For the fourth time, Spartan Race brought the Spartans to the sunny, hot, ever scenic Oleta River State Park for the Miami Super Spartan.

It wasn’t just about surviving the heat in Miami. Competitors were thrown for a loop, encountering our newest iteration of the Monkey Bars obstacle, or should we say “Monkey Net”? That’s right – Miami introduced a version of the monkey bars obstacle which fashioned cargo webbing that began with an incline and ended with a decline traverse. The rule of the obstacle was no feet, just hands, and was meant to be performed in the same manner as you would the traditional Monkey Bars. All this, but over three feet of water. Fall off, and you know the drill. Burpees.

As per usual, the Hurricane Heat launched the weekend’s activities. Tony Matesi and John Ziegler took over 100 participants through demanding and sometimes seemingly impossible challenges that were developed to build camaraderie and teamwork. From team carries through the obstacles to being the first to test the new obstacle, this group of early morning Hurricane Heaters came together to figure out what it means to be a Spartan.

At first glance, the course may have appeared to be simple and flat given the nature of the Florida region. Assuming the lack of hills equated to an easier course would have been a massive faux pas. The course had unique terrain that acted as the ultimate obstacle in itself. Hard rocks, switchbacks and open waters delivered an exciting and exhilarating course which amplified the difficulty and created a course that was not to be taken for granted.

On Saturday the intense heat made for a very interesting day – never forget that hydration is key in these conditions. Drinking plenty of water the night before, the morning of and during a race with over eight miles and more than 20 obstacles, it is crucial to preventing yourself from cramping while out on the course.

Spartan SGX Coaches were on site leading warm-ups and cool downs. These highly educated coaches are there to assist racers in race prep and recovery of the taxing course. Joe Di Stefano, Co-Founder of the SGX lead the charge along with Coaches Sarah Pozdol and Casey Eischen. The Spartan SGX team will be traveling the Spartan Race circuit, so be on the lookout for the warm-up and cool down area near the start line.

In our elite heat, Spartan Pro Team members, April Dee, Isaiah Vidal, Brakken Kraker, also Founding Pro Team members Chris Rutz, Shawn Feiock and Hannah Orders were all in attendance. Other elite competitors included Arizona native and 2nd Male at the Vegas Super, John Yatsko, Chris McCorkle, Debbie Moreau, Valerie Smith, Sue Luck, Amanda Ricciardi and Sarah Pozdol.

Saturday’s men’s elite heat came down to the difference between making the Spearman Toss and having to complete a set of 30 burpees. Brakken Krakker successfully nailed the spear throw taking the top spot over John Yatsko. Coming in third for the men was recent Spartan Pro Team addition, Isaiah Vidal. April Dee of the Spartan Pro Team dominated the women’s division taking first place over Debbie Moreau and Founding Pro Team member, Hannah Orders.

On Sunday April Dee returned to once again take the top spot on the podium with a demanding lead over Debbie Moreau taking the number two spot and Geishel Valverde grasping a third place finish. In the men’s division, John Yatsko returned with determination after practicing his spear toss and captured a first place finish. An extremely friendly second and third place finish was taken by Isaiah Vidal who showed a tremendous amount of sportsmanship as he waited to cross the line with Joey Patriola after running a majority of the Sunday Super Spartan together.

Close to 10,000 Spartans came and conquered the course this weekend at the Super Spartan in Miami, but there was one very special set of finishing scenes that played out under the relentless Florida sun. Remembering that being a Spartan is about overcoming adversity, finishing what you start, and never giving up no matter the circumstance, it was a joy to behold the newest member of the Spartan family – a young man called Sean. His “Best Buddy”, Tripp Prevatt, has been running races for some time now, making sure to always do one lap for himself and one additional one so that he can give that medal to Sean. You see, Sean has Cerebral Palsy. After telling Sean countless stories about the races he conquered, he wanted to find a way to give Sean the opportunity to join him on the course so they could both earn Spartan Finisher medals, together.

Naturally, the Spartan Kids course again showed that same fighting resilience. Climbing over walls, crawling under neon green “barbed wire” and zig-zagging through a web of bungee cord providing a glimpse of the future Spartans of the world. Be on the lookout; one day these young ones will be standing atop the podium. Just you wait and see!

All of these incredible experiences are made possible with the support of our incredible sponsors, Reebok, ZICO Coconut Water, CorePower, Clif Bar Builders Bars, the U.S. Navy, Eco Vessel, Air Force Reserves, Nestle Water, and DeliverLean. With their support Spartan Race showed Miami once again what we mean by “you’ll know at the finish line.”

Congrats to everyone who Spartan’d UP in Miami. Next up, Spartan Race is headed to the Midwest for the Indiana Sprint. What started as a Founders Race has become a staple of the Spartan tour, it you’re not signed up yet, what are you waiting for?

