Get Blitzed! Savage Blitz Maryland – Fall 2018

Savage-Blitz-MD-Rig

Earlier this year, Savage Race introduced its first ever “Savage Blitz” in Maryland. Now, they return in the fall to not only return Savage Blitz but its first-ever Savage Blitz Pro wave, which is Savage’s competitive heat. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, the course was soaked with an all-day rainstorm. But that didn’t stop Savages from coming out and trying Savage Race’s new race.

 

WHAT IS BLITZ?

On Saturday, Savage held their usual format of 6+ miles and 20+ obstacles. Blitz, which took place on Sunday, averages about 3 miles and 15-20 obstacles. Maryland’s fall Blitz saw about 3.3 miles and listed 24 obstacles on the course map. From what I can remember, I believe there were only 22 obstacles, as a second Barn Door and Blazed did not appear on the course. Blazed was most likely removed due to the rain.

Savage-Blitz-MD-Map

The obstacle list included two out of three obstacles that are new for 2018, Battering Ram and Holy Sheet. A side note, which helped me with Holy Sheet, look at the “extra” piece of sheet hanging down by where you transition to the ball holds. Pick a lane where that piece is shorter, so it doesn’t get tangled when you reach for the ball. It’s also easier if you grab above the chain, especially in wet conditions.

 

I did notice that a lot of the water obstacles are absent from Blitz, aside from one called Double Dip. Most of the grip obstacles were above dry ground, too. No Colossus, Shriveled Richard, etc. Blitz is meant to be quick and short and seems to be a nice introduction to anyone wanting to try a Savage without jumping right into a 6-mile course. Some water obstacles, though fun, can be time-consuming or scare away anyone who doesn’t want to jump into a freezing cold tub of water.

Savage-Blitz-MD-Fall-Holy-Sheet

WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

New this year is Pro wave competitors wear two chip bands. One is the standard timing chip. The other is used to keep track of completing obstacles. Savage Pro competitors face mandatory obstacle completion. That’s great if you hate burpees, but can be troublesome if you need to retry and obstacle multiple times before being able to complete it. If you can’t ring the bell, you put your obstacle chip band in the “fail pail” and move on. You can still finish the race and will record your time, but lose eligibility for prizes and go into a non-completion category. Finish with the obstacle chip band, and you’ll receive a Savage wristband to show off your victory.

Savage-Blitz-MD-Nut-Smasher

Savage Race does a great job at getting course maps up early and sending out enough communication before race day. You still need to look up your bib number and do a printed waiver, where other races have the waiver as part of the sign-up process. But otherwise, registration and check-in is extremely easy. There were no lines at all and everything was quick and painless.

FESTIVAL, RESULTS & PHOTOS

The festival area had the usual beer tent, bag check, results, etc. There weren’t a lot of vendors, but not many people walked around because of the rain. At the finish line, racers received their medal, a shirt, a water, as well as their choice of a few flavors of protein-infused water (Trimino). Results were available at the results tent as soon as your chip crossed over the finish line. They were online shortly after as well.

 

Most impressive were the race photos. A lot of races take a few days to get pictures up and there are only a couple stations. Savage Blitz had a total of SEVEN obstacles with a photographer. Most of them took at least 3 or more pictures. I know other races have more people so it’s difficult to get a lot of pictures from one race, but Savage did a great job on this front. They also let you run another lap for fun, minus the medal and race shirt, so you can have another crack at the course plus more pictures.

Savage-Blitz-Bling

This was Savage’s fifth ever Blitz, with at least two more on the schedule for 2018. It’s a great introduction to Savage for OCR newcomers, as it allows you to run a minimal distance but still try some of their challenging obstacles. Competitive racers who aren’t into Their site lists Savage Blitz at every location in 2019, which would be

 

Spartan Partners With Rakuten For Marketing and Technology Needs

PRESS RELEASE

    

Rakuten to Power Spartan, The World’s Largest Obstacle Race, and Endurance Brand, in Multi-Year Global Partnership

Partnership to Fuel Growth Through Shared Passion for Fan Empowerment, Sport, Health and Wellness

 

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. September 7, 2018 – Spartan and Rakuten, Inc. have entered a global partnership designating Rakuten as the exclusive Global Innovation Partner and “Powered by” partner of the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand. The multi-year partnership was announced today at Rakuten’s inaugural “Rakuten Optimism” event in San Francisco.

