If you take away the mud and barbed wire, the hills and narrow trails, and the finishing fire jump, is it still a Spartan Race? I took my family on a road trip to San Francisco last weekend and joined several thousand athletes at the sold out Stadium Sprint at AT&T Park to find out.
This being my first Stadium Sprint, I observed that many of the obstacles were similar to what you’d see at any Spartan Race; walls of varying height, a couple of sandbag carries, the iconic spear throw (albeit on a considerably smaller target than usual), rope climb, cargo net, Herc Hoist, Z-walls and monkey bars. There were also a number of other obstacles that are more often seen at a Crossfit gym than on a race course including box jumps, ball slams, battle-rope jump ropes, pushups, and a plank-roll contraption that acted like a miniature skateboard. And there were stairs. Lots of stairs. I suspect we may have touched every single stair in the ballpark at some point or another.
The start corral was on a ramp inside the stadium, and groups of 15 athletes were unleashed on the course every minute to minimize backups at the obstacles. The race started up these ramps, then hit the first obstacle; bungees across the ramps that you had to bear crawl under before reaching the top of the stadium and a slightly modified Z-wall. Shortly after that, we were in the upper bleachers, zigzagging up and down the stairs high above the field, with the San Francisco Bay spread out before us. In all, the journey took us from the top of the stadium to the street outside and back up to the top again, through the locker room and dugout and finally finished with several obstacles on the infield.
The stadium itself is gorgeous, and we got to see far more of it during the race than most people get the chance to while watching the Giants play ball. Energy levels were high throughout; most of the race was within earshot of stadium speakers playing a decent mix of music. As always, you could see Spartans helping Spartans throughout the open heats, whether it was a boost over the walls when needed or splitting burpees with a friend to help them along.
When we finished the race, we settled down in the bleachers for a little while to watch and enjoy our free beer (3 different taps from Gordon Biersch were available here, including a hard cider), and it was fun seeing different obstacle areas up on the jumbotron.
All in all, it was a fun, fast, high energy race, but it definitely felt a little weird not being in desperate need of a shower afterwards. It was a great excuse for a road trip, and I’ll likely do another one, but I personally prefer the outdoor venues with all of the great variability that comes with them.[spartanracerate]
*Photos By: Chris Cow
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