A lesson learned for those that took the race lightly – make sure you hydrate!

Spartan Race’s second visit to the glitzy atmosphere of Las Vegas delivered more surprises that you could shake a roulette wheel at. Under the relentless Nevada sun that was as unforgiving as the rocky terrain, over 8000 Spartans – veterans and newbies alike – earned their medals and the right to call themselves Spartans.

Heat, rocks, dry and sandy landscapes that seemed to go on forever, even sudden and violent sandstorms – it didn’t matter. The people were here to be tested and to thumb their noses at whatever stood in their way. A move to a different venue didn’t change the attitude or the desire of staff or racer and the relentless terrain certainly did its job, but what it didn’t know was that it was dealing with a different breed of person – The Spartan Racer.

The elite waves threw up some surprises, as new boy Glenn Racz powered his way through a field of established elite veterans to grab number one spot. John Yatsko’s background in running helped him to grab second place, while the familiar sight of Hunter McIntyre on the podium, albeit in third place, made up for the lack of familiarity. Tyann Clark breezed to a comfortable first place, with Amelia Boone in second and the always-smiling face of Rose Wetzel-Sinnett taking third spot. With so much talent, skill and power now bristling within the elite Pro Team, it’s becoming harder and harder to predict podium placements, let alone winners. With this competition being so fierce, races are only going to become faster and tighter.

The winner’s podium at Las Vegas 2014

As ever, the day started with the Hurricane Heat, but it was a special one as it would morph into the first ever class of the new 12 Hour Hurricane Heat. Under the usual guidance – abuse? – of Tony Matesi and a back-up of three extra Spartan Race staff, the competitors were treated to dips in cold water as early as 6am, crawls, squats and endless burpees.

As the regular Hurricane Heaters broke away after around 3.5 hours, the HH12HR – as it is now known – were bombarded with all manner of horrific crimes against the body, one of which being the punishing ordeal of finding, rescuing and returning to the start line with a tire that they would then learn they would cover the course with the whole time. From this, one of the highlights of the event was born. Despite understanding that there was a strict time cut off for the lap with the tire, Kyoul Cha of Arizona (and Weeple Army/Team SISU member who again won the biggest team title) chose to forego his official finisher title and instead stay behind in order to help another competitor that was struggling with his run.

Those unaware of Kyoul’s background will not know that his profession is that of a Hotshot firefighter. Covering long distances with the added pressure of time constraints and intense heat is his normal day. Any other day he would happily have been able to complete the distance in well under the time allowed, but remembering the Warrior Ethos that is taught during the Hurricane Heat, he adhered to the last line which states that, “you will never leave a fallen comrade”. Kyoul sacrificed his official finisher title and patch in order to help his colleague – unwittingly embodying everything about Spartan Race in one selfless gesture.

Kyoul Cha sacrificed his own qualification of the 12 Hour Hurricane Heat to help a fellow competitor finish their race.

In the event village, Spartans were treated to the sight of not one, but two weddings. Well, it wouldn’t be Spartan Race without one, especially given that it was Las Vegas. Amongst deafening cheers and a volley of “Aroo!”’s, Spartan Race and thousands of racers applauded those starting a new chapter in their respective lives. As with the famous phalanx, the coming together of a couple showing that a unit can be stronger than the sum of its parts.

Those with marriage furthest from their minds of course, were the Spartan Kids. As ever, the tremendous and vibrant energy that could be felt from the aura that followed them was magnificent. Caring not that the heat was climbing higher with every minute that passed, they ran through mud pits, over hills and crawled over the ground with reckless abandon. In an age where technology suggests that a good time could and perhaps should be had indoors and beckoning a finger of a blander, more sedentary lifestyle, to see thousands upon thousands of children climbing, running and ultimately, playing their way to a healthier way of life, one would believe that perhaps that there is still an ever increasing pocket of resistance to the malevolent shadow of an unhealthy lifestyle.

With the always supportive Reebok, Eco Vessel, Core Power, National Air Guard and the Navy Credit Union helping bring Spartan Race to the fore time after time, Spartan Race showed not just Las Vegas, but everyone associated that yet again Spartan Race delivered.

There’s a time when you realize what it means to wear that medal and feel that pride and we say it often.

You’ll know at the finish line.

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One competitor laughs of the cold and takes time to tell the photographers that it really isn’t that bad under the water.

You’d have been forgiven for thinking you were not actually in sunny California, but perhaps Chicago, Detroit or somewhere not altogether unfamiliar with ice and below freezing temperatures.
With the typical Spartan Race rain on the Saturday and the malevolent grin of glinting frost and ice beckoning the competitors to the start line on Sunday, the elements had already conspired to make the competitors suffer.

