By Scott Blough, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Times Square Team Leader

Where it Began

In August of 2012, I traveled to Leesburg, VA for the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan. This was my first exposure to the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR).  While on the festival grounds I heard bagpipes coming closer and noticed a group of soldiers entering the starting area.   The announcer informed us that these men were part of a group called Team X-T.R.E.M.E.  We turned our attention to the skies where we saw a black parachute open and the announcer told us during his descent that the team was going to run this course with two wounded warriors.  One of the wounded warriors, Noah Galloway, was being tandem parachute jumped in to the event.

The team assembled.  It was at this point when I got my first look at Todd Love.  Todd is a triple amputee.  Missing both legs being above the knee and his left arm below the elbow, he served as a Recon Marine before his injuries.  He is carried by the team in a backpack throughout the race.  I quickly snapped a picture on my phone and cheered them on as they took off to conquer the course.   That was the last time I saw the team that day, I stopped by the Team X-T.R.E.M.E. booth on the way out of the festival grounds and grabbed a t-shirt.

Joining the Team

Upon returning to North Carolina I began doing research on Team X-T.R.E.M.E. to find out who they were.  As the pictures and videos of the race came out they were nothing short of amazing.  The images of Todd climbing the 25 foot rope in Leesburg have become known throughout the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).  As I dug deeper into the articles on the internet I started to become more inspired by the team and the mission. The statement “We give opportunity not sympathy” was the final straw for me I was hooked.  I signed up as a Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Community Athlete (TXCA) then started looking for ways to join the team.  I learned that there was an indoctrination (INDOC) process to try out for the team.

Eduard Lychik, Todd Love, Hobie Call, and Joe De Sena

I signed up for the INDOC class 003-012.   We started with eight people trying out for the team with two wounded warriors.  Class 003-012 had six people finish, of those six; four were selected to join the team.  We were issued our Avon C-50 gas masks and welcomed to the team.

Times Square

Reebok Spartan Times Square Challenge was my first event as a team leader.  Times Square was an amazing opportunity for Team X-T.R.E.M.E. to get our mission out to the world and support Spartan Race, an organization that has lent us a great deal of opportunity and exposure.  The race course allowed the spectators to get right up next to the action and see the whole course.  Many of our community athletes were on hand, as well as two wounded warriors – Todd Love and Eduard Lychik.  As a team, we tackled the course in Times Square Lychik and Love demonstrating extreme acts of physical strength and endurance.  Watching them climb the ropes simultaneously was a sight I will never forget.   We got to meet many spectators and some celebrities like Tiki Barber and Brooklyn Decker.  We even met Reebok Spartan athletes Hobie Call and Spencer Hendel.  It was  a great day!

After the race the team headed to Ground Zero where we took a tour of the memorial that opened in 2011.  The memorial is overwhelming.  The names of the fallen line the outer edge the memorial appropriately named “Reflecting Absence.”  The mood of the team was very somber at the memorial.  We focused on how that day had changed our lives and where we might have been had that never happened.  Most of the team members have at least one combat deployment in support of the Global War on Terror.  To stand at the physical location that started it all was a great opportunity for the team.  We look forward to more events in 2013 and supporting our mission to honor, empower, and motivate wounded service members.

See additional Team X-T.R.E.M.E. pictures from Times Square HERE.  Photos courtesy of Kevin High Photography.

[Editor’s Note: Scott Blough grew up in Fairfield, Iowa and joined the Army in 2000.  Blough has served as a medical sergeant in Army Special Operations for the past 9 years.  Blough as deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 5 times between 2005 and 2010.  Blough is currently attending Campbell University where he will earn a Bachelor of health Science later this year.]

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By Carrie Adams

Even before the sun began to rise over 42nd and Broadway, the short course of the Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge was fully illuminated and the grounds were buzzing with activity.  Encased beneath a clear plastic tent were a dozen obstacles, signatures of the normally much longer course.

“It’s an urban experience!” exclaimed Joe De Sena, one of the Spartan Race founders and CEO.  “Let’s see how fast our Spartans can move today!” 

Before the event officially began at 11AM, various media outlets, Spartan staff, and some new faces settled into Heartland Brewery just around the corner from the downtown demonstration.  The new faces belonged to Reebok staffers.  Before long, Joe Desena addressed the crowd, joined by Yan Martin, Head of Global Brand Marketing from Reebok.  Over the course of fifteen minutes, De Sena and Yan outlined the ground-breaking multi-year partnership of the company that first pioneered the sport of Obstacle Course Racing and the global fitness brand company that would help bring it the masses, both in the United States and Internationally.   In addition to the global partnership, Spartan unveiled plans for an upcoming Spartan Sprint at Citi Field April 13, 2013.  The event, previously released to a small internal Spartan community already boasts nearly 1,000 registrants already.