Go ahead, sign up. We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By: Casey Eischen

This past weekend we took part in the first ever Spartan Race 12 Hour Hurricane Heat. Honestly, had Joe Di Stefano not invited me I would not have considered it but who am I to pass up that opportunity? I had never done a Hurricane Heat so I had no expectations, but being a SGX Coach and finding out this was a Death Race qualifier I knew one thing, they would do everything they could to try to break us.

The nerves set in a week before when we get this ominous email from Tony Matesi saying they have been watching us and then proceeded to name a bizarre mandatory supply list each athlete must take. The list included a golf ball, flotation device, and Hooters poker chip to keep in our backpack that would carry enough food and hydration for 12 hours. Oh, and we will be in the desert so why not make us wear all black while we are at it!

Morning of, 32 of us HH12HR athletes met at 5:15am with the rest of the regular HH crew of 60, but we we’re distinguished by our reflective vests. We didn’t actually start til 6am and of course we kicked it all off with burpees. We did them together counting as a team until told to stop at 103. Next came the first of what would be MANY dunks in the ice bath. At first we were told to just sit in there and recite the Spartan Warrior Ethos and then we all had to cross over the other side by submerging our heads under a wall. This would be my biggest Achilles heel of the day.

After that, we had to duck walk up a mountain to where there start line was and of course, do more burpees. From there, we had to lay on the ground and roll about 100 yards to where we would build a “tunnel of love”. First person to arrives goes to plank, next person army crawls under to plank, and so on. I was third to fall in line which meant I had to hold a downward dog/plank for about 10 minutes while 90 people crawl under. Not so bad but your pack is on your head crunching your neck. Then we proceeded to some obstacles. First was the under/over where I was chosen as the person to not touch the ground. I would bear hug the hurdle and swing under which was most affective while I saw other groups lay down and pass someone on top. After climbing another hill we then proceeded to some more obstacles: cargo net, wall, and then to the rope climb where we all had to wait til every athlete hit the bell at the top. I hopped right to it nailing it and then watched as a bunch of men tried to get a larger fellow up without success. Finally someone grabbed the bell from the top and brought it down to him to ring.

By this time, athletes and spectators were filling in so why not parade us in front of them? So we had to do about 30 minutes of different exercises which included more burpees, push ups, lateral gorilla, planks, and kid n play. At this point, 3 hours was up and we went back to the dunk tank to chant the ethos, ran out jumping the fire that just kicked off near the finish line, and said goodbye to the HH crew. 3 hours was already up?! Easy, peasy I thought!

Then the tone of the game changed and things got real. Tony shows us a map and says, “you are no longer a team, it’s individual challenges”. So, our first mission was to run to a destination in the desert that’s off course, grab a tire, and meet back at the start line in x amount of time. I was the first girl to the tire graveyard picking what seemed smaller than others, little did I know the smallest ones were buried under to be revealed to the slower runners.

It’s about 10am and Tony says, “now do the whole 9+ mile obstacle race with the tire”. I was more than happy to oblige and excited to do all the obstacles in a 4 hour window. “Piece of cake”, I thought! Although time was on my side, it quickly became apparent we had entered the suck. Maneuvering up and down gravel hills was quite dangerous! Sometimes I chose to bear crawl because I couldn’t keep my footing with the weight of the tire. The whole time I kept thanking God I was not racing this at full speed. It would be all too easy to miss a step and injure yourself.

So through cargo nets, walls, the Hercules hoist, multiple carries, tire flips, crawls, and many other obstacles, I made it through with ease of my tire. I was lucky to be small enough to fit inside my tire where I could position it to rest on top of my pack so it actually helped in the gravel carry because I was able to use the tire to place the weight vs using strength.  But still, holding anything for that long burns your shoulders. If we missed an obstacle it was a 50 burpee penalty vs the usual 30. Rope climb and monkey bars with a tire? Not a chance!

So me and my new buddy Kristine stayed together through the entire course helping each other and laughing while we would nonchalantly take a pee break while chatting to people passing by. I really want to thank everyone who passed us that day. Everyone was so encouraging shouting words of praise. That’s the best part of the Spartan events, we all want to see the other succeed and hearing cheers from fellow racers made our will that much stronger that day.

I do feel I was well prepared for this event. I had all kinds of electrolytes, salt packets, and snacks to help carry me through such a long day in the desert. I even helped a few of the other athletes including some that were not in HH12HR but were desperately seeking salt for cramps. Not once did I have a physical limitation. Despite only being back in the game for 6 months after a year off from total knee recon and 4 surgeries to replace toxic breasts, I never experienced a twinge of pain or cramp. For me, it was the mental part of dealing with the environment. As previously mentioned, the terrain was incredibly wicked with multiple climbs on gravel and rock. And of course, it was blazing hot and I was surprised I was one of few to wear sunglasses (mine are prescription) to help block the sun. Another tool that helped me greatly that day was the dry fit handkerchief I tied around my neck. I used it to cool myself, pick dust globs out of my nose, to cover my mouth when crawling, to wipe things off, and to occasionally cover my whole face while some wicked sand storm would blast through. The weirdest thing about the desert is how quick the temp changes. You would be incredibly hot with dry mouth and burnt skin but then a cloud would come in creating a rapid chill, especially after you enter those dang ice baths!

