by Chase Stewart, Spartan Elite Athlete

In the Beginning

Reebok Spartan Race changed my life. Undeniably.  Before Spartan, I was out of shape and I treated my body like crap. Anything negative I could do to my body I did, in excess, daily.  I never exercised.  Deep down I always knew that this wasn’t me, that I was much more than that. I always wanted to be healthy and fit. One day during the summer of 2011, I decided to stop wishing I was better fit and actually get better fit. The only thing holding me back from being who I wanted to be was me.

Starting a New Life

So I gave up everything that wasn’t good for me and never looked back. I took a last minute trip to Hawaii to visit my grandparents, who were house sitting out there. I needed to get away to get my mind right about what I was trying to do. When I came back, I was a new person.  I started running and hiking 4 days a week.


A few months later I heard about Spartan and immediately knew this was what I was looking for. I needed something to train for, something to keep me focused on my goals. I started researching new workouts and signed up for the WOD’s so that I could train specifically for this race. My race was the Arizona Super in 2012, I signed up for the elite heat because for me it was all or nothing. I placed 51st overall, awesome for me. I was hooked.

Going the Distance

I decided to go for the Trifecta, so I signed up for Colorado and Utah. After Colorado I checked out the global point standings and saw that I was ranked a lot higher than I expected, so I decided I had to do a fourth race. When Spartan HQ announced the Ultra Beast, I thought it sounded awesome. I also thought I wasn’t ready, but after the Utah beast I decided it was the next step. I had completed the Trifecta, an accomplishment that seemed so challenging, suddenly realizing I could do anything I put my mind to. So I signed up for the UB and started logging the miles. Every race was an adventure and I knew the UB would be the ultimate adventure.

Completing the UB is one of my proudest accomplishments. Once I got my season pass I started signing up for races left and right. Today, I have completed 13 races with 4 Trifecta medals and a top finish of 6th overall and 1st in my age group.  I am far from finished.  Spartan gives me the competition I need to push myself to be better every day. The athletes in this sport are unlike those in any other sport. They are constantly pushing themselves past their limits to continually be better. They are also some of the greatest people I know, I have made countless new friendships in this last year. This sport has a camaraderie that I have never seen before. I look forward to watching this sport grow and am proud to be a part of it.

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by Carrie Adams

With all the trails, mountains, and gnarly terrain we’ve tackled, we’ve yet to take on one landscape – the URBAN jungle!  That’s going to change ONE WEEK from today!  Spartan Race is headed to Times Square!

For the first time, Spartan Race,  will take over New York City’s famed Times Square, not for a race, but a very special public demonstration of the best that Spartan has to offer.  There will be obstacles, some familiar Spartan faces, and even MUD at the famed Crossroads of the World!

Want to come check it out?  The public is welcome to come down and watch elite and local athletes test themselves against our most love (or feared) obstacles and cheer them to victory!  Dubbed The Spartan Race Times Square Challenge, we’ve created an invitational demonstration featuring some of New York’s fittest competitors, some special guests, and, of course, our crazy obstacles.  Thursday, Nov. 1, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., we’ll be rocking it out at Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Street), in Manhattan.

Our good friends from Team X-T.R.E.M.E. will be on hand including always inspiring Marine Corporal Todd Love, trimembral amputee

Claude Godbout, Spartan Champion

of both legs above the knee and left arm below the elbow.  Claude Godbout will also be in attendance.  The Olympic bi-athlete from Canada is the only Spartan in our history to win a Spartan Race at every distance we offer!  That’s better than even Hobie Call or Cody Moat can claim!  A Sprint, Super, Beast AND Ultra Beast.  Godbout even headed overseas to Slovakia and took the top spot at our first race there earlier this year!

Other elite Spartans from our 300 group will be taking part in the demonstration alongside some other inspiring Spartans.  John Ulsh, car accident survivor and PA Spartan Super finisher will be one among the lucky 100 who will be showing the crowd some of our most beloved (and feared) obstacles!

