Spartan goes to Iceland and brings back a new race format

What Was that Spartan in Iceland All About?

While this is a challenge for all of us who write about OCR, my biggest concern in writing about the Spartan Iceland Ultra World Championship was avoiding overuse of the words “epic” and “grueling.” My solution here is substituting the words “saga-worthy” and “difficult,” because Iceland is a land of difficult terrain that inspired centuries of sagas. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This summer, Spartan announced that it was launching a new race in a new location: Iceland. I’ve been before, but I wanted to go back, and this seemed like a great excuse. Spartan also announced a new format:  a 24-hour UltraBeast consisting of 5-mile loops. My first reaction was “So, this is going to be World’s Toughest Spartan?” The staff at Tough Mudder must have been pleased, as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My next reaction was to note the date: December 16, a month after World’s Toughest Mudder and, more important, a time of year when the sun barely shines in one of the world’s northernmost countries. The flip side of this was that it would make viewing of the northern lights while racing a real possibility.

The Great Unknowns

Racers were stymied at first, as Spartan’s website was ambiguous about what exactly the race would consist of, where it would take place, and who could participate. Many were reluctant to fork over $750 for a race without more details – Spartan promised it would be “epic” and “grueling”, but not much more. Eventually, enough people signed up that Spartan committed to the event and provided a travel agent to arrange hotels and transportation. The exact location was kept secret until close the date of the event, though it was easy enough to guess from Spartan’s description (a quick web search of the term “thermal streams,” one of the course features, pinpointed the site as Hveragerdi).

Adding to this uncertainty was one of the first data points provided by Spartan: a mandatory gear list. While Spartan has made some gear requirements for races in the past, particularly to make sure that racers would have enough water on the Beast and UltraBeast courses, the gear list provided was more reminiscent of what was required for the Death Race or an Agoge. In addition to a pack for water, racers were required to have on their person rain gear, warm clothes, lights, backup lights, and a very specific foot care kit. While I could imagine hikers needing an Ace bandage out in the wilderness, the need for one on a five-mile loop was less clear to me, and an informal survey after the race turned up no one who used it out on the course. The list caused considerable online puzzlement: would we be disqualified before the start if our rain jackets didn’t have the correct type of waterproof taped seams? Would there be pack inspections along the course?

What’s Icelandic for “Athlete Briefing”?

Racers met the day before the race for a mandatory briefing at Reykjavik’s Harpa, a concert hall and conference center, something like Iceland’s Carnegie Hall, but sleek and modern. Before we got to the important race details, we were treated to what might be the Icelandic equivalent of a motivational speaker. Bjartur led us all in a chant, having us cry “Wiking! Yes!” and jump in the air. Yes, Scandinavians have trouble with word-initial v’s, and it’s funny. The next few days included plenty of cheers of “Wiking!”

Next, Spartan Founder Joe De Sena took the stage and explained that staging the race had cost over a million dollars, and he expressed gratitude for some last-minute sponsors who had made the event possible. Given how expensive Iceland is, this was certainly credible. Finally, we were given the details of how the race would work: the loops would be six miles, not five unless bad weather forced the closing of part of the course. We were shown the bling, and we received a lengthy explanation of how that bling would be allocated. The format of the race would have different levels of finishers, one for those who completed over thirty miles, and another for those who completed over thirty miles and did so over twenty-four hours. Calculating the twenty-four hours involved crossing the finish line just after 9:00 am on Sunday, but not after 12:00 noon, which would result in not completing the race at all.

Iceland Ultra medal and belt buckle

At The Start

We picked up our timing chips and race bibs: purple for the elite competitors, black for us civilians, with reflective areas to make us visible in the dark, and so to bed. In the morning (still in the dark – remember, Iceland gets about four hours of sunlight a day this time of year) we were picked up from designated hotels in Reykjavik by bus and taken to Hveragerdi, about 45 minutes away. Iceland is powered by geothermal energy, and Hveragerdi is one of the locations where the steam pours out of the earth. We had been warned to stay on the course during the race because cutting corners could land us in the middle of a scalding thermal pool. Not a good reason to be disqualified.

In addition to pervasive eerie steam, Hveragerdi has an inflatable dome that provides an indoor rec center for the locals – basketball court, putting green, soccer field. This served as the Transition Area, and we were provided tables to store our gear, mandatory and otherwise. Cheerily, it was announced that in the wee hours, there would be cots and inflatable hammocks available for napping or for more comfortable viewing of Christmas movies which were to be projected on the walls.