So after another dunk in the ice bath, Kristine and I crossed the finish line just in time for the cut off. While waiting for everyone else to finish and trying to get warm, we were awarded a break to refuel and collect our finisher medals and shirts. All of us were delighted about having something warm to put on. However, only 19 of us successfully completed that mission. While the others were able to rejoin us, they were not eligible to receive the HH12HR patch.

Only 4 more hours to go and feeling great at this point! They decided to parade us again in front of everyone with our hands interlocked to each other between our legs and then back into the damn ice bath!!!! Really?!! Get us warm and then make us crawl under barb wire while freezing water sprays us only to fully submerge us in the ice bath again?! At this point, I was pissed! We get out and they say go make sand angels. My head was angry as I stared up at the sky flailing around arms and legs. The clouds rolled in and even though I cloud see the sun I was shivering so badly all I could do was pray the clouds would move. Just to mess with us a little more, they had us flip over face down to make sand angels while they kicked up dirt.

After another series of torturous exercises that included group sit ups, more rolling, fire man carries, reverse bear crawl down hill and crab walks back up hill, we were sent on another mission….after another trip to the ice bath of course. We partnered up and were told to retrieve our poker chips from the tunnel under the freeway off course. Lucky I’m only 5’1 because the first tunnel we had to cross was tiny, dark, and laced with spider webs. Then we met one of our slave drivers under the freeway where he demanded 100 push ups for the chip. We did them together in sets of 10 because our shoulders were absolutely destroyed at this point. After running back to hand in the chip, we were greeted with yet another damn ice bath!

Only 2 hours left and we were dragged to a car where we had to retrieve logs to carry. Once we reached our next destination it was exercise roulette drawing from a deck of cards that would determine what and how many of each exercise we would do together as a team. Finally, the golf ball and sharpie came into play writing our names on them only to have them chucked into the desert. After all, Easter is coming so why not celebrate with a hunt? Still not sure why we had to bring a floatation device to the desert, perhaps to slow us down as we crossed under water in the ice bath….?

Back to the logs and on to another destination of freezing water where we did more burpees. At this point I was so cold and the sand storms were so bad that I began coughing uncontrollably feeling like I had pneumonia. One more hour!!  Well, the sand storms got so incredibly dangerous that parts of the Spartan festival started flying around so they put us to work helping break down set ups and grab sand bags to reinforce tents. Thank god because I was praying for no more ice baths. I honestly could not wait to run out of there and get dry clothes after one last task, Indian run the festival while carrying a heavy ass tractor tire.

Finally, our day was done. We earned our shirts, and while only half of us earned the badge, we all earned honor! Some people must have quit along the way as well because the group pic does not have 33 athletes in it. Either way, it was a complete head trip and I totally cried at the end knowing that I can do anything as long as I keep a strong will. I would definitely do this event again, any day. As far as the Death Race goes, I think I may have to pass on that for now so that I can take on the Ultra Beast later this year.

Thank you to all my teammates, slave drivers, and everyone who encouraged our journey. Every bit of the suck was worth it. AROO!!!!

 

Do you think you have what it takes to do the HH12HR? Sign up today! 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The hills were as relentless as the baking Nevada temperature.  Who can find hills in the desert?  Spartan Race!  Add to the mix the single most competitive line-up of Elite Spartan Racers in it’s entire history, sprinkle in some incredible finishes, our walls, ropes, tires, and gladiator pit and it proved to be a mouth-watering recipe.  We consider our first visit to the Vegas to be one for the record books!
An epic dual for 2nd and 3rd place in the men’s Elites was decided by a mere four hundredths of a second between Cody Moat and Hunter McIntyre.  The two almost “jostling” one another as they sprinted for the finish line, proved how high the standards are at that level of the sport.  Hobie Call topped them both by a narrow margin.

The women’s top five elites were separated by a mere two and a half minutes, each competitor pushing harder and stronger than ever before. April Luu took the top award with Tyann Clark and Amelia Boon taking 2nd and third respectively.

The times being :

Men
1. Hobie Call 1.04.09
2. Cody Moat 1.07.10
3. Hunter McIntyre 1.07.10
Ladies
1. April Luu 1.24.46
2. Tyann Clark 1.25.47
3. Amelia Boone 1.26.37

Away from the elites, more stories of heroism and inspiration spread amongst the racers. Travelling from San Diego, ex-military servicemen Brian Riley and Lionte Stores showed that even losing a limb is, to quote Brian, “is no reason to stop.”

When asked if a Trifecta was the plan, Lionte nodded, “of course, nothing is going to stop either of us earning that Trifecta!”

Andy Alvarez explained how the retina in his right eye detached, leaving him with deteriorating sight and the probability of losing it altogether. Using that as a catalyst to “go out and take more risks and live life”, he signed up for the Spartan Race to push himself.

