What is a Spartan Race?
A Spartan Race is a terrain race ranging from 3 to 13 miles, peppered with oftentimes ridiculous obstacles. There are 3 levels: Sprint (3-5 miles), Super (8-10 miles), and Beast (13+ miles). If the area has a lake, expect to get wet. If the area has lots of hills, stretch those calves because you’ll be climbing up and down every one of them. If there is a muddy cliff side, let’s hope your shoes have traction because up you go! Oh, and the obstacles? They are all over the place. Crawling under barbed wire, submerging yourself under freezing cold muddy water, jumping fire, and climbing over more walls than you could imagine. Sounds fun right!?
Spartan Races Sound Insane. Sign Me Up.
A couple of years ago, my friend spent countless hours trying to convince me to join her for a Spartan Race. We had all heard her horror stories and seen her bruises, and we did not believe for a second that it was a good idea. However, she can be very convincing. There was something in the way she told the stories. Like, ‘Yeah! I AM missing my toenails, but I completed a 13 mile course with 23 obstacles so, BRAGGING RIGHTS”. Eventually we agreed. Let’s call it team bonding. Sure. We signed up for a sprint in December (in Southern California, so not THAT cold).
My First Spartan Race Experience:
The obstacles start out simple... climb over this, climb under that. Lots of hills and lots of dirt. And as much as Spartan Race hills make me want to scream, the views make the climb worth it! (Says the obsessive hiker).
Eventually you get to the bigger and badder challenges. My personal favorite challenge to hate is the “Slip Wall”. Imagine a slanted wall with a rope hanging down. You've got to lean back and pull yourself up and if you lean forward your feet will slide out from under you and you’ll get a face full of plywood. Usually this obstacle is stationed directly after the “Dunk Wall” which is where you fully submerge yourself in muddy water to go under a wall. Evil.
My Favorite Thing About Spartan Races:
Every time I race, I get myself psyched up about one or two obstacles. Usually the slip wall gets to me. I get close to it and I think “Oh my god I’m so exhausted there is no way I can make it up that wall”. But, I DO. It’s the best feeling in the world to find out you are capable of something you initially thought was too hard.
I’m Hooked on Spartan Races
I've completed three Spartan Races since my first experience including another "Sprint" and two "Supers". Every experience has been with a team of good friends on the field and on the sidelines. While competitive racers treat these things as an individual sport, my friends and I tackle them as a team. We help each other on the harder obstacles and cheer each other on. I think the bonding that happens on the course is one of the main reasons I keep going back. It's not something I would do on my own. For me, the experience is special because of the relationships I have with my team. We have so much fun and SO many laughs before, during and after the race. I can spend 5 hours and 8.2 miles absolutely hating life because the course is muddy as shit and it’s freezing cold and I don’t think I can finish... but ask me the next day. I’ll be laughing and showing you my bruises and signing up for another race.
Have you tried a Spartan Race or any other terrain race?
Tell us why you race in the comments section, below.