Conquer the King III: Innovation in small scale races

Conquer the King III - Under Cargo Net

My first obstacle race was the Atlanta Spartan Sprint in Atlanta Georgia way back in 2012; I’ve been doing the races before most of the pros, not to brag.

I love obstacle racing, there’s so much about the sport that makes it unique – the adventure, the endurance challenge, and the culture are unlike most other sports. Unfortunately, sometimes the races can get repetitive. Many have similar obstacles, use the terrain in similar ways, and after doing this for years, I have come to know what to expect as the status quo in each race series (although this expectation is not quite the same as the predictability of a road race or triathlon). That’s what makes a small place like the King Compound so great; due to the smaller scale, they can innovate each race to create new racing experiments like we see whenever a new race series begins.



Burpee-zoneThe King Compound is not an extremely large facility, i mean, it’s a backyard of sorts, and a training facility primarily,but Where space is limited ingenuity abounds. In order to give the race complexity each lap included a quarter mile carry with a concrete block, the full ones for males and hollow for females. Most races have carries, and there are the legendary spartan double sandbag carries, but a mile and a half over the course of a 10k spent lugging around a concrete brick is unusual. Forced burpees also add an extra element, jacking up your heart rate right before the run makes the run more of a challenge, especially with the technical (and hilly) trail that the race is held on that includes a dip in a creek. This extra challenge is often difficult to enforce. Spartan Race, which is known for it’s burpee penalties, has had difficulty in the past ensuring competitors and open participants complete their burpee punishment. However, it works for this race.

King's Compound - Rock traverse

King's Compound - Under Cargo NetBattleFrog may have ended their race series but their lasting impression on the sport can be seen in the rise of the rigs. All the race series now have these grip killing contraptions that can make or break races. The king Compound is famous for it’s changeable rig system. Before this race rock climbing holds and a “cliff hanger” system, along with a ring board and peg board were added, and were used.

As far as the race actually went: I ran the competitive 10K in the early morning, I had raced all of their other races, but this one was memorable in it’s own way. Primarily, the quarter mile carry each lap added a new element, along with the 4 different rig routes. I enjoyed the challenge, and would have had a much more difficult time had I not been training grip, but all the same the Savage Race king Yuri Force beat me out for the top spot.  (the red on my chest is from markers not blood, the markers were to denote each lap)

King's Compound - Top Finishers

King's Compound - Cody and Justin

CODY (left):

What made you decide to host races in your backyard?
We had the training facility, and we figured it was a great way to advertise and say come back to train, because there is nowhere around here to train for these races.

What’s your inspiration for designing the courses?
We try to get the meat and potatoes of the obstacle races, the stuff Spartan and Savage have, what Battlefrog used to have, but then we want to add in a couple of things, try to be inventive especially with the rig attachments, the stuff people are not good at so they can get better at them, first and foremost we are a training facility. We want to get people to do things they normally couldn’t do.

With so many races becoming somewhat predictable how do you keep it fresh?
Every race we’ve done here has been completely different, we gotta think outside the box, changing up the rig, changing the directions of the run, changing as much as we can with what we have here. You were not expecting to have to carry a 65 pound block every lap. we’re just trying to keep that unexpected factor. The rig is always going to be different, the run isn’t even a gimme with the hills and going in and out of the creek

JUSTIN (right):

What’s the best and worst part about putting on these races
Best: Watching the competitors finish despite the hardshis
Worst: All the behind the scenes logistics, because the three of us all have full-time jobs on top of this

How long does it take y’all to set these up: 
We start planning as soon as the last race is over, if it’s a year then a full year, we’ll start planning as soon as this one is over, and we were out there last night at 10 putting the finishing touches up.



How do Y’all decide the distance and difficulty for each race?
We want to make it doable but hard enough for athletes to be humbled at the same time

How do y’all think of new stuff?
We like to take stuff people never would think of and think what we could do with them to make them fun. We have 2 tennis nets and here in the near future we’re looking forward to doing something fun with them.

Many of the National races are almost forced into filling out a certain litany of requirements in order to be a worthy race of its series; The King Compound races have showed me that innovation in this sport may stem from small local or niche events. #supportlocalraces

Chris Acuff

Chris is a first year student at Georgia Tech so when he is not training he's probably studying

Latest posts by Chris Acuff (see all)

Previous Article

Savage Race: I was a pussy, and I'm okay with that

Next Article
Spartan Race Canada - Sun Peaks Beast

Spartan Race Canada: Sun Peaks Beast Review

Related Posts
Read More


This article recounts my experience in completing World’s Toughest Mudder 2021 without a pit, and without running in training, or during the race.  This is not a race review, but an account of a non-traditional approach to training for, and competing in, the greatest obstacle course race we have.