By Jason Jaksetic

Charlotte 101

Enjoy the sunny, southern charm of Charlotte while on a Spartan weekend this March. The Charlotte area is a picturesque backdrop for adventures, both on and off the course at Porter Farms. From NASCAR to art Museums, Charlotte has a diverse landscape of leisure and strenuous activity for you to navigate the weekend of March 23-26.

 

Weather is normally great this time of year. But Charlotte has a way of messing with folk. While the average high does nudge towards the mid 60′s, especially as it accelerates towards April, be aware the the average low can turn around a give you a sharp slap across the face like a scorned lover and have you bear the brunt of chilly 39 – and that’s not even taking into account the wind chill, should there be any. This is why the Spartan Race is Charlotte is always so hotly anticipated. Not only do we not know what the course will have in store, but the weather always plays a part. So the questions remains if the elements are going to make you a little dirty Harry. Do you feel lucky, punk?

Here’s what to look forward to -

THE COURSE 

This course will be fat and fast, and most certainly muddy. This venue is a fully operational farm and we were given free reign with the land, so expect surprises in true Spartan fashion.

NASCAR EPICENTER

If you’re a NASCAR fan, there is no better place in the world to visit than Charlotte. Charlotte is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame – a four-story, 150,000 square foot building operating seven days a week from 10am – 6pm.

There’s also Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is the only race venue where you can visit the team garages. The Speedway offers daily tours that include a trip down pit road and the ability to snap your photo at victory lane. Bonus: camping available.

NIGHTLIFE

Charlotte has dozens of bars and clubs for post race libations and celebrations. Big names include Black Finn American SaloonProhibition, and Bad Dogs Pub. Maybe you want the freshest brew that North Carolina has to offer. Enjoy a newly minted draft at one of the local breweries, such as NoDa Brewing, the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Birdsong Brewing Co, or Heist Brewery. More on breweries here.

Want to get a bit crazy? A listing of local night clubs can be found here.

 FAMILY DESTINATIONS

Expend your cultural, scientific, and athletic horizons at one of these amazing, education, and fun options for the entire family:

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Hours:
Mon, Wed-Sat: 10AM-5PM
Sun: 12-5PM

Discovery Place – Science Museum

Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9AM-4PM
Sat: 10AM-6PM
Sun: 12-5PM

Charlotte Bobcats NBA Game

They are home Saturday March 22, 24, and 26.

U.S. National Whitewater Center – Mountain biking, running trails, climbing center, kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting

SHOPPING

Charlotte offers a full range of opportunities to get some shopping done if you so choose. Whether at the local South Park Mall or Concord Mills (the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in North Carolina) there is something for everyone during your downtime before and after the race. Some of the shops you will find to choose from are Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus,  Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Frontgate, Cole Haan, St. John, Hermes, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer and more.

sources: wiki, Nascar.

 

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The sun rose slowly over the hills of Southern California Saturday morning. Blue shirts swarmed the hills of Vail Lake in order to bring the Spartan Race to life. Saturday marked the first time that Spartan Race had done both a Super and a Sprint in the same day and the weekend promised to be epic.

Tony Matesi launched the days activities off with the morning Hurricane Heat. The HH is a different kind of event. Not so much a race as a challenge to be taken on. It forces people to work together as a team to overcome obstacles together. Tony took the participants that signed up through his various tortures starting at 6am for a full four hours. For a complete rundown on the HH look for Tony’s report coming later in the week.

Cars filled the parking lot as the Elites began warming up for what promised to be an epic battle. The men’s elite had high-octane racers in Spartan Pro Team members Hunter McIntyre, Matt Novakovich, Miguel Medina, and Chistopher Rutz. The women’s Pro Team showed up in the likes of April Luu, TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, Jenny Tobin and Tiffany Novakovich. The rest of the field outside of the Pro Team was stacked. Rose Wetzel who stormed through Malibu was in attendance as was Laura Messner, and as was expected the legendary Hobie Call came to push the men to their limits and beyond.