 

“I am excited to have Rakuten partner with Spartan, an organization with a passionate following and one that, like Rakuten, strives to motivate and empower its members and community,” said Rakuten, Inc. founder and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. “Spartan is an innovator in obstacle and endurance racing and we’re going to work together, leveraging Rakuten technology and services and Spartan’s fervent community, to bring joy to sports fans everywhere.”

 

Rakuten branding will be integrated throughout Spartan’s global ecosystem of events, digital advertising, content, and merchandise. The brand will become the official kit sponsor for the Spartan Pro Team. The finisher shirts, worn by more than one million annual Spartan participants at competitions around the world, will now feature the Rakuten logo.

 

The partnership officially begins September 29, 2018, at the “2018 Spartan World Championship Powered by Rakuten,” the pinnacle event of the obstacle racing season which draws more than 20,000 athletes and spectators from more than 50 countries to North Lake Tahoe, Calif. In addition to the race, Rakuten will power the race-day live stream on Facebook WATCH as well as the post-event cable broadcast. The “Spartan Powered by Rakuten” brand logo will appear throughout the event site, including the athlete podiums, obstacles, and in the race festival.

 

Spartan is the latest addition to Rakuten’s growing roster of global sports and entertainment partnerships. Rakuten is the main Global Partner and Official Innovation and Entertainment Partner of FC Barcelona, the first-ever jersey badge sponsor and Official Partner of the Golden State Warriors, the presenting sponsor of Shakira’s El Dorado World Tour, and the exclusive distribution partner in Japan and global marketing partner of the NBA.

 

“Spartan has worked with Rakuten companies for nearly six years and the company has been a catalyst for our growth,” said Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “We’re excited to launch an official partnership with such a dominant brand that shares our passion for empowering others, and we look forward to working together to expand our communities across the globe.”

 

The partnership will see Rakuten powering an expanded scope of Spartan’s marketing and technology needs, including the use of Rakuten Marketing digital and affiliate marketing services. Global messaging and calling service Rakuten Viber will become the official communications channel of Spartan. Rakuten Viber will bring together Spartan race fans and competitors from around the world, offering exclusive access and entertaining extras through a Spartan Viber Community.

 

Spartan events focus on sport and athleticism, pushing the bodies and minds of competitors to the limit across miles of unforgiving terrain while they conquer signature obstacles such as the Spear Throw, Inverted Wall, Monkey Bars, and Barbed Wire Crawl.

 

Official designations include:

  • Spartan Powered by Rakuten
  • Rakuten: Global Innovation Partner of Spartan
  • Spartan E-Commerce Powered by Rakuten
  • Spartan Global Rankings Powered by Rakuten
  • Official Partner of Spartan U.S. Pro Team
  • Spartan Logistics Powered by Rakuten
  • Viber: Official Communications Channel of Spartan
  • Rakuten Marketing: Official Digital Advertising Partner
  • Rakuten Kobo: Official eBook and Audiobook Partner

 

Spartan’s Vice President of Global Partnerships Ian Lawson added, “Spartan has built a global sport, media platform and e-commerce business around the Obstacle Racing lifestyle and we’re excited to partner with Rakuten to showcase their marketing services and technologies, which are powering our business growth and helping to transform lives. The partnership provides Rakuten with an authentic voice in the health, wellness and fitness community and intimate access to our athletes and fans around the world.”

