Ryan Fishbein is a fifteen year old junior from Huntington, New York. He attends Half Hollow Hills High School East on Long Island. Ryan’s high school counselor had posted Spartan Race pictures on Facebook in 2012 and Ryan thought this was a cool sport for him to try. Ryan is a long distance track runner. He participates in winter and spring track with his school so his training already consisted of running long distances. Ryan signed up for the Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo, NY for 2013. Ryan watched previous race videos to learn and study the obstacles; he tried to mimic as many obstacles as he could in his training. Although Ryan made up many of his own training workouts he added in a few Spartan WODs here and there.

Tuxedo, NY in June 2013 was Ryan’s first Spartan Race planned. However, on a last minute whim, a friend of his pulled him in to race at Citi field in NYC in April. Tuxedo ended up being Ryan’s second race. But the Spartan Race bug had caught Ryan! Ryan went on to race the Valley Creek Super in New Jersey in early September. Why stop there? Vermont was just a few weeks away and that race would secure a trifecta for Ryan.

Killington, Vermont was no walk in the park for Ryan. He had to work hard for it and he struggled up every incline. Being a runner, Ryan found himself hiking much of the inclines. Ryan almost dropped out around mile seven, like many other racers, he didn’t expect the cold water and cool air temperatures to overtake his body like they did. Ryan also sprained his knee, but he pushed through the misery and pain to earn not only the beastly medal, but also his first trifecta, becoming the youngest Spartan Race participant to complete this feat.
Ryan’s favorite obstacles are the 6-7-8 foot walls. With his 150 pound frame he can leap right up and over. Ryan also enjoys most other obstacles that require some upper body strength. However being just a buck and a half, Ryan’s weakness is the Hercules’ Hoist. That huge block of cement seems to weigh about as much as him. The mile-long sandbag carry during the Beast was another of Ryan’s nemesis, and not one he particularly enjoyed.

Although Ryan is the only of his peers to participate in Spartan Racing, his buddies are all supportive and quite impressed by what he does. Ryan isn’t one to brag or talk much of his abilities so they simply don’t discuss a whole lot. Ryan’s family is also quite supportive. His dad travels to races with him cheering him on the entire time. Ryan’s mom is equally supportive and wants him to enjoy himself, but is an active worrier always wanting Ryan to, “Be Careful!”

Besides the obstacles being a great addition to running, the community of Spartan Race really stands out in Ryan’s memories. He said that there is a brotherhood like no other out there on course. He has made friends at every race. He says that there is “someone always there to help you out,” and that is something pretty amazing. Ryan would love to see Spartan Sprints included in High School Sports. He thinks that it would be quite popular.

Ryan is done racing for this season, but we will be seeing much more of this youngster in 2014. He will be strong and ready to attack courses all over the Northeast.

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There are countless paths that lead someone to a Spartan Race. Some crave excitement beyond what conventional footraces offer. Others seek the camaraderie. But for Justin Di Bianca and many like him, Spartan Race was the destination arrived at through change.

You’d never know it from looking at the toned 29 year old but fitness was not always part of Justin’s regimen. In 2007, he tipped the scales at 310 pounds. His weight kept him from pursuing many of his ambitions and posed a serious concern for his health. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and taking nearly 20 pills a day to manage his symptoms, his doctor urged him to lose weight.

Maybe it was the diagnosis. Or maybe Justin needed a wake up call. Whatever the trigger, Justin heeded that advice like a scholar and immediately began exercising and improving his diet. And did he work! At his next doctors appointment six months later, Justin had dropped 140 pounds – without the aid of surgery or quick solves – and his ulcerative colitis appeared to have completely disappeared.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Justin found Spartan Race. By that time, he has established a healthy life built around fitness but claims that Spartan immediately became his drug. As he was pushed physically by the race and pulled emotionally by the racers, he found a community. He met Chris Davis, a Spartan who has famously lost hundreds of pounds, at the finish line in Tuxedo, NY, compelled to thank him rather than accept the medal Chris was draping around his neck. He learned of the Vescelus family, whose young son is blind, but refuses to not race like his big brother.  Justin has given back, donating his time to his Alma Mater’s basketball team as their strength and conditioning coach.

“When you have come from where I was to where I am now,” Justin explains, “you can really get into people’s minds because they know your fully understand both [health] spectrums”.