The weather on Saturday was sunny, warm, and not a cloud in the sky. It promised to make the course fast, but dangerous as was seen through the day where people cramped up from a lack of sufficient hydration. The Amphib Medics crew, as well as Spartan Race Staff, was there to help those injured on course to safety or to help get them back into the fray.

The Elites took off early for the Super where money was on the line for that event. With the men first out of the gate it was a tight bunch until coming to the first gamble where racers could choose to either take the shorter harder route or the longer faster half of the course. Hobie and Matt “The Bear” Novakovich veered to the right while Hunter took the left shorter route. As Hobie and The Bear came out of their gamble they caught sight of Hunter and the group that went left far up ahead.

Ever the fierce competitor Hobie caught Hunter making it another epic showdown between the two friends. Newcomer John Yatsko form Arizona was right on the heels of the two titans for the men. At the end of the day it was Hobie first, Hunter tacking second, and John in third.

It was universally considered to be one of the toughest women’s fields people had seen in awhile. It seemed to be that only reigning World Champion Amelia Boone, still recovering from a hamstring injury, wasn’t on course. Rose Wetzel and April Luu promised to make this women’s race one to remember trading back and forth on the course until April missed the spear thrown and Rose stuck hers resulting in just the break she needed to take the win. April cruised into the finish line in second place with TyAnn Clark placing third. 

The Saturday Sprint was not a money heat but still saw Laura Messner dominate as she warmed up for the Sunday Elite Sprint. Saturday also introduced the first time Spartan Race recognized the top age group finishers from the open heats. 14 year old Josh Novakovich dominated the Under 20 open taking first place overall while placing fourth overall on Saturday in the open.

Sunday the money heats for the Sprint were run and the podiums didn’t look too different. Hunter took first for the men with newcomer John Yatsko in second and Glen Racz in third. For the women it was a tight race. Kk Paul came through the finish line ahead of Rose Wetzel to take first place. A battle between April Luu and TyAnn Clark decided third place. The epic finish came down to the wire as April barely edged out TyAnn for the last podium spot.

The weekend wasn’t just about the Elite’s however. Families spread out on Saturday to cheer on their loved ones as well as soak up some of the beautiful weather that graced the event. New sponsors Core Power Protein delivered much needed post-race beverages to racers at the finish line. 

Spartan Race began the year trying some new things with team results and rankings. Each team that signed up were ranked according to the average time of the top 4 finishers on their team. P4L Fitness took top in the team standings with an average time of 53:05 with the mighty Weeple Army (who had 269 racers in attendance) in second and Warrior Showdown placing third. Looks like it’s time to get serious about team racing.

Lastly the great medal question of 2014 came to an end with Spartans receiving the new medal and being told they would need to perform an additional round of burpees for their second medal. The second medal being of course the one everyone had come to expect from previous events. No one walked away disappointed, and the beach by the lake was a swarming mass of muddy bodies flying through burpees in order to collect not one, but two medals. Some even wandered around with four.

As mentioned earlier the 2014 SoCal Spartan was the first time racers could take part in not just one race but had the option to run two distances in one weekend. There were those brave souls taking up the gauntlet thrown down by Spartan Race and running both courses in the same day while others chose to run the Super on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday. Either way these brave Spartans are two thirds to their Trifecta with only one weekend of racing under their belt in 2014. As we talked to some that had done both they made it abundantly clear that they would be finishing out their Trifecta before the year is out.

The kids races were amazing to behold, especially the Special Needs kids race. Seeing the families going around the course together made it hard to not feel that pull on your heartstrings. Spectators dried their eyes as these amazing families came rolling through the mud together with smiles a mile wide.

All in all the weekend was a huge success with tons of muddy smiling faces, a few cuts, some bruises, but a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction by those who raced. Next sop on the Spartan Race calendar, Arizona. Will we see John Yatsko make another appearance and if so will Hunter and Hobie be there to take him to the limit? The best way to find out is to be there. Sign up for the Arizona Sprint and we will see you at the finish line.

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“I pretty much create my own schedule”, states Misty Diaz matter-of-factly.

