The Spartan Beast – part 1

24 Oct

You’ve asked about it, so I am writing a two-part blog series on the Spartan Race. This post is a little background on the Beast event I ran a few weeks back.

The Finisher's Medal

Spartan Beast Finisher Medal

A little background on the event… the Spartan Race series has three levels: Sprint, Super Spartan and Beast. I’m not even getting into the Death Race format – I’m NOT doing it, so there is no need to cover it. If you want information on it just click the link I added. The Sprint level is 3+ miles, the Super level is 8+ miles and the Beast is 12+ miles (although these are just for conversation purposes…). I ran the Sprint in Charlotte, NC in March 2012 and it wound up near the four mile mark, however the Beast I ran ended up closer to 13.5 miles. Again, the numbers are just to “class” the races.

The Beast was held at Carolina Adventure World, a place I have no idea even existed. Pretty cool area, though, with ATV trails, hiking areas, mud bog areas and a lot of beautiful South Carolina wilderness. I believe I saw the majority of it either ON the trail or at areas where I could look out across the expanse. Winnsboro, SC is the address for the spot and it is approximately 20-30 minutes from Columbia.

I was clean at this point

For the full 411, visit the Spartan Race website for upcoming dates, photos, etcetera.

More background on the Spartan Series… think the movie 300, Gladiator TV series on Starz or even the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator. The series is centered around that period in history – all the way down to the Spartan creed, the Spartan mascot and the screams of AROO! AROO! AROO! that replace the starting gun you hear at most races. Many of the racers choose Spartan attire with men in shorts and shoes only and women, many times, in sports bra, shorts and shoes. I chose to cover up a little more with a sleeveless shirt, shorts, soccer socks and trail shoes… I learned a little from my Sprint experience in March! It really doesn’t matter what you wear and you want to trash it when you are done anyhow. SIDE NOTE: the Spartan organizers allow you to dump your shoes at the end and they will clean and donate them to third-world countries. I did not do this at the Sprint but did at the Beast.

So on to the starting line we go for the 9:00 am heat… Myself and about 200 other racers ready to tackle the – at the time – 12-mile course. We hear the Spartan creed, vow to help our fellow Spartans return and shout AROO! as we run through the smoke field. I’ll do my best to remember all of the obstacles, but I can guarantee you they will not be in order. Here is a sampling:

1. Over, under, through – a staple of Spartan races where you go, you guessed it, over, under and through a wall. The wall is approximately 4 feet tall and you either jump over it, crawl under it (a 12-18″ area) or pull yourself through the opening in the center.

2. Under the net – I’m sure there is another name, but this one is a low crawl under a bar with a netting material on one side… we did two of these in succession.

3. Walls – 4, 5, 6 and 8 foot walls. These are spaced throughout the course – many are easy to bound over but some require the use of a partner or two people – which IS allowed to complete the obstacle.

4. Over-the-log – again, this is my name for this obstacle. Logs are placed five feet off the ground and you have to bound – or climb – over five of them in succession.

5. Tractor pull – a concrete stone is attached to a chain and you must drag it down, around and back up a course approximately 100′ in length. I am not sure of the weight of the stone but I would estimate it at 45-50 pounds.

6. Atlas Stones – pick up the stone for your sex (men and women have different weights), carry to one side. Drop the stone, lift again and return to the starting point. I would estimate the men’s stone was 75 pounds. We had this obstacle twice on the course.

7. Tire flip – grab the tire and flip it five times forward and five times back.

8. Cargo net – climb the cargo net and return down the other side.

9. Large cargo net on A frame – climb the cargo net and return down the other side,

10. Rope climb – a knotted rope climb. Two of these on the course.

11. Barbed wire mud low-crawl – the first one was on a semi rise… with a fire hose spraying water on everyone. The second one was on a hill approximately 60-degrees going UP. Yep, with another fire hose spraying the course.

12. Tyrolean traverse – ropes pulled across the lake… you warp your ankles over the rope and pull yourself to the other side. Ropes are about 6′ off the water at the highest point.

13. Sandbag carry – grab a Spartan pancake and carry it up the hill and back down. Length of course is approximately 150-yards total.

14. Concrete pull – a 50-75 pound concrete block is pulled up a rope to a height of approximately 15′ and then slowly lowered back to the ground.

15. Rolling mud – three-part mud pit/hill climb. Cross the mud pit and then scamper up the muddy hill to the next pit. The entire obstacle is around 50′ long. There are two of these obstacles on the course.

16. Band hop – place ankles through a small rubber band – approximately 12″ in diameter. Hop across a set of tires four rows deep, then hop over two logs and return to starting position.

17. Pit jump – either jump the 6′ pit or wade through it… three in a row.

18. Javelin throw – toss a javelin into the straw bale and make it stick

19. Horizontal wall – cross the wall with only your fingertips and edges of shoes on the small pieces of 2×4 boards… the boards are canted at all angles.

20. Mid pit and slippery wall – cross the mud pit – under barb wire – and then grab the rope to pull yourself up the slippery wall. At the top, climb down the ladder wall on opposite side.

21. Tall ladder over the road – climb up and down the other side of the containers.

22. Fire pit – get a good running start so you don’t burn the hair off your legs!

… and always the last obstacle in the Spartan Race…

23. Gladiator pit – get a good running start and be prepared for a gut punch from the pugile sticks!

I left out the obstacle runs… these are runs through the woods, up trails, on switchbacks, through the river beds, over beaver dams and all kinds of other places the organizers decide to make you run!

After the Spartan Beast

After the Beast

So ends part one of the race updates… In the next post I will talk about the actual running of the race and preparations I did prior to running.

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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Just Me, Running


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