With family hailing from Sparta itself, MMA UFC fighter Jamie Varner also finished his first Spartan Race, vowing he’s definitely going to return to his “new addiction.”

Connor Bradley serving out of Camp Pendleton, CA, topped off his Super Spartan with a proposal at the finish line to his fiancé Nicole De Silva which she happily accepted.

She said yes!

Given the overwhelming success of the inaugural Las Vegas Spartan Race, next year’s event will be a check you can take to the bank.

Are you ready for your Spartan finish line?  Sign up TODAY and join the toughest on the planet.

A huge Spartan “Aroo!” to our amazing volunteers who helped us really make Vegas the incredible day it was!

Tags: , , , ,

Reebok Spartan Race is scheduled to invade the Entertainment Capital of the World in just ten short days. And what’s more entertaining than a former WEC lightweight champion currently fighting in the UFC taking on the Reebok Spartan Race course? Jamie Varner will be there April 6 to take on the first ever Reebok Spartan Race in Las Vegas.  The 28-year-old is recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of action since his UFC 155 victory over Melvin Guillard and will be facing his first, but not last Spartan Race course.

And he’s taking this race very seriously. “I’m a competitive person. I fight people for a living!” He goes on to say, “I was medically cleared  two weeks ago and this gives me motivation to train.  It’s a different kind of motivation and that’s exciting.”

The MMA fighter is no stranger to intense competition and has few worries about race day. “I don’t have to worry about someone punching me in the face,  but it is a bit more mileage than I’m used to running.  That might be the only thing in the back of my mind.”

To prepare for the Super Spartan Varner has added more mileage to his regular training regime. “I added more aerobic conditioning with long runs. I’m most looking forward to the finish line!”

Varner is proud of his Greek heritage and the Spartan Race is right up his alley, “My great-grandmother moved to the US from Sparta. This race is so fitting! To be in Vegas and do the event makes me proud to represent my family and my origin.” He even has a Spartan inspired tattoo on his arm.

After the Spartan Race April 6th Varner is looking for his first MMA match-up for 2013 but doesn’t count out more Spartan events. “I want the fastest road to the title spot. Looking forward to getting my chance.”

First stop on that road? A Spartan finish line in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll be sure to warn our Gladiators that he’s coming…

Meet and watch him in action on April 6th! Register today!

Tags: , , , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

When Team X-T.R.E.M.E. stepped out onto the Leesburg field, escorted by a bagpiper, the festival area that is normally buzzing with activity suddenly quieted and turned their attention to the eight figures crossing the lawn.  What would follow as the team took to the course, two wounded warrior athletes included in the effort was unlike anything we’ve seen at a Spartan Race.  Hands down, this was the most widely read story we published in 2012.

It was the first time the team would take on a Spartan course, but it wouldn’t be the only time we’d see the team, complete with blacked out gas masks, run in 2012.  They’d return to the Carolina’s Beast and will also be onsite in our upcoming Times Square demonstration.   They’ll be coming with two of their wounded warrior athletes, Eduard Lychik (single leg hip disarticulation), and Marine Corporal Todd Love

(trimembral amputee of both legs above the knee and left arm below the elbow.)  Love was a part of the Leesburg team and his performance and determination throughout the course was nothing short of inspiring.

I had the privilege to see them in action on that day in Leesburg and the blog post from that day was our biggest of the year.
What’s your excuse now?  Get registered TODAY.     To read about that memorable and emotional day, click HERE.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tales from the Chicked: Carrie Adams, Chicked Founder

by Beth Shields, Spartan Chicked member

Two and-a-half years ago, no one would have expected Carrie Adams to spark a revolution for women in the sport of obstacle racing.  Working in the corporate grind and raising her family she couldn’t fathom how much her life would change and how many lives she’d change in the process.

In November 2010, Adams finalized her divorce and was unexpectedly laid off from her consulting job within a two-week time span.  Then 28, and suddenly a single, unemployed Mom of two young girls, “I was in a very dark place at the time,” she says.  Never one to be down long, she quickly secured another job as a medical consultant in Omaha, Nebraska, and settled in to her new position.

Around the same time, good friend, and ultra-endurance athlete, Spartan’s own Jason Jaksetic, convinced her to try a Spartan Race,

SoCal Super Spartan 2011

the Super in Temecula in February 2011.  An avid runner, Adams was an endurance athlete, but had never participated in an obstacle course race.  “Just come try this Spartan event in California,” Jaksetic told her.  “There’s fire, barbed wire and walls.  You’re going to love it.”  Adams was far from smitten. “The more he’s telling me, the more I’m like, ‘that sounds horrible.’”

Jaksetic’s urging prevailed, and Adams was convinced to come out and race on what turned out to be the coldest day in Southern California in 200 years.  She was also featured in a race video that was made that day about overcoming obstacles.  Notably, the video also features Hobie Call – it was the first Spartan Race (he won) of his career.  Adams ran the course next to Joe Desena, who carried an axe the entire distance.  Desena is one of the founding members of Spartan Race.