One must wonder: with the bevy of race options, what is it about Spartan Race that keeps in drawn in? “It’s [founder] Joe [De Sena]‘s mantra,” says Justin. When Justin completed the Beast in Killington, VT but did not receive his trifecta medal, he was understandably angered. But it was a personal email from Joe that put things into perspective. “Joe apologized for the situation but emphasized that I shouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture. I had accomplished an amazing task and come too far in my life to sweat the small stuff.”

Justin loves Spartan because it is the larger picture; it is as much about the community as it is about the individual, all united under one common goal – to reach the finish line. Justin sees a lot of finish lines in his future. Completing his first trifecta this year, he looks to accomplish two this year. We hope that one day he’ll hand out medals and be the welcoming face that has inspired others to reach the finish.

About Justin:
Trains with Spartan Group X at 360 Fitness in Fairfield, NJ and has competed in Tuxedo, NY (Sprint), Mountain Creek, NJ (Super) and Killington, VT (Beast). Di Bianci works as an Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverages for The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, NJ. He has always wanted to work with kids and since losing the weight and teaching what he’s learned, he has accomplished that dream.

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by Matt “Bear” Novakovich

Why call me the bear? I like to think that a bear can adapt to its environment and not only survive, but excel, and perhaps dominate. I’d like to think that a grizzly bear in Alaska has become respected and feared because of the sum of that bear’s accomplishments, not simply because it is a “bear.” To survive in Alaska, a bear has endured the harshest weather from 90 degrees F to 50 degrees F below zero. No one feeds a bear- a bear finds its food or dies.  A bear is large and therefore strong, yet must stay lean and powerful to chase down and find its food. A bear will travel for 50 miles in a day to find food, only to burn those calories returning to its home. What does this have to do with Spartan?

Spartan racing has accomplished what no other sport in the world has accomplished to date, the same way the harsh environment in Alaska has made a bear the most vicious, most powerful, and most respected animal in the world. Spartan racing does not apologize for being difficult, even impossible. Spartan racing does not cater to any athlete, yet attracts all of us. Spartan racing is the first sport to demand speed, agility, strength, balance, endurance, fearlessness and to do all these things while being out of one’s comfort zone. Every other sport that I know accommodates only a couple of these attributes and typically leans towards specificity.

What did I do to become a Spartan and receive the title “The Bear” after winning the Virginia Super? I had no idea I was competing in this race until three weeks prior to it. In the months proceeding my first Spartan, I played basketball, football, rode motocross, roofed buildings, climbed mountains, jumped off cliffs, white-water rafted and did the occasional CrossFit WOD.

So how did I win? I won because I am an adapted athlete. I am ready and willing to go long, hard and fast. I willing to jump, sprint, fall and grind. I am willing to do all this while being tired, hungry and uncomfortable. I am willing to come back for more.

So how did I implode at the Reebok World Championships in Vermont? I respected myself and not the race. Norm informed us all, that this race would expose all of our weaknesses. He told us to bring water and nutrients or we would starve. He said it would be cold. I laughed in my head at the thought of “cold.” I’m from Alaska and swim in glacier water. Bring a hydration source? Not me, I go light and fast and I will survive. Weaknesses? Please, I’ll be the last to crack.

I wasn’t willing to sit in 3rd or 10th. I chased and hammered from the start and wasn’t willing to let any of my foes lead. As early as the monkey bars (5 miles) my first cramps were arriving. As early as the barbed wire (6 miles) I begged for a hydration source. As early as the water obstacle (7 miles) I felt like I’ve never been colder. As early as the memorization obstacle I knew I would quit.

I sat in a dilapidated, humbled, hypothermic state with cramps I’ve never faced at the entrance of the forest at only the halfway point. My lead of 9 minutes over the eventual winner, had now been replaced with a burpee penalty that took me over 30 minutes to complete. With my pride at an all-time low, with no reason to continue and with excuses mounting in my head, I decided to quit. The medic witnessing my plight suggested it was a good plan.

I did not quit. Somehow, all of the reasons that make Spartan the greatest sporting event on the planet came together and carried me to the finish line. From “The Bear” to “The Mouse” I sat on the ground and became a quitter. Then the mantras of being a Spartan rang in my newbie Spartan ears and I became “The Bear” again. I crossed the finish line.

Just as a bear adapts to his environment I will adapt to my new Spartan World. In the short week since the world championships, I’ve climbed over 40,000 vertical feet, completed four CrossFitWODS, thrown spears, played basketball and have run with my cross-country running team.

