Last year, Spartan Race was embraced by the infinite warmth and hospitality of Kalispell. The inaugural Spartan Sprint that year will forever be remembered by not just the mountains, trees and views that just wouldn’t quit, but also by the generosity and friendliness of the community that welcomed Spartan racers from across the country into its heart.

This is why Spartan Race is so excited to return to Flathead Lodge Road and do it all over again. Arguably the most scenic Sprint on the schedule, but by no means the easiest. Many argued that Montana belied its beauty and hid one of the hardest – and therefore “ugliest” – Sprints in 2013. Remember that the terrain is there to break you. It’s beautiful, but it’s still your enemy.

Never was the term “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” more apt. Study your history, folks.

So what to expect? Hills. Lots of hills. They never seem to end, but it’s balanced out beautifully with that fantastic, lush smell of the trees as they wave to the gentle zephyrs that dance through the branches. Weather-wise, you can expect highs of around the mid 60’s, while lows can give you a sharp slap with a cheeky 39 degrees. Pack accordingly, as it can be a bit of a lottery. You didn’t expect this to be easy now, did you?

There are plenty of hotels to choose from if accommodation is proving to be a headache for you. In Kalispell you have the likes of Best Western, Hilton Garden, Aero Inn and countless others. Some of these hotels may even welcome Spartan Racers with a slight discount, although you’d have to check with them to be sure.

But given that you’ve traveled all the way to Montana, why not savor one or two tastes of the cultural stew that simmers away there? Check out this link for a site that will guide you through Kalispell’s downtown, including the museums, historical interest and what’s going on.

All that running around and rolling through mud mixed with forest debris will make you hungry and as such, you’ll need to know where to eat. Well, you are absolutely spoilt for choice. A quick check on Tripadvisor.com lists nearly 140 in Kalispell and there are no excuses for somewhere to replace everything you burnt off, or, should you need to carb-up the day before.

Are the kids with you? Well how about you take them to Family Fun Center in Kalispell? With Lazer Tag, bowling, inflatables, and everything in between, you can watch the kids wear themselves out and give you a quiet night as they recover. Check out this link that will give you all the information you need. Playing in a Bounce Zone with various inflatable shapes counts as Spartan training, doesn’t it?

This fine town also boasts a number of casinos if you feel that your luck is in. Why not try out a poker room or spin the roulette wheel?

A vast number of bars are also available, so there are no excuses for boredom when the race is over. Check here for a list to get you started!

All in all, if you miss this gem of a race, don’t say we didn’t warn you. One of the most underrated races on the circuit is offering you its hand. It’s down to you to accept and Spartan on.

See you at the finish line…

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So here we all are again. Another year starts and yet again we look toward the sun kissed hills of Temecula in southern California to kick off another year of hills, pain, ropes, barbed wire and thousands upon thousands of delicious burpees. Don’t pretend you don’t like them.

As Vail Lake prepares to open its arms to thousands of Spartans old and new, we now have the fortunate dilemma of just how much we want those Trifectas. Instead of hosting the usual Super to get proceedings underway, this year begins with the option of doing both the Sprint and the Super, or perhaps just one or the other. The mid-range Super will boast a minimum of 8 miles and at least 20 obstacles waits for you on Saturday. The shorter Sprint, a great option for those new to Spartan Race with a distance of around 3.1 miles, will also be held on a completely different track taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. Which Spartans out there will try to get two thirds of their Trifecta done in one glorious weekend?

The rolling hills of Temecula can be unforgiving. Have you been training?

Additionally, the ferocious lunacy of the always-demanding Hurricane Heat will be available for those who like their early starts sprinkled liberally with hundreds of burpees and random tasks that serve no purpose other than to build teamwork and exhaust your muscles.

Miguel Medina is looking to make the podium his own in 2014

The elites will be keen to reap more points. Especially the early 2014 season leader of the men’s elite division, Elliot Megquier. Currently Elliot has a paper-thin lead over Alexander Nicholas who was last seen showing us how to beat the Slippery Wall. Naturally well known heavy hitters in the form of Hunter McIntyre, Miguel Medina, Isiah Vidal, David Megida, Hobie Call and others will be sure to have their say in how those rankings look before too long.

