Hobie Call arrived at last weekend's Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont with a win streak and $100,000 in prize money on the line. He left empty handed with his streak broken. Call, a 2:16 marathon runner and Olympic Trials qualifier, had won six titles in the Spartan Race series, a nationwide circuit of races that last 24 hours or more and put competitors through gruling and often arbitrary challenges, like diving for a bag of pennies in a muddy pond or piling bricks. Ealier this year, series founder Joe De Sena offered $100,000 to anybody who could win all 14 Spartan Races in 2011. But De Sena hadn't anticipated Call, and, worried that the 34 year old might actually complete the series, had begun recruiting former special forces soldiers to disrupt the win streak. Pittsfield's Death Race, which Mark Jenkins wrote about for Outside last year, would have been Call's seventh victory, but he was foreced to drop out. "[T]he cold factor is what got me," Call said. Defending champ Joe Decker won again. Call is from South Jordan, Utah and installs heating and cooling units for a living. A father of five, he sold his television to fund the Spartan win streak.
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