Kimberley British Columbia, Canada
Confidence, exercise, empowerment, experience, getting a little dusty, a few scraped knees or elbows in the name of good fun… the Spartan Kids race is a great way to get your kids excited about the outdoors and all that. However, kids think differently. Instead, my kids are highly motivated by the less noble promise of post race ice cream and/or iPad time. In all seriousness though, they really were excited about this race.
11:00am start. THANK YOU SPARTAN RACE CANADA. That means we are not having to be up at 5am with our kids. Someone is thinking carefully about this whole process.
Check in was amusing. Overshares of information with the race staff as standard (like sharing exactly what where we live and what we are doing the rest of the day etc). There is lots of bouncing around and excitement – we put the bands on their wrists and head into the main arena. There is no easy way in there with a stroller – we have to walk around the back of the restaurant building and slip through a gated area to avoid flights of stairs at the front. Theo (the littlest one) is already plowing his way through our snack supply.
Of course if you do have elite race arm bands, make sure you put them on your kids also since this parenting thing is awfully competitive these days. We notice something is wrong. Elena’s face is puffing up and her head is bulging on one side – which turns out to be an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite on her forehead, so if one eye looks a little closed up, that is why.
Pre-race confidence building routines were used. Affirmations were shared. Chins were grabbed.
“You are strong, you can do this Elena”
So with the shout of, I AM SPARTAN! The race began!
Let’s flash forward a little in time to breakfast on Monday morning following the race. Look at the little darlings.
Getting the kids to draw about their experience was really easy and fun… can’t you tell by their faces? After some coaching and some hard negotiations over TV watching time, eventually we ended up with one sheet of paper that had most things on it. You’ll see sharp peaked mountains at the back, and the rolling hills in the front.
Euan pointed out to me that the orange lines represent the orange tape on either side of the course. Obstacles are below.
Euan: You have to run inside the lines, or they kick you out.
Elena: No they don’t!
Euan: YES THEY DO. IT’S THE RULES!
Elena: I ran outside the lines and I GOT A MEDAL!
Euan: That’s cheating!
Both together: AHHHHHHHH
-CALMING EXPERT PARENT INTERVENTION-
Obviously the blue lines are the hurdles they had to cross going up and down the hill. This left certain people’s legs exposed to prickles that were hidden on the leeward side of the hurdle. Cue screeching and shoe removal mid race – a lot like an adult race TBH.
Once we had truly given up on running up and down the hills, the first obstacle was the Spear throw – a blunt tipped spear (not as sharp as depicted in blue) was to be thrown into a hay bale (in pink). I’m not sure what the blue lines are above the spear. I think it’s a pile of spears. For this spear throw, I’m going to guess about a 50% hit rate I’d assume – probably about the same as the adult race. Kids don’t dwell on it much if they miss.
After a few more steep ascents and descents (and yes there was some pretty good hills for these kids to run up and down), they made their way into the next part of the obstacle cluster.
We then climbed the hills a few more times and arrived at the triad of obstacles shown below. The rope climb (left complete with bell) Monkey Bars (centre) and hercules hoist (blue right).
For some reason Euan thought he had to hoist all of the bags in the line – despite my wife trying to shout to him to just move on. He did about three of them before moving onto the next obstacle. I helped Lainey because she was too light to shift the bag.
The obstacles were challenging for kids, but definitely possible for slightly older kids to complete. I found them all to be very well judged in design and safety.
Help was generally on hand when needed for Euan. He’s been practicing his monkey bar skills ever since this race, since he found them quite difficult to complete on his own. He’s got it now, so thank you Spartan for helping him with the motivation to work on something. Lainey sat on my shoulder and squealed when I tried to let her go on her own!
Elena however had no problem with accepting help with his obstacles, in fact – the race became a little more casual at this point and we checked out the local flora instead before dominating the slip wall.
Hand over hand for this one.
Euan had already finished his lap as Elena crossed the finish line. He made sure she got her medal and I snapped this photo of them. They are so often at each other’s throats that it was genuinely a proud moment to see Euan showering his sister with praise for finishing her first Spartan Kids Race.
I think the only improvement to the Spartan Kids Race I would add is the opportunity for the kids to get a little bit mucky, or some kind of water obstacle to walk through or something. Having them run a free second lap would be a fun addition – I’m not sure if this was offered or not. If it was, then great!
Of course I’m proud of them for doing the Spartan Kids Race, but the greater thing for me though is to see them proud of themselves.
Thank you for a great event Spartan Race Canada!