 

About Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses, and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1.2 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 15,000 employees and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

 

About Spartan

Spartan is the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, and the first in-sport to feature timing and global rankings. With more than 200 events across close to 40 countries in 2018, Spartan will attract more than one million global participants offering open heats for all fitness levels, along with competitive and elite heats. The Spartan Race lifestyle boasts a community of more than five million passionate social media followers, health and wellness products, training and nutrition programs, and a popular television series, which has made obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Spartan Race events feature races at three distances, 3+Mile/20+ Obstacle “Sprint,” 8+ Mile/25+ Obstacle “Super” and 12+ Mile/30+ Obstacle “Beast,” culminating in the Spartan World Championship in North Lake Tahoe, CA. Visit http://www.spartan.com for more information and registration.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:         Jonathan Fine, Spartan, +1-781-248-3963, jonathanf@spartan.com

Rakuten Corporate Communications, +1-312-961-2999, global-pr@rakuten.com

OCRWC Partners With Dream Team Television

2018 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships to Air Across Multiple UK Television Networks

The first broadcast of the 2018 Championships will air on the 27th of October on the UK’s Channel 4, with further broadcasts planned on additional networks including British Eurosport, Sky Sports, and more.

Today, Adventurey, LLC, producers of the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC), announced a partnership with Dream Team Television to produce programming for the 2018 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. The program will air on the UK’s Channel 4, British Eurosport, Sky Sports, and other international networks.

“Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) has exploded in popularity over the past several years and is now recognized as a premier sport for professional and amateur athletes,” Adrian Bijanada, Adventurey Founder & CEO, said. “We’re excited for our athletes to showcase their skills and introduce OCR to sports fans around the world.”

The 60-minute recap of the event will follow both amateur and professional OCR athletes in the lead up to race day, as well as document the championship event as it unfolds.

“The OCRWC is a grueling test of athleticism unique to the sport of OCR” Bijanada said. “Our competitors are some of the world’s best all-around athletes. They possess exceptional strength, speed, endurance, and agility which will be on display to those watching the race.”

Competitors for the OCRWC must qualify for the event by meeting specific results criteria at other obstacle course races around the world.

“With the OCRWC, we believe we have created a unique and independent platform that celebrates the sport of obstacle course racing,” said Bijanada. “We can’t wait to show the world the exceptional nature of this sport’s community.”

This year’s OCRWC takes place from the 19th to the 21st of October outside London, England. Thousands of the world’s top athletes in the sport of OCR from more than 60 countries will compete for the title of World Champion in 3K, 15K, and Team Relay events.

The OCRWC will air on the UK’s Channel 4 on Saturday, the 27th of October. Following the debut broadcast, additional international networks will feature the program in their lineups with programming details announced as they become available.

For more information, please visit OCRWC.com, or contact Stacey Kennedy at stacey@adventurey.com.

About the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships
Founded in 2013, the OCR World Championships are the only truly independent global championships for the sport of Obstacle Course Racing. Its mission is to unify, promote, and increase participation in the sport of OCR while celebrating its athletes and community. Competing in the event requires athletes to qualify for a limited number of spots through a network of qualifying events. The 2017 competition drew more than 4,000 athletes from 67 nations to compete for cash prizes in individual Elite, Age Group, and Team competitions, making it one of the broadest and most diverse races in obstacle course racing history. For additional information, visit OCRWC.com.

About Adventurey
Founded in 2013, Adventurey is a leading innovator in the endurance sporting event market that produces and markets premier sporting events that offer unparalleled experiences for athletes and spectators. Adventurey’s portfolio of events include the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, North American Obstacle Course Racing Championships, 24-Hour Enduro Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, South African Obstacle Course Racing Championships, and the Empire State Marathon. Learn more at Adventurey.com. For additional media inquiries, please contact Stacey Kennedy at stacey@adventurey.com.

About Dream Team Television
Dream Team Television was established in 1994 following a successful production of The Everest Marathon. In the following years, the team went from strength to strength, covering adventure and endurance events around the world for S4C, Transworld Sport, and SNTV.

Dream Team Television has since grown into one of the UK’s leading production companies specialising in Triathlon, adventure, and athletics programming. The company has a worldwide reputation for producing the highest quality programmes in this field.

Dream Team produces programmes on the top British Triathlons as well as Marathons, ultra-marathons, mass participation events and cycling.

