Before the 2014 Spartan Race season kicked off with the Spartan Sprint and Super in Temecula, CA there was a storm brewing in the early hours of the morning. At 5:30AM the Hurricane Heaters descended upon Veil Lake Resort reporting to the parking for their warm-up. Anyone who did not show up on time subjected their fellow comrades to non-stop burpees until they were directed to stop. The Hurricane Heaters are always provided with a mandatory gear list which this time included bringing their own signed waivers as well as a questionable item, toilet paper. On top of late arrivals there were a few individuals who neglected to follow the instructions in their email which of course resulted in more burpees.

The event officially kicked off at 6:00AM with 50 participants. To start these brave individuals were to complete 30 burpees, a few more stragglers showed up on top of five who neglected to bring their toilet paper rolls, which brought the total burpee count up to over 100 before continuing on to the first challenge of the event, stacking all the logs for the fire jump obstacle. What might seem like a tedious task actually doubled as a chance for the large group to begin learning what it means to be a team, during this time their minds were activated by teaching them to recite The Warrior Ethos together. To ensure the Hurricane Heaters were challenged they were given a time limit of fifteen minutes to complete the challenge. Just as the racers finished the sun began to rise and the use of their headlamps was no longer needed. At this time the entire group descended on the beach and entered the water, there were still some individuals that hadn’t figured out the need to communicate and work together as a team. This caused their fellow comrades to be subjected to…you guessed it, more burpees… in the lake. The Hurricane Heat strives to teach valuable lessons, one of which is how to effectively communicate and work together as a team. When that doesn’t happen, there are consequences, however when the group does finally figure it out, that’s when the magic happens.

After “playing in the sand” and rolling along the shoreline the Hurricane Heaters were sent to the rope climb obstacle back on the Sprint and Super course. Everyone had the task of reaching the top to ring the bell. What transpired next was the turning point for this group of friends and strangers. They worked together to ensure the success of all their teammates by building a human pyramid while another participant climbed along side their teammate motivating them to keep climbing all the way to the top. Ding, just like that all the racers succeeded in smacking that bell. It was a very rewarding moment for the group and everyone cheered and celebrated their success.

Anthony Matesi – your Hurricane Heat leader

The HH-044 Class had discovered the power of communication and teamwork, so to shake things up they were divided into four teams and sent out backwards on a section of the Super course. At the base of one the steepest inclines the teams were stopped and one person from each team was informed that one of their comrades had been severely wounded. Their mission was to be the first team to reach the top of this climb carrying their wounded comrade the entire way. At the very top each team had to help their wounded person up and over the seven foot wall. Once completed everyone was miraculously healed; after a quick group photo the teams set out on a run along the mountain ridge looking over the festival area to the left and Highway 79 to the right. The view was breathtaking. The first team to reach the bottom was subjected to 30 burpees. Each team that came in after also had to do burpees but as soon as the first team hit 30, everyone was instructed to come to a halt and the entire Hurricane Heat made a quick hustle to the next challenge they would face. As they approached the grassy area leading to the Inverted Wall obstacle the group was taught the proper bear crawl technique in accordance with the Spartan SGX training program and immediately began crawling their way to their next obstacle.

As the Hurricane Heaters approached the festival area they were greeted with a lot of strange stares and loud cheers. For those that don’t know about the Hurricane Heat it’s quite the spectacle to see such a large group of people already being pushed beyond their limits before the race has even begun. A quick stop over to the Spartan SGX booth resulted in a series of body weight exercises including fireman-carry squats, burpees, reverse burpees and the infamous super burpee. Once all the Elite Men and Women took off for the Spartan Super the Hurricane Heat made their way back onto the course from the Start and went through a series of obstacles until reaching a strangely placed throne-like chair that was found on the course. Here the challenge they were presented involved hoisting the one and only Johnny Waite from Spartan HQ into the air and carrying him for over an 1/8th of a mile through a very swampy section of the course. The teamwork here was top notch, all the participants worked together to swap out as needed and to make sure Johnny was sitting pretty.

Next up the four teams combined into two teams at the Gamble obstacle, here you had to choose which direction to go, more difficult terrain but shorter distance or easy terrain over a slightly longer distance. The two teams were sent in different directions, Johnny Waite and John Ziegler from HQ led the team on the easy course, as I led the difficult. The final destination was the monkey bars. The harder section proved to be the faster route arriving a few minutes ahead of the other team. When the team that took the shorter route arrived, a female on the team was cramping up quite horribly. Together everyone helped, providing her with water, salt tabs and a granola bar to boost her nutrition. In this moment the Hurricane Heaters had a new mission, never leave a fallen comrade.

With less than a mile to go the Hurricane Heaters once again made their way into the now booming festival area and made their way toward the center of it all. They gathered around in a large circle and at the top of their lungs shouted out the 7 Pillars of Spartan and the Warrior Ethos followed by a set of 30 burpees. Thinking it was all over, Johnny Waite presented them with one last challenge, everyone was to hold up their toilet paper rolls to show they had protected it from the elements, if everyone succeeded in keeping the rolls clean and dry they were done if not another 30 burpees. At least three people failed to protect their toilet paper rolls. More Burpees!!!