For the next week, we’ll be counting down to New York on our blog and Facebook.  There may not be a ceremonious ball drop at the end, but who needs a ball when you have 8 foot walls to climb and traverse?  So, mark your calendars and get ready for some urban Spartan mayhem in the city that never sleeps.  See you at the Crossroads of the World November 1st!

Ready to get off your couch and race with us?  Get after it already!  Click HERE to find an event near you!

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by Carrie Adams

Race day always brings stories from the community.  This one is a doozy!

The Ultra Beast featured a team element that included a $15,000 payday for the winner.  Only eight teams were brave enough to take on the monumental task that included specific requirements for the team, including carrying at least a 26.2 pound team weight throughout the course.  One team, dubbed team Rollover, had a more than monumental start when their truck rolled just minutes before the race kicked off.  The team included Kevin Donoghue (his vehicle), Eric Matta, and Andrew Hostetler (who we featured in an “Every Obstacle Matters” post in Amesbury.  Read more HERE.)

They pulled up to the medic tent to unload their gear bin and didn’t see the ditch on the side of the road with a sharp drop off.  As driver Kevin Donoghue pulled up, the front tire slid over the side and the truck flipped.  All three team members were in the vehicle at the time and because they had their seat belts on, they were safe and able to race.  They crawled out with about 30 minutes before the start reorganizing their gear that had gone all over in the flip and ran up to the transition zone.  Donoghue spoke with police and with ten minutes to spare, the kind folks at Amphibious Medics (Donoghue’s brother’s company) took over the responsibility of getting the car flipped back over and the team took off!

When the team circled back after their first loop, the truck had been flipped, had the side mirror re-attached, cleaned, AND given an oil change.  It was even drivable!  Well, for a day.  Kevin got stuck in Rutland, VT just a few miles down the road and is currently awaiting additional repairs.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Fam

They were lucky no one was hurt in the accident and it also had no effect on their dancing skills.  They had the best half-time performance during their transition, busting moves to loud music while they ate and prepped for their second 14 mile loop of the day.   Bearing witness to their dancing skills, I’m prone to recommending they stick to the obstacle racing.  The pre-race car roll didn’t deter the team’s performance; however, they ended up finishing in second place. Not too shabby, guys.

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Message from Spartan Race HQ

After our recent exciting and historic announcement “500,000 reasons to love Spartan”, Spartan athletes were debating which of our two marquee races taking place in the Vermont, the Beast and the Ultra Beast, they should race and how the two races factored towards Spartan Points Ranking System, relative to each other.

Questions mostly came about because in our blog post, Click HERE for that email.  There was an omission compared to information that appeared on the Points Ranking System page on the main Spartan website, click HERE, where it was originally stated that the Vermont Beast elite wave counted for double points awarded.  This should have been repeated in the recent announcement to avoid any confusion arising.

The 2012 Spartan Race season has marked incredible growth in our sport and gratified us with the incredible enthusiasm of our athletes and fans.  We want to be as responsive as possible to our fans and clarify questions following the announcement of the $500K prize giveaway, the Vermont Beast and Ultra Beast, and how points and races will be calculated beyond 2012:

The Spartan Beast and Ultra Beast:

  • The Spartan Vermont Beast is the Spartan Race 2012 Championship Race – in 2011, the championship race was held in Texas in December.  However, for 2012, the winner of the Vermont Beast in Killington will be declared Spartan Race Champion and the World’s Greatest Obstacle Racer for 2012.
  • The Spartan Ultra Beast was created in 2012, and will be the most epic race in the world of obstacle racing, a marathon distance race, with over 60 obstacles, on the toughest course in the Spartan Race series.
    • Entry for the Ultra Beast is by application only. 

On Race Day:

There are three start times to be mindful of Race Day:

  • 8:00A.M. is the Elite Individual Beast Cash Prize Heat and the Individual Ultra Beast start time.  If you expect to be a top 25 finisher in the Beast, this is the heat for you.
  • 8:15 is the Team Ultra Beast Start time.
  • 8:30 the Competitive Individual Beast Heat start time.  There are separate prizes (non-cash) and awards will be given to the top finishers in this wave. 