Our client list is made up of top companies and organisations including IMG, Ironman, British Triathlon, One Step Beyond, Always Aim High, Activity Wales, Human Race, Welsh Athletics, Challenge and Men’s Health plus many others. For additional information, visit dreamteamtelevision.co.uk

Spartan Race 2018 North American Championship Recap

We know it may be difficult to keep track of all the Championships this time of year, especially since Spartan keeps coming up with different ways to celebrate champions. Just two weeks ago, the 2018 Spartan US Championship Series winners Ryan Woods and Lindsay Webster were crowned in Utah.

Here are the remaining Championships that Spartan Race will deliver in the United States alone by the end of the year. The Stadium Series (Fenway), Mountain Series (Tri-State), Honor Series (???), World Championship (Tahoe).  There are additional regional and national championships in several countries, but the events most North Americans will be interested in are the Trifecta World Championship in Greece and Ultra World Championship – 24 hour event in Iceland.

Adventurey will be putting on their World Championship in England in a few weeks after already producing their North American Championships (NORAM) with Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster taking both the 3K and 15K titles.

Tough Mudder will also be crowning their Tougher Championship in Seattle next month, and doing that 24 hour thing aka World’s Toughest Mudder in Atlanta in November. (Oh shit, I almost finished this article, and forgot Tough Mudder X)

Exhausted yet!? Awesome, let’s get to yesterday’s results.

Robert Killian, who finished third to Woods and Atkins in this year’s US Champs Series, beat both of his closest rivals to take home the win and $12,000 first place prize. This might be the biggest win for Killian since he shocked the world back in the fall of 2015. Back then, he was an Army Ranger that came out of nowhere to beat the best OCR athletes in the world including multi-title champions Atkins, Cody Moat, and Jon Albon in Tahoe.

These days, “The Two Ryans” and Killian are separating themselves from the rest of the men’s field and will certainly be the favorites to battle it out for supremacy in Tahoe in a few weeks.

On the women’s side, Lindsay continues her world domination with a smile on her face beating out the other 3 members of the “fearsome female foursome” Nicole Mericle, Faye Stenning, and Rea Kolbl; who finished 3rd through 5th respectively. Relative newcomer Rebecca Hammond had a very strong showing, and finished a little less than 3 minutes behind Lindsay to take 2nd.

One more important note  about yesterday’s race was the improved live Facebook coverage. Spartan has given us several pairings of Spartan Pros (and dare we say Spartan Pro Wannabees) over the past year in the broadcast booth.

The results have been decent to cringeworthy since David Magida left the booth a few months ago. For this event, Spartan hired veteran action sports broadcaster Pat Parnell , who brought a great rhythm and a level of professionalism previously not seen. Pairing a pro like that, with a knowledgeable Spartan athlete, in this case Kevin Donahue, seems to be what Spartan needed to make for a great broadcast. It’s the standard straight man  (non athlete)/color man (athlete) combination that works most of the time in sports. In addition, they seemed to have ditched the super cheap “cell phone/no graphics coverage” that we’ve seen on the recent broadcasts and gone back to a more expensive production package.

Here are the top 10 men and woman along with the payouts for the 2018 Spartan North American Regional Championships:

1st Robert Killian/Lindsay Webster: $12,000

2nd Ryan Atkins/Rebecca Hammond: $8,000

3rd Ryan Woods/ Nicole Mericle: $5,000

4th Cody Moat/Faye Stenning: $2,000

5th Mikhail Gerylo/Rea Kolbl: $1,000

6th Jesse Bruce/Alyssa Hawley: $900

7th  Ian Hosek/Amelia Boone: $800

8th Ryan Kempson/Kristin Saad: $600

9th Logan Broadbent/Cody Mezebish: $400

10th Mike Ferguson/Kaci Monroe: $300

Spartan Race – Surprise Drug Testing

At last month’s Spartan Super in Utah, athletes were told at the start of the race that the winners would be drug tested. For four years Spartan has put its racers on notice that they might be drug tested if they reached the podium, and one of the many check boxes racers of all skills have clicked on to get to the next screen included the promise to abide by the anti-doping rules that Spartan has adopted.

