From Oct. 9-13, with a total purse of $100,000 on the line, 24 world-class athletes assembled at Riverside Farm — the home of Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena — for the first-ever Spartan Games™, presented by Harley-Davidson, a five-day competition comprised of obstacle course racing, ultra running, wrestling, functional fitness, and more.
The five-day event will be chronicled in a four-episode series, which will air on Spartan's YouTube channel throughout December. (It premieres on Dec. 2.) To get you prepped, we've put together a full breakdown of all 12 female athletes on hand at the farm. Check out their backgrounds, their strengths, and their varied accomplishments, as well as select photos and footage from the Games. We've also assembled their Instagram handles for you follow, as well as some bonus content — articles, Q&As, and workouts — from our archives.
Are these the 12 fittest women in the world? Decide for yourself below, and this winter, you'll find out which of them is the fittest of the fit. (For a full breakdown of the men, click here.)
Meet the 12 Female Athletes at the Spartan Games
English-born Sam Briggs, a firefighter in her past life, is a prolific CrossFit athlete. The 38-year-old qualified for the CrossFit Games five times, finishing in the top 5 in four of her five appearances. Her crowning achievement came in 2013, when she won the CrossFit Games with an epic performance, including a half-marathon row completed in 1:27:47. Follow Briggs on Instagram here.
One of the most accomplished Spartan racers of all time, Lindsay Webster is a two-time Spartan World Champion, taking the top spot in Lake Tahoe in both 2017 and 2018. Click here to train like her for a week, learn about her diet and mental approach, and find out how she navigates love and training with her husband, fellow Spartan pro Ryan Atkins. (More on him later.) Follow Webster on Instagram here.
A CrossFit staple, Emma Chapman — aka "The Mighty Kiwi" — was one of the defenders on the CBS game show Million Dollar Mile. Born in New Zealand before residing in Kentucky, Chapman played soccer for the New Zealand women's national team and then collegiately, in the United States, at Marshall University. In 2018, she placed first at the Tough Mudder X World Championship. Follow Chapman on Instagram here.
A veteran long-distance runner, Kellyn Taylor became the seventh-fastest U.S. women's marathoner of all time in 2018, when she completed Grandma's Marathon in a ridiculous 2:24:28. The 34-year-old also has two individual gold medals to her name, placing first in the 6 km at the 2014 NACAC Cross Country Championships and first in the 5000 m at the 2015 NACAC Championships in Athletics. (She also won a team gold at the 2015 Pan American Cross Country Cup.) Oh, and if all that doesn't make her badass enough, she's also a trained firefighter. Follow Taylor on Instagram here.
A remarkably well-rounded athlete, Kristi O'Connell swam collegiately and competed in triathlons before lighting up the CrossFit leaderboards. The 31-year-old, standing 5'2" and weighing 132 pounds, currently ranks ninth overall among CrossFit women with 402 points. How strong is she? O'Connell deadlifts 335 pounds, back squats 300, and clean and jerks 225. Follow O'Connell on Instagram here.
Lauren Weeks has made a name for herself across the fitness landscape, competing in CrossFit competitions, HYROX, DEKA, and Tough Mudder X, among others. The 30-year-old, standing 5'4" and weighing 137 pounds, won the 2020 HYROX Home Series and placed fourth at the Tough Mudder X World Championship in 2018. Follow Weeks on Instagram here.
The reigning Spartan World Champion — finishing the Tahoe Beast in 2:28:53, almost 15 minutes ahead of second-place Webster — and Trifecta World Champion (2:25:58), Nicole Mericle is arguably the most dangerous OCR racer in the world right now. Coming off a massively successful 2019, in which she piled up 14 victories, she was primed for another brilliant 2020. (Alas, it was not to be because of COVID-19, but the expectations for 2021 are off the charts.) Click here to learn what makes her so great, follow her week-long training plan, and get the lowdown on her diet and overall fitness strategy. Follow Mericle on Instagram here.
An adventure racer and acrobat — yes, she's actually a professional acrobat — Chelsey Magness and her husband, Jason, won the legendary Patagonian Expedition Race in 2018, triumphing in six days, three hours, and 53 minutes. En route to the monumental victory, Magness and her team hiked, biked, and kayaked roughly 340 miles through remote Southern Chile. Ridiculous. (And yes, we're completely envious.) Follow Magness on Instagram here.
An all-around force to be reckoned with, whether in a race or in combat, Samantha Wood spent seven years as a physical therapist in the Army, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012. She also has served as a major in the California Army National Guard. On the course, she's as much of a threat as any ultra runner in the world. In 2018, she was the Leadwoman champion, finishing the five mandatory events in 46:58:21. Follow Wood on Instagram here.
A single mom from Texas, Faith Cooke is an elite personal trainer, former triathlete, and CrossFit competitor. She qualified for the USA Weightlifting National Championships and twice competed in the CrossFit Regionals. Follow Cooke on Instagram here, and click here to check out some of her crushing workouts.
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At the #SpartanGames nothing is off the table. Whether it's picking up 160lb rocks or trail running for 6 hours, every athlete left their comfort zone at some point. In this challenge the women were tasked with placing 5 rocks (weighing 70, 95, 125, 150 and 160) on the table or throwing them over.
A functional fitness maestro, Corinna Coffin, 27, is a former triathlete and regular DEKA and CrossFit competitor. She's also an accomplished Spartan pro, winning the Spartan Stadium Series in 2019, placing second at the 2014 Spartan World Championship in Killington, and placing first at the Tough Mudder X World Championship in 2017. She's also a registered dietician. (Make sure to check our her tutorial on chocolate protein energy bites.) Follow Coffin on Instagram here.
Rea Kolbl's legacy as an iconic endurance racer was cemented when she captured the 2019 Spartan Ultra World Championship in Sweden, completing 70 miles in 24:10:00. Prior to that, in 2017, the tough-as-nails Slovenian made history when she swept the Super and Beast Races — defeating all of the men in the field, too — during the Hawaii Trifecta Weekend. Click here to train like her for a week, learn her secret to success, and discover how she made it to where she is today. Follow Kolbl on Instagram here.