Summertime in New England is a beautiful thing. One day you can have the perfect 70-degree day, and the next you can have blazing hot magma a slight change in humidity and increase in temperature. I ventured back to Barre, Mass for the Spartan Race Boston Super on an early August morning. Having been here once before for the Spartan Sprint, I was looking forward to the tasty burgers that the farm stand has for sale after the race.
Parking was the usual at the farm. You have to drive off site where they hitch you up to a horse and buggy and you chariot race into the venue. Note, this is otherwise known as riding a school bus from the parking lot to the venue. The drop off and pick up locations for your parking lot chariot is a smooth transition. You are dropped off right next to the farm stand and you can find adequate transportation back as soon as you are ready to leave. The venue has strategically made sure that you see and smell the food being cooked in the farm stand so when you have finished running your lap(s) you smell the deliciousness on your way out. Well played Carter and Stevens Farm, well played.
I’ve noticed that this venue does a few things well that stand out in my mind separate from the dozens of other races I’ve participated in. A few of those things are:
- Well placed porta johns/janes. Close to the start line and plenty of them.
- Great festival area.
- Medical tents are placed near the kid’s race start line. I think this is smart, and I’ve seen other race venues plan this out this way, but the kids tend to get more boo-boos than the adults… sometimes.
- GREAT food vendors.
The course took you through a lot of wooded areas, plenty of open fields and the same swamp that Atreyu lost his horse Artax in the NeverEnding Story. The swampy areas were insanely impressive. I heard many remarks along the lines, “I’m ready to be done.” “How are we STILL in the swamp?” “Okay.. more swamp, yes I can do this.” “I CAN’T DO THIS!!” I personally gave up running and called it good walking through the swamp. At first, I tried staying off to the sides bobbing and weaving on the high ground to keep from potentially losing a shoe in the suck. By the end, I was just walking in a straight line and I eventually made it out alive.
The course was set up well for the longer distance. Several of the harder obstacles were placed toward the first half like the Rope Climb, Multi-Rig and Herc Hoist. I’ve noticed Spartan has changed up their rope climb recently from years prior. They used to make you wade into a pool of muddy water and climb out soaking wet for the rope climb. Now, they place a bunch of soft hay down and let you climb up without getting wet first. I thought this would make the obstacle easier, but I was wrong. There were just as many people burpee’ing out of the rope climb as there was when it was over water.
The Multi-Rig that Spartan has come up with is…interesting. The first part was several plastic rings that didn’t have enough rope at the top to get a proper swing. If you could make it across those rings you would have to grab a hold of two baseballs before grabbing the long metal bar to the bell. I love rings. LOVE love LOVE them, but these were almost impossible for my little wingspan. I made it to the last swing on the rings. Because my wingspan isn’t very wide, I couldn’t get the momentum up to swing far enough to grab the last ring. Thus, I slipped and went to the side to do my burpee penalty.
Depending on who you are and your athletic abilities, this could have been a very challenging course. The layout was different than the Sprint earlier in the year so it didn’t feel like Spartan Sprint 2.0. It was hot and muggy so I kept an eye out for the water stations,. None of them ran out of water (thank Heavens) and one even offered a Gu Gummy for the runners. At the end of the course, all I could think about was the burger I was about to eat for lunch. We grabbed a burger from the farm stand and cooled off with some brews from the…well brewery. When you can have the full experience of running a great race, post-race entertainment and food, with ease of getting to and from the venue, it makes for coming back to race at the Carter and Steven’s Farm a pleasure.
I’ll see you in September Spartan Race.[spartanracerate]