When Johny Hendricks and Jamie Varner took on the Reebok Spartan Race in Texas, they had no idea how touch the course would be!  Varner had already conquered a Spartan Race course in Las Vegas earlier in the year, but now he had some stiff competition from Hendricks.  FoxSports.com captured the action of the two athletes in action as they navigated the course and ultimately finished the challenge.

With six wins in the Octagon under his belt and musings that he should have a long overdue shot at the Welterweight championship over Georges St. Pierre, Hendricks, “Big Rigg” took on the challenge with a gusto. “This is a training opportunity.” says Hendricks of his taking on the course.

Check out the video from FoxSports.com to see who came out on top when Varner and Hendricks went head to head in the Texas heat.

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Take a venue with rugged terrain, forests and water obstacles. Sprinkle over this a liberal number of obstacles that test your skill, strength, agility and determination. Stir in thousands of Spartan Racers then bake under a hot Texan sky for a weekend. The result? A delicious Reebok Spartan Sprint from which many people took a bite.  And boy were they hungry!

With the course boasting both shaded and sunny trails, elevation changes, water crossings, mud, rocks and even dry and sandy riverbeds, there was more than enough to keep everyone on their toes.

The elite heats boasted many familiar faces rubbing shoulders with not one, but two UFC fighters; Jamie Varner, fresh from his conquest of the Vegas Super, joined by Johnny Hendricks to see how a Spartan Sprint shapes up next to a fight in the octagon.

Jamie came through first of the two, coming in at 56m 44s, with Hendricks not far behind on 1h 10m 3s – both extremely impressive times. Hobie Call added another win to his already expansive resume with a time of 38m 17s. Second and third place were claimed by Chad Trammell and Brakken Kracker respectively. The ladies saw TyAnn Clarke romp home in 52m 18s, with Janice Ferguson and Jillian Kenney not very far behind in second and third place.

And sure as night follows day, like tock follows tick, stories of inspiration poured forth from the event like the feel-good machine a Spartan Race is. Elizabeth Rivera, putting behind her the issues of excess weight, diabetes and even spine damage, employed the same fiery passion that changed her life and crossed the finish line. Robert C. Wood put to bed the memory of his broken vertebrae after falling 25ft in a freak accident some time before. Turning his life around with his wife and young daughter behind him, he sees no fear anymore. Steve Carlisle rose from reconstructive back surgery to finish, despite knowing that, “if my doctor knew I was doing this, he’d kill me.” Many people were lucky enough to spot “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”, otherwise known as Eston and Andrew Jones, a father and son team that decided to do 6 laps of the course.

One of the biggest cheers of approval from the event spectators was when they saw they young Spartan Jake DeFiley struggling with the rope climb. In true Spartan Race tradition, fellow competitor Jeffrey Parish climbed the rope and leaning away, allowed the younger competitor to use his shoulders, hands and even his head as a “stepping stone” in order to ring the cowbell.

Even before stepping out of the course, many people brought battles with them, but refused to bow to them. David Villareal, who traveled from Monterrey, Mexico in order to take part, didn’t let the issue of his Celebral Palsy affect his attitude or performance, cheerfully pointing out that, “I’ve still got one good arm!”. On the course, Dereck Johnson repeatedly shooed away offers of help despite fracturing both ankles. Simply grabbing a nearby branch and making a rudimentary walking stick/staff, he completed the course in 5h 57m, punching the air in delight at having beaten 6 hours.

Staff Sergeant Jonathan Leal of 6 10th Security Forces Squadron, Fort Worth, was running for his charity “Running For A Cause”. Deliberately weighing himself down with an elevation mask, weighted vest and extra bricks that would symbolize the struggle injured veterans go through on the road to recovery, he successfully powered through every obstacle and burpee that presented itself.

Matthew Pevoto of Louisana – a sufferer of Spina Bifida since birth – was inspired by the video and pictures posted by Spartan Elite Ella Anne Kociuba and decided that he was going to take the Spartan Race head on. Failing only two obstacles, he pointed out that, “there’s nothing you can’t do if your mind can keep up with you”.

And if ever there was a fitting line that perfectly summizes what Spartan Race is about, that’s it.

As such, it was announced over the weekend that next year’s event in Burnet has been upgraded to a Super with a harder, longer course. Judging by the reaction of those grinning and rubbing their hands in glee at this news, it will be yet another event that the Spartan Race community will attend by the thousands. Will it be another punishingly hot weekend? Will it break people? Will it produce yet more stories of heroism?

