Georgia Spartan Sprint Race Review
Last year was dedicated to my first of many things in running but the high point for me was the marathon. It was something I did not think I wanted to do and I am still not sure how some people do so many of them but that is another story. I wanted to make 2013 the year of the obstacle course run. The first of those is the Reebok Spartan Race which was held in Conyers, GA. In late November, I sent in the money and registered for the race. I was not exactly sure what to expect but I have done obstacle courses before in the Army so I kind of had an idea what would be involved. I knew there would be mud, climbing, running and more mud but every Spartan Race is set up a little differently to keep it challenging. As race day approached, I started to realize the time I would be starting would interfere with my son’s baseball practice so I searched for ways to change that. Looking at the Spartan Race website, I found information about a Hurricane Heat which began very early in the day. To try and help you understand what the Hurricane heat is all about, here is an excerpt from the email welcoming me to HH-026:
“Here’s what to expect: Burpees. Running. Jumping. Falling. Mud. Water. Ropes. Barbed wire. Burpees. Be prepared to spend 3+ hours on the course. The Hurricane Heat is intended to be more difficult than the race itself. You will be assigned to a team. You will rely on that team, and they will rely on you to get every single member of your team to the finish line. You will not leave anyone behind, even for a minute. You will finish as a team. If you leave members of your team behind at any time, your team will be penalized. If you continue to leave team members behind, the entire group will be penalized until everyone can learn to work as a unit.”
So I signed up for the Hurricane Heat and set my alarm for 4 am to get to Conyers by 5:30. It was dark. I had on black (just like the rest of the Hurricane Heaters). I had a Camelbak and a headlamp. It was cold. The founders decided to warm us up…with burpees…and running…and burpees. We started heading out on the course. We did a few of the obstacles and did headcounts in the dark to be sure nobody got left behind. We carried felled trees through a creek bed and up a hill top to create a large campfire-style tee-pee out of them. It was pretty awesome. We continued to run the course, but not in the exact order as designed. We moved some obstacles and added some mud to make the first competitors through have a little mud to deal with. When we finally reached the finish line, we were handed a special Hurricane Heat Dog Tag and t-shirt.
For some reason, that was not good enough for me. I got back in line to get my race bib and timing chip and decided to do it again. I wanted the “official” Spartan Race finisher’s t-shirt and medal. I am glad I decided to get back in line. The actual race was awesome. It was trail running between each obstacle. An obstacle can be a wet creek bed, a swamp, muddy pits, monkey bars, rope climbs, wall climbs, sandbag carrying, concrete block dragging or lifting, spear chucking and low crawling (I could keep going but if you want, check out this 15 minute video that shows the whole course — minus most of the running). I took my time and ran lightly between each obstacle and had a lot of fun. I successfully negotiated all but 2 of the obstacles and did some burpees as penance. I earned my finisher’s medal and t-shirt and signed the wall of fame to be sure I “left my mark” on the 2013 Georgia Spartan Sprint.
On a separate but Brew/Drink/Run related note, they had some great beer at the finish. This was not the “free” beer but I was happy to pay to finish the race with a quality beer.
This is something I will look forward to doing again and I created a team named “Team BDR” for a morning start time (9:00-12:00) in Conyers, GA on Saturday, March 8th 2014, and registration is open now. If you haven’t registered yet, you can register and join the team by clicking here. If you’ve already registered, you can join the team by editing your registration. You can also find more information at the event website. As of right now, registration is only $60 so get in before the price goes up.