Beast and Ultra Beast Cash and Prizes:

  • Cash Prize Heat Individual top finishers for the Beast AND the Individual Ultra Beast in Vermont will walk away with $5,000 (top male and top female), $2,000 for 2nd and $1,000 for 3rd place.
    • Beast 4th through 10th Men and Women – Season Passes
    • UltraBeast – season passes for UB finishers is being determined.  More information coming soon.
    • The Ultra Beast is also offering an additional incentive and reward with a team challenge format with a $15,000 prize to the 1st place team of THREE racers.  There are qualifications and requirements to this team challenge.  As mentioned before, the team heat will start separately.

The Beast and Ultra Beast Wave

What does this mean for racers in the Elite Beast/UltraBeast Wave.  The “fastest” Beast can be won by someone entered in the Ultra Beast category, and the fastest Ultra Beast race can be run by an Elite Beast racer, if they choose to go out for the 2nd lap. If it is the “same” person they get paid and points based on the higher of the purse and points.

This means that the same athlete could win the Beast AND the Ultra Beast.  If an athlete is planning on doing BOTH events, they must register for both events and pay both event fees. 

Points Summary:

The Points Competition has galvanized Spartans racers to compete to be the most consistent performer in 2012 over multiple Spartan Races.  Going forward beyond 2012, the Vermont weekend will mark the end of the race season, with the new season beginning in October.

  • To bridge the gap and remain fair, 2012 will end in December but going forward the schedule will adjust to account for Vermont being the crowing jewel competition in our racing season.
  • So for 2013, points will be counted from October 2012 to September 2013.
  • Beyond 2013, the season will run from October to September.

Vermont Points:

  • It will be possible to race the Vermont Beast, and then continue on to finish the Ultra Beast. However, you can only be eligible for the points and prizes in one race category and the heats will be start separately. 
    • TO GIVE PARITY TO THE ULTRA BEAST, RACING THE ULTRA BEAST WILL SATISFY ELIGIBILITY FOR END OF SEASON POINTS RANKING PRIZES. 
    • THE ULTRA BEAST WILL ALSO BE COUNTED AS DOUBLE POINTS (CHANGED FROM 150%).

Season Ending Points for 2012:

  • The points competition will run through the end of 2012, ending with the Texas race. 
  • The Points Ranking System creates a table for athletes to share in the Points Leaders Prize Pool (a mixture of cash and prizes that will reward the Top 300 Spartan athletes at the end of the year for their commitment to racing, cash awards going to the Top 20 men and women) to be awarded at the Spartan Texas race.
  • To be eligible for the cash award in the Points competition, it was required that the athlete compete in the elite wave at the Killington Beast, Spartan Race’s World Series Championship.

Ultra Beast vs. Beast:

Ultimately which race an athlete chooses for point’s purposes is an individual choice based on a calculus of where they think they do the best relative to their competition, assessing their own strengths and weaknesses, and weighing their goals and desires.  There is no doubt that to participate in the first ever Ultra Beast will be legendary.  To complete it will be a badge of honor that is unlike any other in the sport.

If an athlete is planning on doing BOTH events, they must register for both events and pay both event fees. 

It is possible that an athlete could win the Vermont Beast Championship Race, and not end the season on top of the Points Ranking (if they did not do enough races or did more lower scoring races as their 2nd-4th scoring races, such as Sprint distances).  But, as set out on the Points Ranking Page, to qualify for the Points Pool distribution eligibility, doing the Beast is required.  We are now amending this to allow doing the Ultra Beast as an option and giving the Ultra Beast parity as a double points race.