We geared up, but before we could go outside there were two more groups to take the stage. First was a cohort from the concurrent Agoge that had started the day before. I don’t know what they had been up to on their spiritual and physical journey, but they looked miserable. A crowd of hundreds was cheering their efforts, but they all appeared too exhausted and demoralized to crack a smile. I did not envy them. Next were two Vikings (Wikings?), or the modern reenactor equivalents, who led us in a Viking prayer, which consisted of calling out the names of gods in each direction (Thor! etc.) and pouring out mead.

Genuine Wikings

Icy Start

We filed out of the dome into what little daylight there was. The weather called for rain, freezing rain, snow, some clearing, and then more precipitation. In short, a miserable day to be outdoors. Still, there was a race to complete, and twenty-four hours had to start eventually. At noon we took off for a 5K “prologue” through the town. This was a clever way to stretch out the field, and it gave us a taste of what the conditions were like: icy. Even before we started on the trails, we had to figure out how to keep upright on slick surfaces. Running up even a slight incline on ice is tricky.

After the prologue, we headed to the hills and the obstacles. One of the first obstacles was a pipe that was part of the landscape and replaced the usual hurdles that can be found on Spartan courses. Some of the obstacles (Monkey Bars, Twister) were closed on the first lap to avoid backups, and we soon came across another nod to the local conditions: the “farmer carry” obstacle had racers carrying… ice. Handles had been frozen into large blocks of ice. Nice touch, Spartan, and I always appreciate it when races that somehow acknowledge the course settings (think tire carries that used to be part of the Tough Mudder course at Raceway Park in New Jersey).

Why they call it Iceland

Soon we were directed up the side of the mountain. Spartan has steep climbs in its races, but this was among the steepest and most difficult I could remember. This wasn’t running, but rather climbing up the side of the mountain, pulling yourself up on whatever you could grab and hope that your footing wouldn’t slip. Also, hoping that you weren’t inadvertently kicking loose rocks into the faces of those below you. Video of that climb here

At the top of the mountain, it became clear exactly how treacherous conditions were: winds of more than 40mph pummeled racers on the exposed summit. The combination of the slick ice underneath your feet and the strong winds made it tough to stand even on a flat surface, and the wind was powerful enough to blow the snot out of you. Apologies to anyone who might have been downwind from me.

Going down the mountain was not easier: there was simply not much stable footing. Between the ice and the freezing rain on top of the ice and the wet terrain below the layers of grass, my feet were wet, cold, and unstable. The obstacles were spaced out fairly well as a distraction, but when your hands are cold and wet and the surfaces are icy, even simple obstacles like a rope climb are challenging. A complaint I heard from several people was that the sandbag carry was the most difficult obstacle; the sandbags were 60 pound Spartan “pancakes” (who knew they came in this size?), but these bags had been left out in the freezing rain, where they absorbed water and froze into awkward shapes. One noteworthy innovation: Spartan had replaced the typical round of thirty burpees with other penalties for some failed obstacles. Instead, some obstacles had short penalty loops, bucket carries or barbed wire crawls. In another twist, the elites had to carry a “passport” with them where volunteers recorded how many obstacles the racer failed. At the end of each loop, the elites did all of their burpees in one session.

All that steam eventually turns to ice

The obstacles were all familiar, which was a relief given the unknowns of the terrain. As it got darker and as the rain started fogging my glasses, it was tougher and tougher to see the course markings, though I was brought back on course by helpful fellow racers. As I trudged up yet another hill, I had one of the highlights of my OCR career: I got passed by Robert Killian. As he danced up the hill past me, he said “Good job!” What a mensch! [Editor’s Note: Mensch is a person with honor] It says a great deal about our sport that one of the top elite athletes would spare the breath and brain power in the middle of a race to offer some encouragement to someone at the back of the pack. Thanks, Killian.

Robert Killian, OCR mensch

Throwing In The Towel After Throwing In The Spear

I was cold, wet and not sure how I was going to finish one loop, let alone keep going for twenty-four hours. As I tried to figure out the best way to get to the next marker, I found myself asking “What would Bear Grylls do?” I also remembered that Bear had once taken on Iceland.  But I’m not Bear Grylls, I’m definitely not Robert Killian, and the appeal of warm air and dry clothes back at the dome was overwhelming. I also realized that I should have signed up for the Sprint, not the Ultra, and one loop was going to be enough for me. Trying to hit the spear throw is difficult enough, but doing it in heavy winds, in the dark, and then having to do burpees in an inch of freezing water? I know when to say when, and I opted to avoid the risk of a broken wrist, or worse, from slipping on icy paths.

