After the Spartan Super and UA Killington I was actually starting to get kind of nervous for the Beast at Killington. During the super, some fellow sufferers were talking up the beast to me and my friend. Saying how it was impossible to run up the mountain, you couldn’t possibly do it without a hydration pack, how you needed to bring actual food since you’d be out there ALL DAY LONG, there’s a rule you need to bring a headlamp because you might end up still out there past dark, and that something along the lines of only 40% of the people who start the race actually finish it. At the time that really didn’t get to me much. I love the Spartan community, but most of them don’t do the races for the running bits so I figured a tougher running terrain like a mountain would affect them more than myself and that’s what most of the big deal was. Then the UA Killington 25k happened and most of my confidence was lost. Not only was it a BRUTAL race (that I wasn’t sure I could complete again with obstacles thrown in too) but someone also overheard me talking about the beast mid-race and said the UA course was a cake walk in comparison. Hearing that from someone participating in a full running race definitely made their comment hit a little harder.. Was I actually going to be able to complete this race?
Race day came and it was a strange feeling to be unsure if I was going to be physically capable of finishing a race. After reading about the large amount of water aid stations provided I had opted to just bring my FitKicks FitZip Waist Pack (with my 11oz FlipBelt Water Bottle, just in case) and Skratch Labs Energy Chews and Betty Lou’s Bars for fuel. This time (versus UA Killington) I was happy I was able to eat my whole pre-race breakfast of an English muffin and a Honey Stinger Gluten Free Waffle.
As we waited at the start I became slightly nervous at my hydration choice since everyone and their mother seemed to be wearing full out hydration packs, but I figured it was too late now and I’d just have to make the best of it. (In the end my bottle ended up working perfectly! There were plenty of water stations, but some were cup-less so it was handy to have something to store the water in.) I was also really happy with my fuel choices: to have light race fuel I could eat on the go, as well as something more substantial for “lunch”.
The start was pretty intimidating and straight up one of the largest/steepest inclines on the course. It was so immediate that you had to brace yourself at an angle in the starting corral (which I wasn’t a fan of. If I’m on a hill I want to be moving). Having run Killington for UA I wasn’t exactly surprised by the incline and was able to charge up it (not running, but speed hiking for sure). I’m not sure if it was just having seen the mountain before, taking it significantly slower, or that dude totally lied, but I felt like other than the start and the Death March, the Spartan course was actually significantly flatter. I felt really good the entire time and was my usual too-cheery-on-the-running-sections self. Compared to the other Spartan races there was absolutely no mud. The course was all field or wooded trails. The trails were really awesome (and actually may have been where all the elevation was that I was just having too much fun to notice)! They were definitely the choke points though so if you want to actually run the trails I’d recommend signing up for an age group heat, which is what I’ll probably be doing next year.
It was another good day for me and I was able to crush all the walls and obstacles I previously completed again. This time I made it fully through the Twister like it was nothing! I also feel I can count the multi-rig as completed since I was able to do the full thing except the final rope, which I was only unable because it was defective and half the length of all other ropes on the obstacle.
Killington is unique and has a swim as well as an obstacle under the bridge across the water! You have to wear life jackets so the swim isn’t really a big deal except for getting all your gear soaked. The under-bridge obstacle was a rope ladder and then 4 hand ropes. I was really proud to be able to successfully complete that one as well!
Another highlight of my race was the Bender. It’s another favorite of mine, like the Twister. But this time I think the extra adrenaline of being able to actually run (the Super was too muddy to run) kicked in because not only was I able to complete it with no help, but I also climbed it using only my arms! Two guys actually came up to me after and were like, “THAT WAS INSANE!” 😁
Honestly I’m really glad Killington is my local Beast because the Death March there is ungodly but boy do you feel AMAZING for having accomplished it! It is straight from the bottom of the mountain up to Killington peak going the most direct route, right beside the gondolas. I know a lot of what killed me during the Under Armour race was thinking too hopefully that the incline was over, just to be proven wrong again and again; So I decided to pretend like it was NEVER going to end and then I’d be pleasantly surprised when it did. IT WORKED! I basically FLEW up the mountain. I only stopped about 5 times for a max of about 4 seconds. I passed an insane amount of people and didn’t get passed once. I felt like a true beast after the Death March!
Other than the Death March I think I felt much better during this race than both of the others. I think being able to actually run was extremely helpful. It was still an insanely intense challenge, I just think this type of climbing-a-mountain challenge is more what I’m used to versus wading through mud. I was REALLY excited at the end to see we got special medals that specified we did our beast up a mountain!