Four years ago, obstacle racing as we know it began on the verdant hillsides of Central Vermont when ultra racer Joe De Sena and his friends dreamed up a series of challenges and built them. They sought to discover what they were capable of achieving. Fast-forward to now: De Sena and company have built one of the most grueling and successful competitive new sports in the Spartan Race series.
De Sena put out a call heard across the globe to see where the toughest Spartans are found while encouraging all to come out and participate.
This weekend, Sept. 20-21, 2014, Spartan Races, will host a third annual World Championship on the flanks of Killington Mountain. Cash and prizes will total over $330,000.
At 4,241 feet in elevation, Killington Mountain is the second tallest mountain in Vermont making the race a true test of an athlete’s conditioning and stamina.
The two-day Reebok Spartan Race World Championship is expected to attract 10,000 participants from around the globe.
including Olympians, Xterra athletes, USATF and Trail Racing champions, professional obstacle course racers, adventure racers, triathletes, and marathoners, Spartan Race organizers say. An additional 5,000 spectators are expected to line the course.
Organizers state that the World Championship this year will be a step above previous years and will really “deliver something special that the community and sport has yet to experience.” While the organization wouldn’t provide details they state that racers and spectators will be pleasantly surprised by this year’s event.
NBC Sports will broadcast the World Championship to millions of viewers marking the second year the event has been seen on national television.
The World Championship will feature the Spartan Beast, a 13+ miles/25+obstacle half marathon of trail running and Spartan challenges; a Spartan Sprint, 3+ miles/15+obstacle race; and the world’s only Spartan Ultra Beast. The Beast is a 26+mile marathon distance worth of trails to navigate and includes over 30+obstacles for those brave enough to accept the challenge.
The Spartan Beast, known for its punishing hills, will be the stage for the elite competition heat where the athletes will race head-to-head early in the morning on Saturday, Sept. 20. Racers will tackle a gauntlet of challenging obstacles, including wall climbs, aerial traverses over water, challenging rope climbs, and barbed wire crawls.
The Sprint, held Sunday, Sept. 21 will give people not racing in the World Championship the opportunity to run on the same course that the competitive athletes competed on the day before. The shorter distance will still provide athletes with a challenge while promising to be enjoyable for all skill levels.
While the adults race, “Jr. Spartans” ages 4-8 will be invited to compete on a half-mile course. A race will also be held for Varsity Spartans, ages 9-13 on a mile-long course. Both kids races are filled with obstacles tailored just for them.
Also planned the same weekend in Pittsfield, Vt. and Killington is The Fittest CEO® competition and TV show taking place Sept. 18-21. The annual championship has co-located with the Spartan Race for the first time.
Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena says, “The eyes of the sports world will be on Central Vermont as we create a few extra surprises for the W.C. and create new obstacles that have never been done before. This will be an unforgettable course that will challenge racers to overcome their own mental and physical barriers.”
For more information visit www.spartanrace.com.
Spartan Race is one of the world’s leading obstacle racing series and the first of its kind to feature timing and global rankings. In 2013, people participated at 60 events in what for many was a transformational experience. With over 130 events in 17 countries planned for 2014, Reebok Spartan Race is making obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The global event series features races at three distances, 3+Mile/15+ Obstacle Sprint, 8+ Mile/20+ Obstacle Super and 13+ Mile/ 25+ Obstacle Beast, culminating each year in the Spartan World Championship. With competitive Elite heats and Open heats for all fitness levels, Reebok Spartan Races offer encourages everyone to participate. The Spartan lifestyle continues its goal of ripping people off their couches and helping them lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives.
Joe De Sena, a Pittsfield, Vt., resident and Spartan founder, is also the author of the book, “Spartan up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life.”
Photos provided by Spartan.com