You’ll know at the finish line…  get signed up today!

Check out more race day photos HERE.

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Pro’s vs. GI Joe’s, Punishment Training  Center and Spartan Race are bringing you a special Spartan WOD for May 20, 2013!   MMA Superstar, Tito Ortiz, former five times Light-Heavyweight UFC champion takes us through a brutal WOD Punishment Training Style with this special video filmed in Huntington Beach, CA.

Ortiz does a countdown style workout with troops in Okinawa, Japan on a live feed with this special edition Spartan WOD. Do you have what it takes to finish?

by Tito Ortiz

10 Rounds of push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, jumping jacks and sprawls.

#  of reps per round

1st – 10
2nd – 9
3rd – 8
4th – 7
5th – 6
6th – 5
7th – 4
8th – 3
9th – 2
10th – 10

Advanced: Start with 20 reps each and go down to 1 (20 sets total)

Get it done!

What is PRO VS. GI JOE?

PRO VS. GI JOE is a 501(c)(3) support-the-troops non-profit that sets up real-time video-game competitions, online and in-person, between professional athletes and celebrities, and troops stationed all over the world. PRO VS. GI JOE connects the two through online gaming and webcam chats, made possible with the help of long-term partner the USO, who facilitates the events for the soldiers overseas.
Since it’s inception in July 2008, they’ve connected troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Dubai, Korea, Japan, Germany, and Cuba as well as those here at home with professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MMA, WNBA, PGA, NASCAR and IRL. Pro vs. GI Joe facilitates gaming competitions with the world’s most popular and attends the biggest sporting events throughout the year.

About Tito - Jacob “Tito” Ortiz (born January 23, 1975) is a Mexican American participant of the sport of mixed martial arts, or ‘MMA’. Ortiz’s career has been mostly within the UFC organization. A former Light-Heavyweight UFC champion, Ortiz has become one of the sport’s most shining stars, headlining several Pay Per View championship undercards, and appearing on the covers of various magazines, such as Black Belt Magazine. He is a native of Huntington Beach, California. Tito Ortiz is recognized as a charismatic, if controversial and highly-criticized fighter. Whatever the opinions of Ortiz, he undeniably is both a showman and a talented fighter.  He is currently a trainer at Punishment Training Center.

Want to get signed up for the daily Spartan WOD?  Sign up HERE!

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The Texas Reebok Spartan Race is set to pit two UFC fighters, Jamie Varner and Johny Hendricks in a head to head match-up on the heels of both athletes getting sponsored by Reebok Athletes. The course will consist of more than 4 miles of grueling obstacles and challenges. While both men can adminster a beat down, how will they fare on our course? Between the two, only Varner has experienced an actual Spartan Race taking on the Super in Vegas and finding a high finish in the open heats saying after, “It was probably one of the toughest things I’ve done in my entire life.” Then quickly added, “But it was so fun…crossing that finish line was one of the most rewarding things ever.”

Competitive in nature, Varner is setting his sights on Hendricks in Texas and in a statement to Fighters.com, said, “I anticipate the Texas course to be very tough and am hoping I can beat the hometown favorite Johny Hendricks with my experience.”

Varner plans on using his first race experience to help him in Burnet explaining, “The first event I competed in was a Spartan Super (about 8 miles), this will be a Spartan Sprint (about 4 miles), and I look to finish off the trifecta with a Spartan Beast ( about 13 miles) later this year. Staying in the competitive mindset between fights is big for me. I hope to finish in the top 5-10% of the field.”

Fighters.com recently published a story indicating that Hendricks’ next MMA test comes in the form of a title fight for the sports biggest prize, but he has to get through UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre to collect it. To stay in shape, and support his sponsors, Hendricks says he is really looking forward to the course. “This is going to be a great experience. We have been training hard for this event and I even have a few teammates from my gym set to compete in the race. I have heard nothing but great things about these events and I look forward to the course kicking my ass, says Hendricks. He concluded, “Jamie might be one up on the experience but I have got the home cooking!”

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The Las Vegas Super Spartan had one of the closest finishes to date in the male elite heat. It was a weekend of new athletes in a new venue and one of those new Spartans was MMA UFC lightweight fighter Jamie Varner. Varner finished high in the open heats, placing 10th in his age group.