“But thankfully I do have a great coach named Michael Ainis, he helped me with one of the hardest half marathons in New York, which was all hills. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I got my best time on that course. I do a lot of cross training too, I kayak and make up my own routines I use trees and outdoor gyms. Yes – trees!”

She laughs at herself and the incredulity of her last statement and continues,  “I do a lot of hiking and skateboarding. I use walking canes, so I must constantly work out my upper body.”

In itself, this could be almost anyone in America – or the world – today. But Misty pushes harder than most. She was born with Spina Bifida.

Running wasn’t always something that was high on her radar, though. It was only recently that taking to the sidewalks, trails and roads became a way of life for her.

“I started running April 21, 2012. I had about a year under my belt of being sober, and I had so much energy. I remember driving around in Long Beach and seeing a sign for Ronald McDonald 5k walk. They had helped my family in the past so I thought what better way to give back. So I signed up and felt wonderful. Then about a week later, I saw a sign for Seal Beach 5k. I remember thinking If I could walk a 5k, I could run. Not once did I consider the fact I have Spina Bifida and use walking canes. I just signed up; no training, no running buddy. I went home, sat down and Googled training runs and created my own schedule. I went to the gym and started working out. From there, I just kept signing up for races and didn’t stop. As of 10/12 I will have run 32 races. My current goal which I’m almost done accomplishing, was running 3 half marathons in 3 1/2 weeks.”

It’s this passion for running and pushing further that’s seen her set a new goal. In December, Misty will be tackling the Spartan Sprint in Malibu.

“I honestly had been throwing around the idea for a while. Then the Weeple Army invited me to their group and I did two small obstacle races and felt like I didn’t accomplish much. I felt as though I needed something more challenging. So I spoke with a friend who’s affiliated with Spartan, and asked if he knew how to get sponsored. I raise all my funds for my races through sponsors or grants. He thankfully had a code! I just want something that will push me to the edge, push my body further then I have ever imagined. Youd think I would have had enough after 28 operations. I love training and working my mind, so what better way than to get in and try a Spartan race? I want to test my limits, I can’t imagine how I will feel once I finish. The hardest part for us is convincing our minds that we are capable. Many train the body, but forget the mind.”

It’s the mental aspect that is currently proving to be the biggest hurdle. Misty is under no illusions what’s in store for her. When asked if any part of the idea of a Spartan Race scares her or intimidates her, she laughs.

“Yes, the entire thing! But that’s the amazing thing about such an event. Think about that; the fact that we sign up for such events knowing it’s going to be hard and take a lot from us to accomplish and yet we are still willing to sign up and train for such an event. That’s pretty bad ass! I know I can do this, I’m just going to have to turn on a different type of beast mode!”

Misty’s passion for what she does is all too clear when she explains that what she does has now developed further.

“Along my journey I have been able to meet such incredible people, who have been my supporters and cheerleaders. Because of my love for running, I have started my own pending, non-profit, Teamwolfpackfoundation.com.”

“My non profit is to help those with Spina Bifida but not limited to, run 50 yard, 100 yard and 5Ks.  I want these kids and adults to feel a sense of accomplishment, to be proud, and excited just like I do. I want them to know anything is possible, if you have the will. I want to do what was done for me and give back. The Team Wolf Pack name started when I started running 15Ks to train for half marathons. I would have a team of 2-3 people behind me running with me. They held whatever I needed, carried my meds and water. When I got tired, one of the runners would get in front of me as a pace leader, or along my side and helped me keep my pace. This is what I want to do for these kids, and adults. I hope this encourages you to continue to run, to keep trying, and to help others. After many years, I finally feel a part of something. I can’t tell you how much that makes me happy. I’m so grateful to be a part of the running community.”

“I leave you with this friends; never ever give up!”

She will know at the finish line. You can too.

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Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Standing in front of the fire jump flames rising towards to sky, Lance Bombardier James Simpson, 27, made a decision. “I’m just going to jump over it myself.” With just a few friends as support, one of them tasked with ensuring he didn’t start on fire in the process, James leapt over the fire and finished the Reebok Spartan Sprint in Ripon, North Yorkshire September 8, 2013 becoming the first British double amputee to accomplish such a feat!

