Spartan Race is hosting the first major outdoor endurance race since the Covid 19 outbreak began. The event will take place June 13-14 at the WW MotorCross Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
The endurance sports industry has been losing an enormous amount money since race organizers began cancelling events in mid March. The race providers and their vendors have been losing tens of millions, and according to the recently formed Endurance Sports Coalition, have nearly 3 Billion in economic impact. Companies that make up the Coalition, including Spartan, Tough Mudder, Iron Man, and Rock N Roll Marathon, have had no clear answers when races might return.
Back in April, Spartan CEO picked July 1 as the date his events may return. As states such as Missouri, Florida, and Georgia began to announce the removal of Stay At Home Orders, Spartan Race began looking at venues in those states as possible choices.
This afternoon, Spartan announced a return to racing, along with a new set of standards and operating procedures that will begin with this Florida event next month. You can read the new SOP below.
We reached out directly to Joe Desena about some of the questions he will face in the coming days and weeks. He told us “We are expecting 4,000 Spartans per day for this event”. Having never been afraid of hyperbole, he went on to say “If you’re too afraid to live a Spartan life due to a virus then you’re already dead. We have procedures in place to make a Spartan event safer than going grocery shopping, going to Starbucks, or going in an elevator.”
Interested patrons can register for the Spartan Race here.
At Spartan, getting you safely back on course and overcoming obstacles is the highest priority for us. Over the previous months, a dedicated Spartan team has worked judiciously to create a robust relaunch plan for events worldwide. This plan has been designed to keep all racers, volunteers, and staff safe, meet strict government requirements, and bring Spartan events back to as many people as safely possible.
Spartan formed a task force to design multiple blueprints that meet various guidelines and legislative requirements. These blueprints determine the types of event modifications and transmission mitigation protocols, and are deployed based on government and expert guidance, local rules and regulations, existing industry best practices, and customer feedback.
What Spartan is Doing:
In addition to implementing actions and best practices mandated by governing authorities and local health and safety experts, Spartan has taken the following steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone attending a Spartan event. These guidelines are subject to change with the evolving situation.
- Cleaning and Sanitization
- Reduced customer touch points to minimize physical interaction between racers, and racers and event staff.
- Additional cleaning and sanitization of customer touch-points throughout the festival area, including check-in areas, toilets, medal and shirt collection, results, payment collection points, and at aid stations and obstacles.
- Hand sanitizer will be available for use throughout events, including around high traffic areas, after every obstacle, in and around portable toilets. These will be refreshed by staff throughout the day.
- The use of sealed, bottled water at aid stations instead of cups and spigots.
- Increased safety and hygiene procedures for staff and volunteers including regular hand sanitization.
- Personal Protective Equipment
- All event staff and volunteers will wear face coverings at all times. In addition to social distancing measures, racers are requested to wear a face covering in the festival area while not on course. Reusable face masks and gloves will also be available for purchase on site.
- Transparent plastic shields will be installed at key interaction points, such as racer check-in, to create separation between both racers and staff.
- Social Distancing
- To manage the volume of racers onsite, each racer will be given a specific arrival and departure time for entry and exit from the event to ensure total participant numbers at any one time are kept under strict control.
- Customer throughput will be monitored to ensure the number of people within the event space is kept to acceptable levels at all times.
- Heat sizes will be reduced, and courses themselves will be widened from previous standards to ensure safe spacing while running/walking and at obstacles.
- Dedicated lanes, along with designated waiting spots, will be provided at areas where racers tend to congregate, such as at check-in and at obstacles. Where lines are formed, distancing markers will be used to ensure safe distancing.
- Screening (Racers, Staff, Volunteers)
- Contactless temperature checks will be conducted for everyone entering the event space. A person with a body temperature reading of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) will not be permitted to enter.
- Each customer shall be required to complete a declaration when checking in at the event that they are not currently infected by COVID-19 and have not had, or knowingly been in contact with, someone experiencing any of the following COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
There will be adjustments to the following broad event components as necessary, on a race by race basis:
- There is no on-site registration for this event. Registration and payment must be made online prior to race day.
- The temporary removal of all water-based obstacles including Dunk Wall. Removal of the Sandbag Carry obstacle, and crawl obstacles will be modified to facilitate greater spacing between racers.
- Cold wash and changing tents will be unavailable..
- “No spectators” will be permitted, unless a participating minor is being accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- No awards ceremony will be held after the race to prevent gathering and ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.
- Shade tents will not be provided to facilitate social distancing.
- Food and beverage offerings will be pre-packaged, and these zones will not have seating, along with distancing guides placed for people waiting in line.