I will become “The Bear” again and will adapt and respect being a Spartan.

What will you become? Register today.

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June of 2012 wasn’t a good time for Cem Colpan. He was suffering from asthma, weight issues, high cholesterol and a dangerous amount of fat in his liver. “The doctor said that I had to lose weight as soon as possible to prevent my liver from failing, but I just didn’t have it in me to diet and exercise. I had no motivation, was barely active as it was, and just felt like it wasn’t even worth trying to better myself, despite all of the health issues.”

Colpan was faced with an all too common, but sad scenario. Sometimes the drive or spark in order to get up and move just isn’t there. Sometimes it needs a fire lit under someone to make them jump up. Luckily, Cem was given those smallest of flames by way of his work manager.

“I opened up to one of my managers who was concerned and he told me about the Spartan Race and Chris Davis’ incredible story. I did research and noticed that there was a Super Spartan Race being held in New Jersey in September (2012) but I had my doubts. After being pushed by my manager, I had signed up for the race and began with the most basic exercise there was. Walking.”

When he started, it was all guns blazing – the gym was pounded 5 days a week, but he was deterred by the minimal results that were being shown. Training was slow, but steady. Walking slowly became jogging and the workouts became more efficient. More to the point, he had something to focus on.

“When the race time rolled around, I weighed 30 pounds less and was MUCH more active than before. The fat in my liver was decreasing, my cholesterol was lower and my asthma was little to no issue at all. I had completed the Super Spartan with the help of my manager, although it took 5 hours and 43 minutes to complete. After getting back home and resting a few days, I was constantly checking the Facebook page for any race photos and, to my surprise, my picture was one of the lucky few to make it. I felt honored and it was such a great accomplishment to actually be on the page.”

The high of the finish wore off and, “A few weeks after the race, I noticed that my workouts weren’t the same. I had lost a little more weight but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. Without a goal, I found myself stuck. So what was the next best thing I could do? Set a new goal and that was to earn the Spartan Trifecta in 2013.”

At the time Cem completed the CitiField Sprint, everything health wise was going great. He was 30lbs lighter, the liver issue was settled, the asthma was gone and the cholesterol was much better. But for some reason, a few weeks later, things started turning sour.

Everything was great up until a few weeks ago. My whole world began to come down on me. I was losing everything. “The first thing that happened was issues my family. Arguments started to increase and there was an imbalance between me, my mother, father and sister. Shortly after, my girlfriend, who had been an incredible source of support with my change ended up breaking up with me. As those situation were going on, I also found myself slowly losing my closest friends. I tried to keep my chin up and be thankful that two parts of my life were going well. Both work and my health.

It was about two weeks ago where, of course, work was now an issue as well. It was very taxing and I had remained completely ignorant to the depression that was slowly creeping up on me. I remained as positive as I could be and tried taking things one day at a time. I felt that I was being hit from all sides and nothing was going right. Then, August 23rd, it seemed like it was just another day until I began feeling faint. I got some water and thought that I was just a little tired when about one hour in, I collapsed.”

He was brought to the nearest hospital and some tests were run. No one could figure out what the issue was, including Cem himself. A psychologist was spoken to, but nothing became of it. He was released, and went home, but he preferred to be alone. Isolated.

“The next day must have been one of the longest ones ever. The depression had completely taken over and although I had my parents trying to help, it wasn’t working. My father took a walk with me so I could get some air instead of staring at the ceiling. On our way back home, I began to feel faint again. My father rushed me home and had me lie on the bed. I was on the verge of passing out again and both of my parents were frantic. They grabbed the ice, kept fanning me and talking to me to make sure I was responding. I was overcome with fatigue , unable to move my arms or legs. I just laid there in tears once again. I was slowly gaining my energy after getting help from my parents. By the end of the night, I was back to functioning normal again, but still silent.

Sunday came and I was finally ready to talk and told my parents everything that had been on my mind. I called my sister, my friends and even my ex. I was exhausted but felt that it was necessary to just open up entirely. Afterwards, I had taken a walk by myself. I was trying to push my limits to see exactly where I was at. I couldn’t find myself walking for more than a quarter mile without being exhausted and it was at that moment that I realized the path I took was the very same path I had taken during my first official “exercise” last year.”

