The 2021 Spartan North American Championship in North Lake Tahoe, Calif. on Sept. 24-26 was the most highly anticipated United States race on this year's calendar, and it didn't disappoint. The rugged mountains of Palisades Tahoe, the former site of the 1960 Winter Olympics — formerly called Squaw Valley — boasted elevation gains ranging from 4,000 feet (Beast) to 8,700 (Ultra), extremely rocky terrain, and steep climbs.
With $62,000 in prize money on the line, the North American Championship presented by Yokohama featured the top racers from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. North Lake Tahoe, which previously hosted the Spartan World Championship — which has since been moved to Abu Dhabi — was the site of the North American Championship for the first time.
In the Elite men's heat, Canadian Ryan Atkins stormed through 30 obstacles, a half marathon distance, and extremely technical terrain to win the Beast in 1:56:23. Rounding out the podium was American Ryan Woods (1:58:22) and Mexican Angel Quintero (2:02:34) in second and third, respectively. American Ja Shua Ried (2:06:39) placed fourth and American Lars Arneson (2:07:28) finished in fifth. (In a stunning display of sheer toughness and athleticism, Ried managed to finish in the top 5 despite dislocating his shoulder twice during the race.)
The triumph was Atkins' third North American Championship victory.
Check out full coverage of the men's Elite Beast below.
In the Elite women's heat, another Canadian, Emma Cook-Clarke, won her first North American Championship with a time of 2:19:28. American Annie Dube (2:20:49) finished in second and Slovenian Rea Kolbl (2:25:30) rounded out the podium with a third-place finish. American Alex Walker (2:28:26) and Canadian Arielle Fitzgerald (2:35:20) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Check out full coverage of the women's Elite Beast below.
And for the full results, including Age Group and Open racers, click here.
Up Next: The Ultra World Championship and Spartan World Championship
The Spartan World Championship, which follows the Ultra World Championship in Telluride, Colorado on Oct. 9-10, will be held in the stunning Liwa Desert on Dec. 3-5. This will mark the first time in the company's history that the World Championship will be held outside of the United States.
“After touring the largest desert in the world, which is where this year’s event will take place, I can honestly say that this will be the most majestic and challenging World Championship in Spartan history,” said Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena, who was floored by Abu Dhabi's beauty during a recent site visit. “It’s just awesome. Words can’t even describe it."
The event weekend will feature the Elite Spartan World Championship Beast as well as the Spartan Team World Championship. Racers of varying skill levels will also have the opportunity to compete in an Open heat Beast; a 10k, 25-obstacle Night Super, and 50k and half-marathon Spartan Trail running events. There will also be Spartan Kids events for youngsters.