At Risk Persons
Anyone who falls under or lives with someone in these categories is encouraged not to participate in Spartan events at this time:
- People over 65 years of age
- People who have chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, or severe heart disease;
- People who are immunocompromised: those who have undergone or are undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation; anyone with immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or had prolonged use of corticosteroids; and smokers;
- People of any age with class III or severe obesity; or
- Anyone diagnosed with the following underlying conditions: diabetes, liver disease, and persons with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
- Per executive order from Governor DeSantis, all individuals traveling from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Louisiana must isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Florida. Travel from other domestic locations is at the discretion of the individual.
The information in this document is subject to change at Spartan’s discretion.
Watch Complete Interview with Spartan Race CEO, Joe Desena
Matt B. Davis
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I’m excited about the race but what about lodging places to eat the venue the number of people traveling from othe states/countries the lack of cercern obstacles the biggest team tent the kids race the extra work on volunteers a lot of questions I kno but would it be worth wild for me to travel for 19 hours just to sleep in my truck do a race then leave part of my enjoyment is site seeing after the event and hanging out with my friends
Then this event probably isn’t for you… nor should it really be for anyone else
Fuck spartan race and Joe as a unit and a Mutha fucking crew. Lol
I’m already dead.
I’ll be honest. I’m a little shocked to see that racing is going to commence. The curve has not flattened and states that are lifting the ban should really wait to see what the outcome will be with their own residents first. I think it is selfish to endanger the athletes at this time not knowing the end result. I understand everyone is excited to get racing as I am. Sorry to hear you are losing millions but can you really put a price on someone’s life?? I think not! If we have learned anything from the other parts of the world is that we shouldn’t rush into this.
Was so excited until I realized I would need to arrive 2 weeks in advance and self isolate until the race. My last race was the Jacksonville Super. Would have been awesome to do this Sprint for the return race.
no spectators. then I will have to move some of my races. My father was going to see me run a spartan race for his first time, bit not anymore. is this just temporary?
I miss racing. Holy shit I miss it. But…. this is not what I want to come back to. I’ll wait. To me racing is about pushing myself harder than I ever thought I could, conquering obstacles put in my path to try and defeat me, overcoming that tiny, but obnoxiously loud voice in my head that tells me I can’t do something and crossing that finish line feeling like I own the world. Using hand sanitizer on a race course when I’m already covered in sweat and mud and unidentifiable “things” and having certain staple obstacles removed all in the name of sanitation just defeats the whole purpose. I want to get filthy and disgusting and have mud in places it shouldn’t be. I want to high 5 random strangers while floating on a massive adrenaline cloud. I want to help people get over a wall or up a muddy hill. I want to hug all the people I’ve met over years and years of doing this stuff. I don’t want to race wearing a mask, afraid of getting near anyone and not being able to experience absolutely everything that is an OCR race. So I’ll wait. I’m ok waiting. I’m totally in the “I’d rather be safe than sorry” club. I love Spartan. I’ve learned more about myself because of every single thing I’ve experienced. I don’t for one second blame them for their decision to go ahead with their events. But I’ll wait.
Same. I was so excited to race. I had planned Jax beach as the first leg of my trifecta. Waiting until next year.
What about the May 23 and June 6 Hurricane Heats in Atlanta, these are before the FL race…
There are also lots of available races to register for on Spartan.com in other states that are not currently allowing these type of events. Why are tickets on sale if Spartan doesn’t really know if they can happen yet?
Thus far people seem to have been incapable of maintaining social distancing at supermarkets, let alone in race heats. I’m impressed at the effort, but dubious about it’s effective execution. Finger crossed though – amazing approach!
It’s too soon for a race.
And DeSena, “If you’re too afraid to live a Spartan life due to a virus then you’re already dead.” Uneducated response, and very selfish.
Tell that to the 84,000+ people who have already died in the US alone. You lost my respect and my money.
Man, I am disappointed. I’m a pediatric ER MD and dedicated Spartan with incredibly close ties to the company. I have always been a staunch defender of the Spartan brand. I am horribly disappointed by this move and this interview. I don’t endorse or condone what Joe is saying not recommending. Not sure what physicians are involved in his counsel, but there is a lack of alignment between the medical community and Spartan. Joe is hugely influential and I fear this is a poor and unethical choice. We all want to get back to racing and some sense of normalcy but all in good time and with safe means.
As a race director, I too am anxious to get back to business and return to giving people opportunities to set goals and be fit. But I’m also viewed as a leader in my community. I take that responsibility very seriously. It is very disturbing to me that you are moving ahead with your plan and encouraging people to follow you into this fire. Your safety precautions and protocols are careless for the type of high contact event you produce and you do not take into consideration the biggest unknown and hard to manage fact that you cannot control people’s individual behavior. I hope you review your plans more than you did for this misspelled, grammatically incorrect pubic email.
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