After admitting defeat, I settled into the world of the Transition Area, the dome where racers warmed up, changed clothes, recovered from each lap and refueled. There were cots and water jugs supplied, and the overall appearance was that of a refugee camp, albeit for especially buff refugees fleeing a repressive Gore-tex based regime. The dome was a veritable festival of DryRobes. There was food for sale, the camaraderie of fellow racers, a festival atmosphere for the few spectators and crew, and loud top-40 hits to keep the mood high. Myself, I took a nap in one of the Spartan-branded inflatable hammocks (pro-tip, Spartan: if you are going to note how expensive the race was to mount, maybe hold back on putting your logo on the hammocks next time).

It was warm and dry in here.

Deflated by De Sena

As I recovered, wedged happily in one of the hammocks, who should stroll by but Joe De Sena. Knowing his goal to yank the world up off the couch, I asked him if he was going to revise his pledge to rip 100 million people out of their inflatable hammocks instead? “They also deflate, you know” he replied.

All through the night, racers trickled in and out. At about 1:30 in the morning, an announcement was made: the skies had cleared and the northern lights were visible. This was enough to get me out of the warmth of the dome, and it was enough to justify the entire adventure. Photographs do not do the phenomenon justice, but this natural wonder was augmented by the tiny lights from the headlamps of the racers out on the course. Saga-worthy.

Spartan’s professional photographers capture the northern lights.

Northern lights plus racers in the night, as taken by my phone.

International Attendance

While this may happen more often at Spartan races in Europe, one notable aspect of this race for me was how international the field was. Joe De Sena has worked hard to build the race series around the world, and the athletes that traveled to Iceland had come from over thirty-five countries. According to Spartan, 48% of the racers came from the US, with 40% from Europe and the rest from even farther away. It was an eye-opener to see how global OCR has become. Also, it afforded a few entertaining cross-cultural opportunities:

Me: “So, where are you from?”

Another American Spartan: “I live in Scranton.”

Genuinely bemused Spanish Spartan: “Wait, that’s a real place? Not just on ‘The Office’?”

American Spartan: “Yes, it’s real. But they made some stuff up for the show. We don’t actually have a Chili’s in Scranton.”

Shortly after 9, Morgan McKay crossed the finish line to win the race for the women, and not long afterward, Josh Fiore claimed the title for the men. He did so in romantic style, having carried an engagement ring in his pack for the entire race and popping the question at the finish line.

ORM’s Matt B. Davis MC’s the proposal from the warmth of his DryRobe and my borrowed warm socks.

You can read more about Josh’s race experience here: Not to be left out, Morgan got engaged soon after.

Iceland Recap

Apart from diamonds, what are the takeaways from Spartan Iceland Ultra? To be sure, there were some rough spots. I try to keep in mind that this was a debut of a new product at a new venue. As an organization, Spartan does not shy away from a challenge, and I respect them for their daring. Still, I’ll point out some mistakes, some of them that were probably avoidable. Too many details were kept under wraps for too long. It’s one thing to tease, but if racers are going to commit to training for an endurance event, they need to know what the event is going to require of them. I was unsure if Spartan HQ was being coy for much of the run-up to the event or they were just not sure what they wanted to produce.

My biggest criticism of the event was one that struck me as soon it was announced: December is the wrong month for the race. I appreciate that the weather and the darkness were part of what made the event so difficult, but bringing an event to a place of spectacular natural beauty only to schedule it for a time when participants can’t see the scenery seemed like a waste. My suggestion: try March instead. You still get 12 hours of darkness, the weather is just as unpredictable, the northern lights could come out, and dates that are not so close to Christmas and coincide with school vacations would all bring out more racers. It also avoids the end of season conflicts with Spartan’s other championship event, with OCRWC, and World’s Toughest Mudder.

Downsides

Iceland is remote. This is part of what makes it appealing, but it also means that it is an expensive trip for everybody (well, almost everybody). There will never be one place that is convenient for everyone, but no one was going to be piling into a car for an affordable road trip for this race. And on the topic of accessibility, the initial price point of $750.00 was off-putting, especially given the additional costs of travel to the venue. Discounts were offered, and hotels turned out not to be too expensive in Iceland at this time of year, but sticker shock was enough to keep many away.

