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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On the Las Vegas Strip, opulent waterfalls, sky scraping hotels and lush retreats abound.  On The Strip, you could almost forget that this bustling city began simply as a dream in a desert.

Yes, a desert.

This Saturday, thousands of Spartans will invade the infamous Sin City for the second-ever Las Vegas Super, which make no mistake, while conveniently located, is taking place on the outskirts of the metropolis, away from the ringing bells of casinos, the air conditioned biomes of pink clouds the billboards of lights, lights and more lights.

Spartan Racers should expect nearly nine miles and nearly two dozen obstacles in the dry, dusty plains of the Nevada desert.

With a new locale from last year aptly called the “Gravel Pit,” course designers are promising all the Spartan staples — spears, ropes, walls, pits, tires — amid both the natural, rocky topography and new, man-made terrain.  There will be muddy portions, but true to the setting, very little water, except for the planned three stations and one at the finish. If last year is any indication, participants should also expect some down and uphill climbs. At last check, the weather predictions called for sun with highs in the 70s and a slight wind.

The Racer Athlete Guide suggests everyone bringing an ID for check in (and any post-race drinks), arriving at least an hour before the wave start, carrying personal hydration and nutrition. If starting at 2:00pm or later, it’s also advised to carry a headlamp. Click here for the Las Vegas Athlete Guide.

Just like the desert itself, the elite heats will be scorching, with athletes from the around the nation all vying for spots on the podium and top ranking in the 2014 World Points Series, especially since this is a one-day event.

In the men’s elite, look for 2013 top-ranked Brian Hoover and the Spartan Pro Teamers Elliott Megquier, Chris Rutz, David Magida, current points leader, Hunter Mcintyre and Charlotte’s first place winner, Matt Novakovich.

Last year’s Vegas 2nd place winner TyAnn Clark and Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone are both expected to take the start line in the women’s heat, as are Leslie St. Louis, making her first 2014 return from injury, and Pro Teamers Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles and Tiffanie Novakovich.

Beyond the Super Spartan, there are other events taking place on Saturday: the not-to-be-missed Kids’ Races, the 6:00 am Hurricane Heat and the 12-hour Hurricane Heat (HH12HR), which serves as one of the qualifying events for the Peak Death Race.

While all of the events promise to challenge racers, the festival area will offer some Spartan-Style entertainment and fun, including food and refreshments, an SGX Warm up every hour starting at 7:30am, an SGX tutorial on rope climbing every hour starting at 9:00 am and Pull-up, Traverse Wall, Slosh Pipe and Tire Flip challenges happening throughout at the day starting around 10:00 am.

Amid obstacles, sweeping desert views and rousing “Aroos!” racers at the Spartan Super this weekend will likely discover something new to remember about Las Vegas, a city founded on dreams and a desert.

Click here for more information.

 

Leslie St. Louis is a trail runner, obstacle racer and mom of two mud-loving girls in Morrison, Colorado. She is currently ranked 9th in the Spartan World Points Series and the founder of a local obstacle group, resource and blog, Colorado Obstacle Racers, http://coloradoobstacleracers.com/.

 

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By: Tony Matesi

Welcome to Atlanta where the Spartans play, and we hang on them traverse walls like every day. Big Heats, fit Elites, see Spartans roamin’ and the festival starts at eight in the mornin’.

Kicking off another extraordinary Spartan weekend for the 2014 season we saw another grueling Hurricane Heat that pushed participants beyond their limits. Wasting no time getting down to business the event started with a 100+ burpee penalty in response to a collection of late arrivals.

This weekend we saw some familiar faces from the Spartan Pro Team ready to tackle the Spartan Sprint. In attendance for the men we saw David Magida, Christopher Rutz, Elliot Megquier and Georgia Native Alec Blenis. Alexander Nicholas was also in attendance but did not race competitively this weekend. For the women we saw TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, and the Barbwire Queen Andi Hardy. Other Spartan Elites who made their way out for this incredible event included Cody Wright, John Henderson, Tony Matesi, Margaret Schlachter, Amanda Ricciardi, Kristine Iotte, Amie Meyer, Valerie Smith, and Sarah Pozdol.

Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a moment with race director Mike Morrris

The men’s Elite saw tough competition for the top three spots resulting in podium finishes for David Magida, Alec Blenis, and Elliot Megquier (finishing first, second, and third respectively). As if that wasn’t enough for the trio they suited up for battle again on Sunday crossing the finish line once again in the same order as the day before.

The women’s Elite however saw both familiar, and new faces, take the podiums. On Saturday Pro-Team member TyAnn Clark came in first with close to a seven minute lead over second place SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol while Emily Fowler took third. Unlike the men the women’s Sunday podium looked different than Saturday. New comer Kristine Iotte took the lead in the first minute of the race on Sunday and never looked back. Like TyAnn the day before, Kristine held nearly a seven minute lead over second place finisher Amanda Ricciardi. The third place women’s Elite finisher went to Valerie Smith who on Saturday participated in the grueling and mentally tough Hurricane Heat.