Varner enjoyed his experience on the course and promises it won’t be his last Reebok Spartan Race either! He challenges anyone in the UFC to come take on an event! See him in action training at his gym and check out a Spartan Race. You’ll know at the finish line.

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Reebok Spartan Race is scheduled to invade the Entertainment Capital of the World in just ten short days. And what’s more entertaining than a former WEC lightweight champion currently fighting in the UFC taking on the Reebok Spartan Race course? Jamie Varner will be there April 6 to take on the first ever Reebok Spartan Race in Las Vegas.  The 28-year-old is recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of action since his UFC 155 victory over Melvin Guillard and will be facing his first, but not last Spartan Race course.

And he’s taking this race very seriously. “I’m a competitive person. I fight people for a living!” He goes on to say, “I was medically cleared  two weeks ago and this gives me motivation to train.  It’s a different kind of motivation and that’s exciting.”

The MMA fighter is no stranger to intense competition and has few worries about race day. “I don’t have to worry about someone punching me in the face,  but it is a bit more mileage than I’m used to running.  That might be the only thing in the back of my mind.”

To prepare for the Super Spartan Varner has added more mileage to his regular training regime. “I added more aerobic conditioning with long runs. I’m most looking forward to the finish line!”

Varner is proud of his Greek heritage and the Spartan Race is right up his alley, “My great-grandmother moved to the US from Sparta. This race is so fitting! To be in Vegas and do the event makes me proud to represent my family and my origin.” He even has a Spartan inspired tattoo on his arm.

After the Spartan Race April 6th Varner is looking for his first MMA match-up for 2013 but doesn’t count out more Spartan events. “I want the fastest road to the title spot. Looking forward to getting my chance.”

First stop on that road? A Spartan finish line in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll be sure to warn our Gladiators that he’s coming…

Meet and watch him in action on April 6th! Register today!

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by Carrie Adams

Jim Miller
Photo courtesy of KOreps

If you hale from Sparta, NJ like UFC light-weight fighter Jim Miller, it would seem almost necessary to find your way to a Spartan Race start line.  And Jim Miller is doing just that!  When I asked the 28 year-old fighter who holds a 21-4-0 record why he wanted in on the Obstacle Racing scene, he said, “These types of races have always intrigued me.   It sounds like a fun challenge.”   Not one to shy away from a new adventure, the race is something he still admits is outside his normal.  ”It will be a fun test and something that is probably going to beat me up!”  And beating up Miller is no easy task.  He has 12 of his wins coming by submission and three by knockout.  With eight of his last ten fights resulting in a win, he’s about as tough as they come.

The location of the race also appealed to Miller.  The fighter will be in his home state of New Jersey to take on the Super Spartan Race in Vernon, NJ at Mountain Creek Waterpark September 8th.   Spartan courses are known for brutal hills, barbed wire, fire jumping, wall climbing, sandbag carrying… not exactly the kind of opponents Miller is used to squaring off against.   So how does a UFC fighter train for a Spartan Race?  ”More miles,” says Miller.  “Four, five, or six miles before my normal training.”

The mileage is a good strategy given the grueling course distance of roughly eight miles in the ski slopes, not to mention the 20 or more obstacles he can expect.   “The distance traveled is my biggest concern,” says Miller.  ”I’ve been running a lot before workouts and it feels good.”  However unknown the course and longer distance, Miller,  who says that in recent years he has developed into more of a sprinter type, is still confident about his performance in the event.  ”I think the all-around athleticism to be a well-rounded fighter is going to help; the ability to do physical things for an extended period of time.”

He’s also excited to interact with some of his fans. “MMA fans are doers,” says Miller.  ”There aren’t many sports where fans actually go out and do what the athletes are doing.  MMA fans do.”   And those fans will get to see Miller take on the infamous hills of the ski slopes and imposing obstacles that Spartan is ready to serve up.  The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt known for his choke techniques has a few nerves.  ”I know there will be hills,” he laughs.  ”That’s going to hurt.”

In addition to his race, Miller, whose fight calendar is currently open is hoping for a fight by the end of the year.  But the Spartan Race is giving him plenty to think about.  When told about the global rankings and chip timing that Spartan Race boasts as part of our World Class level of racing he said simply, “That’s what I like to hear.”

Want to join UFC Fighter Jim Miller in the Tri-State Super Spartan Race?  Get signed up today by clicking HERE.

 

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