The elements proved to be the unknown factor in Colorado for the second annual Reebok Spartan Military Sprint this year. With competitors getting sunburned and dehydrated on the first day, to those suffering from hypothermia the following day, it certainly was an event that tested every single competitor to the limit.
The men’s Elites was won by Justin Jindra, followed closely by Isiah Vidal and Nicholas Joseph taking second and third respectively. It was a home-grown 1-2-3 for the ladies as Colorado’s finest filled all three spots on the podium. April Luu successfully defended her title with typical fiery determination, with Tobie Rippy and Ashley Swallow making the home crowd proud with a sweep of the awards. Navy Federal Credit Union again generously donated the prize money to the winners.
The course took no prisoners at all. With even the most innocuous of obstacles such as the moats claiming victims, it was a wake-up call to all that thought this was a run-of-the-mill OCR. Both days had people failing to finish, proving that Spartan Race, even on “short” distances, demands your total attention and will punish those that do not prepare.
The event village saw support from many sponsors and promoters ranging from the Colorado National Air guard, Werner Climbing Equipment and Whole Foods. Of course, many competitors and spectators were thankful to Coors Light for the refreshments they offered. Red Bull gave the racers wings while Snap Infusion gave them the stamina to carry on.
Snap Infusion’s nomination for Supermom, Kati Scheetz, was not just running for herself or for the prize of the finisher’s medal. Her daughter – having been induced at 37 weeks weighing only 4lbs with no heartbeat or breathing – currently suffers from a condition that is baffling doctors. Of the last 6 months, 4 of those have been spent in the hospital trying to treat with the mysterious illness which means she has to be fed 100% of the time via tube. With caring for her daughter now being a full time job and all the stresses that come with it, Kati somehow still manages to train and successfully completed the Military Sprint for her little girl.
And like night follows day, more stories of triumph over adversity and inspiration came bleeding through. Zack Askins, a native of Colorado, decided to wear a full 85lb (when dry) bomb disposal suit throughout the course, with a shrug of polite indifference greeting those who ask him if it was difficult.
Brad Fredricks of New York explained, “I was sitting behind a desk and thinking, ‘life must be more than this’ and I saw one of your videos and I wanted the next challenge. I wanted something that was going to be the next level of my life.” Despite having broken his hip in June of 2012, he now is taking part in every Spartan Race this year.
Then there was Shane Tisdall, who having lost his left hand in a motorbike accident some years earlier and suffering paralysis, was seen cheerfully going through his burpees one-handed after failing to negotiate the monkey bars. When asked about how much of a hindrance it was, he smiled and simply pointed out, “it was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time I wasn’t living very good”.
James Moody, after being clinically dead due to throat cancer and then underwent extreme and brutal throat surgery, offered the simple suggestion of, “don’t quit. Just stick with it, keep working at it”. Good advice not just for Spartan Race, but for all of life, perhaps.
The highlight of the weekend was that of the marriage on course between Arizonians DiAne and Mike Santos. Beneath the romantic monument of the cargo climb that stood before the fire pit, they exchanged vows before witnesses then went on to jump the fire pit together and have the Spartan gladiators form a guard of honor before Mike carried his bride over the finish line. A fitting end to an event that saw many either fall in love, or renew their passion for Spartan Race.
A special mention to go to the medical team that had to step up several gears in order to handle those unfortunates that succumbed to the course, the weather or a combination of both.
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