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

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.

Morgan McKay – OCRWC Enduro


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Morgan McKay OCRWC Enduro

Morgan McKay responds to the questions surrounding her 4th place finish at the 2019 OCRWC Enduro. Be sure to catch up by listening to the previous episode.

Show Notes:

OCRWC Enduro with Erin Rost episode

OCRWC Enduro Final Leaderboard

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

Erin Rost – OCRWC Enduro


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Erin Rost comes on to discuss what she’s been up to since placing 2nd at last year’s World’s Toughest Mudder including:

  • Leaving the Air Force and moving down south.
  • Winning Toughest East
  • Winning F.I.T Challenge
  • Coming in 3rd place at the OCRWC Enduro and the controversy that followed.

Show Notes:

OCRWC Enduro Final Leaderboard

Erin’s blog after WTM 2018

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

Nicole Mericle’s 2018 Winter World Tour


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Nicole Mericle is finally back in the United States. She left for the United Kingdom from Colorado on October 14th and did not return to the United States for a little over 2 months.

Her trip consisted of:

  • Obstacle Racing World Champs in England – (PS She won the 3K and Women’s Team Events)
  • Rock climbing in Kalymnos, Greece
  • Trifecta World Championships in Greece (PS She finished 2nd)
  • Pit crew/cheer on friends at Spartan Iceland
  • Red Bull All In – Germany (PS She won this one too)

Show Notes:

Clash Of The Titans – Matt B. Davis Talks To Brett Stewart


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The last time Brett Stewart was interviewed on the record by ORM was November in 2012 for episode #23. That was 316 episodes ago when the show was still called Matt B. Davis Runs This Podcast.

Listen in as Brett explains the origins of Mud Run Guide along with his personal involvement with The Obstacle Racing World Championships. In addition, Matt asks some questions and has some critiques on the Mud Run Guide Awards. Most importantly, Matt and Brett attempt to get to the bottom of some beefs (real and imagined) over the last several years. Enjoy this 90-minute that is conversation 6 years in the making.

Show Notes:

The original episode from 2012

Mud Run Guide Awards

Review from the first ever OCR World Championships

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