As mentioned in last year’s race report, I said I wasn’t going to participate in the Spartan Race again. But I had another opportunity to run this race again this year and decided to just do the Sprint, which was a lot more reasonable at 3-5 miles rather than 12+ in last year’s Beast race. Even though this race was a lot shorter, there were still 20 obstacles that we had to complete, compared to the 30 last year. On the website it said that the top participants complete the Sprint in about 40 minutes, so I was hoping to finish my race in about an hour or so. I must have underestimated how long and difficult the obstacles and hills were going to be, but I finished at 1:33:51 but placed 18th in my age group and 111 (out of 5,317) overall for the Sprint race.
I only ran 3 times in the 3 weeks prior to the race, but had been working out 6 days a week, doing the Insanity program. What I didn’t focus on this time around were grip exercises which I know is very important with some of the Spartan Race obstacles. From a cardio perspective, I actually felt pretty good! I tried to run up the hills as much as possible, but there were some that were just too steep or after some tough obstacles. But on the downhills and flat trails, I was able to run a pretty steady pace and pass a lot of other racers who were walking.
I wasn’t sure if they were going to have the same obstacles as last year, but it appears they do change things up. Rather than describe each obstacle that I completed in the Sprint, I’m just going to highlight the newer ones.
Plate Drag – This obstacle replaced the tire drag and was a little bit harder. The weight wasn’t the issue though, it was because the path that you had to pull plates was on a rolling hill! Fortunately, if it did get stuck, they allowed us to walk up to it, pull it forward a little bit and go back to pulling on the rope.
Mud Climb – This was completely unexpected! They had a similar obstacle last year, but you were able to walk up each hill on your own. This year, the hill was much bigger and so slippery, it was impossible to get over without help. People were offering their knees and boosting others to get to the top. Once at the top, they were offering their legs or reaching down to pull people up. It was a team effort by everyone participating!
Wall Climb – This one was pretty simple, it was a wall climb (about 6 feet high) with additional rows of 2 by 4’s you had to climb up and over.
Traverse Wall Climb – This one was similar to last year’s, but a lot harder! Last year was just one longer wall that you had to traverse. This year had 3 panels that turned at 90 degrees. So you had to climb one panel then rotate to the next wall. I was able to complete this obstacle, but my forearms were very tired for the next obstacle!
Monkey Bars – I know I made this obstacle harder than it had to be. Last year’s monkey bar obstacle was a lot easier compared to this one. We had to rotate between climbing on a ring, to a hanging rope, to a horizontal bar then more rings and rope. I knew I was going to fail right from the start. My motions were not very fluid and my body was rocking in every direction, except forward. I ended up dropping about 2 steps before the end. I know if I just used the right technique, I would have completed it.
River Walk – Super easy compared to last year’s mud (manure) crawl. It wasn’t too deep and my feet never got stuck, it was a nice recovery before the final obstacles.
Wall Climb – This was another fairly simple obstacle, just an incline wall with a rope to pull ourselves up. I did see water on the ground and didn’t know why it was there. Apparently, they were pouring water on the surface of the wall to make it harder to get up. But it was fairly dry as I climbed up, which was fine by me.
Rope Climb – This is actually the same obstacle as last year, right before the infamous fire jump. But they did not have knots along the rope this time around! I thought I was going to definitely fail but was surprised that I completed it! I watched another participant using his feet to lock himself into the rope, which I tried and failed to do on my run. So I was forced to just use my upper body to pull myself up. My calf cramped up during the rope climb last year and it was while I was resting around the knots (probably from flexing my calves up and down..) Without the knots this time around, my calves weren’t really used, I’m just glad I was able to pull myself up, ring the bell and slowly lower myself from the rope without getting hurt.
So I completed the Beast distance last year and the Sprint this year. You can get a trifecta medal if you complete all 3 distances in one calendar year. What I’m doing is the unofficial trifecta, if I complete the Super distance (8-9 miles) next year! What’s cool about these medals is that there are magnets on the side and each distance is a wedge. So I am able to connect the Beast medal with the Sprint medal, now all I need is the Super medal and the circle is complete! So instead of saying I will not run the Spartan Race next year, what I should say is that I will participate!
Post-race update: I completed my unofficial trifecta when I ran the Spartan Race Super distance!
Check out some of the (free) race photos for the Spartan Race Sprint distance, as well as my GoPro highlight video.