For 99% of the people who jump over fire to cross the finish line, doping controls never cross their minds. How many weekend warriors would bother with the time, expense and health risks that doping entails in order to get a medal and a banana? However, racers who are in it for the money sometimes take that risk.

A little background: Spartan announced its drug testing policy in 2014, but it did not get around to doing any actual testing until the 2017 World Championship in Tahoe after a few false startsThis hit the news at around the same time that OCR star Ryan Woods was disqualified from the OCRWC after testing positive for a banned substance he says he took by accident. 

The OCRWC family of races has tested frequently and consistently, and last month Spartan raised its drug testing profile by the surprise announcement in Utah. Even Lindsay Webster got a little worried at the start when she heard about drug testing at the start line. On a recent podcast she told ORM’s Matt B. Davis that she started second guessing all of her recent medication choices.

Since Lindsay really is the sincere, honest Canadian she appears to be (as well as a champion athlete), the drugs she was worried about? Advil and Tylenol. Which are both completely legal.

 

In an Instagram post, Ryan Woods talked about his reaction.

 

Great post, but we could have done without the visual, Woodsy.

And as comments showed, some people will always be angry about those who have been caught cheating.

Joe Di Stefano told ORM that the top three men, top three women as well as a random competitor  were tested by a third party, who collected the urine samples and shipped them off to a lab at UCLA. To the relief of everyone, none of the samples tested positive. By contrast, the same company’s work at a recent CrossFit championship turned up fourteen athletes using banned substances.

OCR athletes can feel smug that our sport is cleaner than CrossFit. However, CrossFit prize purses are an order of magnitude greater that OCR’s, and the question remains whether our athletes will continue to compete clean as the rewards for winning grow.  For now, it is reassuring that Spartan Race is keeping its promise of random testing, and it is also reassuring that the threat of testing was enough to put a little fear into athletes who should have nothing to worry about (Lindsay Webster) as well as those who have learned to be much more careful about what substances they put in their bodies.

Spartan AG Etiquette

Spartan-Flag
I’ve been racing with Spartan for almost three years now. Although I haven’t been around a long time, I’ve seen several changes. Not with their obstacles per se, but with some of the ways that things are run.

One of the more significant changes in the system has been the addition of the Age Group Category. Formerly known as Competitive, the Age Group category provides an opportunity for people to challenge themselves to elite rules, who may not feel entirely confident for the elite competition. Or, they see more of an enticing opportunity for recognition among peers. No matter the reason, the Age Group category has become very popular.

I normally run elite, but wanted to give AG a shot during the Asheville Super. Although a fun course, I can say that I was frustrated with a lot of it. Not necessarily the course, but the attitude of several other runners. Now, this article is not meant to say anything negative about AG runners as a whole. Again, I had a great time, just a few things stood out to me that I felt the need to address. I’m also well aware that most of the people who don’t follow general race etiquette won’t care to read this article, but maybe someday they’ll stumble upon it and feel curious.

So, here are just a few things I’d like to address:

1) Let’s Talk Start Line
The start line can be one of the most nerve-wracking elements of the race. It’s where all of the emotions are pent up and released, all at a single moment. It can also be one of the most crucial places for athletes–how you start may not only determine your overall start place but the attitude that you will carry through the entire race.

Which is exactly why, for many, this portion of the race is the most important. It is also one of the most aggravating portions of a race.
When you race, you have goals in mind. Whatever your goals are, know that they are respected, and they are not any more or less valuable than the goals of the Spartan racing beside you. The goals that you set for that particular race should help you determine where you will line up at the start. I know I don’t have to say it, but if you are aiming for a top finish, you go toward the front of the pack. If you are an athlete who is not concerned with your time or place and intend on doing a lot of walking, please head toward the back.

One thing that is also important to note is that in the Age Group Division, you’ll often see men and women have heats together. Listen fellas, just because you’re big and do CrossFit 6 times a week does not mean that it’s not cool to let a girl line up before you. Some of the girls who race are intense, and, if you know the running isn’t your strong suit, it’s totally okay.

