Spartan North American Championships – West Virginia Beast 2019

Obstacle-Gauntlet-in-West-Virginia

If there’s anything Spartan Race does well, it’s finding one of a kind locations for their races. Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia proved to be the perfect place to not only put on a Trifecta weekend, but host the 2019 North American Championship race. 

The Venue

Summit Bechtel Reserve is absolutely perfect to host an event like this. Those unfamiliar with West Virginia’s terrain were greeted with numerous climbs that ended with gorgeous views. Elite and Age Group racers had to qualify to take part in Saturday’s Beast, while everyone else could run in the Open waves. In total, the Beast ran about 14.4 miles with close to 2,900 feet of ascent. Anyone unfamiliar with West Virginia’s terrain were greeted with numerous climbs that ended with gorgeous views. 

Climbing-the-Mountain-in-West-Virginia

This was only my second Beast ever and happened to be the last piece to complete my second Trifecta ever. My first Beast was the 2018 Ohio Beast held at the Southington Off-Road Park. That venue was very flat with altering terrains, while West Virginia is mostly trail but a good variation of climbs and descents. 

 

The West Virginia race was definitely more difficult, but if I was left with a choice between the two, it’s an absolute no brainer. No matter what distance you want to do, West Virginia is a must race. 

Spartan-Trifecta-Weekend-in-West-Virginia

Why A Beast?

Maybe you’ve only ever run Sprints because 5 miles seems like enough. Or you’ve done a Super and are wondering if you should take the next step up. So, before we get into the specifics of the course and the obstacles, let’s talk about why a Spartan Beast at all.

 

I would recommend everyone set out for a Trifecta at least one time. If you would rather stick to shorter races, great! But there’s something special about running over a half-marathon with obstacles. 

 

On top of that, the open waves are more spread out than the shorter races. This is great for people who want to get in some running between obstacles. Granted, the climbs and some obstacles do still get jammed up some in open heats. Despite that, even some of the more narrow trails had space between runners. 

The-Views-at-the-North-American-Championship

Oh, The Obstacles!

Outside of what I needed to get a Trifecta in 2018 and 2019, I usually stick Sprints and the occasional Stadion (Stadium). But the way Spartan has moved over the last year or two, you see a lot of the same obstacles. So at that point, the more Sprints you run, the more you’re just looking at the venue itself and the course design. Don’t get me wrong, I love the short distance of a Sprint, but I also love obstacles!

 

If you really want to be exposed to Spartan’s full gauntlet of obstacles, you absolutely positively must run a Beast. This year’s West Virginia Beast had 38 obstacles, many of them I haven’t seen since last year’s Beast in Ohio. Though I didn’t run the Sprint and Super on Sunday, they each had 20 and 31 respectively. 

 

There’s really no room to complain about what obstacles Spartan had because, well, they pretty much had them all (Though I wish they included that Twister/Monkey Bar combo this year). The Beast threw at you everything from the Yokohama Tire Flip to Helix to Tyrolean Traverse and even a Spartan helmet-shaped Bucket Brigade course. The Beast even included a nice little swim late in the race. 

Ryan-Woods-finishing-Helix

Quite A Warm-up

If I had one complaint about the race, it’s that parking was incredibly far away from the festival. Our heat wasn’t until around noon, so 10:30 am seemed like a good time to arrive. But we still ended up on the outskirts of parking. I’m not sure exactly how far of a walk it was to the festival from our car, but I would guess it took around 10-15 minutes. That’s a great way to warm-up for the race, but made the walk back pretty daunting. 

 

Spartan could add a few shuttle stations throughout the parking area. This would allow small shuttles to take racers to the festival entrance. Though parking and bag check were both free this year, so the there would probably be some trade off. 

North-American-Championship-Spartan-Medal

Ya’ll Come Back Now, Ya Hear?

The venue is great. The area around the venue is gorgeous. Southern hospitality is a real thing. Biscuits and gravy are everywhere. There’s a lot to love about going to West Virginia for a couple days. Not to mention the North American Championship Beast medal all Saturday finishers walk away with. 

 

I told myself after this year I would stick to short races and not need more Trifectas in the future. But as long as Spartan keeps coming back to Summit Bechtel Reserve, I have a feeling that so will I.

 

Photo Credit: Spartan Race

Aaron “Snoopy” Newell


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Aaron Newell just did super well at the North American OCR Championships placing 3rd in the 3K and 2nd in the 15K. He then raced twice on Sunday as part of the winning men’s team and the 2nd place Co-Ed team.

This is an unfiltered chat about his buddy Woodsy, the current state of OCR, getting faster, OCR Coaching, and more.

