Last weekend’s Spartan sprint didn’t go at all as planned. I have done another obstacle course race multiple years before and thought I knew about what to expect, but I was extremely wrong. Since Spartans seem to be THE obstacle race, I assumed it would be bigger, but also more organized than the previous one I had done. So when they said to arrive 2 hours before your start time in the pre-race email I figured that had to be an exaggeration.. It honestly wasn’t. The “parking lot” was your standard huge open field converted into parking for the day. We sat in line (that got converted into two lines and then merged back into one for seemingly absolutely no reason) for over 20 minutes, then had to walk a quarter mile to the shuttle stop to wait in another disorganized line. The shuttle ride was also about 15 minutes and dropped you off at the entrance to the campground which was about a mile away from the start line. Since I had assumed we’d be good with a 45 minute buffer we ended up on a time crunch and running as much as we could so we had a nice warm up I guess 😅 Luckily, registration check in and bag check were quick so we were fine once we moved to the next 15 minute start slot.
When I read 3+ miles I automatically assumed a 5k (with the plus just to account for obstacles) since that seems to be the universal “fun run” distance. I didn’t seem to be completely in the wrong though since as we jogged to the start, the starting line hype guy announced, “You know how you thought this was a 5k? Well it’s actually 5 miles!!” My non-runner boyfriend and I looked at each other slightly alarmed for him, but both thought while it would definitely be a challenge, the obstacles would break it up enough to make it doable.
The race began and we were immediately thrown into an EXTREMELY technical, single track trail. Far more technical than any trail I’ve ever seen in the area. It was super pretty and CRAZY fun.. for someone who enjoys challenging trails. The “path” was pretty much entirely rocks, roots, puddles, and mud. Sometimes there wasn’t even a clear path and sometimes the mud was so deep and thick it threatened to suck your shoes off. We ran though multiple streams and even through/in what I think was a small river at one point.
I originally assumed the path would open up and get easier once we got to the obstacles, but all the running portions were this crazy trail, with field openings just big enough to house each obstacle.
Random Highlights/Memorable Moments
Rope Climb – I was able to do it AND it was easy!!! I was bummed they didn’t have a photographer there ☹️ but also get that’s probably not the most flattering angle for a photo 😆
Bucket Carry – Trudging along in super murky, ankle deep water and taking my next step into an unseen hole deeper than my leg.. only slightly terrifying. But I made it the whole way without stopping or putting the bucket down!
Sandbag Lift – I jumped up and held on to the rope hoping my weight would bring the bag down.. it didn’t. I had to lay down on the ground and prop my leg against the fence for even more force in order to make the bag budge.
It wasn’t a bad time for me until it started raining at the end of the first hour. It was a cooler day to begin with and the rain drenched you and chilled you to the bone. I was having a hard time moving my hands and shivering so badly that I wasn’t really able to give it my best for some obstacles. It also made most of the medal, hanging type obstacles so slippery they were near impossible. (I don’t think I saw a single person complete just the plain rings. Even the most jacked guys were doing burpees there.) Toward the end I was so cold that burpees were no longer a punishment and I was happily doing them for warmth.
By the time we saw the finish and the fire jump I think we were both pretty much at our limit. I honestly might have teared up a bit 😂
The worst thing was realizing we had a mile walk back to the shuttle stop in the rain while freezing with my boyfriend now only able to move at hobbling pace. Plus the walk from the shuttle drop off to car.
Looking back it was fun (I’m not sure if I would have told you that at the time lol) but the rain made it not only way more brutal, but also kind of ruined some of the bigger obstacles I was looking forward to. I’m glad we did it and this definitely made me want to do more Spartans to attempt to complete more obstacles and distances, but I think I’d pass on another rainy one.