For those who are not familiar with Reebok’s Spartan races, you may have never heard of the Hurricane Heat. For the many of us who have run Spartan races, and even received our trifectas, the Hurricane Heat may sound intimidating! I have run four Spartan races and received my first trifecta in 2016. I am definitely intimidated by the Hurricane Heat, but I plan to face my fears in 2017 and tackle one!
What is the Hurricane Heat?
According to the Spartan website, when Hurricane Irene was threatening the East Coast in 2011, Spartan was forced to shut down one of their races in Amesbury, MA. However, like any Spartan, the people prevailed! With quick, last minute planning, thousands of emails and logistics galore, more than 150 Spartans showed up at 5:00 a.m. that Saturday morning to tackle the course with Joe De Sena, the founder of Spartan, and Spartan employees. The runners were put on teams with strangers, forced to carry sandbags, and hit each obstacle. Along with their new teammates, they forged a bond only Spartans have with one another and truly became a family. Through the pouring rain and seemingly endless burpees on that Saturday in 2011, the Hurricane Heat was born.
The Hurricane Heat is somewhat similar to a Spartan race, but unique on its own with no two alike. It incorporates non-traditional problem solving, finding endurance under duress, and feeling synergy with a team. However, there are no timing chips, no bibs, no individual competition. Participants will receive an email with everything they MUST bring and then it is on that person to be prepared for the mental and physical challenges that lay ahead.
100th Hurricane Heat
Fast forward six years from 2011 to Saturday, January 28, 2017. Lake Elsinore, California will host the 100th Hurricane Heat that evening after thousands of OCR runners finish the Spartan Super. Ninety nine times prior, strangers have worked together across the country to finish miles and miles of exhausting mental and physical obstacles – and they finished together as one.
Hurricane Heat Teamwork
The biggest emphasis on the Hurricane Heat (henceforth known as HH) is teamwork (if you couldn’t tell from the previous paragraphs). Teams only go as fast as the slowest person on the team. Everyone finishes together, everyone helps each other. Yes, you will be tested mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, you may be pushed to the brink. But your team will be with you the entire way. Your Spartan family will not leave you. You finish together, no man or woman left behind.
Anyone can run a Spartan Race and anyone can run the HH. Adaptive athletes are welcomed and encouraged to participate in HH. There are no limits to what an adaptive athlete can do, and you will have your Spartan family with you from start to finish. There are so many stories of adaptive athletes who have participated in Spartan races, which you can read about here. As Spartan says, you are UNSTOPPABLE!
My friend Dustin Garrett shared his personal HH story with me.
“Where to even start with my experience doing my first Hurricane Heat has me struggling for words. I’ve written out a few different versions, only to delete them and start over. My first thoughts are to get you to sign up. YOU are capable. You will not be alone and you will work as a team to finish the tasks set before you. You will learn the Warrior Ethos. You will learn to trust the people around you. You will learn that anything you set your mind to is possible. I would also say that your experience with the Hurricane Heat will be a little different compared to anyone else. I know that you WILL get pushed out of your comfort zones and you will be pushed physically. You will struggle and you may feel like giving up, but you are part of a team. Your team is there to support you and you are there to support them. No one is left behind, ever. You will learn valuable lessons in listening and following directions, in being a leader, in being a teammate and to not give up on the people around you. To support them in succeeding so they can do the same for you. If you’re nervous about taking the step to sign up. That’s okay. Set that aside, sign up and put yourself out there. This won’t be easy, but follow directions and work together and you can’t possibly fail!”
Steffen Cook is the Spartan Endurance Krypteia, who helps design and lead the Hurricane Heat and HH12HR events.
“The Hurricane Heat is something very special. It is an event deliberately designed to make you uncomfortable. You’ll have moments where everything will suck and you may even complain that your arms or legs, or whatever it may be, are hurting. But that’s when the penny drops and you realize it’s not about you – it’s about the team. The team is the number one priority. We teach the Warrior Ethos that goes, ‘I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, I will never leave a fallen comrade’. At a Hurricane Heat, this last line is especially important. No one, ever, is left behind. This is not a race, there are no prizes for finishing first. You have to adopt the mindset that everyone on the team provides something. An engine only works well if all of it’s components work in unison, and that’s precisely the mindset you need to adopt at a Hurricane Heat.”
If you are ready and willing, you can sign up for the 100th Hurricane Heat, set for Saturday, January 28, 2017 in Lake Elsinore, CA. The cost is $100. Click here to sign up and we will see you there! Aroo!