“I kept my medal on for hours after!” he joked. “We thought it was a 5k… I found out afterwards it was actually 7.1k!”  Arguably the toughest Sprint in the UK line-up, the course was rugged and the obstacles difficult, but Simpson insisted on doing each of them without assistance.  ”It was just me and a few friends.  I did everything myself.”

The charming redhead from Yorkshire had been training for the event for four months and was prepared for most of what was going to face him on the course, until the mud towards the end. “The mud was so thick, I was afraid my leg would come out of the socket. That part took the longest!”

Simpson heard about the event from some of his American friends who finished a Spartan in the States in 2012 and knew he had to do one for himself. He told the Huffington Post, “I did not do it to break a record. I did it because I wanted to and hopefully it will encourage more people to do it and more amputees to try it in the future.”

Simpson was a part of the 5th Regiment, Royal Artillery stationed in Helmand, Afghanistan in November of 2009. While he was on foot patrol in Sangin and was the seventh man in line and stepped directly on an IED. He lost both legs above the knee and sustained injuries in both arms in the blast. “I remember just not looking down. I knew my legs were gone, but I just kept talking to myself to keep myself calm until the helicopter came.”

Simpson has also decided that he’s not quite done with his Spartan Racing adventures either. He’s found two friends to take on the upcoming Spartan Super in the Midlands on September 21st. “We’re going to give it a whirl!” he says.

With nearly double the distance and more obstacles than his recent Sprint experience, Simpson expects it to take a lot longer to complete. “I’m excited… and nervous… this means we’ll have to try the Beast as well!”  With a trifecta on his mind, Simpson will be taking on the Midlands course this weekend, two months after he may also be tackling the London Beast, and possibly even an event or two stateside in 2014.

L/Bdr Simpson has another exciting adventure awaiting outside Spartan Races.  He’s leaving the military for a new life as a University student studying film this fall.  He is also raising money as part of Spartan Journey for the Armed Forces charity SSAFA. You can find his website HERE to learn more and donate.

We’ll see you on the course this weekend, James!

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by Carrie Adams

When Spartan launched the stadium series in Fenway Park, we knew we were onto something special.  We added new locations and dates and with Citizen’s Bank Park, Miller Park, and Fenway fast approaching again, we can’t wait to get our ballpark on!

One of the women who inspired us was Marina Gentile.  She is an inspiring woman who, for the first time, at the age of 45 calls herself an athlete, she’s telling her Spartan story of how training for the Fenway Sprint helped her lose over 125 pounds.  She’s raced many a Spartan since, but here is her recounting that fateful day in 2012 where it all began.

by “The Phoenix” Marina Gentile

I will never forget the day I lost my “Sparkle” – over, under, and through the bleachers at Fenway Park – to become a true “Spartan Chick.” It was last Sunday,November 18, 2012, starting at 11:30 a.m. and lasting for an amazing 1 hour, 36 minutes. I even managed to chick three guys in my path… My special shout out to the one by the rowers, he gave me perspective. I was so mad at myself for just missing the 500 meters in two minutes rowing challenge, when I got up from my 30 burpee penalty to see his face in a trash barrel… and thought, “forget this one and move on to the next, at least you are not tossing your pancakes right now like that guy!”

So, here’s what I knew at the finish line…

I knew that “Highway to Hell” blasting from the stadium speakers in my final run past those gladiators and across the finish line was truly awesome!! I don’t know what song was playing when other racers crossed that line but can’t be more metaphorically awesome than that one.

I knew at the Hercules Hoist that there was no way I would have let go of that rope, no way. I was exhausted from pulling that heavy block of weight up but I just kept hanging on until I got the job done. I’ve been swinging and pulling far too many ropes for far too long in training to be done in by that one.

I knew that I truly focused only on the obstacle currently in my way, not behind or ahead. So that let me move from past defeats quickly without them messing with my mojo, as well as eliminate future fears before they start.