Alicia Keys evaluates the next obstacle

Taking care of our racers with post race fuel was the Core Power Team with their delicious Core Power Protein drinks awaiting finishers after they battled the Gladiators. Mellow Mushroom kept everyone fed with exceptional discounts for all Spartan Racers. Eco Vessel was on site with their eco-friendly water bottles. Our friends from Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing coverage of the day’s events and SpartanUp! Graphix offered up their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos.

Not only did we see familiar faces but there was even a celebrity on site as well. Alicia Keys came with a group of friends and tackled the course. Crossing the finish line in true Spartan fashion covered in Georgia clay, Ms. Keys was all smiles over becoming a true Spartan. Another music guest included Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After a long and exciting weekend of Spartan-filled, fun, mud, sweat and maybe a little blood, we’re signing off. We’ll see you at the next one. The Spartan Team will be invading Charlotte, North Carolina in a couple weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!!

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By Alec Blenis

This weekend, Spartan Race returns to the Georgia International Horse Park for its 4th year. Located 30 miles east of Atlanta in Conyers, GA, the horse park was host to the mountain biking and modern pentathlon events during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. With over 15 miles of single-track trails and hundreds of acres of undulating terrain, it is also the perfect venue for a Spartan Race. This 3+ mile Sprint distance race has historically been closer to 5 miles than 3, but with only moderate elevation gain, this is one of the fastest paced Sprint courses on the Spartan circuit.

While it’s impossible to say exactly what this year’s course will entail, previous courses have all had one thing in common: a very tough barbed wire crawl. Without a doubt, Spartan Race will take advantage of the Georgia red clay, so be prepared for a tough crawl, rolling mud, and heavy shoes! All Georgia races thus far have included an object carry around mile 3, which I suspect will remain the same for this year. However, Spartan Race loves to mix things up so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have something new in store for this weekend. I hope you are prepared for lots of obstacles back to back, because last year’s course was relentless!

On the men’s side, we have three of the top 5 runners from last year’s race competing: Alec Blenis, David Magida, and Elliott Megquier. Alec was the fastest of the three last year and has home court advantage, but David beat Alec the last time they went head to head. Elliott is always a force to be reckoned with, but a clumsy mistake on the monkey bars last year nearly cost him the podium. If all men have a clean race, it will be an exciting fight for the win.

For the women, we have TyAnn Clark of the Spartan Pro Team hoping to dominate the field, but she will be challenged by her teammates Andi Hardy and Juliana Sproles. It will be TyAnn’s first Georgia race, so Andi and Juliana’s knowledge of the terrain may play to their advantage. Good luck!

Spartan Pro Adaptive Athlete Michael Mills will be competing this Saturday was well. Paralyzed from the waist down, Michael competed in his first Spartan Race at the horse park last year. Since then, he has climbed Stone Mountain numerous times and has been training harder than ever. This year, he’ll be racing alongside his wife, Tiffany. Be sure to cheer them on if you see them! We will also have Amanda Sullivan and triple amputee Todd Love running for Operation Enduring Warrior. These are truly inspirational athletes that you don’t want to miss seeing in action.

Sign up for your next Spartan race and we will see you at the finish line!

 

*** Alec Blenis is a full-time student at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Spartan Pro Team athlete, plant-based ultra runner, and #6 ranked Spartan Racer for 2013. Beyond his extensive Spartan schedule, he is currently training for Six Days In the Dome in Anchorage, AK. For more, check out alecblenis.com.

 

 

 

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By Anthony Matesi

Just outside of Phoenix, AZ there was a disturbance in the normally desolate lands near Fort McDowell. The Spartans had arrived. Marking the second Spartan Race of 2014 the obstacles were erected all throughout the week to bring to this cactus filled paradise an event that would challenge all walks of life.

To kick things off, Hurricane Heat leaders devised a relatively creative plan for the brave souls looking to participate in the event which began in the early hours of the morning before the sun had a chance to rise up over the mountains off in the distance. Teamwork is essential in finishing one of Spartan’s challenging HH events. New Hurricane Heaters were put through everything from learning animal movements and body weight exercises that are the foundation of the Spartan SGX training program to having them dig up a treasure chest filled with zip ties only to be zipped together right arm to the next person’s left ankle and forced to inchworm as a one unit through a tunnel that went under the highway. The suffering these participants endure together takes a group of strangers and creates a bond like no other.

