GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (AP) — For the first time since its inception in 2007, the Spartan Race is coming to West Virginia.
The Spartan Race will be held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean Aug. 26-27, with a dinner on Aug. 25 for the athletes who will be participating. Race director Dan Luzzi says the Spartan Race is an intense event designed to push participants mentally and physically.
“Spartan Race is a military-inspired obstacle course combined with trail running that pushes competitors mentally and physically beyond their preconceived limits,” Luzzi said. “The courses have military-inspired obstacles: walls, barbed wire, rope climbs, cargo nets. Also, Spartan-inspired obstacles such as spear throw and the fire jump.
“Some of the greatest challenges come from the natural terrain of our race venues, and it doesn’t get any better than West Virginia. When we found the Summit Bechtel Reserve and all of its trails and all of its natural wonder, we knew it was the perfect spot for our U.S. Championship.”
For the Spartan Race, the weekend series in West Virginia is what the organization calls the “Trifecta Weekend.” The Trifecta Weekend allows competitors to race through three different courses over a two-day period.
The first course is the Spartan Sprint, which ranges between three and five miles with 20 to 23 different obstacles. The sprint is considered the entry level event of the Trifecta.
The second level course is the Spartan Super, which ranges from 8 to 10 miles with 24 to 29 obstacle courses.
The third race is the Spartan Beast, which ranges from 12 to 14 miles, with 30 to 35 different obstacles. The Beast is designed to test every limit a competitor has and push him or her farther than ever before.
Competitors who complete all three courses in a single season earn the coveted Trifecta, issued only to the those who are strong enough to endure the grueling obstacles in these courses.
For Spartan, hosting a race in West Virginia has been a goal for a while, and it could impact the state in several ways.
“With any state we enter, we want to leave a lasting impression on the community, and truly become a part of it,” Luzzi said. “We want people to be blown away by our entire race experience and see the benefits of competing in our races so the community welcomes us back year after year and uses the race date as a means to train and stay in shape. Our goal is to rip people off the couch, show them they are not made of glass and improve their lifestyle.
“Bringing Spartan Race to any area also helps to improve the local economy by boosting sales at hotels, restaurants, local shops and gas stations. We also hope to create lasting friendships and relationships that begin at our races.”
Improving the local economy is something that seems like a reality with this partnership. According to Luzzi, Spartan is expecting around 11,000 competitors from all over, in addition to 5,000 spectators.
Among the competitors will be West Virginia’s own Randy Moss, who grew up in Rand in Kanawha County, played college football at Marshall and played 14 seasons in the NFL. He has been competing in Spartan races for over a year, according to Luzzi.
“He’s become a great advocate for the sport of obstacle course racing,” Luzzi said. “He’s also really passionate about getting people, especially kids, healthy and active, which aligns with the goals of the Spartan Foundation as well. And we couldn’t be more excited to host a fundraiser with him in his home state.”
The fundraiser with Moss is one for the Spartan Foundation that Luzzi mentioned. The registration fees of $250 per contestant will be donated to the Spartan Foundation, which supports healthier lifestyles and personal development for children and young adults. In addition to these goals, the Spartan Foundation is aligned with other organizations that share the same goals and causes, such as Autism Speaks and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.
Despite the fact the race hasn’t even taken place yet, Luzzi anticipates West Virginia being a mainstay on the Spartan Race map.
“The race venue and active racing community are tremendous factors to bringing this race back to West Virginia. Although the event has not taken place, we most certainly will be coming back for more,” Luzzi said.
This will be the final race in the U.S. Championship series and the Spartan Pro team will be competing for prizes and bragging rights, bringing in NBC to broadcast the event.