Spartan HQ Answers Questions About The New Start Waves

Spartan Questions

Yesterday, everyone in OCR learned that Spartan Race launched a new class of runners called the “Competitive Wave”. Obstacle Racing Media reached out to Tom McCormack, VP of Product Management at Spartan, to learn more. Tommy Mac (as we know him) got back to us as quickly as possible.

Q: How long has Spartan been tossing this idea around?

We have been talking about this evolution of the sport for quite some time now. However, it became bigger a focus about six months ago. Once we started discussing details, we quickly learned there was a lot to figure out and this wasn’t as simple as just adding a new category. We’re pretty excited about it.

Q: What is the main difference in the Competitive and Elite? Will you still have Course Marshals? Videotaping? Etc?

The primary difference between the two categories will be the start times and coed starts. The competitive heat is meant to mirror the elite heat in all other ways. The Course Marshals and cameras will remain in place for this heat and we will be handing out time penalties and DQ’s to racers that do not complete the obstacles or their penalty burpees. This heat is meant for racers that were placing well in the open heats but are not quite ready for the elite, yet still want that same level of consistent rule enforcement. Also, there is prize money only in the Elite Waves.

Q: What will the price difference be with the different heats? We understand you price heats based on room and not on time, but whats the breakdown between the categories?

On average, it will be priced right between the elite and morning heats.  Our pricing is based on demand, so in some cases, the competitive wave prices may not increase as quickly as the morning waves, which is when most racers prefer to run.

Q: What will prizes be for Competitive racers at the end of the season?

We are still finalizing the details of the awards and plan to announce that very soon. Stay tuned!

Q: Do Open racers have to do burpees?

Yes, burpees are still at the heart of all Spartan races and will not be going away. However, if in the open heat a first-time racer feels they can only complete 15 burpees instead of 30, we will not be chasing them down. As always, we want all of our racers to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and we understand that for some people that might mean just showing up on race day. Our goal is and has always been to rip people off the couch. Our hope with this new heat is for racers of all abilities to be challenged at our event no matter where they are in their fitness journey. 


Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.
  1. The competitive races are apparently broken up by area, how do we know what race is in what area and what a full series consists of?

    1. Re Spectators..Not really, only start and finish, maybe half way based on venue set up. My wife always wants to go but observes small % of course.. But IMO the race is for the individual racing and personal accomplishments, not for show.

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