CrossFit Athletes Challenge Champs, Record Podium Finishes at the Spartan Games
The “Spartan Games: Battle of the Fittest, presented by Harley-Davidson” came to a close on Dec. 23 and crowned two champions. The champions were ultimately professional Spartan racers, but were pushed every step of the way by CrossFit athletes.
Event 8, Spartan Extreme Endurance Vertical 300: The opening event of the final day was a grueling one mile run with a 5.11 weighted vest up a mountain on Spartan founder Joe De Sena’s farm in Vermont. The run included 300 meters of elevation up unforgiving terrain to the top of the mountain.
- Trailing rival Hunter McIntyre by two points on the overall leaderboard, reigning two-time Spartan Ultra World Champion Ryan Atkins set the tone immediately on the run, jumping ahead of the pack with triathlete Josiah Middaugh.
- In one of the closest races of the weekend, Atkins edged Middaugh by eight seconds to win the event and reclaim the overall lead.
- McIntyre finished fifth completing the one mile course in 14:31, over two minutes behind Atkins who finished it in 12:13.
- Herman Demmink, after a strong opening two days of competition, struggled with an eighth place finish, dropping him to sixth in the overall standings.
- On the women’s side marathoner Kellyn Taylor easily won with a time of 14:23 followed by two-time Spartan World Champion and women’s leader Lindsay Webster.
- Samantha Briggs used her experience with weighted runs to finish third, just 14 seconds behind Webster.
- Corrina Coffin placed fourth with fellow CrossFit Games athletes Emma Chapman in seventh, Lauren Weeks in eighth and Kristi O’Connell in tenth.
- Faith Cooke finished 11th, dropping her from fourth to fifth on the leaderboard.
Event 9, DEKA HEAVY: Featured ten functional fitness workouts or “zones” that are part of the Spartan decathlon training series. Each athlete had to complete each “zone,” for total time. Unlike the DEKA STRONG event from day two, these “zones” had less reps and distances but the weights of the objects were significantly heavier than the previous DEKA event. The workouts included were:
- 20 meter farmers carry,
- 15 calories on an Assault Bike,
- 10 deadlifts (225/165),
- 10 weighted box step-over (60/40),
- 100 meter sprint on an Assault Runner,
- 10 deadball wall overs (100/60),
- 30 meter Atlas carry (100/60),
- 60 meter Tank push/pull,
- 10 Spartan Ram weighted burpees (55/33),
- 12/8 pull-ups.
- CrossFitters Coffin and Weeks have each made their names known in the Spartan community and were familiar with the DEKA series having each competed in multiple competitions. The two have also faced off against each other a number of times across those same competitions. They would get the chance again as they went first for the women in event nine.
- Weeks jumped out to an early lead, but Coffin kept her within reach knowing she needed to win this event to have a chance at beating Webster for the crown.
- Coffin maintained a steady pace and eventually took the lead during the deadball wall overs, finishing the event in 6:03.
- Coffins’ time would be short-lived as Briggs, who set a world record in the DEKA STRONG event, would finish in 5:51 to win her second event of the competition.
- O’Connell would finish third behind Coffin with a time of 6:08 seven tenths of a second ahead of Chapman.
- Cooke placed fifth followed by Weeks in sixth.
- Webster, the overall leader heading into the event, saw her 16-point lead over Coffin disappear thanks to a ninth place finish.
- Coffin would regain the lead in the overall leaderboard, one point over Webster heading into the final event.
- Briggs jumped into the third place overall, two points ahead of Weeks.
- On the men’s side, McIntyre needed a strong placing and for Atkins to struggle for him to make some ground and hopefully a chance to beat him in the final event.
- McIntyre would face off with another familiar Spartan Race opponent, Ryan Kent, in the event but used his CrossFit background to pull away from him and set the time to beat at 5:02.
- Despite trailing his rival, McIntyre gave Atkins advice on the deadlift, a movement the Spartan champion was unfamiliar with.
- Atkins was able to use those tips to finish third in the event with a time of 5:44, just two seconds behind Kent.
- Demmink finished fourth despite a nasty fall from the wet pull-up bar, giving the CrossFit masters athlete his sixth top-five finish of the competition.
Event 10, Spartan Cross 2: The Spartan Games ended the same way they started the competition with their signature Spartan Cross obstacle course. Unlike the event athletes faced on day one however, this version was shorter at 2.5 kilometers and only featured 27 obstacles.
- The winner of both the men’s and women’s race would come down to whoever finished first in the final event, as Atkins held a three point lead over McIntyre and Coffin just a one point lead over Atkin’s wife, Webster.
- The women went first with Coffin facing off against the two-time Spartan Race World Champion with the $20,000 grand prize on the line.
- Coffin held an early lead through the first few obstacles until Webster passed her on the monkey bars midway through the first lap.
- Webster, the better runner of the two, started to pull away during the running portions of the course eventually building a comfortable lead after the first of three laps.
- She crossed the finish line with a time of 18:39 for her fourth win of the competition, securing her the title.
- Coffin was second with a time of 19:45.
- Weeks finished third followed by Chapman and O’Connell to round out the top five.
- On the men’s side, Atkins, who like his wife before him, held off the stronger McIntyre by using his running to put distance between the two competitors.
- Just like his wife, Atkins passed McIntyre on the monkey bars to take the lead in the opening lap and never faltered as he built up a cushion on the runs between the obstacles.
- Atkins crossed the finish line at 14:33, finishing 23 seconds ahead of McIntyre and once again winning the Spartan Cross event.
- Demmink finished sixth with a time of 22:48.
Final results and payouts:
- Atkins won the competition by nine points over McIntyre
- McIntyre, who participated in the competition with the goal of beating his rival, took home $12,000 for his second place finish, but vowed he would switch his training back to obstacle course racing in order to beat Atkins in the future.
- Kent placed third, earning $6,000 for his troubles.
- Middaugh earned $4,000 for his fourth place finish followed by Aaron Newell winning $3,000 for finishing fifth.
- Demmink, who had been consistently in the top-five for most of the four days, finished sixth, seven points behind Newell.
- Webster edged out Coffin by seven points to earn top honors in the competition.
- Weeks finished third, earning $6,000, regaining the podium spot over Briggs in the final event.
- Briggs finished five points behind Weeks for fourth place, earning her $4,000.
- O’Connell finished fifth, 16 points behind Briggs but four points ahead of Cooke.
- Chapman placed seventh to round out the CrossFit athletes in the field.
The bottom line: Though CrossFit athletes did not win the competition, they did however show they were the most well-rounded in the field, especially in the women’s division as six of the top seven athletes follow CrossFit as their training methodology. The competition also showed the two champions that they needed to incorporate more of the training that their competitors followed in order to lay claim to being one of the best functional fitness athletes in the world.