There were other problems that might have been avoided: the timing software was not yielding updated results throughout the race, which is particularly crucial in a twenty-four-hour race, where elite racers’ strategies can be built on how many laps competitors have completed. Even for regular racers, the results were not finalized for weeks after the event, which made the medal vs. belt buckle element confused at the end of the race. Speaking of which, apparently many of the medals that made it to Iceland for the Ultra had ribbons denoting Hawaii as the location. While both are remote volcanic hotspots, the contrast could not be greater. Another gear-related snafu was that there was supposed to be unique Spartan Iceland-themed swag on offer, but only samples were available at the race, to the disappointment of many. I understand that the setting made everything more difficult (absolutely everything: I heard that Spartan lost not one but two drones to the heavy winds, resulting in a lack of aerial footage that definitely would have been described as “epic”), but shipping race merchandise should be a no-brainer.

Final Complaints

Of all the obstacles not to bring to Iceland, there was no fire jump. Normally I think of this as a silly photo-op rather than an obstacle, but when you are in the Land of Fire and Ice, you bring the fire. That’s just what you do, especially when the race is mostly in the dark. I’m hoping a risk-averse landowner was to blame for that. More seriously, Spartan once again has problems measuring its courses. The original plan was five-mile loops, and the day before the race we were told loops would be closer to six miles. In reality, the loops were closer to 6.8. I raise this because it is a flaw I have seen at almost every Spartan course. This isn’t a matter of under-promising and over-delivering. Getting the distance right at an endurance event is Race Management 101. Spartan has enough experience by now that even at a new venue they should get this right.

In the end, the event was a success. It was difficult: 600 racers started the Ultra, and only 322 finished (208 finished the two sprint waves out of 250 who registered). This is not an event for everyone.  While the race could not have been a financial success, it was a way to launch a new product, the Ultra, which appears to be getting its own series separate from the Beast. Exactly how this is going to happen is still murky. The only clear message we received about the new product is that its colorway is going to be purple. However, in the same way that Tough Mudder has used the Tough Mudder distance to generate the multi-loop Toughest Mudder event at its regular venues, it appears that Spartan is using this format to create a much longer event without having to wrangle a longer race course. Very clever.

The Ultra Appeal

Who will sign up for this new product? Plenty of people, apparently. One refrain I heard from several racers was that the race was not challenging enough. At first, I thought this was bravado, but when I talked to these racers, many were coming from an ultrarunner background; their events can be longer and more difficult than what they encountered in Iceland. There is a market for very difficult events, and remember that Joe De Sena has a background in adventure races. Those events are frequently multi-day challenges that test not just athletic endurance levels but also raw survival skills. The question remains whether the Spartan brand can pull together enough new racers into a product with this level of difficulty, either from those who regularly do more difficult events or from those who are attempting their first twenty-four-hour race.

Spartan is definitely going to try: after the race, it sent out a survey asking where racers would be interested in having next year’s Ultra Championship. Iceland was an option, and after the money and research expended to find this unique spot, it seems a shame not to go back. However, other Scandinavian countries were on the list, as were some closer to home. Wherever the Ultra Championship lands next year, one thing is for sure: it will be both epic and grueling.

2018 TOYOTA WARRIOR OCR SERIES

Attracting close to three thousand athletes, and a couple thousand onlookers, the 2018 season opener of the hugely popular obstacle course racing (OCR) series, the Toyota WARRIOR Series, powered by Reebok, was off to the perfect start this past weekend at Riversands Country Farm in Johannesburg.

The OCR Toyota WARRIOR series is designed for adventure seekers from all walks of life, and, with no barrier to entry, makes obstacle course racing (OCR) accessible to anyone with a pair of trainers, t-shirt, and shorts.

Course designer, Jono Hart, says Toyota WARRIOR 2018 will be the best year yet for OCR.

I build these courses to allow ordinary people to start somewhere and build themselves into who they want to be. None of the obstacles are easy but they are all manageable depending on your fitness level. Black Ops is an absolute monster. These men and women are at the top of their game.

With three categories on offer, Rookie, Commando, and Black Ops, the Toyota WARRIOR races have something for everyone who wishes to have fun and challenge themselves across world-class obstacles.

The Rookie

The Rookie, the shortest and easiest race, is all about fun and comradery – a wonderful opportunity to have real fun with your friends and colleagues. For those seeking a greater challenge, the Commando offers a greater test of physical and mental ability. The most difficult challenge is the Black Ops – the ultimate test of endurance, speed, strength, and agility.