In the blur of what was happening he had lost sight of the whole point of why he started and what for. His manager called him and pointed out that the Super was a mere 13 days away. Fearful that everything he worked towards may be lost, he trained “smarter, not harder” and saw it through. Eventually, the Super came and in his own words, Cem explains how it went;

“I loved the race. I believe that, for its level, it was definitely challenging. The hills were a brutal battle and I loved every bit of it. There was teamwork and camaraderie, even from complete strangers. I saw people helping each other up the walls and holding the cargo net so others would get over the net safely. I even had a few conversations and shared some of my energy gels with a few people along the way. I managed to complete the race in 2 hours and 35 minutes which was around my goal time so I’m content. The course DEFINITELY tested everybody’s strength and will and despite all the sweat and exhaustion, the course still managed to put smiles on just about everybody’s face. I don’t think I have a single complaint about the race and that’s saying something because I’m generally a picky person. It was great.”

At Vermont, Cem will earn his Trifecta.

To dig deeper and find what was once there is a hard thing to do. To have already given all you thought you had and then to have to find even more is something best realized at the finish line. And that’s when you’ll know.

What’s your excuse? Sign up today.

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by Cody Moat, Spartan 2012 World Champion and Spartan Pro Team member

The Road to becoming a Spartan Champion Part 1 –Before Spartan Racing
After a lifetime of being involved in competitive sports, I decided to take a break after my fifth and final year of college running. I was burned out and ready to conquer goals other than running. I got a teaching job and started a family. I had a burning love of the great outdoors and I spent many hours up in the hills. I wanted to spend more time at home with my family and still be able to roam the mountains. I realized the only way to make that possible would be to run the mountains instead of hike them. Then I could be home in a quarter of the time and still see the same outdoors. So that’s what I decided to do. I would run the trails and sometimes “bush-wack”, facing a lot of natural obstacles along the way. After a few years of this kind of training I realized that I was in pretty good shape and set out to get signed up for my first trail marathon (also my first marathon). After my first trail marathon I was hooked on racing and would have done more but was hampered by a bad case of plantar fasciitis.

The Road to becoming a Spartan Champion Part 2
“Do you want to be on my team for the Utah Spartan race?”
That is how I got started racing Spartan races. My friend, Wade Poulson, called and wanted me to join his team for the Utah race. I told him I would try to train, but that I’d been battling a foot injury for two years and there were no guarantees that I’d be able to run on race day. This answer seemed to suffice and he signed me up for his team.

I still didn’t know what a Spartan race was so I looked it up online and was thinking, “This is not really what I had in mind.” But I’d already agreed so I started training. I mostly trained for that 1st race by running, doing push-ups, pull-ups, and making natural obstacles on my trail runs. I ended up taking 2nd place and Spartan called a few days later and I haven’t stopped since. Thanks, Wade, for that first invitation!

The Road to becoming a Spartan Champion Part 3
My next experience with Spartan after the Utah Beast in 2012, was the World Championship race in Killington, Vermont. I was invited me to come, but I wasn’t sure what would be covered. I had been training, just how I knew how, running lots and some natural obstacles. I knew I was the underdog coming into the race, which is how I like it. I had, after all, only run one Spartan race.

This was the first time Spartan had ever done an “Ultra” Beast (26+ mile OCR race) and it was to be done right after the “Beast”. I was entered in both races but I was really gearing my sites on winning the “Ultra” Beast. I wanted to be in the top 3 for the Beast and then come back and win the Ultra, so I wasn’t planning on going out fast. After the start of the race, though, I realized the pace wasn’t too fast, so I just stuck with the Hobie, visiting with him the majority of the time. The last 3 miles he had about 100 yard lead but we hit a huge mountain that was straight up and I caught back up with him. Then about 800 meter from the top I started to leave him. I took off down the other side which was 1.5 miles straight off to the finish line.

That is my story on becoming the World Champion Spartan racer for 2012. In 2013 I’ve been on the podium several times and joined the Spartan Pro Team as well. The 2012 Race was a great experience and I loved the course. It was a beautiful area to run a race, in the middle of fall. I’m looking forward to the upcoming World Championships in Vermont September 21, 2013. Join me! Register HERE.