This group of strangers came together in the early hours of the morning, failed to read instructions, arrived late, and appeared to be a complete mess. By the end they had learned to work together making sure every single person who started finished together as a team. When you suffer together there are many lessons to be learned. Either you can overcome the obstacles or you can fail to. The choice is yours. Remember, “I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.” This is your Ethos.

See you at the next race!

For more information about the Hurricane Heat, click here.

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So here we all are again. Another year starts and yet again we look toward the sun kissed hills of Temecula in southern California to kick off another year of hills, pain, ropes, barbed wire and thousands upon thousands of delicious burpees. Don’t pretend you don’t like them.

As Vail Lake prepares to open its arms to thousands of Spartans old and new, we now have the fortunate dilemma of just how much we want those Trifectas. Instead of hosting the usual Super to get proceedings underway, this year begins with the option of doing both the Sprint and the Super, or perhaps just one or the other. The mid-range Super will boast a minimum of 8 miles and at least 20 obstacles waits for you on Saturday. The shorter Sprint, a great option for those new to Spartan Race with a distance of around 3.1 miles, will also be held on a completely different track taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. Which Spartans out there will try to get two thirds of their Trifecta done in one glorious weekend?

The rolling hills of Temecula can be unforgiving. Have you been training?

Additionally, the ferocious lunacy of the always-demanding Hurricane Heat will be available for those who like their early starts sprinkled liberally with hundreds of burpees and random tasks that serve no purpose other than to build teamwork and exhaust your muscles.

Miguel Medina is looking to make the podium his own in 2014

The elites will be keen to reap more points. Especially the early 2014 season leader of the men’s elite division, Elliot Megquier. Currently Elliot has a paper-thin lead over Alexander Nicholas who was last seen showing us how to beat the Slippery Wall. Naturally well known heavy hitters in the form of Hunter McIntyre, Miguel Medina, Isiah Vidal, David Megida, Hobie Call and others will be sure to have their say in how those rankings look before too long.

The in the female division the competition grows equally as fierce with every race. Keen to shake off the dust following the winter break, Laura Messner will be all too aware that Danielle Ross, Jolene Wilkinson, Andi Hardy and the imposing pair of April Luu and Amelia Boone will quickly want to destroy her lead in the points tally. It’s looking very much like 2014 will become the most hotly contested year yet.

Also new to Spartan Race is the Special Needs Spartan Course. The Special Needs Spartan Race is an obstacle course race designed to test resilience, strength, stamina, and ability to overcome adversity. Sports are a universal language which unites people on and off the field of play, cutting across lines of race, ethnicity, education level, social status, and economic background. The Special Needs Spartan Race breaks new ground by increasing collaboration and raising awareness. Most importantly Spartan Race is providing a safe and structured athletic event where individual differences are embraced. This will be a place where children and families can feel comfortable to express themselves and engage fully in the Spartan community.

The Special Needs Spartan Race course is designed for participants with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Special considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges faced by race participants.

In keeping with the Spartan Mission, our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Spartans welcome racers of all abilities. We integrate people with special needs to challenge the public’s perception of what is normal. The spirit of the Spartan Race community encourages the development of skill, courage, sharing, and joy while transcending boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion. All racers receive a Finisher’s Medal, a T-shirt, and are embraced as a member of the Spartan Tribe.

With our usual mix of vendors, music and community atmosphere in the event village, it’s shaping up to be yet another outstanding event under the gloriously warm blue skies of California.

See you at the finish line…

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Joe De Sena

Dear Spartan Community, 

When I started Spartan Race along with six other extreme athletes, we had a simple goal: rip people off their couches to do what humans were made to do; run, jump, climb and sweat.  We knew how outdoor sports and adventure changed our lives so, based on the discipline and strength of the ancient Spartans, we set out to create a challenge and inspire performance. Above all, we knew we could take what we learned and change other people’s lives for the better. 

We’ve had quite a journey since those early days. And now we’re stepping it up in a big way as we embark on an incredible new partnership. Reebok is now the title sponsor for Spartan Race, which kicked off today at The Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge.  

Why Reebok?  We both share the same ideals about the future of fitness and how it can transform people and communities forever. Back in 2010, we started with a small race of a few thousand people in Vermont. Even then we aimed to create a sport. In 2013, we’ll see half a million Spartans cross our finish line.  We are the leader in obstacle course racing with timing standards, global rankings, escalating distances, and cash purses. This is a sport for everyone, for all levels and all ages, from the elite athlete, to the first time participant.

Reebok shares our vision; they recognize that Spartan Race is more than just a race, it’s a lifestyle.  We both believe that through fitness, ordinary people can realize their full potential and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

We now have the platform we have been looking for. The DNA of Spartan Race won’t change. We’ve just found a partner to help us continue the journey we started at that very first race in 2010.  

Thanks to everyone at Spartan Race and Reebok. It’s time to take this to the next level… together.  


Joe De Sena 

Spartan Race Founder and CEO


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