After months of anticipation, the Spartan Race in Las Vegas has come and gone. With an opportunity to achieve the Trifecta, along with visiting one of the most electrifying places on Earth, thousands of OCR heads converged on Las Vegas to see what the course designers at Spartan Race would throw at them this time.
Spartan Race Las Vegas – Atmosphere
Participants competing in the Elite and early open waves enjoyed a brisk 58 degree starting temperature. As expected, the heat climbed quickly to a dry 85 degrees. With no water obstacles, the heat and dust provided an additional challenge for those not accustomed to running in the dessert.
As with most Spartan Race’s, the event was run like a well oiled machine with a strong emphasis on attention to detail. Shuttles to and from the event were executed efficiently and packet pickup went smoothly.
Spartan Race Las Vegas – Course
The race started with an elite wave of over 400 male participants anxiously waiting while receiving a number of geographically centric public service announcements. After the final warning of the possible dangers of encountering rattlesnakes on the course were spoken, a smoke grenade was deployed signaling commencement. A relatively congested start would soon open up as the field took advantage of the wide expanse of land. The first two miles would be somewhat obstacle free and consisted of a number of quick wall over-unders. The terrain for this first portion of the race was a challenge in and of itself due to a gradual and continuous incline over some of the more rockier portions of the course.
A memory game was thrown into play early on. Racers had to remember a code consisting of one word and a seven digit number that was associated to their bib number. They would have to provide the code later in the race or pay the ultimate burpee price. It added a little thinking into the mix, at least for those who didn’t sneak a sharpie on the course to write down their number (Shame on you!).
Although the catalog of obstacles included the standard Spartan Race fare, a few changes were made to up the ante. The Hercules Hoist, an obstacle where sandbags tied to a rope must be raised and lowered, was given a weight upgrade. This seemed to be a problem for many and was a meeting place for large groups finding comfort in each other as they paid their penalty. I guess misery does have a tendency to love company.
The theme of the day seemed to be focused on carrying and dragging. Following the tire flips, racers were introduced to two obstacles involving weighted sleds. The first had competitors doing a seated sled pull, which was filled with some of the Sierra-Nevada’s finest dirt and rock. Shortly after, a slightly easier standing version was required to be completed.
A generous distance winding around a small hill was put to good use as the site of the bucket carry. Troughs full of gravel were used to fill buckets before taking the short hike. The loop was littered with mounds of gravel marking the sites of the many casualties around the hill.
A sand bag carry was done prior to meeting the atlas rocks. Fortunately both obstacles were done on relatively flat land. The designated distance for the sand bag carry was challenging and made up for the easier elevation.
The rope climb was late in the race and immediately after completing a rugged incline. Being one of the few obstacles that incorporated water, most were taking a quick second to wash away the heavy dust before ringing the bell. Straight and knotted ropes were assigned based on gender.
Towards the end of the course, a traverse, barbed wire low crawl and the spear throw were all located within close proximity to each other. The traverse was one of the more fun obstacles out there, having racers climb across with the help of swinging pipes and multiple ropes. The barbed wire low crawl was one of the longest I’ve seen at an OCR event. Being that the ground consisted of bone dry gravel as opposed to wet dirt made it one of the more memorably painful obstacles of the day. The spear throw brought many spectators and was an exciting place to be. The crowds were full of cheers, especially when the female elite leaders made successful attempts at the throw. The 9 mile trek would be completed following a rope swing and a reward of blue Spartan swag.
Spartan Race Las Vegas – Conclusion
With the exception of a few gaps in the course markers, the Las Vegas Super was well thought and executed with precision. Course designers ensured the race was challenging as they properly analyzed the terrain and integrated the natural changes in elevation seamlessly. The total distance was slightly over 9 miles. Congratulations to all who battled the dessert, especially those who walked away with that most desired tri-colored medal.[spartanracerate]
*Photos By: Rogue Miami and Leeroy Jenkins