As the thousands of excited and nervous faces made their way through the registration tables in Soldier Hollow, Utah, with newbies rubbing shoulders with veterans of Spartan Race, it was all too apparent that everyone was all too aware of mountains that loomed over them as they arrived. They were there to be beaten. Just another day in the life of a Spartan Racer.
The unforgiving mountains, the malevolence of the thin air and punishing heat would all play their part in what was the first Spartan Beast of the year. Changing the course from last year to include more elevation, many competitors soon discovered what it is to tackle a Beast.
The men’s Elites set the standard with the now familiar 1,2,3 of Hobie Call, Hunter McIntyre and Cody Moat. April Luu continued her dominance of the female Elites, with Leann Brinton and Hally Tollner taking second and third respectively.
Many people chose Utah to be their first Spartan Race. One notable example being Winter Vinecki who at only 14 years of age, has already completed numerous long distance events including the Antarctica and Inca Trail marathons. Despite being in the middle of a schedule that will see her run seven marathons on seven continents, she took time out from her busy schedule to test out a Beast. Running for her charity Team Winter, inspired by the tragic loss of her father to prostate cancer, she now honors his memory by raising money through incredible feats of endurance including triathlons and marathons. Winter’s story can be seen here: http://www.teamwinter.org/
It wasn’t just a blazing sun that shone over the event. Yet more stories of heroism lit up the venue, inspring others to run just that little bit harder. Weeple Army member Kristen Sifers successfully completed the coveted Spartan Race Trifecta after successfully beating cancer. Having already beaten the Sprint in Malibu and the Super in Temecula – both in her home state of California – she finally realized her target and proudly wore the Trifecta medal that some suggested would be beyond her.
James Moody, having overcome throat cancer, explained how despite at one point being too weak to even cross a street now has, amongst other things, a Spartan Sprint (Colorado) and now a Beast medal in his collection. That same formidable determination that saw him beat the terrible disease now sees him take on Spartan Races. With a Super being on the cards, he’s sure to become another Trifecta member sooner rather than later.
Proudly supporting the EOD Wounded Warrior charity, ZJ Askins took on the mammoth task of completing the grueling course whilst wearing a full bomb disposal suit – a task that he successfully completed in an ordeal that took almost 10 hours. For more information about the charity, check here: https://www.facebook.com/bombsuitmudder.org
James Cannon, despite having never done a Spartan Race, didn’t just complete the course once. He went around again to complete the twice and then, just to bump up the mileage from 24 to 26.2 to make his own personal “Beast Marathon”, he added another 2.2 miles. A remarkable feat in itself, made all the more impressive when you consider all of this was done without any penalty burpees.
Through a mixture of planning and guile in partnership with Spartan Race staff, Corey Peterson proposed to his stunned girlfriend Bekka Bingham at the finish line amid cheers and tears of joy, bringing the day, which already had a party atmosphere, to that of a celebration. Spartan Race would like to wish them both much happiness for the future.
And so, as the Spartan Race continues to roll with Pennsylvania as the next stop, will we see yet more stories of life-changing decisions and tales of gritty determination?
You’ll know at the finish line…
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