Runners turn warriors at Spartan race
July 12, 2011
MIDWAY – Park City’s Bup Minardi chose to test himself. He entered the Super Spartan race Saturday morning at Soldier Hollow.
Minardi decided to do the race with his son and brother-in-law and, after watching some videos of previous Spartan events on YouTube, he was ready to accept whatever came his way when he set off on the eight-mile, 18-obstacle course. Racers trekked around the hills at Soldier Hollow, needing to complete obstacles such as a ropes course, shooting range, mud pit and spear throw, among other unique and difficult trials. Minardi was one of more than 2,000 racers who took to the course.
"I just figured whatever happened was going to happen," he said. "I just figured I should go out there, have a good time. You know you’re going to get dirty, stinky, sweaty-it’s part of the race."
But what pushed Minardi’s skills to the edge wasn’t running arduous up-and-down hills, nor crawling beneath a mud-soaked field topped with barbwire.
It was a station where Minardi, out of breath, covered in sweat and dirt, had to put the brakes on and begin churning the neurons.
"You had to solve a Rubik’s cube up there," he laughed as he took another swig from his water bottle.
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The 43-year-old Minardi finished fifth in the first heat with a time of 1:30:13.
"I’d definitely do this again," he said. "Absolutely."
Spartan-race extraordinaire Hobie Call of South Jordan took home the gold, finishing with a time of 1:08:22. Call, who won six consecutive Spartan races earlier this year, is a 34-year-old father of five who installs air conditioners when he isn’t passing boot camp with flying colors.
Call said the hills were the toughest part of the day at Soldier Hollow. He said it was the toughest running segment of any race he’s participated in this year.
"The hills were just steep enough to be tough and just steep enough downhill to not allow you to get a good stride," he said. "You really just end up fighting the pace."
A large crowd tracked Call as he continued doing what he has done throughout the Spartan circuit this year-he just kept winning and running away from the competition.
"I think I’ve gotten weaker every race, actually," he said. "I’ve had injuries, tapering for races, taking time off after races; it’s been hard to train and I’m just trying really hard to keep it together."
He said the barbwire at Soldier Hollow was the most challenging he’s seen yet.
"The barbwire here was the best," he said. "You actually had to slide along the ground underneath this barbwire. The grass really hindered your view."
Some members of the armed forces were on course giving instruction to participants, furthering the feeling of the boot-camp style race.
As Call shimmied through the field, he was on the wrong end of an earful from a member of the forces dressed in uniform.
"He’s actually just yelling at me, telling me I should give up," he said. "It’s all just fun. It was fun having someone yell at you. It’s cool."
Zane Morris of Draper, 47, finished fourth in the first heat with a time of 1:26:05.
Traditionally a triathlete, Morris said this was his first-ever mud race or anything obstacle-course related.
"I hadn’t done anything like this before," he said. "It was hard. It was really hard-a lot of climbing. You couldn’t get a steady rhythm going."
Morris said dragging a cinder block up and down a dusty hill was the most difficult obstacle.
"They broke it up well," he said of the course creators. "It was the first time I did it, so I didn’t know what to do. A couple of (the obstacles), I rushed into and missed. If you missed, you really screw yourself up."
But it was Call who was the story of the day.
After he crossed the finish line, his children clamored around him, congratulating him. Microphones and cameras were pushed in his direction as he tried to catch his breath.
Call’s wife, Irene, was still out on the course, and once he caught his breath, he began walking toward the hill filled with obstacles, ready to cheer her on.
"In most ways, it’s not any different than any other race," he said. "But my family is here, which is cool. My wife is out there running right now. She’s awesome."
Some local top finishers were: Jeff Bauer of Park City (third in men’s fifth heat, 1:30:03), Marsha Wadsworth of Oakley (second in women’s fifth heat, 1:48), and Jenny Lathrop of Park City (fourth in women’s fifth heat, 2:05:47).