Brooklyn Decker and Tiki Barber

The agreement would bring with it apparel, footwear and accessories and the Reebok Spartan Race will be featured in the brand’s upcoming global marketing campaign – the first time obstacle racing has been featured in a major campaign. Reebok also plans to develop a range of products specifically created for the demands of Reebok Spartan Race athletes, which will be available in fall 2013.

By 11AM the course itself was in full swing.  Spectators stopped and watched as Spartans of all ages navigated the short course in the early afternoon hours.  Joined by familiar faces from Team X-T.R.E.M.E. the onlookers were treated to an inspirational sight of the team taking on the course together.  Later, former professional football player Tiki Barber and actress Brooklyn Decker would take on the course.  Barber, a ten-year veteran of the New York Giants loved his experience on the course telling ESPN, “I might start training for the real one to see if I can do it. This might be something I’ll gravitate toward.”

Resident Spartan champion Hobie Call, who was also announced as a new Reebok athlete went head-to-head with CrossFit Games athlete, Spencer Hendel with Hendel besting Call by a mere 11 seconds in the tight race.   He looks forward to the upcoming Citi Field Sprint.  As the day wound down and the last of the Spartan crossed the finish line, it was one of the most exciting day in Spartan’s history.  With a new partner and the first race

Hobie Call and Spencer Hendel

of 2013 set to kick off January 26th and 27th in Temecula, it looks like the sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is on the rise.  Lace up those Reebok kicks… it’s going to be an epic year of racing!

For more on our Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge, you can visit our FB page.  For additional photos taken on the day of the Challenge, click HERE.  Our season kicks off this weekend in SoCal, stay tuned for all the exciting news coming out of HQ!

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Brands Launch New Collaboration with Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge” in New York City; a Celebration of America’s Newest Sport: Obstacle Racing

Canton, MA [January 17th, 2013] – Reebok, the global fitness brand, and Spartan Race, the world’s leading obstacle racing series and Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, have today announced a multi-year partnership. The collaboration marks Reebok’s commitment to one of the world’s newest and fastest growing sports – obstacle racing.

As part of the multi-year collaboration, Reebok will be the title sponsor for the global race series beginning with the first race of the season at Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, CA on January 26th and 27th, and the official apparel, footwear and accessories supplier for the Reebok Spartan Race series. In addition, the Reebok Spartan Race will be featured in the brand’s upcoming global marketing campaign – the first time obstacle racing has been featured in a major campaign. Reebok also plans to develop a range of products specifically created for the demands of Reebok Spartan Race athletes, which will be available in fall 2013.

The partnership was launched with a traffic-stopping live event in New York – The Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge. Times Square’s first ever extreme obstacle race saw hundreds of contestants take part including actress/model Brooklyn Decker; former NY Giants All-Pro Tiki Barber; Spartan Race Champion Hobie Call; and Spencer Hendel, winner of the Obstacle Course event at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games.  The Times Square course featured a 7 ft. wall climb, a mud crawl with barbed wire, a 10 ft. high Hercules Hoist, a 75 ft. sandbag carry, and other obstacles..

The tie-up between the two brands is built on shared values about the future of fitness. Reebok’s mission is to change the way people perceive, experience and define fitness and empower them to be physically, socially and mentally fit for life. Spartan Race is the perfect partner to help spread this message. Founded in 2010, the race series expects to attract 500,000 athletes in 2013, up from 350,000 in 2012, many of whom are people looking for a new alternative to more traditional forms of fitness.  Spartan Race currently has more than 2.3 million “likes” on Facebook and is one of the fastest growing series in the sport of obstacle racing.

Spartan is a timed event series featuring races at three escalating distances in locations worldwide. The series culminates in a world championship finale with a prize fund of over $500,000. As well as the competitive elite heats, Spartan Races are set up for all levels and ages of athlete to take part and engage in a new form of fitness.

