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Thousands of 'Spartans' brave grueling obstacles, aide numerous charities

By Katie McKellar

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, June 30 2013 12:11 a.m. MDT

With each Spartan Race, De Sana hopes “to change the lives of everybody that comes in and get them motivated to stay fit and stay healthy.”

More than 7,000 people competed in the 2013 Utah Spartan Beast, De Sena said, despite the fact that the Soldier Hollow course was specifically “unforgiving” this year, due to the heat.

“We wouldn’t have minded a little cooler weather, but we’ll take it,” said Mike Morris, the event's vice president of production. “It’s better than 40 degrees and pouring rain.”

The adult racers, ranging from ages 14 to 70, ran 12 miles up and down steep hills and mountain ravines, and encountered 28 obstacles including numerous mud pits, a rope climb, heavy weight drags and climbing walls.

Prior to the event, the course remained a mystery to the competitors in order to force them to be ready for anything, De Sena said. Rachel Gordon, a competitor from Spanish Fork, was indeed surprised, not expecting as many muddy obstacles or uphill battles.

“It was so hard, way harder than I thought it would be” she said. “The first five miles were pretty easy, but then the rest I was like, 'OK, I’m done.'”

Gordon completed the race, nonetheless, with enough spirit to kick her shoes off for charity.

The competitors were all timed, ranked and judged based on age and gender. Every half hour from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., waves of 200 competitors took off from the starting line. The average race completion time for the 12-mile course was about three hours, Morris said.

In the men's elite wave of racers, Hobie Call from Erda won first place with a time of 1 hour and 30 minutes flat. Hunter McIntyre from Malibu, Calif., placed second, and Cody Moat from Fillmore placed third.

In the women’s elite wave, April Luu from Petyon, Colo., won with a time of 1:55:48. Leann Brinton from American Fork placed second, and Halley Tollner from Salt Lake City placed third.

Call, an avid obstacle course racer, said this year’s race was indeed challenging, but it was “awesome” as always. He said he especially appreciates the efforts Reebok Spartan Race organizers take to include humanitarian causes in the fun.

“To come out and do something just for yourself, where’s the glory in that?” he said. “But when there’s a purpose and you’re doing it for something other than just yourself, it means so much more.”

Email: kmckellar@deseretnews.com

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