Spartan Race elite male and female podium finishers

With many regular faces descending on Malibu from all corners of the country, the all-too familiar feeling of a reunion in was in full force. However, once stepping over that start line, all friendships were put temporarily on hold. Tellingly, a water obstacle again proved to be the undoing of Hobie Call as he only briefly misjudged a plan of attack. This merest hint of a chance was something Hunter McIntyre exploited and punished by pushing past and snatching first place by only 33 seconds. Brakken Krakker took third place by crossing the line only just over a minute after Hobie, proving just how tight the men’s elite class is now. It seems as though every race is now a guarantee for a nervous and exciting fight for 1st place.

The female elites didn’t fail to add to the tension, either. Rose Wetzel (1st), Lauren Ho (2nd) and Tiffanie Novakovich were separated by only just over 3 minutes. The female elites are crashing through into 2014 with higher rates of training and motivation than ever before, so it was unsurprising that numbers into double figures were finishing faster than some male elite runners. Competition has never been fiercer!

Despite having no legs, Mathew Webb failed only one obstacle – the spear throw.

Away from the professionals the Spartan Race inspiration machine was in full force. Travelling over 7 hours to make the event to represent the ever-present and all-conquering Weeple Army (taking their 8th biggest team win), Mathew Webb crushed the course despite having the “minor inconvenience” of having had no legs since being only 18 months old. Making jokes that the water in the lake was so cold that he couldn’t feel anything below the knee, he powered through failing only the spear throw.“Overcoming Obstacles” was led by Slosh Pipe champion Kevin Kierce. Containing competitors  Michael Aygin, Brian Tom, Michael Yu, Durrell Johnson, James Mogana, Joel Senteno, (who are all hard of hearing or blind) and previous Spartan Race blog subject Misty Diaz who battles Spina Bifida, they all went through the course in a flurry of high-fives from well-wishers and a  volley of “AROO!” chants. Accompanying Kevin was his 74 year old mother, Linda Barber. Together, this one group alone pushing the fact that there are simply no valid excuses.

Linda Barber, 74, has completed every Malibu Spartan Race to date.

Team SISU,led by Daren De Heras made multiple loops of the course over the weekend, choosing to continue their Death Race ethic by carrying logs, tires and wearing elevation masks in order to make “things more interesting”.

From Hollywood, actors Tony Besson – making his third Spartan Race appearance – and Josh Peck ran in a wave shortly before Eric Colley fromTMZ made his debut at the start line.

As 2014 winds down to a close, Texas will see thousands of Spartan descend on Glen Rose where host the last race of year. Spartan Race will see out 2013 with a Beast and the last chance to qualify for a Trifecta before the new season starts in January. Will you be one of them?

 

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Edgar at the Winter Death Race.

Death Race veteran and Spartan Race specialist Edgar Landa shares some top tips for all racers. 

So…you’re all geared up, pumped up and ready to attack the course this weekend at the Malibu Spartan Sprint. If you are veteran of multiple Spartan Races you know the routine, what to pack and how to prep your game face.  If you are a nervous first-timer you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, nervous or apprehensive about what to expect.  Below are some helpful hints for both the experienced racer and the newbie that will make your day in Malibu just a bit more comfortable.

1. Bring a towel and a change of clothes (including socks, dry shoes, jacket and a beanie – you lose the most heat from your feet and head) to wear AFTER the race. I use quick-drying camp towels like the Packtowel Ultralite sold at REI.  They come in a variety of sizes and colors and even the XL (50″x27″) fits in the palm of your hand.  But if you want to bring your Superman towel then go nuts.  The water from the hoses in the shower area will be COLD but so what!!!  You just ran a cold, wet race…what’s a few more minutes of cold water?  Boo hoo! SUCK IT UP! AROO!  You will be thankful not being in cold, wet clothing while trying to enjoy the post-race festivities or waiting for the shuttles to the parking lot!  Last year I saw a lot of shivering, miserable looking people in the shuttle line.  Be dry, be warm, be happy!

2. Flip-Flops/Sandals (in addition to dry shoes): Keep your feet mud free in the shower area by putting on some flip-flops. You can also avoid the cold, muddy ground as you make your way to a changing area/tent by wearing flip-flops.

3. I also bring enough cash to pay for bag check, food, merchandise and leave my debit and credit cards locked in the car so I don’t lose them at the venue. You can also snap a photo of your ID on your smart phone and use that as ID.

4. Contractor-grade trash bag: You can place your wet, muddy clothes and shoes in the bag after you are done beasting the course. And, seriously, use contractor bags not Hefty or Glad kitchen bags.  Those will allow the moisture to eventually seep through and nothing sucks worse than getting home and finding a puddle of water in your trunk or back seat.  You can find them at any Home Depot or similar store.  Contractor bags: Those suckers will hold back the Red Sea.

