Thousands become Spartans
May 10, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- After battling mud crawls, wall climbs and the fire leap, thousands of ordinary racers earned the title, "Spartan."
"I signed up because I wanted to prove a point," said Jennifer Kosiavelon, Army spouse.
Kosiavelon joined three friends for Saturday's Colorado Military Sprint Spartan Race held in Ironhorse Park. The two-day event drew 4,978 mud enthusiasts from several states, including Colorado, Wyoming and Texas, as well as thousands of spectators.
More than 600 children competed in the Spartan Kids Race, which featured a one-mile course with several smaller-scale obstacles.
Dressed in pink T-shirts and tutus, Kosiavelon's team members said they were nervous.
"We didn't really prepare," she said. "I did the 'Insanity' workout videos, but that was it."
Kosiavelon competed in the second heat of Saturday's Military Sprint, but had to drop out of the race due to an injury on the first obstacle -- trench hurdles.
"This course is challenging," said Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Parsons, 52nd Engineer Battalion.
Parsons, along with other Soldiers from the 52nd Eng. Bn., helped build the course, which featured numerous mud pits and ditches.
"I've seen the course," he said. "I built it. I don't want to run it."
Spartan races began in 2005 and are typically divided into three categories -- Spartan Sprint, three miles with 15 or more obstacles; the Super Spartan, eight miles with 20 or more obstacles; and Spartan Beast, 13 miles with 25 or more obstacles.
The Colorado Military Sprint Spartan Race was the first of its kind.
"We made Spartan history with this race," said Coleen McManus, Military Series coordinator for the Spartan Race.
McManus said the weekend's race was the first race in the Military Series put on by Spartan Race, Inc.
"It had the most obstacles of any of our races," she said. "People are calling it 'a beast of a sprint.'"
The 4.7-mile course at Ironhorse Park featured 30 obstacles, including a tire flip, rope climb and 125-yard mud crawl under barbed wire with training rifles.
"It was the longest crawl we've ever had," McManus said.
Competitors attested to the difficulty of the course.
Alex Stanislawski of Arvada, finished ninth overall in Saturday's "Elite" heat. Stanislawski said he had competed in other obstacle courses, including Tough Mudder and the Warrior Dash, but the Spartan Race was especially demanding.
"It was the hardest one I've done," he said. "I was watching videos online and I figured I would go for it."
First-place finisher Hobie Call said the early obstacles -- the rucksack carry and barbed wire crawl -- drained his energy.
"I was pushing a lot harder than I usually do," said Call, who has competed in 20 Spartan races. "This was a physically tough race."
Call, who has won every Spartan race in which he has competed, was almost overtaken by second-place finisher Tyson Tel.
"It all came down to the last couple (of) obstacles," he said. "I missed the spear throw. I never miss the spear throw. It came down to burpees."
To add an extra challenge to the course, competitors that did not complete an obstacle on the first attempt had to complete 30 burpees -- an exercise combining a pushup and jump -- before moving on to the next phase of the course.
Even though the event featured military specialties, like the weaver, rucksack march and grenade toss, Soldiers still felt the burn.
"It was rough," said Pfc. Josh Perez, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "The hardest part was taking the rucksacks to the top of the hill."
Perez said his squadron wanted to do an event to unify the troops.
"Once you get into groups it was good," he said. "I would do it again."