Last year was the first year that Spartan Race UK used the gorgeous Elton Hall as a Spartan Venue, and it it was one of the main turning points for the company in the UK; it also very quickly became a favourite among the UK racers, This year’s Sprint & Super cemented that.
This was a long week for me, but as always with a looming Spartan Race, I was looking forward to a brutal exciting weekend. We weren’t disappointed.
Finishing work at 5am, quick walk to the train station and it began. 4.5 hours later and a lift from the train station by a dear friend, I arrived at the venue. If you’ve never been to Elton Hall, you need to visit. Spartan UK has a habit of picking iconic, beautiful venues and Elton Hall is near the top of that list.
Saturday was a bit of a washout when it came to the weather, lovely and sunny in the morning and then the rains came.
After spending most of the morning volunteering on the finish line. We lined up for the final wave, and I was glad we skipped the warm up. Usually I’d enjoy the group burpees in the start corral, but at this stage we just really wanted to get out on the course.
While they change the format, Spartan usually use the same type of obstacles per race. Peterborough was no different. The first kilometre was a nice mixture of 4ft walls, inverted walls & OUT’s. (Over, Under, Through for those who don’t know). Running through the forested area provided a nice break from the rain and for me, it always adds to the beauty of a run.
We soon came across the rope climb (or in my case the start of my burpees). Another run through some forest and we came across the barbwire crawl. In all my Spartan Races I have to say that this barbwire crawl was second only to the French Beast last year. It wasn’t long but the twists, turns and mud pools made it fun. I’ll admit we may have spent more time than needed playing around in the mud.
(Side note – it was here that the Sprint & Super course separated, but more on that later.)
Continuing on we had the atlas stones, Z-walls, and the block drag. A bit more running through a forest and finally the finish line was in sight. A couple of 6 ft walls, made slightly more difficult by the rain and mud, Herc Hoist, 8ft walls and the sprint to the fire jump.
I’ll admit by the time we got to the finish line for the sprint I was looking forward to a shower, food, and sleep. The super was coming and I had a time limit to run it in.
So, after a cheeky Nandos with friends, curling up on a surprisingly comfy air bed, my wonderful band of misfit friends & I arose to tackle the Super. Now I mention that I had a self imposed time limit to complete the run. Well, I had a train booked back to Edinburgh at 1300 as I had work at 1800. My time limit worry wasn’t just for myself though. I was running with a friend who is somewhat new to our wonderful world of OCR.
Back on site and back in the start corral for the Elite wave. Now, I’m by no means elite. I run purely for me and the joy it brings, but sometimes the extra 20 mins can be handy. Once more into the fray, and once again we spent more time than needed in that barb wire crawl. The course change from the Sprint to the Super led us through a gate and into a darkened forest. I may run too many Spartan races (is there such a thing?). The forested area had a nice hilly chicane where my first thought was that it would have made a great area for a sandbag carry.
I may run too many Spartan races (is there such a thing?). The forested area had a nice hilly chicane where my first thought was that it would have made a great area for a sandbag carry. The forest opened up and led us to a rather lovely reservoir to wade around. I wasn’t expecting that to be as killer on the calves as it was. Nice to wash the mud off though. A rather slippery cargo slip a frame followed by the the Z-wall rope traverse (Burpee time again).
Back on course, we’re once again hit with some firm favourites, another barb wire crawl, multi rig, Bucket brigade, log drag and a lovely vertical cargo net climb. Side note – I really do need to learn the flip technique at the top of these. Onto the log carry and the finish line is in sight again just across a field so we know we’re near the finish again, or at least close to rejoining the sprint.
More trail leads us around towards the A-Frame and spear through. I’m actually quite happy that I nailed my spear throw in the super, not so much in the Sprint though.
On a note one of the Spartan did well within this course was that the kids course ran alongside parts. Both the kids and the big kids started from the same start line which I think really brought it together as a family event.
Back down to the walls, hoist, and onto the finish.
Spartan Race is one of the companies within in the UK that folks like to complain about, but ever since Peterborough last year, I think they have fewer legimite reasons for those complaints.
I’m aware that I’m biased. My first ever OCR was a Spartan, but they have come a long way since then (2014 Edinburgh sprint!) I know that race back then couldn’t hold a candle to the courses they build and put together now.
Overall, Spartan Peterborough was a huge success. With the support of the Volunteers and Spartan staff it was a day to remember for all involved.
On that note, I can only look forward to the Sprint & Beast in Windsor with excitement. Shall I be seeing you there?
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