“It was one of the most beautiful and exhilarating races I’d ever done,” says Adams.  “I was looking around, and thinking that there should be more people there.  It blew my mind that more people weren’t doing it.  I said to Joe, ‘How are you going to get more people here?’”  His response was, “You tell me.” She laughs.

“That is how it all started.  I’ll always be grateful to Jason,” says Adams.  “He’s still one of my favorite people, we are co-editors of the SR blog, but more than that he’s a very good friend.”

The Spartan Race series was developed by eight “Founding Few” members, including endurance athletes, and mountaineers.  Inspired by the Spartan Death Race (the liability waiver consists of three words:  “You may die,” and only 10% of competitors finish), these obstacle courses are meant to be a more accessible version open to more than just elite athletes.  There are four race lengths: the sprint, 3+ miles with 15+ obstacles; the super, 8+ miles with 20+ obstacles; and the beast, 13+ miles with 25+ obstacles and now the Ultra Beast that is a marathonish distance with more than 50 obstacles.  Unlike traditional endurance events, it’s almost impossible to know what to train for.   It’s the only chipped, timed obstacle organization in the world with world rankings and a points system.

After that seminal race in California, Desena contracted Adams as a part-time blogger and marketer, while she continued her full-time job of medical consulting and raising her daughters.  The part-time work for Spartan quickly became unmanageable in tandem with her full time gig.   At the point when it seemed she was in an untenable position, Adams met with her medical consulting services boss and was told they had lost funding on her project.  She felt it was perfect timing and accepted a full-time contract with Spartan Race.

Passionate, upbeat, and charismatic, Adams set out to promote Spartan Races across the globe, and decided to focus on women, an as-yet unrealized demographic in the sport.  To that end, Spartan Chicked, the female-only offshoot of Spartan Races, her brainchild, began.  With very little fanfare, it was initiated at the first ever Spartan Beast with Adams and about a dozen other women.  It’s now a phenomenon promoted through a closed Facebook group that has grown to about 10,000 members in the last nine months.  Adams regularly joins in, recently posting a “WOD” – workout of the day – challenging the Chicks to do planks every hour on the hour, take pictures and post them to the group, and sharing her love of all things fitness, life with her two small girls, and her love of bacon, CrossFit and Pilates.  ”These women mean the world to me.” She says.  ”They are remarkable.”

While promoting the Spartan brand, she continues to race approximately six Spartan events a year among other events – she just did a marathon on Saturday.  She ran the Beast in Vermont with three of her girlfriends, cartwheeling over the finish line.  “I was so proud of that medal,” she says.  “We didn’t run fast or anything, but we laughed and shared food and crawled through mud side-by-side, collectively suffering and coming out the other side.  That’s pretty rad.”  Two of the girls, Alyssa Tokorcheck and Monica Mondin, she had just met that morning, corresponding only on Facebook previously.  After finishing, Tokorcheck turned to her and said, “It seems kind of silly to tell you now, it was nice to meet you.”  That Spartan Race series has been an epiphany for Adams on many levels.  “I don’t know how to explain the magnitude of what I experience working for this company.  I am forever changed by the incredible people I get to work with, the athletes who I meet, and what I see on race day.”  That sentiment is encompassed by Spartan Race’s tagline which Adams coined, “You’ll know at the finish line.”

“It made complete sense,” says Adams of the tagline, “You can’t explain it to people who haven’t done it.  You just have to get out there and do one to understand.”  The recent Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Heroes Heat in Virginia is one example.  “That team blew my mind,” says Adams, who becomes serious for a moment, “I am so honored to have gotten to witness their race and I’ll never view the world the same again.  There is no such thing as impossible.  Life gets more beautiful every day.  Who gets to say that about their job?” she asks.  “I’m extraordinarily blessed.”

About the growth of Spartan Chicked, Adams says simply, “It’s a movement; it’s not a team, it’s a movement, a community, a network.  These women have changed their lives.  I am just thankful to have a front row seat to their accomplishments.”

The online Spartan Chicked Facebook group includes women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities who share not only training and nutrition tips, but also swap stories of motherhood and overcoming personal adversity.  The group is also free to discuss other non-Spartan races, a decision that was made early on in order to promote the easy atmosphere that Spartan Chicked maintains.  When Adams started, Spartan Races had 20,000 facebook fans; she’s helped grow that to nearly two million.

Adams sees these races as serving to challenge women in a way that traditional endurance events don’t.  “If you’re a racer in any capacity, finish lines can become anticlimactic.  As much fun as [racing] is, [Spartan races] are a gift; because when you finish, you finish something that you couldn’t prepare for.  The level of challenge starts to escalate . . . .  You find out what you’re capable of achieving is far greater than what you thought because you were living in a very constructed space of your own making.”

