More than 1,200 athletes from 65 countries around the world journeyed back to the ancient ruins, rivers and mountains of the legendary city of Sparta for the second annual invitation-only Spartan Trifecta World Championship weekend. With $40,000 in prize money on the line for athletes with the top cumulative times across the three signature races of Spartan’s coveted TRIFECTA, the weekend was a true test of strength and endurance for some of the best endurance athletes from around the globe.
Nicole Mericle, Richard Hynek Come Out on Top
In the end, USA’s Nicole Mericle, the 2019 Spartan Women’s World Champion, earned the No. 1 spot on the podium with a cumulative time of 4:36:27 after placing second in the 5K, 20-obstacle Sprint; first in the 10K, 25-obstacle Super; and first in the 21K, 30-obstacle Beast. In the men’s race, Czech Republic’s Richard Hynek placed No. 1 with a cumulative time of 4:02:37 across the three race distances, with a second-place finish in the Sprint, a sixth-place finish in the Super and a first-place finish in the Beast.
With Europeans sweeping the men’s Trifecta World Championship podium, North American favorites including Ryan Woods (USA), Spartan Men’s World Champion Robert Killian (USA), Ryan Atkins (CAN) and Aaron Newell (USA) were left out, placing fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively. Spartan Women’s World Championship third-place finisher Myriam Guillot-Boisset (France) placed fifth overall in Sparta, while second-place WC finisher Lindsay Webster did not race due to an injury. Killian, Atkins, Newell and Guillot-Boisset are now the top contenders for the $1 million prize at this weekend’s Spartan Ultra World Championship in Åre, Sweden.
Paying homage to King Leonidas and the Sparta 300, the Spartan events spanned the ancient and modern lands, with the start line just steps from the historic statue of the revered King. The weekend kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Central Square of Sparta followed by a parade of nations through the city streets. All of the athletes invited to compete have earned a coveted “Spartan TRIFECTA” in the 2018 or 2019 season, which is accomplished by completing all three race formats in a calendar year.
Next Up: Ultra World Championship In Sweden
With the Trifecta World Championship now behind them, athletes will set their sights on the third annual Spartan Ultra World Championship, taking place in the picturesque mountain village of Åre, Sweden, on Nov. 9-10. Combining the beauty of the Scandinavian country with the grit of Spartan, the 24-hour endurance event will test the world’s best athletes as they face harsh winter conditions, high elevations and miles of technical terrain, just 350 km below the Arctic Circle.
The Ultra World Championship is also the final stop on Spartan’s Million Dollar Challenge, which offers the largest purse in OCR to elite athletes competing in Spartan’s three World Championship events during the 2019 season. The challenge began Sept. 29 at the Spartan World Championship Powered By Rakuten in North Lake Tahoe, California, before moving to the Trifecta World Championship in Sparta, and now its ultimate destination in Sweden.
What They Need to Do to Win $1 Million; Can It Be Done?
In order to take home the $1 million prize, Killian will have to complete 105 miles (169 km) on the five-mile (8 km) looped obstacle course, Atkins and Newell will need to cover 110 miles (174 km) and Guillot-Boisset will need to cover 90 miles (145 km) within the 24-hour time period, as per the bonus point system outlined in the challenge. Mericle — who placed No. 1 in both the Spartan World Championship Powered by Rakuten and this weekend’s Trifecta World Championship — is ineligible for the prize, as she failed to meet the qualification standards for next weekend’s event by not completing a Spartan Ultra in the 2019 season.
The Trifecta World Championship was held under the auspices of the municipality of Sparta. Sparta’s rich history, architecture and landscape created a unique destination for competitors and visitors alike, allowing athletes and their guests from around the world to learn about Spartan history and visit the extraordinary country.