I knew that if I kept smiling and laughing through those 180ish burpees, they would not suck so much, they would not break me. Not one of them that I did that race as penalty for missing the rowing, rope climb, spear throw, traverse wall, and ball throw obstacles – or for Burpeeville (where we did just for kicks) wiped that smile off my face.

I knew I brought the right friend along to share this milestone. Mat Villamil raced on Marina time instead of his peak, redeeming himself for that sneaky eleventh hour NY Yankees tattoo he got on his face.

I knew my fearless trainer Robbie Sherwood (aka Robbie Superman from my home away from home, NYSC in Stamford, CT) delivered again on his early promise to me that he was “all in” for this wild ride of transformation I’m on. Hanging back at my pace, he guided me through my toughest challenges by yelling out key advice (“get low” – “distribute your body weight” – “you got this” – “come on, fire it out” – “breathe”), by positioning that 60 lb sandbag onto my shoulders for our extended trek through the stadium seats, by letting me trample him fully to help get my short body up and over some 10 and 12 foot high walls, and by taking a burpee or two hit for me. Sure he got a little distracted at times – by a volunteer’s bag of Doritos at those sick jump ropes, by a free beer ticket he found while jumping off a high wall (you would have thought he found a winning lottery ticket), or by his own “awesomeness at the spear throw” – but the rest of the time he was laser focused on guiding me through so we could check this milestone off our goals list.

I knew that I had earned the right to call myself an athlete for the first time in my life at age 45. At least my own personal definition of an athlete – someone who shows up for life, brings her relentless determination and drive to move her body, to challenge herself, to push her body as far as it can go, then beyond that still. Someone that sets goals, then crushes them and sets more goals, because she is driven to move forward, to keep active. Her drivers are internal, she wants to be her personal best. I am an athlete for the first time in my life at 45 – maybe a little late to the game by societies standards but I have no doubt that is how I define myself – I think like one, I move like one, I train like one, I eat like one. And what I may lack in skill right now and possibly innate ability always, I make up for in enthusiasm every time… Bring on my next Spartan!!

I knew that I did not over analyze everything like I usually do. That I just let my body lead me through the race and trusted that it would know what to do, that I had trained hard for this, that my body would perform for me at Spartan. This is unbelievable from a girl with a long history of being disconnected to my body, or hating it, or feeling like it was so limited from being 125 lbs heavier for so many years. To learn to trust it in this way, to feel it leading me through, staying strong to the finish, feeling limitless… A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!

I knew that 3 of my 4 predictions printed on our Team Relentless shirts came true … Spartan Fenway was my reward, my challenge, and most definitely my bitch… but it was NOT my punishment.

And I knew that I showed up to Spartan Fenway and brought my relentless determination when my trainer somehow managed to immediately post this FB photo and shout out as I was standing right in front of him. “So incredibly proud of Marina Gentile who just beasted her first Spartan Race!!!! 125 pounds down and counting. She just made Fenway her bitch!!!”

And here’s what I realize in the days after crossing that finish line…

I realize that following my strategy/technique – the same one I’ve brought to my training and my Phoenix-like transformation this year – helped me to cross that finish line feeling super proud of my performance and accomplishments at Spartan. It is always the same math for success in all areas of my life: Great Attitude + Positive Energy + Relentless Determination + Showing Up + Keeping Things New and Fresh + Leaving My Comfort Zone + Connecting Mind to Body + Staying Rooted in the Moment = Living Every Day of My Life.

I realize my young boys are so proud of me, yet so concerned about my swelling ego, so they took it upon themselves to (try to stick) a “kick me” post-it on my back as I was walking out the door to go to my office proudly wearing my new Spartan bling around my neck.

I realize I’ve never felt my body so fully and thoroughly sore, that every last muscle, in every corner of my being got used that day in one way or another to get over those obstacles. Amazing feeling, makes me feel alive and like my life has a purpose, need to be there again.

I realize the meaning of “sometimes you’ve just got to stretch” – using  everyday objects in an airport the next day as I was traveling to do just that, regardless of the weird looks.

I realize that I view the world as one big obstacle course now, wondering how I will get under/over/through the various objects in my path.

