Arguably one of the most anticipated, popular, and well-visited venues of the Spartan Race calendar is the glorious surroundings of Vail Lake, Temecula in Southern California. Boasting not only mountains and hills that simply refuse to quit, but a range of different types of terrain that will constantly keep you guessing. It’s the ideal place to test Spartans that are serious about their goals. Rocky trails, brush trails, sand, grass, swampy areas, even the beautiful lake from which it takes its name; even if you think you know the venue, it will always throw up surprises to make sure you don’t  – or can’t – become comfortable. Best of all, while all of this is going on, the famous Californian sun will kiss you while those wine valley zephyrs dance over your skin.

Running across the landscape of Temecula is a joy.

But priorities for the travelling Spartan are, as always the first thing one must consider – accommodation. Good rest the day before. Temecula is nestled north of San Diego, but much closer, you’ll find that it’s sandwiched between Hemet and Escondido. As such, you have the choice of three places all well within spitting distance of the venue that has ample parking, regardless of whether you are aiming for the Beast on Saturday or the Sprint on Sunday. Maybe you’re considering the 12-Hour Hurricane Heat. Either way, you’re covered.

One thing that is a nailed-down certainty is that after burning hundreds and possibly thousands of calories over the picturesque scenery, you’ll want to eat heartily .Thankfully, Temecula has more than its fair share of restaurants and diners. But as any knowledgeable Spartan will appreciate, Temecula is famous for something a little different. Set in the heartland of wine country, it would be remiss to not sample what it has to offer. When in Rome, as the expression goes. There are many places to see and visit in the area and thankfully, what could be a wealth of information that actually saturates to the point of confusion, is actually neatly arranged in this website right here. Check out the various activities, too, as well as places to stay, eat, and of course, tickle those taste buds with a nice glass of wine or two.

Of course, if wine isn’t your thing and you much prefer shorts, or maybe just a good old-fashioned beer, there are a wide range of places where your thirst can be quenched. Check out the range of places right here and choose which sounds best to you, based upon the reviews of past patrons and customers.  If you’d prefer to keep up with the big game, there are a range of Sports bars, too. Maybe you just want to shake your stuff after claiming your finishers medal and who could blame you? Check out this link for places to celebrate at. The folk of Temecula like to party, so why not join in with the festivities?

Temecula encompasses all types of terrain.

Regardless of whether you prefer the grape or the grain, the responsibility of any Spartan remains the same. If you’re drinking, don’t drive. Use one of the taxis in the area that will make sure you get back to your accommodation safely and without being a bother to road users or pedestrians alike. Remember that when you wear that finishers shirt, you set an example that other athletes look up to!

Remember that Temecula is renowned for having those warm winds whip up the sides of those hills, bringing the sand and dust with it, so prepare for a long, warm, dry race. Consider wearing a camelback as, while there will be water stations, some folk may find the need for more fluids than others. Remember to never leave a fellow racer wanting. Share fluids, gels and salt packets. No Spartan left behind.

See you at the finish line!

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Heather Lych wrote in recently about her time in Temecula and we were so moved by her story that we felt compelled to share it.

Dear Joe and Spartan Race,

I’m so grateful for all of you being there and and of course for ALL of your help,support,and encouragement from everyone. If it wasn’t for everyone who helped me with their selflessness and determination to see that I finished, I would have never crossed that finish line.

You believed in me when I already given up on myself and for that I am truly grateful. I got to see something that most people don’t realize exists in our society today and quite honestly, it touched my soul and restored some of my faith in humanity. I witnessed the courage, determination, heart and spirit that defines the meaning of a true Spartan! 

I’ve always prided myself in being tougher than the average woman. I’ve  faced my share of obstacles in my 37 years on this world, starting when I was just 8yrs old. A couple of neighborhood friends and I were taking turns riding a mountain bike that one of the girls had just received as a Christmas gift less than 2 weeks prior. The bike was a little big for me, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Unfortunately, the mother of a girl that lived next door was drunk and hit me head on with the Toyota truck she was driving. 


