I finally got to do my first Spartan Race this year, and it was more than I expected. The Spartan Race UK Edinburgh Sprint, organized at Spittal Farm on the outskirts of Edinburgh amongst the beautiful Scottish hills, was a 3.6 mile timed race with 23 obstacles that were designed to physically push racers to achieve new levels of comfort. Having taken part in multiple Tough Mudder events, I was looking forward to the challenge of a Mud Race rather than a Mud Run. The race began fast paced with some hay bales, 6-ft wall climbs and some OUT walls (Over Under Through walls), the biggest challenge was the use of the local terrain, through the thick foliage of a nearby woodland causing racers to almost bear crawl up the hillside, followed by surrounding hill climbs around the race hub. This is what caused the pack of runners to spread thin with the stronger athletes powering ahead. Further round the course, we came across some of the well know obstacles, 30-ft cargo nets, 50-kg atlas ball carry, barb wire crawl, monkey bars, rope climbs, Hercules hoist, lots of water and mud not to mention the notorious spear throw (and of course my first and only burpee penalty of this race).
Unlike in other OCR events in which I have taken part, it was nice to be tasked with obstacles that had failure penalties; this forced me to physically challenge myself to push through some discomfort during some obstacles, the reward for finishing these obstacles, however, was far greater than any I have experienced before. It’s safe to say that this time I was not focused on time but rather completing every obstacle and actually finishing the race, but I now have the Spartan bug; as soon as we began our journey home after the event, we had already begun to plan to participate in the full trifecta next year. It’s true what they say, one is never enough.
I am still relatively new to the obstacle race scene but have been an avid listener to both the Spartan Up Podcast and the ORM Podcast for some time, so you can imagine my delight to know that Joe DeSena (Spartan race founder) himself was not only at the event but was also taking part in the same race. I didn’t get a chance to meet him in person due to my start time and Joe was out running when I returned to the race hub, although the atmosphere of those with him helped amp the experience to the next level.
I believe that the Spartan Sprint is a great entry race into the competitive world of obstacle course racing with the added bonus of being able to progress to the super and the beast. After the race events, there is also Spartan Endurance events (Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12HR, and Agoge) available to those able to participate.
Photo Credit: Epic Action Imagery LTD for Spartan Race UK