I realize that I was so wildly happy when my first bruise appeared, that I kept showing it to people as some kind of badge of honor. And that I was disappointed that I did not have any scrapes on my body. Kind of crazy, but I’m hearing it a lot from career OCR’s so I know it’s not just me.

I realize that as the body aches subside and the bruises fade away, there is a sadness setting in. I trained so hard and for so long to get to Spartan, it was a huge milestone moment for me, and I loved it so much, that I’m a little bit lost right now. I know that just means I need to set and break more activity goals in the very near future, and most definitely that I need to sign on for another Spartan Race very soon… Hmmm, wondering if 2013 or 2014 will be my trifecta year?

I realize it’s such an honor that Carrie Adams referred to me as The Phoenix, that kick ass female mythical creature that – in my case – is burning down old behaviors, habits, negative body images and limitations on her life – and rising from the ashes transformed into a kick ass active mom/woman/Spartan Warrior with limitless potential.

What’s your excuse?  Get out to the ballpark!  Find an event HERE. 

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“I like a challenge,” says Mike Simons matter-of-factly. The Army Airborne Ranger veteran, with deployments of Iraq and Afghanistan behind him, talks about his Ranger School in the middle of winter up in the Appalachian Mountains and other “top secret stuff,” like it’s really no big deal. He’s a man that is given a problem and deals with it head on. No frills, just problem solving and getting the job done.

But for a man of action as he was, he was used to pushing that little bit harder than usual. “I was lucky enough, despite a few close calls, to leave the military without a scratch. Normal life outside of the military was too easy so I signed up for my first Spartan, the one at Blue Mountain. It was just the type of thing I was looking for.”

Sadly, six months after the race, Mike suffered quite a large setback, one that really would be a test of his mettle.

“I got into a motorcycle accident and had my right leg removed just above the knee. You want to talk about a challenge, this was it. I was coaching a high school crew team at the time and had mentioned to one of the rowers that was complaining of an injury the week before that a straw would help him to recover faster so he could “suck it up”.

“After the accident the team all made cards with straws in them to help motivate me. I had a broken femur, and an amputated right leg, and I was back at practice in 2 weeks. I had no doubt that with the help of my team, friends, and family, I was going to not only embrace this challenge, I was going to conquer it.”

Mike may have had military training, existing fitness, and core strength already, but as is always the case,it was the mental challenge he had to face. The hunger and drive to push, to reach further. The actual wanting to reach out and grab those few extra miles, weights, whatever the case may be to progress and improve. That’s the difference. That’s what he points out that was important.

“If there’s anything I learned from my first Spartan race it’s this: It doesn’t matter how fast you go, or how strong you think you are. You just need to keep pushing yourself until the end, and if you run into an obstacle that’s causing you problems, your friends will be there to help you over it. Never quit, and you’ll know at the finish line! AROOOO!”

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By Sharla Hoff

Sharla and Anthony Hoff

I am overweight, non-athletic, asthmatic, have heart problems, serious nerve damage (from a compound fracture) in my left leg and foot, an injured elbow (broke it 2 years ago) but I didn’t want be defined by my limitations. I wanted a new story to tell. It was time to change. And I did. Now, I am a Spartan.

I decided, with one week’s notice, to do the Reebok Spartan Race in the high school heat in Arizona as a reward for my son, Anthony last February. He has always struggled in school but he reached a goal he had set for himself and I promised that I’d do the same for him. We joined the race and got five other teens and one mother to join us. We were all scared and very nervous. But agreed to NOT GIVE UP.

The kids were faster than me and the other mother. So we told the kids to do their best and we would see them at the end. The entire race myself and the other mothers were excited and proud that our boys were out there somewhere and finishing. But nothing prepared me for that moment when I saw the FINISH line just past the wall and barbed wire. I was so exhausted, but knew I had to finish. Then I heard the teens running down toward the wires screaming and encouraging me. I was doing it, slowly but surely. Then almost through the wire I heard my sister (she was sweeping the course) yelling for me. She jumped in and pushed me faster and helped get me over the wall and to the end. She asked to give me my medal. As she placed the medal around my neck and gave me a hug she had tears in her eyes. My son ran up and gave me a huge tight hug with an ear-to-ear smile. While I was still wet and muddy, I knew I impressed him.