The in the female division the competition grows equally as fierce with every race. Keen to shake off the dust following the winter break, Laura Messner will be all too aware that Danielle Ross, Jolene Wilkinson, Andi Hardy and the imposing pair of April Luu and Amelia Boone will quickly want to destroy her lead in the points tally. It’s looking very much like 2014 will become the most hotly contested year yet.

Also new to Spartan Race is the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Special Needs Spartan Race is an obstacle course race designed to test resilience, strength, stamina, and ability to overcome adversity. Sports are a universal language which unites people on and off the field of play, cutting across lines of race, ethnicity, education level, social status, and economic background. The Special Needs Spartan Race breaks new ground by increasing collaboration and raising awareness. Most importantly Spartan Race is providing a safe and structured athletic event where individual differences are embraced. This will be a place where children and families can feel comfortable to express themselves and engage fully in the Spartan community.


The Special Needs Spartan Race course is designed for participants with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Special considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges faced by race participants.

In keeping with the Spartan Mission, our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Spartans welcome racers of all abilities. We integrate people with special needs to challenge the public’s perception of what is normal. The spirit of the Spartan Race community encourages the development of skill, courage, sharing, and joy while transcending boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion. All racers receive a Finisher’s Medal, a T-shirt, and are embraced as a member of the Spartan Tribe.

With our usual mix of vendors, music and community atmosphere in the event village, it’s shaping up to be yet another outstanding event under the gloriously warm blue skies of California.

See you at the finish line…

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Recently, Spartan Race posted a picture of 74 year old Linda Barber taking part in the Malibu Sprint.

Many suggested that the picture was photoshopped and indeed faked. “No lady of that age could look as good as she did, complete with beautiful scarf looking fabulous and not at all fazed by what she had gone through up until that point”, could they?

Spartan Race caught up with her and put this allegation to bed.

“I guess that for many people the Spartan Race would be too difficult, but they will never know for sure unless they give it a try”, she shrugs nonchalantly. Cool and collected, Linda points out she’s not new to the idea of pushing herself physically.

Linda ran with her son and grandson

“I volunteer at Operation Gratitude. We send care packages to the troops who are deployed to the middle east and all around the world,( we just sent the 1 millionth box on Dec.7. 2013.)      In 2011 the Merrill down and dirty mud run at Castaic Lake, Ca, donated a large portion of the proceeds to Operation Gratitude. That was the first time I had ever heard of a mud run, I wasn’t quite sure what it would entail, so I declined the opportunity. But soon after seeing what it was all about and the fun everyone was having I was disappointed I didn’t do it. A few months later, my son Kevin Kierce told me about the Spartan Race coming to Malibu and we decided to do it together with the Angry Bird Droppings. We have since participated in 2 other OCR’s the 2012 and 2013 Malibu Spartan Races.”

When asked why she keeps returning, she answers very matter-of-factly, “I keep returning because it is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my son and in this last Spartan my grandson as well. When I was on the trails in Malibu I was very focused on the task at hand and of course enjoying the camaraderie of the other participants. And of course being with my son and grandson. ”

I am very blessed to have good health with no medical problems.”

Linda doesn’t understand the commotion over her picture. On the course, she bumped into OCR veterans James O’Brien, aka, “The Muddy Suitman” and his running partner Stephen Hulsey, between them racking up in excess of 200 years, but still every bit as lively and as spritely as any other weekend warrior.

“I am a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs of America and to keep myself and the dogs in good shape we walk 3 miles every morning 6 days a week. I also work out with 10 and 15 pound weights 3 times a week. I also enjoy geocaching, that gets me out of the house and onto some local trials.  I spend many hours each week working at Operation Gratitude. I am very blessed to have good health with no medical problems”, she points out.

The confident, but modest grandmother points out that we shouldn’t be so surprised.

“I do not think it is any big deal for someone my age to join in the fun and do what I can do. I work with ladies older that I and they don’t seem to have any problems getting the job done.”

Old school thinking. No whining. No excuses.
“Getting the job done.”
If ever there was a phrase that encapsulates all of this, there it is.

See you at the finish line….

Three years in a row.

