CrossFitters Make Presence Known in Debut Episode of the Spartan Games

December 4, 2020 by
Image - Brent Doscher/Spartan
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The first episode of the “Spartan Games: Battle of the Fittest, presented by Harley-Davidson” debuted this past Wednesday on the Spartan YouTube Channel. What the 36-minute episode lacked in highlighting the opening day events and competition it certainly made up in entertainment and in profiling the 24 athletes they gathered from different fitness disciplines to compete for a $100,000 prize purse.

Spartan gathered the athletes at its birthplace, the Riverside Farm in Pittsfield, Vermont where they would compete in ten events over four days. Day one featured three events that tested both cardiovascular endurance and strength.

Event 1, Spartan Cross: The Spartan Games kicked-off with its bread and butter, the Spartan Cross. This version of their famous obstacle race featured a shorter running distance at 5,000 meters on a six lap course but included 54 obstacles. The obstacles ranged from rope climbs to crawling under barbed wire.

  • The men went first and right from the start, Hunter McIntyre tried to assert himself as the alpha in the group. During a portion of the course that required the athletes to run with weighted buckets, McIntyre smacked Spartan Race professional Aaron Newell in the stomach as they ran side-by-side. This led to Newell throwing his bucket at McIntyre.
  • The athletes with Spartan Race and Obstacle Course Race backgrounds unsurprisingly did well in the opening event as the top four finishers have all competed at the highest level of the Spartan Races.
  • Reigning two-time Spartan Ultra World Champion Ryan Atkins won with a time of 30:29 followed by McIntyre (31:09), Ryan Kent (34:45) and Newell (36:03).
  • CrossFitter, strength and conditioning coach and former collegiate baseball player Herman Demmink rounded out the top-five with a time of 38:29.
  • After the race Newell and McIntyre had a short exchange with the latter saying “welcome to the fucking jungle, it’s all weekend long baby”. 
  • Event Director Mike Morris intervened to let Newell and McIntyre each know that he would review the video to access penalties
  • Just like her husband Ryan Atkins before her, Spartan world champion Lindsay Webster won the event on the women’s side, finishing in 36:57.
  • 2018 CrossFit Games athlete Corrina Coffin placed second with a time of 37:11 followed by reigning Spartan World Champion Nicole Mericle (37:38).
  • 2013 CrossFit Games champion Samantha Briggs placed fourth with a time of 44:28 finishing just eight seconds ahead of three-time Regionals athlete Lauren Weeks.
  • Five-time Games veteran Kristi O’Connell placed seventh with a time of 47:54 followed by fellow Game’s athlete Emma Chapman in eighth.

Event 2, Open Water Swim: The water temperature was a cool 50 degrees fahrenheit for the athletes as they had to swim as many laps as they could for 45 minutes. The swimming course was 200 meters with a four lap minimum work requirement. 

  • The triathletes shined in this event led by 2008 Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker who completed 14 laps.
  • Fellow triathlete Josiah Middaugh placed second in a return to his Spartan roots, finishing 12 laps in 41:38.
  • Demmink continued to impress, placing third with 12 laps completed in 43:19.
  • McIntyre struggled in the event, earning one point for his tenth place finish, dropping him to seventh in the overall leaderboard after two events.
  • Atkins held onto the overall lead by 12 points over Shoemaker thanks to a fourth place finish in the swim.
  • Demmink jumped up two spots to third in the overall standings.
  • On the women’s side a pair of CrossFitters shined with Weeks winning the event with 12 laps completed in 41:21. O’Connell finished second with 11 laps.
  • Coffin added another top-five finish as she placed fourth with nine laps completed in 40:58.
  • Faith Cooke, a two-time CrossFit regional athlete, placed sixth with Briggs finishing eighth and Chapman tenth.
  • Webster maintained her overall lead as Weeks jumped into second place just five points behind the Spartan champion.
  • Coffin dropped to third followed by O’Connell in fourth who jumped three spots in the overall leaderboard.
  • Briggs, Cooke and Chapman sat in seventh through ninth place respectively on the leaderboard.
Image – Brent Doscher/Spartan

Event 3, Highland Games: The final event of the day was made up of three individual events and inspired by the famous sport that takes place in Scotland. The events are tests of strength that include a tug-of-war, “Spartan Stones” which require the athlete to lift heavy stones on top of a platform and the final event was sledgehammer/sled event similar to the one that was used during the “Assault Banger” event at the 2017 CrossFit Games.

  • McIntyre was able to wear down former NFL player Curt Maggitt in the tug-of-war after the latter dominated the early part of the competition. McIntyre was centimeters away from being eliminated before using his endurance and strength to pick up the win.
  • Demmink again showed his overall fitness with a fourth place finish in the tug-of-war.
  • The women’s final for the tug-of-war pitted two CrossFitters against each other  in Cooke and Chapman. Cooke, who has also competed in Olympic weightlifting competitions and is one, if not the strongest women in the field, easily won.
  • Weeks and O’Connell tied for third place in the event.
  • Maggitt picked up his first win of the competition in the “Spartan Stones” by putting all five stones onto the platform in 18 seconds, final stone weighed 230 pounds.
  • American Ninja Warrior Grant McCartney placed second followed by McIntyre in third in the “Spartan Stones”.
  • Demmink once again picked up top-five finish, placing fourth.
  • CrossFit athletes dominated this event with Cooke leading the way as she used her strength to win the “Spartan Stones” with a time of 16.29 seconds.
  • Weeks, Coffin, Briggs and O’Connell placed second through fifth and were the only five women that lifted all five stones.
  • The final event of the Highland Games was the sled which saw McIntyre win on the men’s side with McCartney and Demmink second and third respectively.
  • Cooke made it a clean sweep of the Highland Games events as she cleared the sled obstacle in 34.42 seconds.
  • Coffin placed second followed by Chapman in third.
Image – Brent Doscher/Spartan

Day One Leaderboard:

  • After his performance in the Highland Games, McIntyre vaulted into the overall lead with 44 points at the close of day one pending the review of possible penalties resulting from his actions in event one.
  • Atkins dropped from first to second, just three points behind McIntyre.
  • Demmink remained steady in third, trailing McIntyre by just seven points.
  • Weeks overtook Webster for the overall lead with 50 points after her solid performances in the Highland Games events.
  • Coffin moved up from third to second and just trailed Weeks by three points.
  • Webster dropped to third place with 41 points.
  • O’Connell remained in fourth place with Cooke making a huge jump in the standings to sit in fifth place.
  • Briggs is in sixth and Chapman in eighth place after day one.

What’s next: Episode 2 will feature two events including a functional fitness/CrossFit inspired workout followed by a grueling five-hour maximum distance mountain bike event.

  • Episode 2 will broadcast on the Spartan YouTube Channel on December 9.

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