“At Reebok, we recognize that the fitness landscape is changing. More and more, people are beginning to see fitness as part of their lifestyle rather than simply an activity, said Matt O’Toole, Chief Marketing Officer at Reebok.  “Spartan Race is at the forefront of this movement. It enables people to come together to experience fitness with a community of like-minded people – to take part in something that is challenging and daunting, but at the same time, inspiring and fun. This is what makes it so rewarding, and is a large part of what is fueling the incredible growth of the sport.”

Adds Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena, “Reebok shares our vision – they think, act, and live exactly like we do down to the last detail. Both organizations believe that through fitness, ordinary people can realize their full potential and reap benefits throughout their lives.

“Reebok will help us expand globally, pursue our goals of making obstacle racing an Olympic sport, share the healthy living we promote, and rip people off their couches and do what human beings were made to do: run, jump, sweat and climb,” De Sena said.

About Reebok

Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Canton, MA, USA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel and equipment. An American-inspired global brand, Reebok is a pioneer in the sporting goods industry with a rich and storied heritage in running, training and fitness. A subsidiary of the adidas Group, Reebok operates under the multiple divisions of the Reebok brand, Reebok-CCM Hockey and the Sports Licensed Division.  Reebok is the exclusive outfitter of CrossFit and the Reebok CrossFit Games and main event partner and official apparel and footwear supplier for the 2013 Red Bull X-Alps. For more information, visit Reebok at www.reebok.com. Or, discover Reebok at the following locations: http://reesha.re/plus; http://facebook.com/reebok; http://twitter.com/reebok; and http://youtube.com/reebok

About Reebok Spartan Race

Reebok Spartan Race, voted Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, is the world’s leading obstacle racing series and the first of its kind to have global rankings. With 350,000 participants in 2012 and 60 events planned for 2013, Reebok Spartan Race is making this one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Reebok Spartan Race is a timed event series featuring races at four escalating distances in locations worldwide that culminate in a World Championship Finale with cash and prizes for the champions – with a half-million dollars in cash and prizes awarded in 2012 alone. While featuring competitive elite heats, Reebok Spartan Races are for athletes of all levels and abilities and are geared toward ripping people off their couches and into the outdoors.

You’ll Know at the Finish Line – A Spartan Guide to the Sport of Obstacle Racing, a new e-book from Spartan Race co-founders Joe De Sena and Andy Weinberg that inspires readers to find and unleash their inner warrior, is available for free on the company’s website.

Go to http://www.spartanrace.com/ for more information, a schedule of events or to register for a Reebok Spartan Race. For videos, please visit www.spartanrace.tv.

Spartan Race

Alfred Schreiber

Mobile: (646) 320 -5142

Jeff Blumenfeld

Direct: (203) 655-1600

Mobile: (203) 326-1200

jeff@blumenfeldpr.com

Reebok

Dan Sarro

Direct: (781) 401-4443

Daniel.sarro@reebok.com

Richard Barker

Direct: +1.646.619.2805

Mobile: +1.917.287.9992

Richard.barker@mcsaatchi.com

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by Carrie Adams

As we keep our eyes on the East Coast and the escalating Hurricane threat from the Super Storm Sandy, Spartan Race has gotten word that a familiar face will be joining the still-scheduled Thursday Times Square Demonstration Challenge, former New York Giant Tiki Barber!  He’ll be taking on the course alongside some of New York’s toughest Spartans!   The event is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Street), in Manhattan which will also be focused on raising funds for the Red Cross and disaster relief due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tiki Barber was a NFL Running Back who played 10 seasons for the New York Football Giants. He was drafted out of the University of Virginia by the G-Men in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Barber was initially drafted to be a 3rd down “change of pace” back but had a break-out year in 1999 when he exploded for 1639 all-purpose yards. Barber never looked back as he ran for over 1,000 yards in 6 of his last 7 seasons. Over that span Barber was a 3-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection while helping lead the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. Barber rushed for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns in 2006 making him the only RB to have their final season be the biggest rushing season of their career.

Tiki retired after his 2006 campaign as the all-time leading rusher for the Giants. His 10,449 rushing yards places him in the prestigious 10,000 yards club. He became the third player in NFL history to gain more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a NFL career, joining Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen.

After retiring from football, Tiki enjoyed a career in media broadcasting becoming a correspondent for NBC’s Today Show, an analyst for Football Night in America/Sunday Night Football as well as a broadcaster during the 2008 Summer Olympics on MSNBC.

Born on April 7, 1975 in Roanoke, Virginia he is the brother of the NFL player Ronde Barber.

We look forward to welcoming Tiki Barber to Spartan Nation!

 

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