In a moment of insanity last month, I registered for The O Course, and a Spartan Sprint just two weeks apart. I should really be focused on marathon training, not running through mud and leaping over walls like a crazy person, but it looked like fun, so I decided to sign up.
I recognize that these sorts of races are not what many people would consider “fun,” but I’m not alone. Obstacle course style races are growing in popularity and nearly every day I see an ad for another race of varying lengths and difficulty. While some comments on my O Course blog post mentioned words like “masochist” and “concentration camp,” I like these races. They push you out of your comfort zone – both physically and mentally and it’s always a good challenge.
For those that don’t know, the Spartan Sprint is a 5K trail run with about 20 obstacles throughout. For every obstacle you fail or refuse to complete, you do 30 burpees as a penalty. Other details on the website are pretty sparse. It is described as an “event of pure primitive craziness you’ll never forget” and there is no course map or list of obstacles. In fact, the FAQ section of their website says “if you need a road map for each step of the way, maybe this race isn’t for you.”
So you can probably understand why I was a little apprehensive about this race. I hadn’t even recovered from all my injuries from The O Course and I truly thought about bailing. I was still covered in bruises and I was worried about getting more. I would like to wear shorts or a dress at some point this summer! After watching several YouTube videos of previous participant’s experiences, I decided I could do it with limited injuries.
I was right! While this is indeed a challenging race, it wasn’t impossible. The obstacles were tough, but doable, and unlike the O Course, there are some modifications on some of the obstacles for girls. Thank you! I managed to complete the course with only a few minor cuts and bruises.
The obstacles ranged from physically challenging – like rope climbs and leaping over walls – to mentally challenging – like crawling through a tunnel made of hay bales. This wasn’t really very hard, but it was slightly terrifying, especially for those afraid of small, enclosed spaces. There was also a pretty awesome mud obstacle where you had to wade through a deep, thick muddy swamp while ducking under barbed wire.
I attempted every obstacle, but failed several. Five to be exact. That’s 150 burpees for those of you counting. I’m going to guess that had something to do with my reasonably unimpressive time of 1:33:05.
I have a big appreciation for trail runners after the Spartan Sprint. For someone who runs exclusively on pavement and avoids hills as much as possible, the running part of this race was an unexpected challenge. I thought the running part would be a break in between obstacles. Boy, was I wrong.
I discovered that I am actually pretty awesome at jumping over walls. However, I am not so awesome at rope climbing or monkey bars. I failed these two obstacles in The O Course as well. I guess I need to find a playground or a highschool gym so I can practice. It is one of my lifelong goals to be able to climb a rope. Yes, I dream big.
I read a lot about how disorganized and chaotic this race was, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the whole operation. From parking to the finish line, everything went pretty smoothly. I wouldn’t mind trying this again, just to see if I could improve on my time. Maybe next year. Now I need to turn my attention to running exclusively. The marathon is creeping up!
Have you ever done the Spartan Sprint? What was your experience?