Once again, Spartan Race descended upon the Chicago area and pulled up shop at the Richmond Hunt Club for a weekend of Super and Sprint racing. I had opted for racing on Saturday, which meant I have only seen the course through the eyes of a Super racer.
Arriving at the race venue was a breeze, as I paid a bit extra for the VIP parking. The VIP part lived up to its name, as I was only a couple of rows away & a very short walk to the registration tents. The bar code scanning at the tents was painless, and I was in the festival area without issue. I did notice an abnormally long line of people waiting at the spectator gate, so I’m not sure what was going on there. Festival area had the normal collection of third-party vendors and merchandise areas, nothing that stuck out to me.
This was the first time I’ve been to this venue, so I was excited and curious to see what it had to offer. The last time I ran a Chicago Spartan Race was back when it was held at the superb Dirt Runner venue in Marseilles, IL. It’s a tall order to live up to that venue, as it’s one of the best places I’ve ever ran at in the Midwest region.
The course itself was a little bit below the normal distance I’ve experienced at other Spartan Supers, clocking in around the 7.5 mile mark. Chatting with some of the elite guys that finished before I took off, I was told there was little to no elevation at all. Boy, were they right! It was a very flat, fast course, with little in the way of elevation. Part of the terrain consisted of mud that was knee-deep in some areas (although I was told last year it was incredibly more difficult, so the potential is there with the right amount of rain beforehand to make a muddy course next to impossible to navigate), but overall it was running through open dirt fields and a little bit of single-track.
Obstacles were the standard fare I’ve come to expect from Spartan Race. I will give kudos though to the finishing gauntlet of obstacles in the final ¼ mile or so of the course. The Twister, spear throw, rope climb and rings along with the A-frame cargo net and slip wall were all in plain view of the festival area. This made for some excellent spectating, and some great cheering sections to finish off the race! My favorites would have to be Olympus and the Twister. Both were popular spots for burpees and created a difficult finish if those obstacles were missed.
Overall, the race and event went off without a hitch for where the race was located. Going back to what I said earlier, the Dirt Runner venue was by far a much better location in my view than the Richmond Hunt Club. Spartan did well with what the venue had to offer, but they’d do much better with a re-visit to Marseilles.
Photo Credit: Spartan Race and the author
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