Well last weekend three members of Steyning AC took part in the Spartan Race at Ashburnham Place. I must admit there was an obvious difference in our abilities in that Ollie Beaney started in the Elite start wave and Andrea and I started a few hours later (Ollie finished before we started….)
Spartan Races are known for throwing something different in to the mix at each event so you never really know quite what you will be facing (or even how long the course is !). The first race of the weekend was their shortest “Sprint” distance. The level of mud certainly reviled the Stinger this year and when they say “off-road” they really mean “off anything that may vaguely resemble a footpath” so they had us running through some fairly tough terrain. One of the first obstacles was a very cold river. If you are tall this is fine but I’m not and before long we were up to chest deep in cold water that you couldn’t see through trying to navigate underwater rocks and submerged logs…. the climb out was a very steep clay bank and this was almost impossible without the help of other people.
If you are not familiar with Spartan races if you fail on obstacle there is a penalty of 30 burpees. This may not seem a lot but as you carry on you get progressively tired and they become so much harder…….. One thing I wasn’t aware of was that this time there was a lake swim. I’ve only just started learning to swim and can just manage 2 lengths front crawl in the swimming pool so about 100m was going to be challenging, especially as I knew I would have to do it twice. In all my running kit (trainers included). I made a start on the swim, got out of my depth and soon realised that I wasn’t going to make it…… so I turned round, swam back… and then picked up a 60 burpee penalty (the swim x 2).
So, the obstacles I failed were the swim (60 burpees), rope climb (30 burpees), spear throw (30 burpees), transverse wall (think climbing wall with thin, muddy, wood holds round bends) – on this I opted for the 10 burpees face down in deep mud rather than the 30 on the dry because I thought it may be easier !
Other obstacles included : Hoisting a 20kg kettle bell up to the top of a gantry and lowering it down “gently”, climbing up and over quite a high cargo net (I still don’t like heights), crawling under barbed wire (along a slope in mud), crawling under a garage net, a sandbag carry, balancing step across unevenly spaced and heights of poles, climbing over 6ft high walls…. (I may very well have missed a few out here..)
The final few obstacles in sight of the finish line included carrying a 35kg atlas stone from one mark to another, 5 burpees and then carrying it back, climbing over two 8ft high walls and then jumping over a fire pit ! To be honest the fire was the easiest thing we had done all day.
I never though you would get me on a start line shouting “I am a Spartan” but the atmosphere of the event carries you along. Andrea and I ran it together and helped each other under/over things and it certainly made it more fun running with someone else….
So, at the end of the day 1,925 people finished. Andrea and I came in at 993rd and 994th….. Ollie however came in at 24th and went back the next day for the longer distance (over twice as far !) and came in at 27th on that day.
So, here are a few of the photos from the day (you can see the 8ft walls behind us on the fire jump)
So, would I do it again ? Yes ! and I know what I need to work on with my training for next year đź™‚
PS A big thank you to Simon Turk and Martin Hesketh. I really do think this would have killed me if I hadn’t been coming along to circuits !