Adams sees women as having an edge in ultra-endurance sports. To her, “That’s a very cool thing.  Many women can go farther, go more, and endure longer.  It’s fun to show women, who are predominantly caretakers by nature, that doing for yourself from time to time will make you a better sister, daughter, wife, friend, because you’re more complete and more self-actualized.”

The Spartan Race series is something Adams promotes with a passion, “We’ve come to this place that we’ve forgotten how to be human beings, and we’ve forgotten what it means to live.  We’ve lost that connection that we have with the most primal parts of ourselves.  That’s why these events are so strongly resonating now more than ever, because people long for it.  We miss being human beings.”

Seeing women transformed and how her own daughters are impacted by being around ultra-fit women are huge inspirations for her.  “My girls are active.  Always have been.  They’ve grown up around that kind of atmosphere.”  She’s excited about an upcoming opportunity for them as well, “My Cross Fit Gym, CrossFit Omaha is starting up a kids’ program.  What a gift to give my girls,” she explains, “how to be powerful and strong and to understand and appreciate what that means.  You can’t put a price on that.  That will infiltrate everything that they do as decision makers, even into adulthood.  It’s something that is born out of ‘I can run that far,’ and ‘I lift this barbell,’ and ‘I can climb this wall.” It’s all part of the equation.”

For women who have never attempted this before, Adams has some advice:  “You have to just decide.  You can literally be a different person right now than you were 10 seconds ago.  You just have to choose it.  Tomorrow’s coming, whether you live healthy or not.  Imagine what one day on top of one day on top of one day starts to look like when you are living a healthier life.  Just embrace, whatever it is, registering for a race, joining a new gym, making healthier food choices . . . don’t wonder what your life could be, go out and make it what you know it can be.”

Let the revolution begin.

[Editor's Note: Carrie has been a full time Spartan employee since March 2011 and started the Spartan Chicked movement in August 2011.  To join the closed network (women only) go HERE and request to join.  You can find Adams' personal blog at www.leavingapath.com.]

Tags: , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

I received an email from Jen Rosant, the team captain of Gaspari’s Team Braveheart, and I wanted to share it with the Spartan Race community for a few reasons.  First, I know Jen personally and she is one of the most remarkable women I’ve ever met.  A survivor in every sense of the word, a motivator of the masses, and a living embodiment of the best of what Spartan is about.  Not new to Spartan Races, Jen has brought a team with her, her beloved Bravehearts, in bigger and bigger droves race to race.  When the weather was falling apart in New Jersey, when the hills were breaking the toughest of Spartan competitors, and when the miles weighed long and hard on the competitors last weekend, Jen was still powering forward, still motivating, still inspiring her team, many of whom were racing for the first time that day.

Jen Rosant

Jen Rosant, team leader of the Bravehearts is a 35 year old from Cliffwood Beach, NJ was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis ten years ago while in college and received the devastating news that her colon was in danger of rupturing or she would develop cancer that would ultimately kill her.  She suffered from kidney stones, received blood transfusions and had major surgery that showed she had developed PSC or Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.  She had a colostomy bag and a promise of a liver transplant for over three months until they could finally reverse the process.  She took painstaking visits to the hematologist for over two years every week spending hours in a chair getting IVs of chemotherapy and injections for cancer-related anemia. She ultimately faced a new diagnosis of Chrohn’s disease and despite the trauma, she’s been lucky enough to NOT need a liver transplant.

Jen, a member of Team Gaspari alongside her Bravehearts, has been taking Gaspari Nutrition products herself and has never felt better or been in better shape.  She’s able to do upwards of 35 events in one year – that’s pretty impressive for someone who weighed in at 100 pounds a few short years ago.  It’s just one of the many reasons why we love our partnership with Gaspari Nutrition.

They conquered the Spartan Race course that day, led by Jen, committed to one another and committed to finishing the course they’d been training for and they found their Spartan finish line.  We honor them, their accomplishment on race day, their dedication to training and to one another and we thank them for being an integral part of the fabric that makes up the tapestry of our Spartan community.

Here is her email:

Hello Carrie.

I cannot even begin to explain the impact that Spartan Race has created for Team Braveheart.  I have been contacted by each individual. They laughed, they cried, they shared their stories of triumph.  More importantly, we changed their lives.  They are making new goals, registering for more Spartans and they are begging me for more workouts in my Braveyard. The energy is high, the smiles are large and right now Team Braveheart feels like they can accomplish anything. Really, your team put together a challenge I couldn’t even imagine. Even with a few handfuls of events under my belt, this was one of the most difficult challenges to date. Yes, pinch me, I’m living a dream. I feel fantastic and so does my team. It’s contagious. Our posts, pictures and videos have not only inspired all of us but the people around us are ready to make changes too. Today, 4 people asked me about Spartan Race.  The words on the street, the fire is in their eyes, people are ready, and they are ready for real results and happiness.  The amount of letters, calls and texts are unbelievable.  I promise you this, you will see Team Braveheart again, you will see them at many of your events, but next year’s Tri-State you better get us a bigger tent, I plan on bringing 100+ Bravehearts with a larger drive than this year.  “If you don’t believe us, try and beat us” 

Jen Rosant.  