Other questions:

  1. Is the Beast prize money for all Beast races or just Vermont?  Just Vermont
  2. Can you win both the Beast and the Ultra Beast?  YES.  Why?   Because then you are the ultimate competitor.
  3. Can you in effect race in both the Vermont Beast and Ultra Beast? Yes, but you can only be eligible for points in one category.  If you enter the Ultra Beast in order to have a chance at the team or individual prizes, you will be excluded from eligibility the Beast points distribution.  If you are registered for both, and wish to make your distinction, email carrie@spartanrace.com to ensure you are flagged for your preference.
  • If you do the Beast for points/prizes, and then continue and do UB and finish – you will earn post-race schwag being given, but no UB points.
  • If you do UB Sat and Beast Sunday – as it is the non-champ heat on Sunday, it would count for 125% if 9a competitive wave, 100% otherwise – this is in accordance with
    http://www.spartanrace.com/spartan-point-ranking-system.html -but you have to register for both separately.

If you are currently registered for the Ultra Beast and want to transfer registration to the Regular Beast for points/prizes, email carrie@spartanrace.com to have that coordinated.  We’ll ensure your registration is flagged accordingly.

Running Both on Saturday:

  • If you are racing the UB for chance at prize and points, and the Beast in an open heat, you will start with that heat and race the regular Beast on Sunday.

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by Carrie Adams

In the spirit of never standing still and always taking our competitions to the next level, we are introducing a team challenge to the Vermont Ultra Beast.  The first of its kind, The Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon(ish) distance Obstacle Race.  It will feature two loops of the main Beast course.  Racers will face the toughest course Spartan Race can bring TWICE before finding the finish line.  It’s not for the faint of heart but it does come with a pretty sweet payout for the fastest team… to the tune of $15,000.

 How it works:

Working in teams provides advantages in finishing a grueling course, working in teams in the Ultra Beast comes with additional risks and inherited challenges if you choose this route.  No Ultra Beast participant is obligated to run in a team, it is entirely voluntary and comes with conditions.  

If you elect to race with a team, you will have to abide by the following:

  • No one can apply as a team.  You must apply as an individual.  Once accepted into the event, individuals may form a team if they choose.  There will be opportunities to network in the group with other accepted UB runners.
  • Teams will be in sizes of THREE only.
  • There is a maximum of 100 teams being allowed entry. 300 individuals.  Once full, the team heat will close.
  • Team UB wave will kick off 15 minutes after the individual Ultra Beast heat.
  • Teams can be all male, all female, or co-ed, in any distribution.
  • Teams must have ONE person carry their support gear for the entire team at any given time.  That person can change, but one person must carry the load for the entire team at one time.
  • No bag drop at base camp for teams.
  • Spartan reserves the right for gear checks during the race at any time.
  • Teams start and finish together.  One DNF, all DNF.  Teams must also remain within 100m of one another.  The last person to cross the finish line will determine team time.
  • Teams will have to carry a team object that weighs MORE than 26.2 pounds.  This is an Ultra after all.  (We are partial to logs, sandbags, and rocks but it’s your decision.)  Choose wisely.  Only one person can carry it at a given time and it must be carried for the entire Ultra Beast course distance.  Weights will be evaluated and weighed before the start. 
  • Fastest team wins.  
Forming Teams:
Individual applications for acceptance must be sent to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  Include:
  • Race Resume
  • Three sentences on why you want to take part in the Ultra Beast.
Team formation requests for accepted individual racers must be emailed to carrie@spartanrace.com.  Include:
  • Names
  • Emails
  • Team Name
Welcome to the Ultra Beast, team style.  
Read more about the Ultra Beast HERE. 

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by Mike Morris, Spartan Race Director

283422_10150251576106861_251061411860_8082902_6099537_nEarlier this year we announced the inclusion of the Ultra Beast.  A 26.2ish distance event to coincide with the Beast in Vermont in September.  IN addition to the new distance race, we announced that the race (both Ultra and regular Beast) would be mostly unsupported.  That means the athlete’s will have to provide for themselves their own nutrition, hydration, and fuel for the race.  To help athlete’s prepare, we have begun a series of posts designed to educate those taking part.