Please pick a start line placement that is appropriate for your current physical capabilities.

2) Passing on the Course
During a race, there is a chance that you will need to pass at least one other athlete. If you do, it’s totally cool, and I promise their feelings aren’t going to be hurt that badly. But, if you’re going to pass someone, be a doll and let them know you’re coming. There’s nothing like being in the zone and then all of the sudden you’re getting knocked over by a sweaty stranger flying down a hill with no heads up. Just give them a heads up! My personal favorite is to alert by letting them know which side I’m going on. Just the phrase: “coming on your left!” lets them know to expect you.

3) Getting Passed on the Course
It happens. It stinks, and nobody enjoys being passed, but it’s a part of racing. My suggestion to you is: we all know you don’t like to get passed, but don’t be a jerk. If someone is running down the trail and shouts “coming on your left!” to you, move to the right.

This does not mean you are expected to completely stop your race so that they can run theirs. Keep your pace up, but move it over to the right. I see a lot of “coming on your left!” which is followed by the passee turning around, assessing the runner, and then sprinting on the left, making it difficult for the other runner to proceed. Don’t be that guy. If you get passed, it’s totally fun. Just run your race!

4) Single Track Trails
As a runner, I love single track trails. During Age Group races, I really don’t like the single track trails. Why? Because if you are in a later heat, they tend to get stopped up really easily.
If you’re running single track trails, please move as quickly as possible. That sounds obvious, but these areas are not great for casual strolls, because there are others who want to move around you. If you’re in an area that you’re struggling in and you know it’s going to take you a while, it’s okay to let other runners pass you. Single track trails are definitely not a place to stop for selfies or snack breaks.

Speaking of breaks…

5) Taking a Break on the Course
You don’t know how you’ll feel at all points during a race, and sometimes, you just need to take a break. Totally cool! But, if you do, please move off to the side. Whether it’s a break for a snack, getting something out of your hydro-pack, pictures, cramps, or just because you’re tired, please move over to the side. I don’t feel like I need to really explain this one much further. Plus, if you’re cramping, I’m sure you will get some offers for mustard packets!

6) Taking a Break on Obstacles
WHAT?!
Let me explain this one.
I was running Asheville and had just hit the 8-foot-wall. I am a small person, so I have to use the red blocks to help me get up. I went over to the left side of the wall, and a woman was sitting on top of the wall touching her toes and chatting with a friend who was already off the obstacle. I went to line up to complete, and the volunteer told me I needed to wait…which was fine, except the girl wasn’t moving. The right side started to line up with women. After a couple of paces between sides, I committed to the left side because the girl wasn’t at the top anymore. The volunteer told me I still couldn’t proceed though because the girl was sitting against the wall on the other side due to a cramp in her foot. It wasn’t for another minute or two that I was able to complete the obstacle.

Don’t be this girl. If you can, muster through the obstacle, and when you’re done, head off to the side of the trail for your mustard or pickle juice. Please please please do not stop in the middle of obstacles if you can avoid it. Obstacles only have limited carrying capacities, and by stopping on them for stretch breaks is limiting the number of runners that can pass through.

7) Taking a Break at Water Stations
If you see a line of people, I don’t recommend standing in front of the pitcher if you are refilling your cup. Again, there is only a limited number of people who can go at a time, so please be respectful toward those around you.

8) Thank your volunteers
We see this all of the time, and this will come as no surprise to you. We know that volunteers receive either free or discounted races because they are volunteering. But, by doing so, they may be giving up the start time that they’d prefer to run. And, these volunteers are people, using their time to ensure that you have a good race. Please thank them!

9) Be a Good Sport
At the end of the day, all of us are in this for the fun of it. We all pay lots of money for training, gear, and races. We all come to races with the expectation that we are going to have a positive experience, and part of the positive experience includes the community. Make an effort to smile at someone, to high-five a stranger, or make someone’s first Spartan Race feel like the best thing they’ve ever done.

Did I leave anything out? Add any additional “etiquette” suggestions in the comment box. Happy racing!