Cedar Park residents Yancy Culp and Isaiah Vidal will travel to Pittsfield Vermont in June to compete in the 2013 Spartan Death Race.
The Death Race is considered the most challenging of the four levels of competition in the Reebok Spartan International Race Series, which was created in 2004 and designed to incorporate elements of mud running and obstacle courses that simulate some elements of the training undertaken by elite military forces from around the world. Those within the Obstacle Course Racing community say the sport is the fastest growing in America.
The endurance race is comprised of mud runs, obstacle racing, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges all in an adventure race which will take place over more than 48 hours beginning on June 21.
Race promoters provide significant warnings about the dangers of the race to those considering participating, and still claim that fewer than ten percent of participants will actually finish the event.
The hallmark of each year’s Death Race is a series of unexpected, and as promoters claim, unpredictable, challenges. Participants are given a basic list of required items and a start time. Little else is known when the race begins... except that the race will cover anywhere from 50 to 100 miles of mountainous terrain in rural Vermont.
This will be Vidal’s second attempt at the race and Culp’s first.
Last year Vidal, at age 19, became the youngest ever to finish the Spartan Death Race when he was one of just 51 participants to complete the course.
At 41, Culp will be among the older competitors in this year’s event.
Culp and his wife Amy own sCULPture Nutrition & Fitness, located in Austin, and he coaches fitness boot camps and obstacle course racing workouts in the Cedar Park area.
Amy is also the Sports Performance Dietician for the University of Texas Athletic Department.
It was through his work as a trainer that Culp met Vidal.
The two began training together when Vidal was only 19, and Culp said he could tell right away there was something special.
“He’s a salt of the earth guy off the course, but on the course, he’s unbreakable,” said Culp.
Culp, who works with a number of area high schools, including Cedar Park, says that he remembers when Vidal played defensive end at Marble Falls just a few years ago.
“The Timberwolves would beat the Mustangs pretty easily on the scoreboard, but that No. 25 (Vidal) was almost unstoppable,” Vidal said.
Both men completed the Spartan Ultra Beast race in 2012, an event comprising a 26 mile obstacle course in the mountains. Culp was part of a group that lost its way and covered over 31 miles in total, while Vidal finished a strong seventh place.
Culp said that, as self-described fitness fanatics, they both “cherish the opportunity to tackle something considered to be one of the toughest physical and mental challenges on Planet Earth.”