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by Paola and Pamela Del Hierro

We are identical twins, Paola and Pamela Del Hierro. Peruvian born, our last name is Spanish and translates to “of Iron”. More than strong in name alone, we are fierce competitors who thrive on challenging ourselves and each other. Our tenacity and thirst for adventure has earned us the title #DoubleTrouble from family and friends. As identical twins, we share a connection which is truly only understood by other sets of twins. Participating in the Spartan Race has shown us that a similar connection exists between competitors.

My sister and I face life in much the same way we approach a race. We meet obstacles head-on and understand the importance of hard work, training and dedication. Nothing worth having comes easy. The Spartan Race draws competitors of all shapes, ages and abilities. Spartans are fighters who grit their teeth and push themselves to defeat their greatest adversary: themselves. We’re proud to be part of this legacy.

Training for the Spartan Race has pushed us to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regimen. We are active CrossFit members and firmly believe that the challenges we face at our box have built a solid foundation for our physical and emotional wellbeing. We may not be the strongest or the fastest, but our determination to be our best makes us a force to be reckoned with.

Finishing a Spartan Race is an amazing accomplishment proving to yourself that you can overcome physical discomfort and mental exhaustion. Crossing the finish line is a feeling unmatched by almost every other form of competition. We take the personal success of completion and use that to motivate others into doing things they never thought possible. Since beginning our Spartan journey, we’re thrilled to witness those closest to us approaching their own personal challenges with renewed optimism. If selected, we know there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Obstacle Racing is an experience like no other. Further proof that the Spartan Race is our destiny: the Spartan World Championship Beast will take place on our birthday, September 22nd. For us, the Race represents the ultimate showdown between our fears and our determination. Life has taught us that overcoming obstacles makes us better, stronger people. There’s a camaraderie which exists between those who have refused to succumb to a challenge; opting instead to dig in their heels and push themselves out of their comfort zone.

The Spartan Race is not about who crosses the finish line first. It’s about all kinds of people, facing their own greatest obstacles and not backing down in the face of fear. Every single competitor who crosses the finish line found their inner strength and won against the odds.

How boring would life or races be without obstacles? It’s been said that “There are two things in life for we are never truly prepared: Twins”. Similarly, the same can be said for Spartan Racing and once you’ve had the opportunity to experience either one, you’ll never be bored again.

AROOOOO!!!!

Find us on Spartan Pages. Click HERE.  Want to create your own page?  Click HERE to start your own Spartan Page.

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Tales from the Chicked: Carrie Adams, Chicked Founder

by Beth Shields, Spartan Chicked member

Two and-a-half years ago, no one would have expected Carrie Adams to spark a revolution for women in the sport of obstacle racing.  Working in the corporate grind and raising her family she couldn’t fathom how much her life would change and how many lives she’d change in the process.

In November 2010, Adams finalized her divorce and was unexpectedly laid off from her consulting job within a two-week time span.  Then 28, and suddenly a single, unemployed Mom of two young girls, “I was in a very dark place at the time,” she says.  Never one to be down long, she quickly secured another job as a medical consultant in Omaha, Nebraska, and settled in to her new position.

Around the same time, good friend, and ultra-endurance athlete, Spartan’s own Jason Jaksetic, convinced her to try a Spartan Race,

SoCal Super Spartan 2011

the Super in Temecula in February 2011.  An avid runner, Adams was an endurance athlete, but had never participated in an obstacle course race.  “Just come try this Spartan event in California,” Jaksetic told her.  “There’s fire, barbed wire and walls.  You’re going to love it.”  Adams was far from smitten. “The more he’s telling me, the more I’m like, ‘that sounds horrible.’”

Jaksetic’s urging prevailed, and Adams was convinced to come out and race on what turned out to be the coldest day in Southern California in 200 years.  She was also featured in a race video that was made that day about overcoming obstacles.  Notably, the video also features Hobie Call – it was the first Spartan Race (he won) of his career.  Adams ran the course next to Joe Desena, who carried an axe the entire distance.  Desena is one of the founding members of Spartan Race.

“It was one of the most beautiful and exhilarating races I’d ever done,” says Adams.  “I was looking around, and thinking that there should be more people there.  It blew my mind that more people weren’t doing it.  I said to Joe, ‘How are you going to get more people here?’”  His response was, “You tell me.” She laughs.

“That is how it all started.  I’ll always be grateful to Jason,” says Adams.  “He’s still one of my favorite people, we are co-editors of the SR blog, but more than that he’s a very good friend.”