Black Ops Elite

The main event of the day was Black Ops Elite. This tough course incorporates 35 obstacles over roughly 15 kilometers of trail. These athletes are either climbing, traversing, carrying or gripping from start to finish. It is intense and only the super-fit and trained make it to the end.

Winners

Winner and ranked 2nd in OCR South Africa, Thomas van Tonder (Jeep Team SA) won the men’s race; the Women 2017 Series winner and #1 ranked female in OCR, Trish Eksteen (AOT) won the women’s race. Trish Eksteen came 4th overall, an indication of her strength and speed in this sport.

In addition to the honors and the R10 000 prize purse, these two athletes each got to drive home in a WARRIOR-branded Toyota RAV4 – theirs to drive until the next event in Bloemfontein on the 17th of February.

Contenders

The men’s Black Ops Elite was initially a close fought race between South Africa’s top 3 OCR athletes, Bradley Claase, Thomas van Tonder, and 2017 series winner, Claude Eksteen.

The toughest obstacle in the race, Breaking Point, proved to be exactly this as it defeated Eksteen, who eventually finished 34th overall, and Van Tonder, a three-time Top 10-finisher at the OCR World Champs, calmly pulled off a superb win ahead of Claase in second and Jason Friedman in third.

 

Says van Tonder,

Today, level-headed strategy beat bullish endeavour, which would be my normal stance. I took a good breather before starting on Breaking Point and this was my saving grace. I ran my own race and it paid off.  I am absolutely blessed to take home the win in the first Toyota WARRIOR Race of 2018. I had to dig deep today, mentally, as it was a very tough race.

 

In the women’s race, 2017 series winner, Trish Eksteen, showed her racing prowess, taking the win ahead of Carla van Huyssteen in second and Nedene Cahill in third. What makes their achievement even more impressive is that the top 3 women all finished in the top 10 overall.

Another interesting fact is that both Van Huyssteen and Cahill have made their mark in other sporting disciplines. Van Huyssteen is an accomplished trail runner with many stage and ultra-trail podiums under her belt, and Cahill is an ex-MTB XCO SA and World Champion. The cream always rises to the top.

 

These women are really strong. Everyone forgets how hard these obstacles are and yet, year after year the women get stronger and stronger and get through the obstacles with more ease. Well done to Trish. She is an amazing athlete, and I hope I can learn a lot from her coming into the next few races, concludes van Huyssteen.

 

Race 2 of the 2018 Toyota WARRIOR Race, powered by Reebok, takes place on 17 February in Bloemfontein, Free State, and promises to be equally impressive.

 

Says Hennie Scheepers, co-owner of the Warrior Series and race organiser, This is the Free State’s first Toyota WARRIOR and we are super excited to meet new warriors. The Free State has always produced strong, sporty individuals, so we are really looking forward to seeing them in action.

Results – Toyota Warrior #1

Black Ops Elite

Men

  1. Thomas van Tonder 01:23:10
  2. Bradley Claase 01:24:45
  3. Jason Friedman 01:29:51

Women

  1. Trish Eksteen             01:31:01
  2. Carla van Huyssteen 01:34:01
  3. Nedene Cahill 01:34:55

 

Commando Elite

Men

  1. Kelvin van Wyk 00:50:29
  2. Conrad Herbst 00:53:02
  3. Calen Hastie 00:53:29

Women

  1. Sammy Nel 01:10:15
  2. Sam Ryder 01:12:24
  3. Tarryn Butler 01:13:16

 

Rookie Elite

Men

  1. Nick Oberholzer 00:36:45
  2. Simeon de Bruyn 00:37:03
  3. Jasper Mutsindikwa 00:37:16

Women

  1. Tumi Matlou 00:45:11
  2. Monique Els 00:46:15
  3. Megan van Tonder 00:49:15

 

Written and distributed by Hot Salsa Media on behalf of Advendurance.

Images and Enquiries to viv@hotsalsamedia.co.za

For the full results of Toyota Warrior #1, visit www.jumpertrax.com.

For more information or to enter, visit www.warrior.co.za.

Images and Enquiries to viv@hotsalsamedia.co.zaWritten and distributed by Hot Salsa Media on behalf of Advendurance.

