Hunter McIntyre Rises Above the Competition

An improbable endurance athlete finds himself at the front of the pack in the growing sport of obstacle course racing.

Spartan Race

Photo: Reebok Spartan Race

Hunter McIntyre didn't fit in. At least he didn't look like he belonged atop the podium at the 2013 Reebok Spartan Race World Championships. McIntyre's mop of ginger hair flapped in the wind at the height of race winner Hobie Call's eyes, even though McIntyre's third-place platform sat nearly a foot below Call's feet.

At 6'2" and about 180 pounds, the 24-year-old McIntyre isn't built like a traditional endurance athlete. He's square-jawed and muscular where most of his competitors look more like Call—short and sinewy. But his exceptional size hasn't stopped him from becoming one of the top names in an emerging sport: professional obstacle course racing.

Like his stature, McIntyre's path to racing was atypical. In high school, he was a wrestler and cross-country runner (for two seasons). He wrestled for one season at Rhode Island College, but left school to become a logger in Montana.

"That really turned me into a man," McIntyre says. "I went from being 160 pounds to 215 pounds within a year."

He later finished college, and after graduating, he drew inspiration from Arnold Schwarzenegger. He says, "I watched Pumping Iron, became obsessed with it, and started lifting crazy heavy weights. I ran maybe five times a year from 2008 to 2011."

So perhaps no one was more surprised than McIntyre himself when, in 2011, he entered a Spartan Race on a whim and finished sixth. "I was hooked," he later wrote. "It was time to test the competition [and] run for the gold."

McIntyre spent almost a year improving his running in the Malibu Hills and enhancing his strength with CrossFit-style workouts. He won the first obstacle course race he entered in 2012, and since then, he has consistently placed at or near the top of many others.

In an event in May, McIntyre managed to beat his rival Hobie Call for the first time. And although Call won the day at this year's Reebok Spartan Race World Championships, expect to see McIntyre standing high on the podium at other events soon. You can't miss him.

The Workout

Perform this circuit three to five times without breaks as a workout finisher. Find more tips from McIntyre, including a demonstration of this sequence at

100-meter Sprint

Sprint 100 meters, then walk briskly back to the start. "I use the walk as recovery, which helps me save energy so I can be efficient during the strength movements," McIntyre says.

100-Meter Sprint


Drop into a low push-up so your hands and feet hold your body just a few inches off the ground. Bring your feet to your hands, then jump and clap your hands above your head. Perform 5 reps.


 Kettlebell Cleans

Hold a kettlebell in each hand. Hinge at the hips, lower the weights beneath your thighs, extend at the knees and hips and pull the kettlebells up, catching them at your chest. Do 10 reps.

Kettlebell Swings


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