As a Race Director, I’m always trying to find new and creative ways to safely challenge our competitors.  Given the nature (and history?) of our Killington event its important this race continues to set the bar high.  Most of the Spartan Founders come from an Adventure Racing background; races lasting anywhere from 4 hours to 9 days with multiple disciplines, intensive navigation, and little to no support.  You could go days without seeing another person.  Proper planning of nutritional needs could mean a top ten finish versus needing to call in for an evacuation.  Even a “sprint” race required forethought on what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.  Thus we thought it fitting to add an unsupported element to the event.  As you prepare for the Killington Beast, I want you to start thinking about those three things:

1. What

2. When

3. How much

If you can’t answer them as you face the start columns then you are going to have a hell of a time.  Consider these tips as you start to create your plan.

Water/Hydration.  You need it.  If you don’t carry any on the course you risk cramping,216632_10150251576831861_251061411860_8082923_6114783_n nausea, heat stroke, and a 99% of not finishing the race.  Start with 20 oz per hour and adjust as needed.   If it’s a hot day as you climb a double black diamond with a sandbag then you will wish you had more.  Since everyone will be on course for more than three hours, you should consider adding an electrolyte supplement (especially if you don’t get enough through your calorie supplements) to help prevent muscle cramps and keep your body working most efficiently at many levels. 

Calories.  The longer your race, the more you need per hour.  The more intense the activity, the more you need per hour.  Stay away from high fat and protein dense items, your GI tract will thank you later.  Stick with relatively high glycemic index foods, and shoot for around 100 calories per hour.  Big Spartans will need more, little Spartans could work with less. 

My next blog will include some specific examples of what to eat/drink.  In the meantime, do some homework of your own (some Google searching can be very effective), you’ll learn 10x more than my few blog entries can accomplish which will empower you to have more effective training and successful racing moving forward.

Aroo!

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by Carrie Adams

538895_10100625557784123_14210211_51040038_1615500661_n

Alyssa Tokorcheck has some new hardware to add to her collection.  She took home a second place overall finisher sword from the Carolina’s Beast on Saturday while rocking the Spartan Chicked gear.  Traveling to the Carolinas from PA with a team of athletes from her home gym, Hybrid Athlete,  this isn’t the first time Tokorcheck has traveled for a Spartan Race but it was her first top three finish and this Spartan Chick trains hard for her success. 

Alyssa was part of the first Spartan Beast in Vermont in 2011 running alongside three of her friends (myself included.)  Her domination of the Carolina’s Sprint comes as no surprise to those who train with her at the Hybrid Athlete facility in top ten finishes for ALL of the athletes that traveled South for the event that included Tokorcheck, Mike Russell, Youssef Mkwi, Brian Teyssier, Nikki Hurtack, and Jodie Kathleen. 

Tokorcheck has also completed her first ultra this year and plans on applying for the Ultra Beast this year in Vermont.  Of her Carolina’s finish she says, “I’m still pinching myself, honestly.  I didn’t go into the race with very high expectations because I had to take almost four months off from running after the knee injury I got at the ultra.” 

During the race, Alyssa focused on keeping herself moving and as she progressed through the obstacles, she started to hear how she was doing from volunteers, “About four miles in, one of the volunteers told me that I was only the second woman to comealysssa through the obstacle, and I kind of laughed him off thinking he was mistaken.  Then the volunteers at the next obstacle told me the same, and it definitely gave me the motivation I needed to really push myself through the last mile.”

It wasn’t an easy second place finish.  Tokorcheck battled with the third place finisher all the way to the end, “The girl who finished 3rd and I were taking turns passing one another since the barbed wire crawl, and it ended up coming down to the spear throw.”

alyssa1Her training has helped her be successful in a variety of events. “I train for literally everything…strength, speed, and endurance.  I’m not exceptional at anything, but I strive to be good at everything, and I think that is what makes me competitive at obstacle racing.” 

Tokorcheck changed up her routine after the grueling Vermont Beast.  She says, “After the Beast, I spent a lot of time working on getting stronger with my new best friend, the barbell.  Running was always my passion, but lately I’ve found a great satisfaction in picking up really heavy things, so now I try to split my week between CrossFit and running.”  