 

Editors Notes

Toyota Warrior Race 2018 Dates:

Warrior 1                             27 – 28 January                  Riversands Farm, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Warrior 2                             17 February                        Bloemfontein, Free State

Warrior 3                             17 – 18 March                    Soweto, Gauteng

Warrior Namibia              24 March                             Midgard Country Estate, Windhoek, Namibia

Warrior 4                             14 – 15 April                        Cape Town, Western Cape

Warrior 5                             14 – 15 July                          Blythedale, KwaZulu-Natal

Warrior 6                             11 August                            Nelspruit, Mpumalanga

Warrior 7                             20 – 21 October                 Meerendal Wine Estate, Cape Town, Western Cape

Warrior 8                             24 – 25 November           Tierpoort Adventure Farm, Pretoria, Gauteng

 

Toyota WARRIOR, powered by Reebok, is back with mud and obstacles built to sustain and delight the thousands of athletes, large and small, tall and short, thin and large that are ready to challenge themselves having fun building better humans.

The event calls adventure seekers from all walks of life – whether a weekend WARRIOR or an elite athlete hoping to snatch up the series title. With a Rookie, Commando, and Black Ops category on offer, WARRIOR has something for everyone.
For the first time in the popular series, there will be an escape route for those who don’t find the idea of mud particularly appealing. Instead of diving into the infamous Mud Monster, participants will have the option of taking a penalty loop that will take them the same amount of time to complete. The ‘mudless’ option will not be made available to any Elite athletes, however. Adventure seekers looking for some extra high-speed excitement have the option of entering the popular Reebok Sprint Race. A specifically designed children’s obstacle course will be available for little adventurers, as well as a WARRIOR Kids Zone under the supervision of child-minders.

 

There are some exciting things in store at the 2018 TOYOTA WARRIOR SERIES, powered by Reebok:

  • You can choose your own batch start times again, so enter soon to choose the batch you prefer.
  • The theme for 2018 is Māori Warrior, so expect to see a lot of tattoos and funky designs
  • In 2018 the Mud Monster will not be compulsory, non-Elites can do a penalty loop and skip the mud
  • Sprint Race: we have changed the Sprint Race format to make it more exciting and involve more age categories.
  • Two one-day action-packed events added in Bloemfontein and Nelspruit
  • Warrior is going International! On 24 March 2018, we will be hosting a Toyota Warrior event in Windhoek, Namibia. Entries opening soon!

Spartan Race International Giveaway Contest

spartan-race-passport-giveaway-2

Have you wanted to travel for a Spartan Race?

Obstacle Racing Media and Spartan Race are offering you a chance to travel the world, run an international Spartan, and help ORM document it along the way.

Several Spartan racers (1 per trip) will be picked to visit 4 races outside the United States in 2017.

Final dates to be determined, so you must become available for the race you win when chosen. The final 2017 international calendar is being put together as we speak, but as of right now, some of the options we are looking into are:

Europe – How does a French Alps Trifecta Weekend look to you?

Cuba – If Spartan pulls the trigger on this one, you’ll have a chance to experience an amazing Cuban island experience.

Asia – The Agoge just went down there in China. Now you can go yourself.

South America – Spartan will be back in Brazil in 2017. Would you like to be there?

There are additional options we can’t even mention as they are not locked in as of the time of this writing!

Guidelines:

Comment in this article with a link to a 2-3 minute video. Be sure to check “Also post on Facebook”.

The video should let us know the following:

  • Why should we choose you?
  • Which area of the world do you prefer to travel to and why?
  • What value can you add to Obstacle Racing Media by being a part of this journey?
  • What makes you a good travel mate?

These videos can be serious, or funny, or bad ass, or whatever best represents you at your best. Other than addressing the above questions, we’re wide open.

A panel from Obstacle Racing Media and Joe DeSena ,himself, will pick the winners.

Your comment link getting the most likes doesn’t necessarily win, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Entries must be received by Midnight on November 30, 2016.

Remember: Comment in this article with a link to a 2-3 minute video. Be sure to check “Also post on Facebook”. Go ahead and comment now if you plan on making a video as well. Let’s get the excitement going.

*Spartan Race will take care of flights, accommodations, and free entry into the race. Decisions of the ORM and Spartan as part of this contest are final. Official Rules Are Below.

 

 

SPARTAN RACE INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES

Void outside the Continental United States and where prohibited. Do not proceed to enter if you are not at least eighteen (18) years of age and a legal resident of, and located within, the continental United States at the time of entry (each person entering the contest a “Contestant”).  By participating, you agree to be bound by these Official Contest Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor (as defined below), which are binding and final on matters relating to this contest (“Contest”).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

CONTEST PERIOD: The Contest period begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (“EDT”) on October 24, 2016 and ends at 11:59 p.m. EDT on November 30, 2016 (the “Contest Period”).