The Spartan Race series was developed by eight “Founding Few” members, including endurance athletes, and mountaineers.  Inspired by the Spartan Death Race (the liability waiver consists of three words:  “You may die,” and only 10% of competitors finish), these obstacle courses are meant to be a more accessible version open to more than just elite athletes.  There are four race lengths: the sprint, 3+ miles with 15+ obstacles; the super, 8+ miles with 20+ obstacles; and the beast, 13+ miles with 25+ obstacles and now the Ultra Beast that is a marathonish distance with more than 50 obstacles.  Unlike traditional endurance events, it’s almost impossible to know what to train for.   It’s the only chipped, timed obstacle organization in the world with world rankings and a points system.

After that seminal race in California, Desena contracted Adams as a part-time blogger and marketer, while she continued her full-time job of medical consulting and raising her daughters.  The part-time work for Spartan quickly became unmanageable in tandem with her full time gig.   At the point when it seemed she was in an untenable position, Adams met with her medical consulting services boss and was told they had lost funding on her project.  She felt it was perfect timing and accepted a full-time contract with Spartan Race.

Passionate, upbeat, and charismatic, Adams set out to promote Spartan Races across the globe, and decided to focus on women, an as-yet unrealized demographic in the sport.  To that end, Spartan Chicked, the female-only offshoot of Spartan Races, her brainchild, began.  With very little fanfare, it was initiated at the first ever Spartan Beast with Adams and about a dozen other women.  It’s now a phenomenon promoted through a closed Facebook group that has grown to about 10,000 members in the last nine months.  Adams regularly joins in, recently posting a “WOD” – workout of the day – challenging the Chicks to do planks every hour on the hour, take pictures and post them to the group, and sharing her love of all things fitness, life with her two small girls, and her love of bacon, CrossFit and Pilates.  ”These women mean the world to me.” She says.  ”They are remarkable.”

While promoting the Spartan brand, she continues to race approximately six Spartan events a year among other events – she just did a marathon on Saturday.  She ran the Beast in Vermont with three of her girlfriends, cartwheeling over the finish line.  “I was so proud of that medal,” she says.  “We didn’t run fast or anything, but we laughed and shared food and crawled through mud side-by-side, collectively suffering and coming out the other side.  That’s pretty rad.”  Two of the girls, Alyssa Tokorcheck and Monica Mondin, she had just met that morning, corresponding only on Facebook previously.  After finishing, Tokorcheck turned to her and said, “It seems kind of silly to tell you now, it was nice to meet you.”  That Spartan Race series has been an epiphany for Adams on many levels.  “I don’t know how to explain the magnitude of what I experience working for this company.  I am forever changed by the incredible people I get to work with, the athletes who I meet, and what I see on race day.”  That sentiment is encompassed by Spartan Race’s tagline which Adams coined, “You’ll know at the finish line.”

“It made complete sense,” says Adams of the tagline, “You can’t explain it to people who haven’t done it.  You just have to get out there and do one to understand.”  The recent Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Heroes Heat in Virginia is one example.  “That team blew my mind,” says Adams, who becomes serious for a moment, “I am so honored to have gotten to witness their race and I’ll never view the world the same again.  There is no such thing as impossible.  Life gets more beautiful every day.  Who gets to say that about their job?” she asks.  “I’m extraordinarily blessed.”

About the growth of Spartan Chicked, Adams says simply, “It’s a movement; it’s not a team, it’s a movement, a community, a network.  These women have changed their lives.  I am just thankful to have a front row seat to their accomplishments.”

The online Spartan Chicked Facebook group includes women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities who share not only training and nutrition tips, but also swap stories of motherhood and overcoming personal adversity.  The group is also free to discuss other non-Spartan races, a decision that was made early on in order to promote the easy atmosphere that Spartan Chicked maintains.  When Adams started, Spartan Races had 20,000 facebook fans; she’s helped grow that to nearly two million.

Adams sees these races as serving to challenge women in a way that traditional endurance events don’t.  “If you’re a racer in any capacity, finish lines can become anticlimactic.  As much fun as [racing] is, [Spartan races] are a gift; because when you finish, you finish something that you couldn’t prepare for.  The level of challenge starts to escalate . . . .  You find out what you’re capable of achieving is far greater than what you thought because you were living in a very constructed space of your own making.”