Jen’s Motivational Speech

Read Jen’s post about their experience HERE: Team Braveheart comes LOUD.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

Team Braveheart, a Team Gaspari crew, is heading to New Jersey for yet another Spartan Race.  When Team Braveheart shows up, you KNOW it’s going to be a good time!  Rolling 77 deep this time around, they are one of our largest teams in 2012 and we’re excited to have them take on our super course, that in recent days has had several black bear sightings!  Yikes!  Talk about being brave!  They’ll have company in their ten o’clock heat, UFC fighter Jim Miller will also be taking on the Spartan course.  We told you all about his home state appearance in a blog post earlier this week.

Gaspari has been a sponsorship partner for Spartan Race throughout 2012 and Official Gaspari Nutrition® has handed out over 50,000 FREE drawstring mesh bags to our racers throughout the year with samples of their products. We’ve seen people fill these bags with sand or rocks and use in their workouts. We’ve seen Spartans use them as a place to carry their gym clothes or muddy shoes after a race!  They’ll be on hand as a title sponsor in the Tri-State and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Here Jen Rosant, coach of Team Braveheart talks about how they are feeling going into this weekend’s Super Spartan event.

With only one day remaining before the Spartan Race, Team Braveheart is fired up and more lively than I have ever seen them!  For many, we have been training for over a year.  For some, this will be their first obstacle race.  The excitement and anticipation in the air is thick, but the real magic lies in our enthusiasm. It’s the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. This team is ready for one of the biggest challenges of our lives!  We are ready to take on our fears. We are ready to conquer the mud, fire and extreme ice cold mountain water. 

The Spartan folks are creative and we know they will design the most intense battlefield. We have been working extremely hard and we are ready to test our physical strength and mental resolve. We come large. We come loud! We come as a beast of a team!  Boasting a squad of 77+ Bravehearts, I plan on leading them through an experience which will only improve their vision, patience, persistence, courage and confidence.

Braveheart Danielle said, “I’m so ready for this Saturday, I’m a little scared but I know my team will pump me up and get me through this. I’m doing every obstacle, I don’t care if I fall, I’m getting back up and finishing!”

Being a part of Team Braveheart has been an amazing experience for many members.  “To be a Braveheart means that not only do you have the fortitude to try something new and challenging, but it means that you have a family of support right behind you to give you that extra push, high-five and that extra drive when you hear the Braveheart chant,” said Braveheart Jared.

Braveheart Greg says, “Being a Braveheart means to have an attitude and strength like no other. It has changed my life for the better. I see so many Bravehearts who never accept defeat and they always finish. I have learned so much.” Braveheart Manda said, “Being a part of Braveheart makes you a better person, not just athletically, but because you cannot help but be a kinder, gentler, more determined individual. Positivity radiates throughout this amazing group and anyone who encounters us is moved and affected in a way that has been described as life changing.”

Bravehearts push each other, motivate, inspire and genuinely care for each other. It reads in their eyes but most importantly you can see it out on the course. The Super Spartan Race is a challenge we have prepped for and are anxious to accomplish.  Braveheart Dave B said, “This race is another chance to push the limits, to change the routine and up the ante.” Team Braveheart faces daily challenges every day and they do not let anything get in their way. Braveheart Bryant was told he may never walk again after he was attacked by a metal baseball bat in college and spent 2 months in a coma. He has 14 plates in his head and many other terrible ailments, but today his perseverance and involvement with Team Braveheart has given him the extra drive to compete in his 2nd Spartan Race.  He told me, “I’m excited for Spartan; I can’t believe it’s been a year, I’m stronger, faster and I get the chance to race against younger, stronger and faster athletes. I’m looking forward to testing myself against the best and break through my own walls.” Braveheart Jeanette said, “Defeat is not an option, not for myself or any of my teammates, it means I will give more than I got.”

Just to cross the finish line is the main goal for most of the team.  To wear the finisher medal proudly will mean the world to most.  Braveheart Ivette said, “This Spartan Race will be my first race and definitely not my last.  I am excited and anxious to put my physical abilities to the test. I am doing this for me because I want it and because I can! I want to inspire my kids to be active, fit and healthy.” Braveheart Mechelle said, “The greatest challenge for me this year at Spartan will be those obstacles challenging my upper body strength but I’m confident with our Braveheart trainings and Gaspari Nutrition’s amazing products I will improve and finish with a higher level of achievement than I did last year. I can’t wait to run with our team, the energy is going to be ridiculous.”  Braveheart Jayson said, “The Spartan Race is the one race I look forward to every year.  I can’t wait to be with my team, my family!  I’m excited for the atmosphere, the challenges, the uncertainty and of course the beer!”