I literally went through the windshield from the outside, coming to rest half inside the truck and the lower half of my body still across the hood. My injuries were severe to critical, the least of which being a broken femur that required a screw through my knee to secure to secure 70lbs of tractiontraction in hopes of pulling the bone straight and to normal length again, instead of overlapping making one leg shorter.

The  more life threatening injuries I suffered were severe neck, spinal chord, severe trauma to my head and facial injuries that laid my forehead wide open. My parents were told it was a miracle I survived. After countless weeks in hospital and excruciatingly painful hours in physical therapy, I was released home in a wheelchair never to walk again.

I took that as a challenge. After suddenly becoming a single mother I decided to meet life’s challenge and  raise the ante. On Jan 26th, 2014, the day after turning 37, myself and 5 other amazing people entered our first Spartan Sprint as “The Ranch Team”. My teammates all did amazingly well and have decided to continue on and complete their Trifecta. Unfortunately, around the third mile I sustained an injury to my hip. I was in unbearable pain and to have to just give up on myself after everything that I’ve lived through, it all came down to this.

I couldn’t continue I couldn’t take another step. I was in so much pain I wanted can just crawl into a hole and die. I’ve always prided myself on being stubborn and strong and survivor with a “tell-me-I-can’t -do-something-and-watch-me-” attitude. I was giving up on myself. Thank God for the most amazing people that I’ve ever been blessed enough to meet, the Spartan staff and medical personnel! In particular 2 good looking gentleman from Spartan headquarters and two medics. They refused to let me give up on myself. They were determined to see me finish my first Spartan race and cross that finish line.  They carried me the last mile completing the remaining obstacles as we went. 

They made sure that I crossed that finish line. Their selflessness and heart they showed me that day was overwhelming. I’m forever grateful to those amazing people. They are my heroes!

Although I didnt walk across the finish line the way that I’d intended, I have a renewed faith in myself and found my inner strength and stubbornness and courage. I’m a survivor and I hope that my heroes that believed in me will be there to watch me cross the finish line in my next Spartan Race.  God bless, my heroes.

See you at the finish line!

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Before the 2014 Spartan Race season kicked off with the Spartan Sprint and Super in Temecula, CA there was a storm brewing in the early hours of the morning. At 5:30AM the Hurricane Heaters descended upon Veil Lake Resort reporting to the parking for their warm-up. Anyone who did not show up on time subjected their fellow comrades to non-stop burpees until they were directed to stop. The Hurricane Heaters are always provided with a mandatory gear list which this time included bringing their own signed waivers as well as a questionable item, toilet paper. On top of late arrivals there were a few individuals who neglected to follow the instructions in their email which of course resulted in more burpees.

The event officially kicked off at 6:00AM with 50 participants. To start these brave individuals were to complete 30 burpees, a few more stragglers showed up on top of five who neglected to bring their toilet paper rolls, which brought the total burpee count up to over 100 before continuing on to the first challenge of the event, stacking all the logs for the fire jump obstacle. What might seem like a tedious task actually doubled as a chance for the large group to begin learning what it means to be a team, during this time their minds were activated by teaching them to recite The Warrior Ethos together. To ensure the Hurricane Heaters were challenged they were given a time limit of fifteen minutes to complete the challenge. Just as the racers finished the sun began to rise and the use of their headlamps was no longer needed. At this time the entire group descended on the beach and entered the water, there were still some individuals that hadn’t figured out the need to communicate and work together as a team. This caused their fellow comrades to be subjected to…you guessed it, more burpees… in the lake. The Hurricane Heat strives to teach valuable lessons, one of which is how to effectively communicate and work together as a team. When that doesn’t happen, there are consequences, however when the group does finally figure it out, that’s when the magic happens.

