My first of many Spartan Races was awesome. Driving in and seeing Spartan Race humvees parked around the place, flags leading down from a hill to flaming hay bales, a 12 foot high apex with ropes, an ice bath covered over with barbed wire, I thought, this is going to be amazing!
I lined up on the start line where we were taken through a warm up and shouting AROO, AROO, AROO a lot. I was buzzing for the start. We set off and I aimed for about a 5 k pace. After about 200m I was in the lead and started pulling away.
I turned downhill to see two 6 foot walls I barely touched the first one because of the speed I picked up then leapt over the next. I then ran into a forest covered with thorn covered vines and nettles growing all over the place. I felt the first few stings and thorns scraping my legs then started to get numb to them.
I emerged out the forest on to the beach where every stride was sinking deep into the sand. I rounded a load of rocks to see a 40 foot cargo net over the sand so dropped to my knees and started crawling under it. About half way through my triceps were burning but I powered on. I had a look behind me just as I got out and saw the guys behind just reaching the net.
I ran up a slope and then turned back into the forest where I ran for maybe a kilometre through the thorns and nettles again. I got to some barbed wire crossed back and forward over the path. I worked my way over it when it stuck in my shoe I realised it was pretty sharp. Then we climbed over some ropes laid out in the same way before continuing on through the forest.
I came out on to a road where we had to wind a sand bag on a rope up a stick twice. Then we were back in the nettled, thorny forest.
More running and we got to a 12 foot cargo net tied up in a forest. By this time a few people had caught up. I hauled myself up and over the net pretty easily and kept my lead. We started running again up a road where 2 guys overtook then I got past them on a downhill over a field. We got to some narrow balance beams in zig zags that I had to walk over. The adrenaline buzz and tired legs made the slow balancing tough.
We ran along a land rover track for a while jumping a number of wooden obstacles along the way. Then I arrived at a rope that was tied about 15 foot in the air, just before another guy. I pulled myself up to the top and back down. Then I turned round and had to do the same on a rope ladder.
I started running through along a track before I emerged at a murky pond with floating canisters. I ran along those and jumped in the water emerging and hyper ventilating because of the cold. I climbed out at the other side just ahead of 2 other racers. We zig zagged through a forest jumping streams and climbing over stacks of fallen trees. I pulled back in to 3rd. I caught up after a bit and took second again then jumped a fence. I ran down a muddy grass track to arrive in second at a pile of sand bags where I was instructed to carry it up a hill and back down. I slung it over my shoulder, focused on the guy in front then marched up after him. The ascent was painful and the descent was tough with 1 arm free and a weight throwing you off balance.
Next I rounded a corner to see the guy in front disappear over an 8 foot wall. I composed myself sprinted, jump kicked half way up the wall and caught the top with my finger tips. I pulled myself up and over the wall and dropped down the other side.
I followed the flags round to some spears and 2 hay bail targets that the guy in 1st place ran past. After telling the marshalls he needed to do it too they shouted him back. By the time he got there I had thrown my spear, missed and was doing 20 pushups as a penalty. I was told to throw a second then as I was doing my 20 star jumps penalty the guy that was in first left after 1 spear throw. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t told and the Marshalls just seemed taken by surprise when we all started lobbing spears about.
I then ran to the bottom of a fairly lengthy hill where I got overtaken by 3rd place but gained on 1st. They got to the top just before me where we found sandbags again. I had to hold them in my hands with my arms straight out to the sides for 30 seconds (wee bit burny). We then started on the last descent I took second place pretty quickly and really drove down chasing after first. I jumped the flaming hay bales just after him then arrived at an ice bath covered with barbed wire.
We both dived under the barbed wire into the ice. I scrambled through and realised how little clearance there was when my shorts and top started getting caught. I got out just after him and we both sprinted at the 12 foot apex I got 3/4 of the way up before I had to grab the rope and haul myself over. I just dived then rolled down the other side to see the guy take first after being thumped by the gladiators with pugil sticks. I sprinted at the end and burst through the middle of them knocking their sticks out my way before crossing the line in 2nd place.
What a buzz. The race was way more than the advertised 5k and it did challenge every element of your fitness, I loved it!
I won a load of spartan race merchandise and a year of free entries to any Spartan Race anywhere.