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

Ragnar Relay – Get out runragnar.com and get $80 any street or trail team relay using code ORM2019.

Show Notes:

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NorAm Champs Results

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

2019 NORAM Results – North American Championships 3K

 

Lindsay Webster edged our her closest rival Nicole Mericle to win the North American Championships short course championship this afternoon. These two, once part of a contingent known as the Fab 5 have separated themselves from the rest of the field by taking the top spots in all of the major races in the last 2 years. Ninja Warrior veteran Michele Warnky was a surprise third over OCR vets Rose Wetzel and Tiffany Palmer. Although some may remember she finished in 4th place at the original OCRWC back in 2015.

NORAM 3K Championships Women

2019 Noram Men results

On the men’s side, Veejay Jones is proving himself to be one of the top dogs in OCR. Despite disappointing finishes in that last two USNS races, today he beat out speedsters Atkins, Woods, and Newell to take the 3K title. Speaking of Newell, this relative newcomer is beginning to get himself noticed for more than just dating Nicole, or messing around on Instagram. He’s a threat at multiple OCR distances as he has finished on the podium for Sprints, Supers, Ultra Beasts, and even a Sky Race in recent months.

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Watch our FB coverage as it happened with these links.

3K women replay!

3K Men Replay!

Complete results for The 2019 NorAm Championships 3K men and women.

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

Is Lindsay Webster The Greatest Of All Time?


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Lindsay Webster just got back from sweeping the NORAM OCR Championships. She won the 3k, 15k , and team championships. On today’s podcast we talks about:

  • Winning when it counts.
  • Drug testing in OCR.
  • Being under rated.
  • Why World’s Toughest Mudder is NOT her favorite.
  • Coming out of the shadow of being “Ryan’s girlfriend”.
  • Having the eye of the tiger.
  • Globe trotting this year and in 2019

Plus: More earworms!

Todays Podcast is sponsored by:

Wetsuit Wearhouse – Save 15% using coupon code ORM15 on all purchases.

Show Notes: 

Photos by Hubert Schriebl

Obstacle Racing Majors Archives

2018 NORAM OCR Championship Results

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The first ever North American Obstacle Course Racing Championships (aka NORAM) took place over the weekend in Stratton, Vermont.

The weekend is put on by Adventurey LLC, who are also the event producers behind the Obstacle Racing World Championships (OCRWC), which has been held every October since 2014. You may recall that Adventurey launched a United States OCR Championship last September in Texas. However, that event was scrapped in favor of a North American Championship this year.

The races were dominated by Canadian Super Couple, Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster. They both won the short course (3k) on Friday and the long course (15k) on Saturday. On Sunday, they put a co-ed team together with Nicole Mericle and won that. It should be noted that Ryan also put himself in the men’s team category and finished up his leg in enough time to get back to help the women win that category. He settled for 2nd in the men’s team category with fellow Candians Marco Bedard and Benjamin Morin Boucher.

If you are keeping score at home, that’s 7 podiums including 6 firsts over the weekend for the duo.

Here are your official results for the 2018 NORAM OCR Championships.

3k (Friday)


Men
1. Ryan Atkins – 18:23
2. Veejay Jones – 18:38
3. Jesse Bruce – 19:13

Women
1. Lindsay Webster – 21:51
2. Nicole Mericle – 22:38
3. Alexandra Walker – 24:48

15k (Saturday)

Women
1. Lindsay Webster 1:48:01
2. Nicole Mericle  1:54:35
3. April Cockshutt 2:04:07

Men
1. Ryan Atkins  1:33:03
2. Mark Batres  1:36:30
3. Jesse Bruce 1:38:39

Team (Sunday)

Men
1. Team Platinum Rig – 58:47 – Samuel Hebert, William Brouard, Jesse Bruce
2. Team NorthMen – 59:19 – Marc Andre Bedard, Ryan Atkins, Benjamin Morin Boucher
3. NexGen OCR – 1:01:24 – John Penland, Veejay Jones, James Nair

Women
1. Mom Squad – 1:21:57 – Julie Hartjes, Rachel Corigliano, Ashley Samples
2. Bad Ass Masters – 1:35:26 – Darla O’Connor, Heidi Williams, Lisa Nondorf
3. Strong As a Mother – 1:38:21 – Chrisa Dustman, Cynthia Campanaro, Heather Gollnick

Co-ed
1. Team Suunto & Benji – 1:07:10 – Ryan Atkins, Lindsay Webster, Nicole Mericle
2. Conquer the Gauntlet Pro Team – 1:15:23 – Evan Perperis, Matt Willis, Amy Pajcic
3. Team Hotwheels MudGear – 1:22:06 – Alexandra Walker, Mark Batres, Natalie Miano