Tokorcheck’s trainers at Hybrid Athlete have developed a training program designed specifically for obstacle racing for their athletes, Alyssa among them, and they are not surprised that she did so well.   Anthony Vennare co-owner of Hybrid Athlete says, “Alyssa is one of the strongest competitors we have ever met, she will out lift the men we work with and then go dominate a marathon that weekend, she is a true Hybrid Athlete.”

This finish was a special one for Tokorcheck, saying, “I’ve crossed a lot of finish lines, some after running distances up to six times as long as I did on Saturday, but none of them have ever given me such a sense of pride.  It was a great feeling to see all of my training and hard work really come together like that.”

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by Carrie Adams

thebeast-60The 2011 Vermont Beast was a game changer in the sport of Obstacle Racing.  The climbs, the insanity of the obstacles, and the technicality of the course left racers breathless and broken.  It became the crowning jewel in a calendar of events that just keep getting more challenging in 2012.  So true to Spartan form, the game is changing again.  We’re kicking it up a notch in two very dramatic ways.

UB_SM_FB_IMAGESpartan Race HQ is announcing the inclusion of a new event that will be added to the  Vermont Beast weekend in 2012, the Ultra Beast.  The first of its kind, the Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon distance Obstacle Race.  That’s right, roughly 26.2 muddy, hilly, and obstacle-filled miles of mayhem.  Intrigued yet?

There’s more.

The Ultra Beast will be ONE heat on Saturday, September 22nd.  Racers will be designated with Ultra Beast armbands and announced by our Emcee.  (The time of the heat will be announced at a later date.)  The Ultra Beast will feature two loops of the main course resulting in an approximate marathon distance.  Racers will face the toughest course Spartan can bring TWICE before finding the finish line.  No skipping obstacles and only serious athletes and hardened competitor’s apply.  The Ultra Beast is not for the faint of heart.  For your own safety and for the competitive nature of the event, you will have to apply for acceptance into the Ultra Beast.

Still interested in participating?

  • Send an email with your race resume and three sentences about why you want to take on the Ultra Beast to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  Upon acceptance, selected participants will be notified and given registration instructions by Spartan Race.

In addition to standard Spartan finisher amenities, Ultra Beast finishers will earn their thebeast-72own distinct medal and a one-of-a-kind T-shirt that will not ever be available for purchase.  Athletes will also earn DOUBLE points for their efforts when they take on the Ultra Beast on race day!

What else does Spartan Race have lined up for the VT event?

In addition to creation of the Ultra Best, Spartan Race HQ is making the entire Vermont Beast weekend of heats the first (almost) unsupported race in the Spartan Race line-up.  “Unsupported”, a concept in Adventure Racing and other endurance challenges, means racers will have to prepare and ultimately take on the course with everything they’ll need to finish.  This means they’ll carry their own food and water for the duration of their time on the course increasing both the challenge and the accomplishment when finished.  Spartan Race will provide ONE aid station at one point on the course for the Ultra and the Beast participants with water only, but it’s location will not be released prior to race day.  Come prepared.

thebeast-18In preparation for this unprecedented standard of challenge, Spartan Race will be providing information on how to self-support successfully straight from Spartan Race Director and seasoned Adventure Racer, Mike Morris.   Says Morris, “One aid station will up the intensity of this already difficult course.  A mostly unsupported race adds a new level of challenge to the game that no other event has.”

For the ultimate badass wondering how to compete in the Beast’s competitivewave AND take on the Ultra since they are happening on the same day,  there are two simple steps:

1. Register for the Beast’s competitive heat to confirm your spot as spaces are limited.thebeast-20

2. Submit your race resume and three sentences why you want to take on this historic challenge to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  If accepted, Spartan Racewill contact you with details.

For those participants wanting to take on a regular, non-competitive Beast heat and the Ultra Beast in the same weekend, we recommend applying for the Ultra Beast heat on Saturday according to the directions and registering now for a heat on Sunday, September 23rd.

Already registered for the Beast and want to try your hand at the Ultra?  Submit your application and instructions to transfer registration will be provided if accepted.

To find out more about the Ultra Beast click HERE.

Questions?  Check out our ContactPage.

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