SPONSOR:  Spartan Race, Inc.

HOW TO ENTER: There is no cost to register or enter. During the Contest Period, visit http://obstacleracingmedia.com/international-news/spartan-race-international-giveaway-contest/?__prclt=E4SJm7hJ and follow the instructions provided to enter to win the Contest prize.

In order for your entry to be considered, you must comment on Obstacle Racing Media’s article titled “Spartan Race International Giveaway Contest” with a link to a 2-3 minute video and check the “also post to Facebook” box (“Contest Entry”). Your video should address the following:

  • Why should you be selected?
  • Which area of the world would you prefer to travel to and why?
  • What value can you add to Obstacle Racing Media by being a party of this journey?
  • What makes you a good travel mate?

LIMIT: One (1) entry per person throughout the Contest Period. Multiple entries will not increase your odds of winning. Entries received from any person in excess of the stated limitation will be void. Contest Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means or practices, or by any means which subvert the entry process will be void. Multiple entries in a single day from the same Facebook or other social media account will not be accepted.

ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open to legal residents of the Continental United States who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of Contest Entry. Employees of Sponsor and any other organizations affiliated with the sponsorship, fulfillment, administration, prize support, advertisement or promotion of the Contest and each of their respective parents, agents, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, and their immediate family members (regardless of where they reside) or household members, whether or not related, are not eligible to enter or win. “Immediate family members” shall mean spouses, parents, step-parents, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, and each of their respective spouses.  “Household members” shall mean people who share the same residence at least three months a year. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

CONTEST WINNER SELECTION: After the Contest Period ends, Sponsor will review all submitted Contest Entries. On or about December 9, 2016, a panel comprised of representatives from Sponsor and Obstacle Race Media (the “Panel”) will choose the winning Contest Entries based on creativity of the video and responses to the posed questions. Odds of winning may vary and depend on the number of eligible Contest Entries received. Contest winner selections are final and are subject to eligibility verification by the Panel.

CONTEST WINNER NOTIFICATIONS: Contest winner(s) (each, a “Winner”) will be notified via the social media channel on which they submitted their Contest Entry. If such Winner(s) do not respond to such notice within forty-eight (48) hours with their full name and email address, that Winner’s prize may be forfeited and, at Sponsor’s discretion, an alternate winner may be selected. The Winner(s) must complete and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, IRS W9 form, Release of Liability/Publicity within fifteen (15) days of date of notification or an alternate winner may be selected from the remaining eligible Contestants. If such documents are not returned within the specified time period, the Prize or Prize notification is returned as undeliverable, Sponsor is unable to contact a potential Winner, or a potential Winner is not in compliance with these Official Contest Rules, that Winner’s prize may be forfeited and, at Sponsor’s discretion, an alternate Winner may be selected.

PRIZES:  Four (4) winning videos will be selected by the Panel in its sole discretion. Each Winner will be eligible to receive one (1) of four (4) prizes of a travel package to participate in a Spartan Race held outside of the United States (to a race in either Europe, Cuba, Asia or South America) (each, a “Prize”). The destination of each Prize will be determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.

Each Prize includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare (economy class or comparable value) for one (1) person to an airport near the Race destination from a major commercial airport near the Winner’s residence (as selected by Sponsor in its sole discretion);
  • Free entry for Winner to a Reebok Spartan Sprint, Super or Beast (each a “Race”);
  • Accommodations for three (3) to four (4) nights (depending on departure location and Race location) in or near the Race location for Winner as chosen by Sponsor, in its sole discretion;
  • Ground transportation to and from the destination airport and transportation to and from the venue holding the Race (for the avoidance of doubt, Sponsor will cover the cost of an economy rental car, but not any insurance coverage in connection with a car rental. If Winner elects to forego the use of a rental car, Winner is responsible for his/her own transportation); and
  • Free bag check at the Race for the Winner.

Total Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of each Prize: 

Europe: $2,500

Cuba: $2,600

Asia: $2,500

South America: $2,500

Terms and Conditions:  Any difference between ARV value for each prize and actual value will not be awarded. Any Contest Entries containing or featuring lewd or inappropriate content or behavior, including swearing or sexually suggestive language, nudity, or any content which would otherwise violate the Facebook Community Guidelines at https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards will be disqualified.

