Spartan Stands By Their Decision in Asheville

Humans of Running Killian Video

We have some breaking news concerning failed obstacles and placement at last weekend’s Asheville Super Spartan Race.

Spartan Race had already DQ’d Ryan Kent and Ryan Atkins for more than one attempt at the rope climb prior to the awards ceremony on Saturday. You can hear more about that in this week’s ORM podcast as we got Ryan Atkins and Spartan’s Mike Morris on the phone earlier in the week to discuss.

Later in the week, after video surfaced of Army Captain, Robert Killian’s foot touching the ground and failing the final rig at the Spartan Race in Asheville, Killian decided to “DQ himself” from the race.

Capt. Killian posted the following on his Facebook page:

Let’s get right down to it. There is some controversy going around about the way I negotiated the rig at the end of the Asheville Spartan Super last weekend. At that moment in the race I had literally pushed myself so hard I was about to pass out. I remember missing a rope but didn’t fall off. After watching a video of myself I can clearly see my foot touched the ground. It doesn’t sit well with me, regardless of what the officials there decided. Like any other sport we are trained to go as hard as possible until you hear the whistle. However, elite racers are no different than anyone else out there competing under the same set of rules and I, much like the Spartan community, value integrity and hard work above all else. It would be easy to sit back, but mistakes are mistakes regardless of who made them or why. I will own mine by volunteering to disqualify myself from last weekends race, knowing full well that this puts me back in the overall point standings for the U.S. Championship Series. Situations like these can happen in a sport that’s growing and changing as quickly as OCR, but more importantly I know we’ll see improvements as the sport continues to grow and mature. Thanks to everyone out there who continues to support me, see you guys in Breckenridge.

This morning, Spartan Race released the following Statement.

There hasn’t been a sport in history that’s grown as quickly as Obstacle Racing has. Over the past 5 years we’ve seen the face of the sport change from a small race in Vermont, to a worldwide sport with over 1 million participants, global rankings, timing, regional, national and World Championship events. With that growth can come growing pains, and the situation that has been the topic of conversation was a result of that.

The situation involved Elite racer Robert Killian, who was attempting to complete the Rig obstacle, when it appeared his foot made contact with the ground. It was decided by referees on site that it didn’t appear that there was any weight put down or that this contact provided an advantage. Based on this interpretation by the referee, the decision was made not to fail the racer.

The dispute period for officiating decisions extends until the time of the awards presentation on the day of the race. Since the window of dispute has passed, the results are final and will stand. Spartan Race is an evolving sport and the integrity of the sport’s standards and rules is our top priority. At the end of the day we trust our referees and our elite athletes to officiate and participate at a level of integrity beyond reproach. We greatly respect that Captain Robert Killian is asking to be DQ’d, but we will stand by our decision on that day.


Joe De Sena

Founder and CEO, Spartan Race

We have reached out to Spartan and Capt. Killian for follow up questions.


Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.
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