 

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It was all too clear when you arrived in Kalispel that something very big was happening. There was an exciting buzz in the air and they were ready for Spartan Race to arrive.  The restaurants, motels and hotels all proudly displayed “Welcome Spartan Racers” to their sleepy, but beautiful mountain town. Posters were in every store window and even the TV and radio proudly boasted the inaugural event happening that weekend. The Spartans were invading and the local community were greeting them with open arms, and the people of Kalispell and Big Fork didn’t disappoint. Seasoned racers and curious first timers rubbed shoulders as they hastily made their way through the registration tents, keen to test their mettle in the inaugural Montana Reebok Spartan Sprint.

The men’s and women’s elites ran together at 8am, all keen to defy Race Director Todd Sedlak’s bold claim that nobody would

Men’s Winner Cody Moat

conquer the course in less than an hour. Indeed, it has quickly been suggested that this race was arguably the hardest Spartan Sprint has offered to date. However, four racers from the men’s elites broke the 60 minute barrier, Cody Moat being the fastest at 50m 25s. Second and third going to Chad Trammell (52.31) and proud local Brian Suttle (59.19) respectively. The ladies winner was Beverly Watson, with Jolene Wilkinson and Margaret Schlachter taking third. What’s notable about the women’s elite is that Beverley Watson rocked the course to first place despite being 60 years of age. “Too old to do a Spartan Race” now more than ever is no longer a valid excuse!

More defiance was shown throughout course of the day as competitors sweat and strained through the punishing hills and forests. JD West, a truck driver of 43 having lost 80lbs prior to the race, signed up for the course simply “because”. LA-based fitness fanatic Grant Zaragoza joined his friend Jozee Hofman for their first Spartan Race, refusing to let a little thing like the Cerebral Palsy they both suffer from get in the way of them finishing the course together.

Brad Ludden from First Descents, a non-profit organisation that enables young adult cancer survivors to try their hand at kayaking, climbing and other outdoor pursuits, was joined by those that battled and defeated the terrible disease, in the shape of Kelsey Tanner, Andy Bonnet and Denise Pearson all the way from Denver via a 16-hour drive in their sleeper van. More of their information can be found at http://firstdescents.org

Ian Reynolds and his service dog Miles also enjoyed the race. Some years ago, Ian made the decision to have the lower half of his right leg amputated after an incident involving fireworks left him badly injured. Despite this and in his own words it being “a blessing in disguise”, Ian now has a career in prosthetics having learned from the very guy that built his new leg.

The arduous terrain and punishing obstacles left many experiencing a gamut of emotions at the finish line. Some crossed not knowing whether to laugh or cry as the months of training finally came to fruition. None moreso than Nyk Kuntz who was surprised to see his girlfriend there: Specialist Kaela Causey, an active service Black Hawk mechanic. Keeping it a surprise for two months that she would be there before a 9-month deployment in Kuwait, she waited at the finish line and they embraced amongst deafening cheers.

As the day drew to a close, both spectator and runner eventually had to be encouraged to leave, despite the good times being in full flow. The folk of Kalispel, Big Fork and the surrounding communities know how to party and wanted more! As such, it was quickly established that Spartan Race would be back next year, definitely for one day, maybe for two – who knows?

With so many vendors, companies and charities involved, next year’s event is shaping up to be closer to a reunion of new friends, rather than that of another regular Spartan Race event . Will you be there?

As an aside, Reebok Spartan Race would like to extend thanks to the warm welcoming reception that was given when we came to town. See you next year!

Ready to find a Spartan finish line?  Sign up today.  Click HERE.

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Spartan Race is headed to a brand new place this weekend for a Spartan Sprint – Montana! This is Spartan Race’s first time ever at this location and in Montana. This race will be located near Kalispell, the Gateway to the Glacier National Park! Our Race Director Todd Sedlak promises a brutal course but “worth it when you reach the summit.” Oh, and by the way you better be dressing in layers as the forecast is 34 degrees for race day! We have yet another race with the locals having an advantage of living at altitude.

On the men’s elite side we have Cody Moats, Chris Rutz, Elliot Megquier, Brad Fredricks, and Rob Michaud going. The Cody Moats vs Elliot Megquier match-up being the favorite. Let’s see what ya got boys!
On the woman’s side we have Juliana Sproles, Andi Hardy, Margret Schlacher, and Bev Watson. The woman’s side should prove to be a close race also. Good Luck to all stay safe and warm! Navy Federal Credit Union putting up some cash 1st $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $100!

Are you ready for a Spartan Race?  Click HERE to find one near you!

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