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I AM A SPARTAN!

Alex Gauthier Alex Gauthier
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Subaru Adventure Team Tackles Our First Spartan Race

Well, it happened. A whole grip of us took part in the Ft. Carson Spartan Race last weekend. There must have been around 20 of us in all and most did the 8:30AM Sprint race. It was really fun to invite folks we sponsor as well as employees at Heuberger Subaru, our patron, out for a brutal, yet fun sufferfest.

Bryant looks pretty good for just having been submerged in mud soup.

Bryant looks pretty good for just having been submerged in mud soup.

You’ve no doubt heard of the Spartan Race and probably you have some friends who have done one or more races. If you haven’t done it yourself, you’re really missing out. The Spartan Race travels the US holding their signature running race punctuated with tough obstacles, all over the United States. Odds are good that you can find a location near you to test your Spartan mettle but many people actually travel to different races with the goal of completing all of the lengths available.

The Spartan Race is divided into a few categories including the Sprint (which is what we did), Beast and Super lengths. There are both competitive and open fields and plenty of people train very hard for the Spartan Race which even holds championship competitions. Our team was a mixed bag of people but most of us had never done a Spartan Race before so as newbies we opted for an open sprint which took a lot of pressure off. That doesn’t mean it was easy.

burps

Fail to complete a challenge? You owe your fellow Spartans 30 Burpees before continuing on.

Our sprint was about six miles long and had around 20 obstacles. Some where pretty tough and some less so but it seemed as if everyone found a few they were well suited for and others that were a struggle. I was pleased to only have to do 30 burpees (I slipped off while traversing a set of hanging rings). The way the race works is that one must run/walk between challenges and upon skipping or failing a challenge complete a set of 30 burpees. Basically, no matter what you do you’re going to end up pretty wiped out at the end.

Here I am crawling out of the first mud pit before having to fully submerge in filth.

Here I am crawling out of the first mud pit before having to fully submerge in filth.

Everyone was very curious before we started about what the actual challenges were besides running. You can easily google around and get an idea of what to expect for your own race but the race organizers switch it up each time so you never really know exactly what you’ll see out there. My advice is to allow yourself to be surprised because it really adds a lot of fun to the mix.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the whole event was the weather. As we climbed into the starting corral (yes, you have to climb a wall before you even start this race), the ambient temp must have been around 35 degrees with a forecast of rain and highs around 48 degrees. We knew that some water and mud awaited us on the course and indeed, the chill proved to make things… interesting.

Prepare For a Race

I found that my normal training for climbing had me reasonably well prepared for the Spartan Race and I was sore but not excruciatingly so for a couple days after. I do a lot of climbing obviously which was helpful during this race as many challenges require a combo of strength and balance. I do a good deal of running which also helped as you’re moving the entire time. Definitely bring your cardio to the table if you decide to tackle a Spartan Race but it really helps to be generally fit. Even if you aren’t, don’t let that deter you as you’ll still have fun doing a Spartan but I’d suggest doing a sprint and bring a friend or two to share your suffering with. Teamwork is allowed for some challenges if you aren’t competing and your fellow Spartans will undoubtedly lend you a hand if you’re struggling!

The Spartan Race website has some good resources for training if you need ideas but if you have a crossfit background, this is basically your race as many of the things you do at your gym will prepare you very well for what lies ahead.

So what do you say, Spartan? Will you rise to the challenge?

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier is the head adventure junky for Subaru Adventure Team and part time outdoor adventure photographer. His first love is climbing of any kind but can also be spotted on mountain bike trails or working on building sea kayaks which he may or may not ever get to paddle.
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