The Spartan Race Ohio Trifecta-In-A-Day event can be summed up in one word; COLD. That seemed to be the shared sentiment amongst all the participants that day. The weather made what initially seemed like a very manageable task (completing all three distances offered by Spartan Race in a single day) became borderline insurmountable if hypothermia set in.
The course was laid out over The Wilds, a nature preserve about an hour and a half southeast of Columbus, Ohio, with multiple intersection points between the three race distances (Sprint, Super, and Beast). Given the nature of the intersections, as well as other factors, the race had a maze-like quality… which was just one more obstacle to conquer.
According to Jacob Bosecker (a fellow teammate of Project Titan and frequent ORM contributor), “This course, if completed would have covered 50k, 72 obstacles, 15 mile per hour head winds, sleet, as well as 36 degree temperatures. The numbers are still coming in from the officials on finishers of the Trifecta. Preliminary results have less than 75 of the near 400 that signed up completing the day.”
The terrain ranged from grasslands with divots deep enough to easily turn anyone’s ankle to leaf covered trails that snaked through the preserve’s decadent forests. It was easily a runner’s course with only occasional steep inclines or stretches of thick mud slowing the pace down. Participants with strong running backgrounds were rewarded with quick exits from the elements.
The race had many of the standard Spartan obstacles: tire flips; balance logs; sandbag, log, and bucket carries; traverse wall; tractor pull; and many more. The obstacles you did depended on which distance you were attempting. But one obstacle that had everyone talking (and that everyone had the “pleasure” of attempting) was the Double Dirty.
Imagine three long felled trees ascending at a 45 degree angle and about 6 feet apart, diagonally. The object of the obstacle was to not hit the ground until successfully getting over all three logs. It was getting across the second log without falling to the ground that proved to be the most difficult. Most people elected to stand on top of the first log and jump to the second, utilizing a bear hug to remain on the log until one could regain his or her balance. Upon successfully ascending the second log, all that was left was to jump over the third log to finish the obstacle and proceed towards the finish line. Although the obstacle wasn’t necessarily very physically demanding, it did illicit a lot of penalties from people who couldn’t complete it.
Jacob Bosecker also contributed his race day experience by saying, “Joe De Sena was on the course that day as well, accepting a challenge from Mike Mills to finish the Spartan Super distance in a wheelchair. Joe was happy to Spartan Up and accept the challenge from Mike completing the 11.5 mile Super with his crew in under 7:30. His legs were bound together at the medical tent before the race started to simulate a condition for him. Joe was quoted on the course saying ‘I have a new found respect for anyone with disability that is crazy enough to attempt a Spartan Race. The teams that come out to support the differently abled athletes such as this weekends, really should be working for the United Nations because of their ability to get such amazing things done so selflessly. This weekend absolutely blew my mind and froze my fingers and toes…well actually my ass off.'”
In all, when you account for the weather, the total distance for all three events (approximately 50k), as well as the time necessary to finish all three, completing this daunting task is the embodiment of the mantra “STFU”. Complaints resonated from far too many participants. There were many penalty burpees, and obstacles for that matter, that were skipped. For the first time, I saw a defeatist attitude in many Spartans that hopefully was only the result of the inclement conditions.
But, I also saw bravery and grit. I witnessed two Biggest Loser participants attempt an especially Slippery Wall multiple times, refusing to accept failure. While other participants would slip and fall back down the wall, accept defeat and walk around the obstacle, these two individuals attempted to ascend the wall on multiple occasions. I’d like to say they were successful, but unfortunately they were not. The crowd shouted words of encouragement that seemed to fuel their determination each time they attempted the wall.
I was honestly inspired. These people were fighting not only the slippery wall, but a sedentary lifestyle. On a day when most had given up and were skipping obstacles and penalties, these two people fought valiantly. They earned their medals and the respect of countless others.
Special Thanks To: Jacob Bosecker a frequent contributor to ORM and his photographer Amelia Green-Vamos
Bill Brumbach is an OCR athlete from Indianapolis, Indiana. He has a background in road running, power lifting, and exercise/nutrition counseling. In his free time, you can find him practicing his spear throwing skills. Brumbach is one of the members of the Midwestern elite racing team Project Titan. This is his first review for ORM.