed thus far in my racing endeavors, was the 10.5 mile Mid-Atlantic Super in Virginia. The course was littered with what felt like over 50 horse jumps on top of the typical 20+ obstacles of a normal Super. I have already signed up to run this event again this year. My goal is to complete the trifecta, which includes running a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year
Lucy: Just one, I was 6 then.

Navy Federal: How far out from a race do you start training?
Mitch: Training for these types of races becomes more of a lifestyle. The races challenge you both physically and mentally. Keeping yourself motivated and in relatively good shape is hard to do on a moment’s notice, so adapting your training to your normal routine is the best approach.
Training doesn’t always mean hours in the gym, it can be as simple as staying active as much as possible. I did make an effort to better condition myself for the challenge of the Super Spartan due to the longer distance and more physically challenging obstacles.
Lucy: I sometimes train, but I play all the time. Playing on the playground really helps me get ready for the race.

Navy Federal: What are your training tips for those new to the obstacle course style race?
Mitch: After competing in 12 races, I have found the most important thing to have in your training routine is cardio. Endurance easily will outweigh strength in the longer races. Many obstacles are about moving your own body, so strength is important, but being able to complete the races require endurance.
My personal tip is to have a wonderful significant other, like mine, who will keep you motivated and enjoy training and racing together.
Navy Federal: awwwwww
Lucy: You have to train and be strong. Don’t give up, you’ll miss out on the fun and mud if you give up!

Navy Federal: What’s been the hardest obstacle during a race?
Mitch: For me the hardest obstacle has been the rope climb. The Spartan rope climb (at the final obstacle) was the first obstacle I was unable to complete. After 10.5 miles of running and obstacles I had very little strength left and was unable to make the rope climb. It has become my goal to accomplish in my next Super Spartan this year.
Lucy: The mud pit. But it was also my favorite.

Navy Federal: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to prepare for a race?
Mitch: I think many would consider doing these races to be weird on its own. Grown adults romping around in mud and pushing our bodies to the limits even more than we did as kids, with no fear of death. I don’t partake in any ritual aside from trying to get sleep the night before. Oddly enough that’s weird for me.
Lucy: I practice wrestling to stay strong. My dad said that’s a good answer. I don’t think it’s that weird to practice wrestling though.

So, there you have it! Hopefully Mitch and Lucy have helped give you some ideas on training for race day.

As a proud sponsor for Spartan Race this year we look forward to seeing you out on the course!  Sign up TODAY!

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by Carrie Adams

Race reports have been flowing in by our athletes who were lucky enough to be a part of the first EVER of it’s kind inside the walls (and stairs) of Fenway Park.  We’ll be sharing our own race report as well as the accounts of our Spartans willing to share their incredible stories of how the Fenway Time Trial excited and delighted all those in attendance.  Athletes had unprecedented access to the park as they ran, jumped, climbed their way through one of the most beloved American landmarks in a Spartan style tour.  

Here is one story, told by Adrian Syso, a true Spartan Chick and a six time Spartan Race finisher!  

Saturday morning, November 17th, I was up at 4 am to eat breakfast and be on the road by 4:30. I live in NY and don’t ask me why I thought 9 am heat would be a good idea! I made myself some oatmeal which almost immediately after I took the last spoonful decided it didn’t want to stay with me. It was starting already, my pre-race jitters. I am positive my anxiety was turned up high because I was running SOLO! I had never run a Spartan by myself before, I always had a sister with me, or my teammates. But my sisters are off at college and my team signed up for a later heat. So it was just ME!

Walking up to Fenway Park was a surreal experience. I saw people running in the stadium and I knew that would be me in a few short moments. I got my racer packet and signed my son up for the kids race and headed inside. I found the starting line, kissed my son good-bye, my mom and brother wished me luck, and I was gone.

A spot opened up for a single runner so I made my way to the front and stood on my spot. We started off with Joe DeSena showing us proper form of a Burpee and before the race even started we had to do 10, that was just a taste of the massive burpees I knew would be in my future.

And off we went, in true Spartan fashion up the incline ramps to the top of the stadium, I just can’t get away from Spartans with hills huh? At least it wasn’t a mountain. The air was so cold. I wasn’t used to running in the cold weather so immediately I could feel the effects on my lungs. But I was determined not to make that an excuse to stop. “Keep running, deep breath, in through your nose out through your mouth.” I kept repeating in my head until the air didn’t bother me as much.

Honestly I don’t remember what order the obstacles went in. I was focusing on getting through them and NOT WALKING! I had no one with me to cheer me on. usually I have my sister Rosy with me and we are constantly encouraging one another, or talking smack, you know how sisters are. I just had to keep pushing even when I didn’t want to.

My favorite Obstacles would have had to been the medicine ball slams, women had 15 pounders and had to lift them over their head throw them to the ground and pick them back up 20 times.

The rope climb, my arch nemesis. In Tuxedo, NY I got all the way to the top only to realize I was too short to hit the bell!  In PA I only made it about halfway.  This time around, I was determined to get to the top!  I took my time and focused. Reassessed my grip and footing at every knot I made it up. I got to the top and hit that bell and was ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I felt like I was flying.

The traverse wall and I have a love/hate relationship, I am about at a 50/50 when it comes to being able to get all the way across. I picked what I thought the best wall would be, and it was UNTIL I got about three pegs away from the bell to realize they were spaced out a tad farther than my 5 foot tall body could reach. I just had to keep telling myself I could do it… Sure enough, DING! I hit that bell and took off running again.

I did my fair share of burpees though, got to about 85 meters left in my row only to see “Burpees for You” come across my screen.  Missed the spear throw, another 30 burpees, and of course the 30 burpees “Just for Fun” Come one really?? Who does Burpees for fun??

I had a ton of silent victories. Not going to lie every time I passed a guy I grinned to myself in true Spartan Chick fashion. Knowing I was able to do the race by myself was a huge victory in and of itself. That I didn’t stop to walk for longer than a few seconds. I ran the whole race. I carried that ridiculously heavy sandbag through the stadium bleachers with only one stop to adjust. I just focused on one step ahead of the other. Not worrying about what was next. As I was crossing the finish line running full force INTO the gladiators I saw my mom and my son.  I fought my way to the finish line had my time chip cut off and was shacking with adrenaline! I was handed the most beautiful Spartan medal and t-shirt I have ever seen, its such an amazing feeling to know that you EARNED that.

The slogan is right, you do know at the finish line.

I scarfed down my banana and two glasses of water. Found my son and gave him a huge kiss!  In addition to me running my 6th Spartan Race, I also had a six year old who was running his 2nd Spartan. We headed down to the starting line. He wanted me to run with him so I ran alongside to take photos. I have a ton of proud moments as a mother, but I have to admit watching him participate in the Kids Spartans are up there on my proudest. He is fearless, he doesn’t even think twice about an obstacle. He is a true natural and I can not wait for him to be able to run along side me and be cheering me on in a few years.

I am thankful to Joe DeSena for creating such an AMAZING race. One that I am able to share with my sisters, friends, family, and most importantly my son. To be setting a good example that fitness can be fun, that it is something to do with the people you love. I am grateful for the entire spartan community. I have met so many amazing and driven people who motivate me to be the best me I can be.

My 2012 Race Season is over for the year, I am looking forward to 2013 and what the Spartan Race has in store for us next year! and possible Death Race 2014! Who knows? All I know is that I am determined to beat my results next year and to make 2013 the best one yet!

 

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