Okay, I am not Spartan, but I did the Reebok Spartan Race. All my friends were doing some sort of obstacle course race, so I wanted to be like the cool kids & jumped on the bandwagon. I went for the race that had less running with the shortest obstacle course possible. Yeah, I was not about to commit to a 12+ mile run with obstacle courses like some other crazy races. The race was 2 weeks before I took my engagement photos, so I didn’t want to get too many scars or break a leg with a 4+ hour course.
We opted for the Tuxedo Hill course in NY since it was the closest one to us. The drive there wasn’t too bad. There’s ample parking but each car had to pay a fee (about $10). The check-in was pretty quick. You can rent lockers ($5) there to store your stuff, or leave it in the car, but with the latter option, the walk back to the car is pretty long if you really needed something. I would recommend sharing a locker with a friend. They had port-a-potties for your bathroom needs. Yes, this is a classy kind of race.
We sprayed ourselves with sunscreen at the car.
We did not bring water bottles with us because it’s just a hassle carrying anything when running, jumping over walls, or crawling in mud. It just was not ideal. Be warned, they did not have any water stations on the course, so we did get hot & thirsty, but like I said, it was better not to carry anything extra with you.
I wore long, tight running pants & an Under Armour HeatGear® Top, both of which dry pretty quickly when wet. I brought my workout gloves which helped with the rope climb & crawling on muddy rocks & under barbed wire. These items helped keep me from getting scratched up.
Bring a change of clothes with you. You will be muddy, dirty & disgusting. They have cold showers at the end but it’s out in the open. You’ll want to get out of your nasty clothes. We changed in the car since there weren’t bathrooms or any facilities to change at.
We left all our other essentials in a locker: Car keys, money, ID, water bottles, phones, cameras, change of clothes, etc.
It was a 3 mile uphill course in the scorching June heat. There were over 30 obstacles which took us over 2 hours to finish. Halfway through, I seriously just wanted to quit. I was tired & grumpy from the heat, but we persevered & finished the race.
We encountered about 10 walls to climb. It started really low & easy, but then it got taller & taller, so you’ll either need a buddy to help give you a boost or find a new friend on the course to help you out. If you decide to skip an obstacle, you’ll be penalized with burpees. If you’ve ever done burpees, you’ll know they’re horrible, plus doing them on muddy ground makes it that much worse.
We climbed up rope walls, crawled in tubes, did a javelin throw, climbed a rope, monkey bars, hopped from one tree stump to the next to get to the other side, did a bouldering wall, flipped tires, carried a weighted pancake uphill (this was killer), ran with a tire, dragged rocks on a rope, pulled a weight on a pulley to get to the top, crawled under barbed wire, slip & slide (a girl broke her arm so they closed this), dodged men with gladiator sticks ready to pummel you as you run by, jumped over fire, and a bunch more that I can’t remember.
Crawling under the barbed wire was the worst thing ever. It was maybe 400m which took a bare minimum of 20 minutes to get through. The ground was not only muddy (they had hoses that kept pumping more water onto the course), but it was completely filled with rocks. So every movement hurt. If you crawled, your knees would take a beating & your back would get scratched up from the barbed wire. If you went on your butt, you had a better chance since there’s more cushioning, but you’ll be moving much slower. We saw people’s clothing get snagged on the wire & saw a few casualties with bloody cuts on various parts of their body.
The drive home was pretty miserable. Being out in the scorching sun & exerting energy for 2 hours was exhausting. I would never do this again. I did it just to experience it for myself. Once is more than enough.
Don’t let me discourage you from trying one out. They had one recently at Citifield (home of the NY Mets) where they didn’t have any mud, so that one might be better for some people. Plus the Citifield course is flat compared to the constant uphill of Tuxedo Hill.
Oh yeah, they give you a medal, t-shirt & a ticket for 2 free beers at the finish line. Munkie wore his medal proudly.
Let me know what you think if you’ve ever done one of these Adventure Races before so we can compare notes.