Monday, September 3, 2012

New England Spartan Sprint 2012

Mud runs and obstacle courses have become incredibly popular, and this year there seems to have been an explosion in participation. There are many companies out there that offer these races, including: Spartan Race, Toughmudder, and Warrior Dash, to name but a few. It was about 6 months ago when I started hearing about these, and quickly became interested. I'm not a runner and never have been. I was a rower and raced competitively, but running, even then, was not my thing. Adding obstacles, mud and a heightened risk of injury, changed the way I looked at a running race and it seemed like this would be a fun and interesting challenge.

The mud run craze also coincides with the recent trend of gyms offering cross fit training. Cross fit offer a fitness routine that constantly varies from day to day, in theory resulting in a more comprehensive workout. It's also perfect training for these events, which feature many of the same exercises, such as rope climbing and tire rolling. I found that many cross fit clubs will turn up at these events and race as teams.

After a little research, I found that there was going to be a Spartan Race in Massachusetts that would allow me a little time to train. This particular race was a sprint, meaning it was 3.5 miles with about 10 obstacles. It seemed like a distance I could mange, taking into account that there would be obstacles along the way. For the more courageous out there, Spartan also offers an 8 mile (Super) and a 10 mile (Beast). For the really hard core people, there is a 24 hour version called the Death Race.

It was a warm Saturday in Amesbury, MA and a total of 8,400 people turned up to race that weekend. There are waves of about 300 racers started every half hour throughout the day and there didn't seem to be any problems with any crowds at obstacles along the way. 

Here is one of the last obstacles, a jump over fire.
Along the way we had to drag concrete blocks on chains. It actually was one of the easier challenges.

For anyone that might be concerned that they wouldn't be able to manage these obstacles, below is a picture of Aimee Mullins heading into one of the mud pits. She completed the race with two prosthetic legs. Aimee is a bilateral amputee and a paralympian. You may also know her from her fashion model work.
I finished with just some minor scrapes and got my medal. The race was a lot of fun, and I recommend it to anyone with a pair of running shoes they don't mind getting filthy. The majority of competitors are there just to have a good time and it's not necessarily about getting a fast time. Jen and I are both signed up for next year. 

Here is some video footage of my race that will give you an idea of the various obstacles along the way.

I thought I would also post a link to this video which includes footage from some of the most recent races. Spartan Races also promote awareness of wounded military veterans and "Team Xtreme" are a group that help wounded military compete in these races.


joan said...

Did Jen take some of these pictures?
You look very happy to be dragging your concrete block.

Rodney said...

The Spartan Race crew take photos and you get them as part of your entry fee.