The Las Vegas Spartan Super was held on March 19th at Mesquite MX/Haven Ranch in Littlefield, Arizona. This was a new location for Spartan Race, and though farther away from Las Vegas itself, well worth the drive. This location was set in a hilly region perfect for off-road vehicles. I know those who went to the Las Vegas Super last year remember how bad that location was: an 8-mile desert run with almost all the obstacles at the very end. That was also my first Spartan Super and made me worried about this year.Right from the start, this race was one of the best Spartans I have had the pleasure to run in. I got there early so the parking and registration were smooth and painless. The energy was high and positive from a fantastic Spartan send off by Dustin Dorough, one of the best in the business.The race started out with Hurdles , O.U.T. , and a mile later the Atlas Carry and Memory Banner. The main obstacle for the first couple miles, and for a large part throughout the run, was soft sand terrain, even though we were expecting a more muddy area. The first of the few water obstacles we came across was a pleasant 3/4 mile hike up the river starting at mile 1 to, of course, more soft sand. This sand made up for other missing terrain and I found it challenging enough since there are not many places to beach run in Las Vegas. The only problem with this area of the obstacles was that the volunteers were telling people to only do 5 burpees…. no really 5! Not cool, but I’m sure that won’t happen at other races.Mile 2 had more sand and then came the 6ft wall, Spear Throw (one of my favorites), and the Stairway to Sparta. I actually had a hard time remembering some obstacles because this year I found them so much easier with proper training. Mile 3 found the Inverted wall, Monkey Bars, and the 7ft wall. This was the easiest Inverted wall I have ever done with no mud and great grips on the cross beams, chalk it up to training at a climbing gym. The Monkey bars were fun and alternating heights, which made for a more challenging obstacle. Mile 4 – 6 were evenly spaced with the Plate Drag, Vertical Cargo Net, Z Wall, and 8ft Wall. I was a bit discouraged by the lack of cameras for the first 2 thirds of the race, as well as lack of water or mud obstacles from mile 2 to about mile 7, which I really started to notice about this point. The next obstacle, for instance, the Slip Wall, was dry with a nice dry ditch in front of it. No Photographers is why I can’t find pictures of these obstacles. I did have fun teaching others to do the obstacles and noticed the terrain was a very pleasant flat grassy field.At mile 6 is where it starts to get interesting with the Memory test, A-Frame Cargo, and Sandbag Carry. At this point, the course became hills and rocky terrain typical for the region and perfectly timed to introduce some serious leg work and mental focus. Here is also where we have our first camera on the downhill run from the sandbags. Now the home stretch from mile 7 on and the hardest obstacles of the race starting with a new obstacle – VERY large tractor tires going up the beginning of the large hill adding to the terrain and difficulty before the barbwire crawl.The Barbwire crawl was found both at the top of this impressive hill and then at the bottom. The second Barbwire Crawl was watered down some for a pleasant cooling mud. This is the beginning of the mud.Then came the Rolling Mud with multiple pits to get dunked in as well as a Dunk Wall. If you were wanting water obstacles, this is where they were found. Of course, the mud happens before the Bucket Brigade and the Multi-rig, which makes this a high burpee zone. The Multi-rig was especially hard following the mud.The arms are feeling fatigued and up comes the Tyrolean Traverse. A dry one but still very fun right before the rope climb. I did notice that a few of the ropes were too low to the ground, which makes it more like a rope climb of itself. At least here you can see the remnants of the mud from earlier.I was happy there were dry ropes for both the Tyrolean and the Rop Climb, but a part of me wanted a water pit under them for difficulty and a good rope swing after, though no Rope Swing this time around. The Hercules Hoist was the final obstacle before the Fire Jump and I have to say, the guy running the Burpee Zone for that one was right on, nobody got away with anything – which is the way it should be.Overall I loved this Spartan Race event, not only the location but the course itself. I found it challenging and yet doable by even a beginner. The Staff was very efficient and hard working with many aid stations and positive attitudes all the way through. Many people started having the normal physical issues that start to happen around mile 6. The right training and practicing on many different terrains and courses was why I found this to be a fun race and just challenging enough. Recently coming back from an injury, I wanted to take it easy and help others. If you come prepared and have proper hydration and fuel for the duration, any race can be accomplished. Believe in yourself and Spartan Up!
Photo Credits: Jeremy Lampkin, Alena Dawn, Mike Colburn, Tripp Captain, and Ade Ade