An email went out to several Spartan Race athletes early this morning from Robert Coble, Athlete Director at Spartan Race. The email states:
Kicking of bells on obstacles will not be allowed in future races. In some cases this has put athletes in dangerous head-first situations.
Obstacles will be designed to allow the bell to be reached by hand, but will not become easier to complete.
Common obstacles this affects, but not limited to include: Rope Climb, Monkey Bar, Multi Rig.
Kicking the bell on the rope climb was made famous by in OCR by Hobie Call. Shortly after everyone saw Hobie do this in person or on video, it became the norm for almost all running in the elite wave. It didn’t take long before the open wavers were doing it as well. Participants began kicking the bell on the rope climb or any obstacles that had a bell.
Chris Schapman, who assists as a Spartan Official, (ensuring obstacle completion, counting burpees, etc) told us:
Kicking is fun, but I don’t think it speeds things up. After falling on my back in Tahoe from the monkey bars and knocking myself out briefly, I can understand why they have this rule…and I wasn’t trying to kick the bell.
We also heard from LeEarl Rugland, who has been doing elite heats with Spartan since 2012.
I understand the safety reasons for a rule like this but not for the Elite Athletes. We have been kicking bells for years and its part of the sport. When Spartan Race takes kicking the bell out of the race it changes how many of us attack an obstacle. It’s not just the rope climbs but other obstacles where we can save time and make up distance when you have that skill. Plus, who wants a picture tapping a bell with your hand. In the end we will all adapt and more forward because that’s what OCR athletes do.
The Rope Climb page on Spartan’s website shows the following text:
We assume they will be updating this page very soon.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
*Photo Credit: fearfighterfitness.wordpress.com