Race Recap: 2017 Spartan Race Tri-State Sprint in Tuxedo, NY
Ryan Kempson won the men’s elite heat with a time of 41:44, his brother Matthew Kempson won second place (42:47) and Matt Liptak took home third place (44:48). Epic Hybrid Training Coach Cassidy Watton won the women’s elite heat with a time of 53:58 while Katie Huber took home second (56:29) and Amy Bevilacqua finished with third place (57:39). In the Master’s division, Bevilacqua’s time was good enough for 1st place in the women’s division while Tara Pipia (1:02:16) and Tara Cioppa (1:03:55) took home second and third place respectively. In the men’s elite Master’s division, Charles Vassallo (mentor to Joe “Panda” Crupi) won with a time of 47:13, Kirk Framke took home second with 49:41 and Daily Burn Spartan instructor Kevin Donoghue placed third (50:03).
LAP 1: ROUGH START
I’ve completed the Tuxedo Spartan Race Sprint in 2015 and 2016, in fact, this race was my first obstacle course race that wasn’t a stadium course. With that said, I got off to a slow start in my Open heat largely due to my ongoing foot injury but also due to a lack of sleep and overall sluggishness. I did pick up steam about halfway through and finished with a better than expected time of 1:29:36. I don’t like to mention rankings outside of the top 15-20 or so of elite heats because after that, there are no referees watching so the results are inaccurate. I didn’t fail any obstacles, continuing my streak of no failed obstacles at any OCR in 2017 through 5 races. I used the pool cue technique for the spear throw, which I learned the previous weekend from Spartan Obstacle Specialist Brian Birch, when we were obtaining your Spartan Obstacle Specialist certification (see my Facebook for photos).
The terrain itself was very dry and almost dusty, and you can tell that aside from Spartan, not many people have traveled on this mountain recently. I thoroughly enjoyed the course’s design and it was just the right amount of challenging for a Sprint. Obstacle-wise, the sandbag carry contained sandbags that were long and wide, rather than your typical circular “pancakes” or twist-tied “double sandbag destruction” bags. This day also marked the introduction of obstacle alternatives for Spartan, where Open wave athletes could choose an alternate obstacle instead of the standard one. In this case, racers were allowed to choose a hanging ladder instead of the Rope Climbe or a rope swing instead of the rig with rings. During both go-arounds of the course, I completed the standard obstacle. What really made the day for me was what happened during lap 2.
FIRE JUMP PHOTO
LAP 2: TEAM SWOLEMATES
I had about an hour break between laps to mingle with old and new OCR buddies, then I met up with one of my Spartan SGX clients, who I had been training for this exact race for about a month. This would be her first OCR of any kind and she was with a team of about six people who were also all running their first OCR, collectively called “Team Swolemates.” So, I join Team Swolemates and I’m off for lap two of the 5-mile course. This time around, we all stuck together for the most part and if I got too far ahead with my client, we waited for the group. I literally lifted my client up over walls and held her up during Olympus. I helped this group of first-time Spartans however possible, providing snacks and water too. This was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience because it was awesome to see the client reach her goals firsthand.
Another great part of the second lap was I finally learned how to climb a rope using an S hook. I normally just do a legless (Arms only) rope climb but this time I was able to use my legs to climb up the rope. Once again, I used the pool cue technique to conquer the spear throw and this time the course took me (with the team) about three hours to complete. There actually wasn’t much bottlenecking for starting at 1:45pm (except the ladder climb option and rope swing options) and I won’t name any names, but a certain Tough race this bottlenecking issue severely by 11:00am recently. By the time I crossed the finish line, I had completed 10+ of signature Spartan Race, and I think I helped make the experience a good for a handful of newcomers.
I’ve really learned how to become more than an OCR racer, but a true Spartan SGX Coach and Obstacle Specialist, where I passed on, word for word, demonstration by demonstration, what to do at each obstacle to first-time Spartans. I think I’m fulfilling my Spartan duty and I hope to be more involved in the coaching side of things soon. I’m available to teach Spartan SGX at your gym =)