On the ride home my son told me how worried he was at some of the challenges and how I would handle them. He checked with staff several times to see if there were any injuries on the course since I was so far behind. He told me when I crossed the line he knew he had a strong mother and he was amazed and proud to be my son. I guess this race was MY reward not his. Now I am more confident that I CAN do things if I WANT them bad enough.

I plan to continue to exercise and get in better shape for the journey ahead. I had an amazing experience. Since the Arizona Race I have lost 9 inches around my waist and I have changed my diet and exercise habits. I also went to Vegas and did the Biggest Loser Off-Road Challenge. I cannot thank the Spartan Race enough for helping to light this fire and determination inside of me. I’m a Spartan.

What are you waiting for?  Sign up today.

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It’s no secret that Spartan Races are challenging for even the most prepared. The good news is Spartan has a lot of tools to help you prepare. Each day, we send out a FREE Spatan Workout of the Day (WOD) and a FREE Spartan Food of the Day (FOD). With these scalable workouts and healthy food options, it will make your race day preparation all the easier.

But Spartan Race is taking it a step further. Want to get a taste of what it means to be a Spartan? How about a Spartan Workout! Joe De Sena, co-founder of Spartan Race and members of his team are hitting the road and leading Spartan workouts across the country. Come out and find your inner Spartan!

Register NOW for a free Spartan Workout in your area and put yourself to the test! This is not a traditional workout. You’l lift, climb, crawl and run with hundreds of fellow Spartans in a fun and challenging workout. The workout is FREE and you’ll earn a cool “Training for a Spartan Race” t-shirt!

Cindy Ausman was able to participate in a recent FREE workout hosted by Spartan Race.  She said, “I’ve participated in two OCR before starting to prepare for the Spartan Sprint in Miller Park that’s being held November 2, 2013. What a difference there is in the camaraderie, support, encouragement, training, and attitude.  Attitude is the most important differentiator. Spartan is woven into every breath and fiber of your being.”

Ausman says, “Two quotes from Joe that stick with me through three different workouts, “You have it in you” when we were “going for an easy run on the beach.” Those words cannot be used in the same sentence – Easy –Run – Beach. But Joe’s energy is contagious. I ran more, hurdled higher walls more times than ever before, tried new moves, and worked as a team in new ways.”

What does a Spartan Workout look like? Check out this video from a recent Hawaii workout.

Are you ready for your Spartan experience?  Click HERE to find a WOD near you!

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by Michele McBride

Michele, left,  at 240 lbs

My name is Michele and I am a 41 yr old mom of 3 kids (2 boys and 1 girl ages 23, 18 and 7) and have been married for 24 years! When I was little I was always a skinny little thing, but when I hit 14 I gained some weight. Around age 15 almost 16 I decided to loose it and did! Man, it’s funny to see how boys who wouldn’t talk to you before but they sure wanted to talk to me then!

I got married at 17 to the greatest guy who loved me for me not my size! Well after two babies I had kept on the weight! After my 2nd I weighed 180 pounds. It was then when my darkest time entered. The weight continued to pile on and by the time I got pregnant with my 3rd in 2005 I weighed 240/245 lbs! It was the heaviest I had ever been and felt so depressed. The pregnancy was hard as I had many problems by the time I had her in December of 2005 I weighed 224!

It was then that I started watching The Biggest Loser! That inspired me big time! I first just changed little things – giving up soft drink except for one every now and again – but I knew I had to change, I’d developed Type II diabetes. Then I actually started eating right! I used to only eat supper and now I eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper! I also changed my white carbs to wheat and am making better food choices.