Adams sees women as having an edge in ultra-endurance sports. To her, “That’s a very cool thing.  Many women can go farther, go more, and endure longer.  It’s fun to show women, who are predominantly caretakers by nature, that doing for yourself from time to time will make you a better sister, daughter, wife, friend, because you’re more complete and more self-actualized.”

The Spartan Race series is something Adams promotes with a passion, “We’ve come to this place that we’ve forgotten how to be human beings, and we’ve forgotten what it means to live.  We’ve lost that connection that we have with the most primal parts of ourselves.  That’s why these events are so strongly resonating now more than ever, because people long for it.  We miss being human beings.”

Seeing women transformed and how her own daughters are impacted by being around ultra-fit women are huge inspirations for her.  “My girls are active.  Always have been.  They’ve grown up around that kind of atmosphere.”  She’s excited about an upcoming opportunity for them as well, “My Cross Fit Gym, CrossFit Omaha is starting up a kids’ program.  What a gift to give my girls,” she explains, “how to be powerful and strong and to understand and appreciate what that means.  You can’t put a price on that.  That will infiltrate everything that they do as decision makers, even into adulthood.  It’s something that is born out of ‘I can run that far,’ and ‘I lift this barbell,’ and ‘I can climb this wall.” It’s all part of the equation.”

For women who have never attempted this before, Adams has some advice:  “You have to just decide.  You can literally be a different person right now than you were 10 seconds ago.  You just have to choose it.  Tomorrow’s coming, whether you live healthy or not.  Imagine what one day on top of one day on top of one day starts to look like when you are living a healthier life.  Just embrace, whatever it is, registering for a race, joining a new gym, making healthier food choices . . . don’t wonder what your life could be, go out and make it what you know it can be.”

Let the revolution begin.

[Editor's Note: Carrie has been a full time Spartan employee since March 2011 and started the Spartan Chicked movement in August 2011.  To join the closed network (women only) go HERE and request to join.  You can find Adams' personal blog at www.leavingapath.com.]

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by Carrie Adams

Our community of athletes has grown substantially since we first took off from the start line of our Vermont Sprint in 2010.  From a sport that was virtually unknown and mostly coined “mud runs” and “fun runs” we’ve gone into a whole new stratosphere where familiar faces are more and more often seen on the course and their racking up some major mileage, and mud, to follow us across country.  The bruises, bumps, and breaks on the course become badges of honor, the friendships forged on the course become immediate and life long, we’re kindred after all.

One of our repeat Spartans, Rayn Boncie, created this incredible top ten… and we knew it needed to be shared.  We saw her in Leesburg and in Vermont just this last weekend taking on the Beast, but she knows Spartan better than just about anyone.  And if you’ve raced with us, you’ll get it, and find yourself nodding along and even shouting out, “Right?  YES!” as you read through the list.  Thanks for sharing, Rayn.  We’ll see you on the course  again real soon.

You are officially a Spartan Athlete when…

1. You have the uncontrollable urge to show everyone you come into contact with, the bruises and cuts you obtained from a race.

2. You are completely comfortable taking off your clothing in a parking lot, despite how many people are around.
3. You plan your work, dates, family time, etc., around races.

4. You could be sick or injured and will whine about such, but when someone advises you to skip an upcoming race; you look at them as though they just admitted to killing baby animals.

5. People who mention they also do Spartan Races, instantly become your best friends, and are invited to your home, despite the fact that you have never even met.

6. Mud has become sexy, and barbed wire excites you.

7. Despite how much difficulty you may have had with a run, you have the uncontrollable urge to sign up for more.

8. Your finisher’s medal becomes your most prized piece of jewelry.

9. You and burpees have a love hate relationship, mostly hate, but you do them anyway.

10. You are constantly added to groups, and invited to challenges with the words death and pain in the title, on the other side of the country, and at least momentarily consider going.

How do YOU officially know you’re a Spartan athlete?  Email carrie@spartanrace.com with your story.  And if haven’t signed up yet, what’s keeping you?  Register today.

Editor’s Note: Spartan’s give generously and Rayn Boncie more than proves that.  Boncie is a mother, a Spartan many times over, and the Executive Director of a very special charity – Things of My Very Own.  Things of My Very Own, Inc. (TOMVO) is a 501(c)3 Non-profit Corporation that provides innovative programs and services to children that have endured the most extensive abuse and/or neglect within New York State.

Feel free to contact them at (518) 630-6137 or by email at info@tomvo.org

To donate: http://www.tomvo.org/donatenow.html

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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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