Each Winner must redeem his/her prize by December 15, 2016, or it will be forfeited and Sponsor will have no further obligation to that Winner. Winners are responsible for all federal, state and local taxes and any other costs and expenses not explicitly listed herein as provided by Sponsor as being provided. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute any of the prizes listed herein with one of comparable or greater value. Winners’ prizes may not be assigned, transferred, changed or redeemed for cash, except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. Prizes are awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied by Sponsor. The awarding of any prize is contingent upon full compliance with these Official Contest Rules.

PRIVACY:  A valid email is required to enter the Contest. After you enter, Sponsor may collect personally identifying information about you, including your name, complete mailing address, and email address. By entering and providing the required registration information, you acknowledge that Sponsor may send you information, samples, or special offers it believes may be of interest to you about its publications or other complementary goods offered by Sponsor. Sponsor may also include your name and postal address in postal address lists that Sponsor sells or rents to third parties for marketing purposes. Your email address will not be sold or rented to third parties. For more information about how Sponsor uses the information you provide, see Sponsor’s privacy policy at http://www.spartan.com/en/about/our-story/privacy-overview. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO SHARE YOUR INFORMATION, DO NOT ENTER THIS CONTEST.

COPYRIGHT: By entering the Contest, each Contestant grants to Sponsor and its licensees an exclusive, royalty-free and irrevocable right and license to publish, print, edit or otherwise use the Contestant’s submitted Contest Entry, in whole or in part, for any purpose and in any manner or media now known or hereinafter developed (including, without limitation, the Internet) throughout the world in perpetuity, and to license others to do so, all without limitation or further compensation. Contest winners may be required to sign any additional license and release that Sponsor may require to provide Contest winners’ their corresponding prize and for Sponsor to use Contest-winners’ names, biographical information, addresses, picture/photograph likenesses, video footage and/or voice, for advertising and promotional purposes without further consideration to the Contest winners in connection with Contest winners use and acceptance of prizes.

ARBITRATION: Except where prohibited by law, as a condition of participating in this Contest, Contestant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, or the prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by final and binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association and held at the AAA regional office nearest the Contestant; (2) the Federal Arbitration Act shall govern the interpretation, enforcement and all proceedings at such arbitration; and (3) judgment upon such arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. Under no circumstances will Contestant be permitted to obtain awards for, and Contestant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than Contestant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., costs associated with participating in this Contest), and Contestant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

RELEASES:  By participating in this Contest, Contestant agrees to release Sponsor, its licensees, Venue owner, and any other organizations affiliated with the sponsorship, fulfillment, administration, prize support, advertisement or promotion of the Contest and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and agents, advertising and promotion agencies and prize suppliers, and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives and employees, as well as each of their respective successors, representatives and assigns (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any and all actions, claims, injury, loss, damage or death arising in any manner, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from participation in this Contest and/or acceptance, use or misuse of any prize.

MISCELLANEOUS: Released Parties are not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, stolen, misdirected, undelivered or garbled Contest Entries, referrals or registrations; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing of Contest Entries, the announcement of the prize, the cancellation or postponement of any event, or in any Contest-related materials. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest. Released Parties are not responsible for injury or damage to Contestants’ or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading materials from or use of the website. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of the website or otherwise in violation of these Official Contest Rules. Sponsor further reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate or modify this Contest if the Contest is compromised by computer virus, technical corruption, non-authorized human intervention, or any other causes which, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor, corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, proper play or integrity of the Contest.  In the event of a dispute regarding online entry, Contest Entry will be deemed made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail account associated with the Contest Entry and he/she must comply with these Official Contest Rules. The authorized account subscriber is the natural person who is assigned the e-mail address by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), on-line service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR WILL DISQUALIFY ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL AND RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES) AND OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

Except where prohibited by law, Contest Entry constitutes permission to use Contestant’s name, hometown (city and state), voice, biographical information, likeness, photograph and any statements regarding this Contest in all media now known or hereafter discovered, for any purpose, including without limitation, in connection with, and to promote, market or advertise, the Contest, in whole or in part, without review, approval, credit or attribution, notification or payment from or to Contestant or any person or entity, worldwide, in perpetuity, and/or on a winner’s list, if applicable. Contest is subject to all applicable U.S. federal, state and local laws and regulations. Contest winners will be issued an IRS 1099 tax form in the amount of the ARV of the prize.

CONTEST WINNERS’ NAMES: For the names of the Contest winners, available after December 15, 2016, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to International Giveaway Contest Winners’ Names, Spartan Race, Inc., 234 Congress Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02110.