Spartan Race is what is referred to as one of the Big 3 in obstacle course racing organizations, along with Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash. What makes Spartan Race stand out from the other two is that they are a chip timed event where winning matters and burpees are king.
Spartan Race History
Spartan Race was founded by Joe De Sena as the more accessible race version of the Death Race. When it was initially started in 2010 the first race was held in Burlington, VT with about 500 finishers. The first ever winners were Matt Medeiros for the men and Grace Durfee for the women. The race format has remained similar since then but there have also been huge improvements.
Spartan Race currently has Reebok as one of their main sponsors and has benefited from this partnership in many ways. They collaborated to create the first OCR specific racing shoe, partnered with social media efforts, and created a clothing line for Spartan Races. You can read about their 2013 partnership here.
As of now Spartan Race has gone global and had millions of racers compete, and complete, their races. Every year they hold a Spartan Race World Championship with the largest payout in the Obstacle Course Racing world. Previously they race was always held at Killington, VT but for 2015 it is being moved for the first time to Lake Tahoe on October 3, 2015.
Spartan Race Format
Sprint – The Spartan Sprint is the entry level Spartan Race distance. The usually range from 3-5 miles with 3 usually being stadium series sprint race and 5 being the average distance for outdoor races. In 2014 the average amount of obstacles per race was 20.3.
Super – The Spartan Super is the next step up in your evolution as a Spartan racer. The normal distance range for a Super is 7.7 miles to 11 miles with the 2014 average being 8.9 miles. To say this is more difficult is an understatement, twice the race distance is no joke. For obstacles they only add on average an additional 4 per race to come in at a 24.5 obstacle average for 2014.
Beast – The Spartan Beast is the crown gem in the trifecta for most Spartan Racers. These are races that not everyone can finish and will have some DNF’s. Average race distances for the beast are between 12 to 16 miles with the average being 13.5 for 2014. Obstacles in a Spartan beast average at 28.5 for 2014 with the championship race in Vermont having 32 obstacles and the easiest being Hawaii beast with 25 obstacles.
Ultra Beast – The Spartan Ultra beast is the hardest timed race that Spartan Race offers. In 2015 there are more chances than ever to run a Ultra beast – 3 times in the USA. In 2014 there was 1 chance at the Championship in Vermont. This race had a DNF rate of 80% with only 261 finishers among all of the elite and open racers; it consisted of 69 obstacles and 28 miles. 2015 will add an interesting element with their being Ultra Beast Races at locations other than the championship.
Hurricane Heat/HH12 – The hurricane heat origins are best summed up by Spartan Race themselves, “When Hurricane Irene threatened the East Coast and forced Spartan Race to shut down our Sunday Amesbury race in August 2011, athletes, staff, volunteers, and crew were devastated. We are Spartans though, and we weren’t about to quit.” There are two version of this race, the standard version that lasts 4 hours with no standard mileage or obstacle count, this version is all about team work and having everyone finish. The there is the 12 hour version that is built on the same concept as the regular version but much more difficult and 3 times as long. HH12HR is a mix of individual effort along with some teamwork, everyone does not finish the 12 hours with only a 40% completion rate.
Spartan Race Swag
- 1 Free Beer (based on venue)
- Finishers Shirt (must finish)
- Finishers Medal (must finish)
Spartan Race Obstacles
10 foot wall with rope
Slip and Slide
Hay Bale Jumps
Medicine Ball Slam
Platinum rig (Over from Canadian Spartan Races)
Water Jug Carry
2 foot wall into water pit
Spartan Race Main Rules
- Every failed obstacle is a 30 burpee penalty
- There is no scaling down of obstacle difficulty if you are injured or unable to complete
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