Team Braveheart is coming fierce! Together, we work towards creating positive change in one another every day of our lives. It’s not just about fitness. It’s about self-worth, integrity, passion, inspiration and the drive to live strong.  We were born to take on The Spartan and blessed to have found one another to take on the battle with!  You’ll see us Saturday braving our red and black proud… and when you hear that Braveheart warrior cry, find security knowing you are surrounded by some of the most incredible people you could ever encounter! We’ll see you out there!  Be brave enough to recognize your strengths and take on your challenges!  Go Team Braveheart!

Team Braveheart will be warming up and cooling down at the Official Gaspari Nutrition® tent which will be located near the Finish Line. Be sure to stop by their tent, meet their team and check out some of the products available at the Gaspari tent! See you this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

by Carrie Adams

Rounding down the hill to the Super Spartan Mid-Atlantic sandbag carry with the Team X-T.R.E.M.E. crew, eleven year old Junior Marine Luke Sliwinski was offered the option to take one of the the lighter 20lb bags in lieu of the men’s 40lb bags that were stacked in piles at the base of a quarter mile loop over halfway through the 10.5 mile course.  He immediately declined the offer with a polite, “No, thank you.” And without another word stooped down, his slim build struggling slightly under the weight, hoisted the bag up to his shoulder, and kept moving forward.

When Luke Sliwinski was five years old, he drew a picture of the twin

photo courtesy of Heather Sliwinski

towers ablaze, an image all too painful and familiar from the morning of September 11, 2001.  Too young to remember it in person, he’d grown up seeing the images and as he drew in the details, he knew that all he wanted was to be a Marine.  At that same tender age of five, he saw an air show demonstration from Marines at a nearby airfield, and was even more determined to join the service.  His mother, Heather, had to explain to the young Sliwinski that he’d have to wait until age eight before he could join the next closest thing – the Junior Marines Program.

According to their website, “The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.”

Luke, the youngest of six waited, however impatiently, until he could enlist and the now eleven year old who is about to enter sixth grade holds the rank of Sergeant and calls the Young Marines in his unit brothers. “I am the person I am today because of them.”   And that person is the youngest Spartans to take on our VA Super Spartan course alongside Team X-T.R.E.M.E. last Saturday, August 25th at Morven Park.  He toiled with the team for the 5.5 hours it took to complete finishing every obstacle and taking every step of the 10.5 miles course.  Says his mother Heather, “The accomplishment on Saturday blew me away.”  But her pride extends far beyond the Spartan course.  She goes on to say, “I am most proud of him humbleness through all of this.  He’s the kind of kid that stands up for what is right, even if he’s the only one standing.”

Luke was first introduced to Team X-T.R.E.M.E. and their mission in 2010 when he met USMC Cpl. Todd Love at Walter Reed Medical Center in Ward 57.  Cpl. Love, who also completed the Spartan Race on Saturday, was newly injured having lost both his legs above the knee and his left arm below the elbow in a violent IED explosion in Afghanistan.

Photo courtesy of Heather Sliwinski

Heather Sliwinski recounts the moment that Luke first saw Todd, “Even as a case worker for injured soldiers for six years, to see him that soon after injury took my breath away.  Luke didn’t see it, he just saw a hero. He climbed right up onto the bed with him and started talking.”  That first meeting was an encounter that would turn into a lasting friendship.  ”They call each other brothers,” says Heather.  And what kind of Marine does Sliwinski want to become?  ”A Recon, just like Todd.”

And Luke has not only spent the last seven years visiting wounded veterans at Walter Reed, he’s been raising money for them – nearly $10,000 worth.  And he’s not done.  ”I just want to do more.”  His appearance at the Spartan Race he hopes can draw attention to not only the team he loves, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. but to the work of Operation Ward 57 an organization he is closely connected to personally.  Known as “the amputee ward”, the orthopedic Ward 57 at WRAMC houses some of the most severely injured patients for weeks or even months and is a place that Sliwinski and his family have spent a great deal of time.   His plan until he’s old enough to join is to keep educating kids, raising money, and ultimately joining the Marines when he graduates high school.

Team X-T.R.E.M.E. member Todd Love says of Luke, “Luke has been with me since the beginning of my recovery. He is one of heroes, and we stay in touch with each other. I see him as a little brother but he full of what this country needs more of.”

When asked about how he feels about his heroes of Team X he said, “They are the most amazing people.  What they do, how they treat people.  They just keep fighting, even injured… Freedom isn’t free.”  And of his sandbag carry in Virginia he admits it was his biggest test of the day, the toughest obstacle for him to complete.  ”If they could do it, I didn’t want to let them down.  I didn’t want to take the easy way out.”

Spartan Race offers Kid’s Heats at every US Domestic Event.  Find one near you by clicking HERE and get you and your kids ages 4 – 13 signed up!  Proceeds to to benefit the Kids Fit Foundation

Find Luke Sliwinski on FB HERE.  To find out more about Team X-T.R.E.M.E. click HERE.

To find out more about the Young Marines Program, click HERE.

To find out more about Operation Ward 57, click HERE.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,