While those crazy Hurricane Heaters were suffering together in the festival area the Elite racers began to storm the grounds. Some of the top racers from the Spartan Pro Team were in attendance. For the men, Matt Novakovich from Alaska, mountain man Miguel Medina left his cabin in Vermont, with Christopher Rutz, Shawn Feiock and Elliot Meguier also in attendance. On the women’s side there was TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, Jenny Tobin, and Ang Reynolds. Outside of the pro team there was an impressive showing from Sarah Pozdol, Laura Messner, and Rose Wetzel as well as the local newcomer to Spartan Race, John Yatsko. The early hours of the morning were a bit brisk but things heated up very quickly as the race day began. The course was fast and hilly with all the usual obstacles to test the strength, endurance and agility of the racers. As the temperatures rose the cramps began to set into racers who didn’t take the time to properly hydrate. The Amphibious Medics team led by, David Gonzalez, was on site helping the Spartan Staff to help those who were injured on course back to safety or fixed them up to continue their journey.

The Elite wave took off early Saturday morning fighting for the prize money offered by Navy Federal Credit Union with a total of $7500 up for grabs. The competition was incredibly fierce. In the men’s division there was a grueling battle that brought had the top 3 finishers all finishing within a minute and 30 seconds of each other. At the end of the day it was John Yatsko, Glenn Racz, and Chad Trammel taking the first three spots and Matt Novakovich coming in fourth.  The elite women’s field was equally grueling with Kk Paul, Rose Wetzel and TyAnn Clark battling it out for the top 3 spots coming into the finish in that order with Rose and TyAnn finishing within seventeen seconds of each other. The Sunday Elite crowd was stacked once again with some of the top elites and Spartan Pro Team members. It was another tight battle with Matt Novakovich taking the first place on the podium followed by fellow Spartan Pros Miguel Medina in second and Elliot Meguier in third. For the women we saw the importance of counting your burpees out loud when Sarah Pozdol was bumped from what could have been a second place finish to fifth place. Kk Paul took first again on Sunday, Jenny Tobin came in second and Sue Luck saw her way back to the podium taking third. Spartan Pro Team member Shawn Feiock saw a top ten finish taking 7th and Christopher Rutz in 9th.

Spartan Weekends are about more than just the elites of course. There were a lot of families, Spartan Singles, and couples alike mingling, racing, and enjoying the warm touch of the Arizona sun. In the festival area the Spartan SGX tent was providing warm-ups and cool down exercises as well as stretching by the crew from Power in Motion CrossFit. Our sponsors Core Power Protein delivered some excellent post race recovery drinks, E-Boost kept everyone energized, Clif Bars took care of feeding the taxed muscles of everyone who crossed that finish line, and Zico covered the much needed hydration to keep up with the desert sun.

In addition to all the first timers and those looking to begin their quest for the coveted Trifecta there were some inspiring people out on course defining what it means to push beyond your limits. We saw the ever glowing smile from Misty Diaz, who conquers her Spina Bifida by traveling the country running half marathons and Spartan Races chasing after that double trifecta. On Sunday a racer by the name of Joel Brown was spotted on course making it happen. At only 54 years young Joel is a former Para-Rescue and has been a Krav Maga instructor since 1978 receiving all his training in Israel. In 1981, he lost his right leg in a motor vehicle accident. Regardless of this accident Joel has continued to train, instruct, and push himself. His journey to the Trifecta began here in Arizona will continue at the Super in Vegas and conclude with the Beast in Monterey.

As always the Spartan Kids were out in force to light up everyone’s day with their beaming smiles and mud covered bodies. Many of the elites including Miguel Medina, Matt Novakovich, Sarah Pozdol and Rose Wetzel came out and helped play the role of the rabbit that the kids try to catch on the course.

Another incredibly successful Spartan weekend filled with fun, smiles, mud, and even a little blood has come to an end. Next up Spartan Race will be invading Tampa with the first Special Ops event of the year taking place at Raymond James Stadium. This Special Ops Race will offer a combination of the traditional outdoor obstacles alongside some of the signature Spartan Stadium obstacles.  Sign up to earn your very own unique Special Ops Spartan Sprint medal andwe’ll see you at the finish line!

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By guest writer and Spartan Pro Team member Elliott Megquier 

Arizona is a unique state, you can experience all four seasons in one day depending on where you are traveling throughout the state. Reebok Spartan Race comes back to the Phoenix area for the four year and each year they have out down themselves. This year Fort McDowell Rodeo Grounds will host a Sprint distance of 3+ miles on Saturday February 8th and Sunday February 9th.  For more info on the venue check out this link.

For the course expect a rocky dessert terrain, running up and down steep ridges and hills. Cacti will be out in full force and for those not careful, they will get a sharp, prickly surprise. The weather Saturday calls for a high of 65 degrees with 0% of rain. While Sunday warms up to a high of 73 degrees, again with no rain in sight. Locals might complain that is cold, but for people like me that live in upstate New York that is marvelous weather.

