This weekend Spartan Race kicks off their U.S. Championship series outside of Seattle, Washington. The U.S. Championship Series is part of the road to the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships in Lake Tahoe, California this fall. This year in addition to filmed for NBC Sports, Spartan Race will be hosting live coverage of the event on their Facebook, YouTube, and Spartan.com website during the race Saturday.
Top athletes in obstacle racing will be racing for glory this weekend as many, at least in the Spartan circuit, will be kicking off their competitive season outside of Seattle. All eyes will be on Hobie Call who recently officially joined the Spartan Race Pro-Team and proclaimed in a recent interview with Mud Run Guide that he intends to win all the U.S. Championship races this year. On the women's side, anything could happen with new athletes joining the pro-team and a strong women's field this year. Below are all the details regarding the first stop of the Spartan Race U.S. Championships.
SEATTLE, WA (APRIL 19, 2017) – The best endurance athletes in the world will clash over eight miles of rugged terrain in Snohomish County, WA, Saturday morning as the 2017 Spartan U.S. Championship Series kicks off with the Emerald City Open at Meadow City Equestrian Center. The competitive Spartan Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) series will see hundreds of elite male and female athletes battling barbed wire, mud, fire, and more than twenty man-made and natural obstacles for the chance to take home cash and prizes, and a coin for the 2017 Reebok Spartan Race World Championship in Lake Tahoe, CA, in the fall. All Spartan U.S. Championship Races will stream live on Spartan.com and will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Network on future dates.
The field at the Emerald City Open includes OCR legend and 2016 Spartan Race World Champion Hobie Call, who will sprint onto the course for the first time in history as a Spartan Pro Team Member. Call will seek to defend his title while facing fierce competition from his peers, including 2015 Spartan World Champion and U.S. Army Ranger Robert Killian, Jr.; frequent podium finisher Ryan Kent; and the rest of the men’s Spartan Pro Team.
The women’s elite heat will see rivalries forged among Spartan Pro Team newcomers, including Slovenia-born Rea Kolbl and U.S. native Nicole Mericle, who seek to take Faye Stenning’s regular spot on the podium.
“The competition at Saturday’s race will set the stage for the 2017 Championship series, and with Call suiting up as a Spartan Pro Team member for the first time, it will be an exciting series to watch,” said Spartan Director of Sport Initiatives Joe DiStefano. Returning favorites will clash with emerging stars, creating dramatic rivalries as the series unfolds, which will keep fans engaged and wanting more.”
For the first time, fans can catch all the action of the elite and competitive heats live on Spartan.com, Facebook and YouTube. Coverage starts at 7 a.m. local race time (PST) for each of the five U.S. Championship Series races as well as the 2017 Reebok Spartan Race World Championship. The live broadcasts will feature commentary, highlights, and athlete interviews, led by obstacle racer and NBC Spartan commentator Dave Magida and Spartan personality Steve Hammond.
The five-race U.S. Championship Series will also be televised on NBC Sports Network this summer, showcasing the competition, rivalries, stories, and a behind-the-scenes look at the growing sport. Following the Emerald City Open in Seattle, the U.S. Championship Series will unfold across the Golden State Open in Monterey, CA (June 3); Blue Mountain Challenge in Palmerton, PA (July 8); Southeast Showdown in Asheville, NC (July 29); and U.S. Championship in Glen Jean, WV (August 26).
“Legends will rise on the grueling course in Seattle, where the field of elite athletes, including the Spartan Pro Team, will fight their way to the finish line,” said Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “With the unpredictable drama now unfolding in front of a live streaming audience, in addition to NBCSN, more fans will have the opportunity to experience the intensity of the growing sport as the competition progresses along the unforgiving road to Tahoe.”
The U.S. Championship Series leads to the 2017 Reebok Spartan Race World Championship, the pinnacle event of the obstacle racing season featuring a field of 500 elite athletes from more than 30 countries battling the mountainous terrain at Squaw Valley during the 12+ mile (20+ kilometer) “Beast” race. To qualify for the world championship heat, men and women racers must finish in the top five at Spartan Races around the world during the 2017 qualifying season.