Episode #65: Official (WARNING: Controversial!) 2016 Spartan World Championships Race Recap With Joe DiStefano

04 Oct Episode #65: Official (WARNING: Controversial!) 2016 Spartan World Championships Race Recap With Joe DiStefano

In this episode, Ben Greenfield interviews Joe DiStefano, director of sport at Spartan Race, about drug-testing, the nefarious Spartan World Championships blizzard, canceling obstacles and much more.

During this episode, Joe and Ben discuss:

-What a bottle of whiskey and a spear have to do with this episode…

-Why Hobie Call won Spartan World Championships…

-Why nobody got drug tested after the race, and whether they’re going to drug test age groups…

-How drunk Hunter got…

-The things that happened on race day that drastically affected results… 

-Why the woman’s champ two-peated (and her banana + water training secret)…

-Which new obstacles are you most excited about?

-If Spartan was too “soft” on the Ultra Beasters on Sunday by canceling some obstacles….

-The inside story of the blizzard that blew in during Ultra Beast…

-Whether they’ll move the Spartan World Championships course around to different locations…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

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Questions, comments or feedback? Leave ’em below, and click here to leave your questions now

 Music courtesy Skorge – Sail (AWOLNATION Dubstep Rmx)
  • Adam
    Posted at 21:38h, 04 October Reply

    Curious if there’s any thought about prorating burpees?
    Although the Burpee Battle between Faye and Lindsay was exciting. Faye nearly made it to the end of the rig and Lindsay intentionally dropped off early on. On such a large rig it seems like it’d be more fair if the further you make it along the rig, the less burpees you should do.

    • Joe
      Posted at 13:49h, 06 November Reply

      hi Adam, that’s an interesting idea!!

    Posted at 00:40h, 05 October Reply

    Congrats Hobie!!! Winning all 5 races you entered and beating Ryan, Robert and Cody twice is impressive enough!

  • Joseph Thomas
    Posted at 01:27h, 05 October Reply

    I was one of the people that was running the Ultra Beast on Sunday that got rerouted from the AFrame to the Bucket Brigade on Sunday. I was well within the time cut offs up until that point so I thought I would be a finisher until I reached the tent where I was told I was not. At first I was disappointed, but after I thought about it more, it would not have been fair to those completing over 26 miles when I only did 24. If there is a Ultra Beast in the same location next year then I will back once again to complete it. The blizzard made it the most fun I have had at any OCR, although the new obstacles made it special also. The Ape Hanger was difficult but a very good challenge.

    People would have done the swim on Sunday despite any conditions. When I was talking to the starting line on Sunday morning people were talking about how it was going to be freezing, but it was an Ultra Beast and they were going at least attempt it. When I ran the Beast on Saturday most people were stripping down to their underwear to swim it out.

  • Fred
    Posted at 07:53h, 05 October Reply

    Why were the elites allowed to skip the balance beam? Just curious.

    • Joe
      Posted at 18:35h, 07 October Reply

      hey Fred,

      We worked hard to create an Elite Race that could be a showdown at the Herc or the Rig. Much like the Memory Test, we don’t particularly like when such important Races are decided by less physically demanding obstacles.


  • Ben Bethea
    Posted at 19:12h, 06 October Reply

    I think the drug testing would be a good idea if for no other reason than to see what the OCR athletes are using.

  • Michael Johnson
    Posted at 13:34h, 07 October Reply

    I completely understand the fact that if you didnt complete the 26.2 miles you dont quality for an ultra beast medal.. I am one of those that made it to the 24+ mile range but i was dressed and geared ready to take on the snow and was well ahead of all the cut times even the modified ones given out half way through the race. I didnt kill myself on the first lap because my fear knowing that course was rolling an ankle and having to try to finish the 2nd injured. 2nd lap i was ready to burn out and go for broke and i was on a really good pace and feeling really good even with the snow coming down. Getting pulled and being told i will get credit for a beast i understand is a compromise from spartan considering the fact that it is an all or nothing event but i thing spartan could at least give those of us who were ahead of the cut offs and ready to finish at least some sort of discount towards our next ultra even because right now i feel like spartan has given us the finger and said pretty much you paid and fail try again and i know i didnt fail I thrive on endurance but im not as fast as the top people. Spartan could at least offer a discount to those who had a finish time but was cut short because technically we did finish just not the full course. And yes i know it wasn’t spartans fault the mountain closed but neither was it mine.

    • Joe
      Posted at 18:39h, 07 October Reply

      hey Fred,

      We worked hard to create an Elite Race that could be a showdown at the Herc or the Rig. Much like the Memory Test, we don’t particularly like when such important Races are decided by less physically demanding obstacles.


  • Laura Lunardi
    Posted at 17:57h, 07 October Reply

    Loved listening to this one. Great topics.

  • Rod Porter
    Posted at 15:44h, 11 October Reply

    I did the Beast on both days and also do not think that the lake swim should have been eliminated all together on Sunday. Even though I live in Sunny San Diego I took cold showers and did at least a half dozen ice baths leading up to the event to be prepared for it. I also packed a trash bag to pull over me right after the swim. All of that worked great on Saturday as it was not an issue. I was looking forward to it again on Sunday. I see why it needed to be eliminated later in the day but it should have been open for the first lap for the Ultra-Beasters and the Sunday Beast crew. After that first lap, once everyone got to experience the obstacle and the weather turned, shut it down but not right out of the get-go.

    • Joe DI
      Posted at 13:59h, 06 November Reply

      I copy, Rod. Psyched you trained hard, listened to Ben and came in ready to take on the course both days!

      I wish you could have dove in the first lap, and I am inclined to agree with you, however our team has to make decisions based on specific policies that we streamline worldwide around things such as lightning, temperature, etc. In this case, with the forecasted weather, the swim had the potential to quickly and without warning become too dangerous to safely allow racers to take it on.

      AROO man, keep up the hard training!


  • Gary Ives
    Posted at 14:14h, 18 October Reply

    Enjoyed the show lads. I’ve noticed when you talk about the top boys you never mention jon albon. It seems intentional but maybe it’s not. Just something I’ve picked up on and wondered if theirs a reason. Because I’m a nosey b:!%÷$d.

    • Joe DI
      Posted at 13:54h, 06 November Reply

      hey Gary! Jon is a stud athlete who I have very high respect for, definitely not intentional at all as he is one of the best mountain runners in the world. To your point, I think the fact he only runs 1-2 SR’s in the US per year and is not a guy we’ve been tracking as closely all year, on top of the fact that (i believe) due to the altitude which can effect every athlete differently, did not podium the last two years in Tahoe, he just simply hasn’t come up in our conversations….but an amazing athlete and great person who does deserve to be in any conversation like this!

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