5. In addition to my small back pack with change of clothes, towel, etc I also bring a Home Depot 5-Gallon bucket to deposit my wet clothes and shoes into before I drive home. Sometimes I check my bucket along with my backpack at bag check (place backpack in bucket or clip it to bag with carabiners). Convenient AND easier to carry than a trash bag. By the way, the “Let’s Do This” on the Home Depot buckets is new to me.  I wonder if Home Depot has been turned onto alternative workout uses for their bucket? Fireman bucket carries with 50lb sandbag, anyone?

6. If you use gloves cut the fingers off the work gloves. Otherwise, you trap mud and water inside the fingers AND your hands get colder.

7. My recommendation is not to bother with multiple layers or rain jacket if it is cold and/or rainy. You will get wet almost immediately from the rain coming down or the first water obstacle you hit. No need to run the course with extra wet clothing hanging off your body. Instead wear a long-sleeve tech shirt or compression shirt.  And, for the love of Pete, do NOT wear cotton! It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Suffer for a few minutes while waiting for the start of your heat or hand off your jacket to a friend as the gun goes off…You are running a Spartan Race! Suck it up! Aroo! Aroo! 

8. On the serious side: You might have concern about getting across water obstacles. In Malibu, the water is not particularly deep and you can always stay to the edge. If you still feel apprehensive ask someone to be your buddy as you wade across so you can keep an eye on each other. Be safe. Period. If you are running with a group like the Weeple Army  or Team SISU you will have a bunch of friends looking out for you.  If you are going at it solo…you will have a bunch of friends looking out for you.  Just remember to ask.  Someone will hold your hand, carry you, push you over and do whatever you need if you ask. And, again, be safe.  If you don’t swim stay to the edge and ask someone to stay with you and be your safety buddy.

Above all else…have fun!  You paid to do this so you might as well enjoy it.  Laugh and smile through the cold, the mud, the barbed wire crawl and everything else that gets thrown at you in a Spartan Race.

Aroo! Aroo!

Ruck On. Stay Muddy.

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Written by guest blogger Ang Reynolds

This Saturday and Sunday Spartan Race returns to Malibu California.  Calamigos Ranch has hosted each year Spartan has come and never  disappoints. The hills and water at the ranch lend for a muddy course  year after year. To honor a three-year tradition, Mother Nature has  promised cool temps and rain again this weekend, so don’t expect to  bask in the Southern California sun.

Hobie Call will be in Malibu this weekend hoping to claim yet another  Spartan victory. His son Hawk will also be racing this weekend,  following in his father’s footsteps. Don’t expect Hobie to walk away  too easily though. Several Spartan men are ready to challenge him.   Spartan elites Matt Novakovich, Hunter McIntyre, Brakken Kraker,  Elliot Megquier, and Miguel Medina are ready for the kill.

Miguel Medina is living in the mountains of Vermont, building his own cabin.

Miguel is  traveling cross-country from his new home in Killington, Vermont where  he spends his days training, hiking up and down Killington Mountain  and trudging through freezing water. (He hopes to build himself a  cabin for the winter before it’s too late to stay warm.) Other notable  men include Spartan Pro Team Elites Chris Rutz, Tony Matesi,Chris Obertlik and Michael Tobin.  Tobin will be making his Spartan debut.

Our Spartan elite woman will be ready to go this weekend. Ty Clark and  Jenny Tobin will go head to head. While Alaska native Tiffanie  Novakovich won’t be slightly bothered by the temperatures this  weekend. Atlas Pro Team member Rose Wetzel Sinnett will make her  second appearance at a Spartan Race. Don’t count out Irene Call. She  just set the world record for lunging a mile, something that will
definitely give her an advantage on the steep hills. Andi  Hardy will be there in all of her green glory ready to rock the barbed  wire. Other notable athletes include Laura Messner and Danielle Ross.

Regular Slosh Pipe event champion Kevin Kierce will lead a team of competitors who are more physically challenged than most.

Ross is ready to rock the slosh pipe and will be joining Weeple Army member Kevin Kierce to lead a heat for Weeples overcoming obstacles. That heat will  consist of blind athletes, several deaf athletes, and Misty Diaz, a woman with Spina Bifida. Weeple Army and biggest team leader Dave  Huckle will race both days after traveling around the world this year courtesy of Spartan Race  and recently completing the Australia Ultra Beast. Dave will finish  his season next weekend in Glen Rose Texas, rounding out  9 Trifectas!

Team SISU leader and Death Race veteran Daren De Heras is looking to break his own record of most laps by attempting 8 loops of the course weighted down with various logs, sledgehammers and other various weights. We wish him the best of luck!