So I changed my eating but I knew I was still missing exercise! I admit I am lazy but I was wanting something different! I was

Michele (far right) back to 180 and counting

looking at all the Biggest Loser contestants and how they looked and looked like they felt and I wanted that. One day while searching a Biggest Loser event I stumbled across Spartan Race! Oh MY! It looked fun but I wondered if I could do it. My self-esteem had gone down as my weight went up! Even now I am not sure… but I WANT TO! My husband is very supportive and said of course you can do it honey!

I recently joined a gym and got a trainer and am preparing for my first race! I feel great now! I currently weigh 180 and have started noticing body changes. I am scared to death but I have to overcome some other fears during this Race! I have a bad fear of heights so that’s going to be hard! But I want this! I need this!! I want to be around for my little one to graduate and to one day have grandbabies to hug and run with! Plus, maybe finally I can out-kayak my brother! I love kayaking and my brother goes with me and we have so much fun but he can out paddle me! Well, watch out brother here I come! I am losing weight and inches but gaining so much more again! I have been inundated with support from Spartan Chicked Facebook page, so if you need the support they rock!

Are you a female Spartan looking for a cool crew of chicks to hang out with? Spartan Race has a Spartan Chicked closed network on FB that connects like-minded women to talk about training, nutrition, and staying healthy, strong and active. No boys allowed! Click HERE to request to join!

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I am Kristina Campbell. I am a Spartan.

Before my first Spartan race I was naïve and now my life has changed for the better. Spartan Race changed my life and inspired me to be a better more healthy version of myself! I can do anything that I work for.

Over a year ago I saw an advertisement for a Spartan race in my state. I immediately became intrigued with the idea and looked at every photo and video I could find to get a glimpse of what the Spartan Race was all about. My first thought was that this was absolutely for me and I instantly began recruiting my friends to join me in this journey. Once I found some folks as crazy and determined as me, we began to prepare.

We knew this race would not be just another day in the park. My friends and I began training, both independently, and as a group each week. We were all so excited and immensely nervous of the events to come and I was personally grateful to have a handful of my close friends willing to not only support me, but experience this together. With all the research, my team and I were still very aware that we would still have no idea what to expect. Boy, were we right!

After the long months of provision and preparation, the day was finally here! Our very first Spartan race! The bus ride to Amesbury was full of excitement, cheers, and anticipation. As we walked off the bus together and looked around I knew instantly this was going to change my life. The Spartan speeches and cheers of, “Aroo!”, welcomed us as we approached the starting line. Bib numbers scattered across our temporarily clean bodies- check. Bug spray and sunscreen- check. Teammates ready to rock this race with you- check. It was time to get down and dirty. Nearing the starting line I realized I still had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. Luckily my support system and team stood by my side with the same questions and excitement. We were in this together and in that moment, we were more than ready to jump on this thrill ride.

And we’re off! The race began and we look up to this massive hill. Little did we know just how many times we were going to be coming up and down it! So many challenges faced us. During my journey I couldn’t help but notice all my fellow Spartans’ willingness to help out complete strangers. The obstacles were tough. The course was wet and muddy, the walls were really high!  At any struggle or pause there was someone there willing to support you mentally and physically. I ran with a team but, of course, we got separated throughout the course.

It didn’t matter, whenever a small doubt crossed my mind that I couldn’t make it, there was a Spartan right next to me giving me the motivation I needed, sharing helpful hints on how to make the giant cinderblock feel a little lighter as I drag it around. The camaraderie displayed throughout this course was something I was truly proud to be a part of. Witnessing so many incredible events during this race made crossing that finish line and reaching for that, my very first, Spartan medal all the more meaningful.

This was the first of many races to come in my future. Spartan race literally changed my life. I never had not known such an incredible lifestyle existed. I’m now more motivated than ever to stay healthy, be fit, and push myself forward to success. Each obstacle faced was another challenge to push your endurance and every once completed was more satisfaction and proof that you can do anything you put your mind do. Since my first Spartan race in Amesbury MA, I have done many more races. As many as I can find in my area! I was lucky enough to participate in Spartan Race in Fenway park and I’ll be doing both races again this year.

I can’t even put into words how grateful I am that I took that first step into the Spartan World. I never want to leave!

Now it’s your turn! Register TODAY.

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