It was a tale of two halves as the 2013 calendar came to a close in Glen Rose at the Spartan Beast. Saturday saw competitors challenged by not only the evil genius of Norm Koch’s 14.8 mile course, but the freezing temperatures not helped by the relentless bone-chilling wind. Sunday saw frost at first, but quickly became an altogether different day as the warm Texas sun smiled upon all those who wanted to challenge themselves.

April Luu saw back to back wins over the weekend.

Familiar faces littered the elite podiums, with April Luu being clearly the happiest of the weekend with back-to-back wins in the female elites. In the males on Saturday, Hunter McIntyre kept up his impressive form by strolling to victory a good 6 minutes ahead of second placed Cody Moat. Isiah Vidal would come in third, but he quickly righted his own personal wrongs by romping to victory the following day. Kioyake KK Paul took the female second place with Rose-Marie Jarry claiming third. On the Sunday, Elliot Megquier gave himself the gamble of competing and forcing a fast time in order to catch a plane home. Spurred by this pressure, he took second place with another Pro Team favorite Shawn Feiock taking 3rd place. Debbie Moreau and Jolene Wilkinson both had impressive runs to take 2nd and 3rdrespectively. With many correctly seeing Glen Rose as their last opportunity to earn some coveted Spartan Race “bling”, the race was awash with people that had challenged themselves to rise above their own personal situation. Social media favorite Amanda Sullivan, accompanied by Pro Team Elite athlete Alex Nicholas, beat her own personal demons by taking the course on in her own inimitable style. With her backpack, knee and wrist braces literally duct-taped to her and her trusty crutches, she battled through taking nearly 9 hours to complete the race to find her boyfriend and friend of Spartan Race, Todd Love, waiting for her at the finish line. As she collapsed at his wheelchair the cheers and applause were deafening.

Waiting for Amanda at the finish line was her boyfriend Todd Love.

All of this after only 3 years ago having been in 2 horrific accidents separated by a matter of weeks that saw her break, “pretty much everything from my skull to my toes”,  Amanda continues build, grow and inspire everyone she meets with her lust for life and the smile she wears that simply refuses to stop shining.
Completing the course only moments before, Louisiana’s own Matt Pevoto had completed his battle against the course.  Despite suffering from Spina Bifida, Matt’s appetite for Spartan Race was tweaked when he completed the Sprint in Burnet earlier in the year. Deciding to go all guns blazing at the Beast, Matt trained rigorously and it showed. His shoulders, arms and chest now visibly bigger and more defined than they were when he finished the Sprint, he waltzed through many upper body obstacles with derisory ease. With his sights now to crash through 2014 like a wrecking ball, his states matter-of-factly that by 2015, he will race at the elite level.

Matt Pevoto refused to let Spina Bifida get in the way of completing the Beast.

 

Other racers of note included Californian Dave Huckle who finally managed to achieve his dream of nine Trifectas. There was the familiar sight of “Thing 1 and Thing 2” – The Unbreakable Joneses -, albeit this time not tethered, blindfolded or carrying sledgehammers. Must have been a rest day!

And in true Spartan Race tradition, staff, runners and spectators saw a marriage proposal by the finish line. Jenna Dalton (completeing her Trifecta) accepted Collin Witte’s hand amongst cheers of support and applause.

One notable finisher was that of James Simpson, the UK military veteran who, after having been forcibly removed from the London Beast after 6 miles due to horrendous weather conditions, made the flight to Texas from England purely in order to complete the Trifecta. In doing so, he is now the first double amputee in the world to have completed this achievement. Helping him along the way, amongst others, were his expat friend Steff Crawford, now living in Texas and military veteran Michael Smith, a right arm amputee from Fort Sam, Houston who, in his parting words as he walked towards the starting line was simply, “be motivated. Realize your potential.” Perhaps wise words we could all carry in the holiday season and into the New Year.

And so, as we go full circle and end another year with a trail of medals, bucket carries, rope climbs and oh-so many thousands of feet of barbed wire crawling behind us, we wish every single runner, competitor, volunteer, spectator, staff member, contractor, security guard and everyone in-between a healthy and prosperous happy holidays and hope that the new year brings in whatever it is you’ve chosen to dream and aim for.

See you in Temecula in January. AROO!

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Meet Jonathan Shifflet. A guy who, in June 2012, weighed around 240lbs and who also had a bad habit to the tune of a pack of cigarettes a day.

“I was sitting at my computer playing on facebook smoking a cigarette, when I noticed a friend of mine liked your page. I checked out your website and fell in love with the races and the people. I felt a part of me that I thought was gone waking up inside me. My urge my desire and my passion for fitness that I hadn’t felt since high school came back.”

That was the spark he needed. Two weeks later, cigarette-free, a difficult undertaking, as any smoker will tell you – Jonathan then dove headlong into the Spartan WOD’s he’d subscribed to.

He remembers his first one fondly, “It was horrible. The Spartan WOD is truly unforgiving. My lungs burned, I coughed, I puked and I felt beaten.”

Par for the course, then. But he continued and he saw himself getting fitter and more importantly his breathing was improving and his air was fresher. His next target was the Spartan Beast in Glen Rose, Texas.

Despite his heat being scheduled for Sunday, Jonathan was there Saturday morning to soak up the atmosphere and “get a feel” of what he would be doing the following day.

He remembers being daunted by what he saw, “I watched people cross the finish line looking broken and tired. I was still at 200 pounds and I watched six groups cross the line gasping for air.” He was shaken but he knew he had to persist. “I woke up Sunday and headed back to Glen Rose and when my heat was up, I jumped up and down and ran in place – anything to hide the fear.”

Shifflet finished the race. “It took me 5 hrs 28 minutes and was the hardest challenge I had ever done both physically and mentally. But in the process I changed my life because of Spartan Race. Because of you I no longer smoke. I can breathe again.”

So what’s next for Jonathan?

“I now run all the time and I am training for the 2014 death race which I promise will have to kill me to beat me.” He’s thankful for how much his life has changed. “Spartan Race helped me accomplish so much. I didn’t know a better way to thank you than this; the logo is now tattooed into my shoulder!”

What’s your reason for not joining? Sign up TODAY. See you at the finish line…

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