Keep an eye out for the man in blue this weekend, Stephen Sinek and  his talented wife Aeni will be there to debut their oceanic design from  The Painted Warrior’s recent design contest. Whether you are looking  to P.R., have a good time with your team, or run with a friend, you  won’t want to miss the race this weekend.

See you in Malibu!

Are you ready for a Spartan Race? Look through our future events and sign up here.

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Look around any Spartan Race and you’ll often see groups that run together, wearing the same shirts and smiling for any nearby camera. They are there to not only beat the course, but to have a good time with their friends. Ranging in size from anything as little as 2 people to colossal numbers of into the hundreds, teams are now every bit a part of Spartan Race as the rope climbs and barbed wire crawls.

Dominating the West coast is The Weeple Army. Originating in Southern California, but now having “chapters” not only across the states, but worldwide as well, the familiar sight of swathes of green and black can be seen at many races. Boasting members that include Death Racers, Marathon runners and even Spartan Race staff, it’s a false assumption that they are an elite group of runners. All abilities – and indeed disabilities – are welcomed.

Also based in California are Team SISU, headed by Daren De Heras, regular Spartan Death racer and co-organizer of endurance events. Due to the appeal of the intense ferocity of the boot camps and events they put on, SISU has also expanded to the east coast, Midwest and now Texas. Team SISU teaches and coaches the team ethic whilst beasting trails and training hard.

“Team SISU was born a few years ago after my first Spartan Death Race. A few people searched me out to help them train for their first Death Race. When we started this it was long all day events meant to take people to their limits and beyond. It quickly grew as Spartan Races grew and we changed what SISU is. We have now merged with the Weeple Army and are the largest OCR team in the Nation. We have chapters on the West Coast, East Coast, Texas, and Midwest. We host Spartan Training events year long and modify every event so that all athletes of all levels can participate.”

Hailing out of Indiana, the might of the Cornfed Spartans, led by Jonathan Nolan, are instantly recognizable by virtue of their “wrap”-style shirts with the Spartan chewing on a corncob. Boasting over 1500 members, Cornfed members are rarely alone, something very useful as founder Jonathan Nolan explains, “Corn Fed uses the term “family” to describe our team. We use that because when one of us is down, the others pick him/her up, when one of us needs help, others are there, and that is what family does. No matter what, despite anything going on around us, we are there to help each other, whether they are teammates or not, and that is what makes us the Corn Fed Spartans. Next time you’re at a Spartan Race, yell out Corn Fed and see what happens!”

Out of Texas, the Lone Star Spartans follow a similar vein, as member Christopher Rayne explains, “Lone Star Spartans is a Texas based racing team dedicated to helping its members and others live an active lifestyle through the sports OCR, road racing, triathlons, and cycling. We strive to be team for people of all fitness levels that wish to challenge their mental fortitude and shatter their physical limitations. Currently we are at just over 400 strong and growing each day. One of the ways that we help new and current members get to know each other is that Paul Almanza (founder) is constantly looking for local races to join.”

In Canada, The Canadian Mudd Queens – with their team almost 300 strong – are an all-female group dedicated to staying together and helping one another. Pamela Kirk of the CMQ explains, “We just celebrated our first birthday in August. We came together as a group of about 4 online and later met in person. We’ve grown by word of mouth and indoctrinating our friends. We meet like-minded women at races and invite them to drink the kool aid. I believe my daughter is the youngest member [15] that runs adult Spartans and other OCRs. Our oldest member is in her 50s. We come from all walks and stations. No other joining criteria other than female.”

Hailing from Florida, self-confessed “goofy Asian dude”, JayTea Tran, a familiar face with the Spartan Race Street Team community, is a co-founder of Azn Armour which now has close to 500 members. “With our team being represented at most, if not all Spartan Races, it really brings home the close-knit community that we have formed. Our team runs together and we don’t leave any team member behind”, he explains. He continues, “with Azn Armour having teamed up with another east coast team, MudRunFun, it now means that the family is so large that no one person will ever have to run alone. We have a team page where we discuss training, diet, sport clothing among other things. We motivate each other by posting our daily workouts and training strategies.”

But these are just a few examples and barely scratch the surface of the multitude of teams out there. New England Spahtens, Team Braveheart, Chicago Spartans, WVVA Spartans, Team Ugly Fitness, Team Red White and Blue, Boot Camp Rhino, Warrior State Of Mind, Team Burgh all are familiar names across the country and are often seen destroying courses as a unit.

One team that stands out arguable more than any other is Operation Enduring Warrior. Made up of military veterans offering support to the nations wounded heroes, their trademark masks worn by each member signifies the struggles each military member goes through and are worn in a show of solidarity. Their member Todd Love’s picture now being an iconic shot of everything that not only they, but what all teams and Spartan Race stands for; pushing through adversity.

So, get yourself a group of friends, start a website or group page and see where it leads you! Spartan teams stick together!

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