Matt Novakovich a hot favorite to podium again

For the men the hyped up Matt “The Bear” Novakovich headlines the Spartan’s aiming for victory. In his first Spartan Race ever Matt took down the Champion Hobie Call, but ever since he has been unable to find the top honor with just a third place at the Fenway Stadium Sprint. Elliott Megquier will be back to Arizona for the third year in a row and he will look to slay the bear. Miguel Medina is taking a break from building his cabin in Vermont and he will also try to use his new found Mountain Man training to secure his first victory. Other racers expected to challenge will be Shawn Feiock, Chris “Tough Training Guy” Rutz, possibly the Arizona native John Yatsko who burst onto the Spartan scene with two podium finishes in Temecula. If present, John becomes the top contender.

On the women’s side, look for K.K. Paul to be the favorite. Paul is coming off podium finishes in Temecula (1st Place Sunday Sprint) and Glen Rose where she beat the likes of Rose Wetzel, April Luu, and TyAnn Clark. Clark will look to revenge her defeat and looks to be the top challenger. Laura Messner is another name to watch, as she is coming off a Saturday Temecula Sprint victory. Another name you can’t count out is former Spartan Champion Jenny Tobin. Jenny is known to always challenge for victory wherever she races and whatever the distance, in Temecula she had her first burpee free race so watch out she is on her game. Other racers planning on toeing the line are Ang Reynolds, Juliana Sproles and Sue Luck.

Tyann Clark is gunning for victory in Arizona

Other cool things to look for are the Painted Warrior Team of Stephen Sinek and Aeni Domme who always create amazing body paint that Sinek races in for racers/spectators to admire. The kid’s race is always a highlight as it is so amazing to see kids active and excited to become the next great Spartan as they grow older. Lastly I’m calling out my cousin Erik Carlson to race with me. Last year he became a Spartan, but since he has fallen off the wagon exercise wise, I’m using peer pressure to get him to race with me again.

Click here for more information on forthcoming events.

Elliott Megquier is a member of the Spartan Team and a veteran of 69 Spartan Races. He has many podiums to his name, but is still looking for his first Saturday victory. Last season Megquier finish 4th in the points series, after finishing 5th the year before.

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I am TyAnn Clark. I’m a member of the Spartan Pro Team.  I’m a Mom, I’m a Runner, I’m a Fitness Trainer, I’m a Zumba Instructor, I am a Spartan Racer.

I look at my life every day and feel so amazingly blessed to be able to do what I love. One year ago, I never imagined that I would be in the position that I am – I race as a competitive athlete at the age of 32. My life is full of all the things that make me happy. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and three beautiful, amazing children. As a fitness trainer and instructor, I get to motivate others to be healthier and happier in their lives.

I’ve always been a runner – It is my life force. It’s as vital as breathing to me most days.
But after adding our third child to the mix, I found myself completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and quite frankly – depressed. Even as a fitness trainer, I found very little time to be able to work out or run. With a husband that worked very long hours, I was lost in the daily grind and forgot to appreciate what I had. The things that usually motivated me to run and stay in shape were races to train for – and not even that was doing the trick.

Hobie Call recruited me to run my first race in January 2013: The Spartan Super in Temecula. I have never been as scared and nervous at the beginning of a race as I was there. Self-Doubt had consumed me, but I decided to just take things as they came. It was a brutal race with mammoth hills, a freezing lake to swim in, and a gauntlet of obstacles all stacked within the last mile. I never found myself counting the miles or glancing at my Garmin to check my pace. It was exciting and brutal. My legs handled the hills, but my upper body failed me on a few obstacles. 90 burpees later I finished the race more exhausted than I ever had been, I had pushed my body harder than ever before, and I had found empowerment from what I had accomplished. I had won my first Spartan Race! The feeling of accomplishment was far greater than I had felt at the end of a race at any other time. It changed me. I knew if I could accomplish this, then I was capable of so much more than I knew.
What I didn’t know at the time was how my life would be changed by the people that were around me racing that day, and in races to come. I’ve raced with the best competitors and proven myself. At the Las Vegas Super Spartan, I remember looking around at the starting line and just being in awe of the amazing Spartan champions that I would be competing against. The most amazing part is that I’ve become friends with many of them and we all know at the end of the day that we have the upmost respect for the other person. We share training secrets, obstacle techniques, and tips on the spear throw. We all want to be able to finish the race and say, “I raced my best today”. These competitors have become family to me in a totally unexpected way. All of the people that I’ve met that run Spartan Races motivate me and inspire me and I’m so honored to know them.

Want to learn more about the Spartan Pro Team? Click HERE.

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