After “playing in the sand” and rolling along the shoreline the Hurricane Heaters were sent to the rope climb obstacle back on the Sprint and Super course. Everyone had the task of reaching the top to ring the bell. What transpired next was the turning point for this group of friends and strangers. They worked together to ensure the success of all their teammates by building a human pyramid while another participant climbed along side their teammate motivating them to keep climbing all the way to the top. Ding, just like that all the racers succeeded in smacking that bell. It was a very rewarding moment for the group and everyone cheered and celebrated their success.

Anthony Matesi – your Hurricane Heat leader

The HH-044 Class had discovered the power of communication and teamwork, so to shake things up they were divided into four teams and sent out backwards on a section of the Super course. At the base of one the steepest inclines the teams were stopped and one person from each team was informed that one of their comrades had been severely wounded. Their mission was to be the first team to reach the top of this climb carrying their wounded comrade the entire way. At the very top each team had to help their wounded person up and over the seven foot wall. Once completed everyone was miraculously healed; after a quick group photo the teams set out on a run along the mountain ridge looking over the festival area to the left and Highway 79 to the right. The view was breathtaking. The first team to reach the bottom was subjected to 30 burpees. Each team that came in after also had to do burpees but as soon as the first team hit 30, everyone was instructed to come to a halt and the entire Hurricane Heat made a quick hustle to the next challenge they would face. As they approached the grassy area leading to the Inverted Wall obstacle the group was taught the proper bear crawl technique in accordance with the Spartan SGX training program and immediately began crawling their way to their next obstacle.

As the Hurricane Heaters approached the festival area they were greeted with a lot of strange stares and loud cheers. For those that don’t know about the Hurricane Heat it’s quite the spectacle to see such a large group of people already being pushed beyond their limits before the race has even begun. A quick stop over to the Spartan SGX booth resulted in a series of body weight exercises including fireman-carry squats, burpees, reverse burpees and the infamous super burpee. Once all the Elite Men and Women took off for the Spartan Super the Hurricane Heat made their way back onto the course from the Start and went through a series of obstacles until reaching a strangely placed throne-like chair that was found on the course. Here the challenge they were presented involved hoisting the one and only Johnny Waite from Spartan HQ into the air and carrying him for over an 1/8th of a mile through a very swampy section of the course. The teamwork here was top notch, all the participants worked together to swap out as needed and to make sure Johnny was sitting pretty.

Next up the four teams combined into two teams at the Gamble obstacle, here you had to choose which direction to go, more difficult terrain but shorter distance or easy terrain over a slightly longer distance. The two teams were sent in different directions, Johnny Waite and John Ziegler from HQ led the team on the easy course, as I led the difficult. The final destination was the monkey bars. The harder section proved to be the faster route arriving a few minutes ahead of the other team. When the team that took the shorter route arrived, a female on the team was cramping up quite horribly. Together everyone helped, providing her with water, salt tabs and a granola bar to boost her nutrition. In this moment the Hurricane Heaters had a new mission, never leave a fallen comrade.

With less than a mile to go the Hurricane Heaters once again made their way into the now booming festival area and made their way toward the center of it all. They gathered around in a large circle and at the top of their lungs shouted out the 7 Pillars of Spartan and the Warrior Ethos followed by a set of 30 burpees. Thinking it was all over, Johnny Waite presented them with one last challenge, everyone was to hold up their toilet paper rolls to show they had protected it from the elements, if everyone succeeded in keeping the rolls clean and dry they were done if not another 30 burpees. At least three people failed to protect their toilet paper rolls. More Burpees!!!

This group of strangers came together in the early hours of the morning, failed to read instructions, arrived late, and appeared to be a complete mess. By the end they had learned to work together making sure every single person who started finished together as a team. When you suffer together there are many lessons to be learned. Either you can overcome the obstacles or you can fail to. The choice is yours. Remember, “I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.” This is your Ethos.

See you at the next race!

For more information about the Hurricane Heat, click here.

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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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