Bloodied, muddied, gasping for air, yet a smile permeates the layers of grime caked to our faces. The same as last year, I ran the (2013) Tri-State Spartan Sprint again this June and had even more fun this time around.
My compatriot from the Warrior Dash, Mt Marcy, and Mt Washington climbs (those articles coming soon) joined me for the race and volunteer shift that preceded. Volunteering for an 8 hour shift waives the admission fee (about $100 depending on when you register), while registering for a 12 hour nets you free admission plus $50. We chose the 8 hr shift, which can be fun in itself. Man the obstacles, work the water stations, register participants at the front desk, nothing too outlandish. You get a free lunch which isn’t too bad either.
Anyway, race time approaches and you line up in the pen waiting for the gun to go off. Smoke grenades and motivational speeches gently assault your senses as everyone prepares for the ensuing chaos. Choose your starting position in the pen wisely, if you’re a confident sprinter start front and center so you don’t trip on those slower. Likewise if you prefer a more leisurely trot start farther back in the pack and stay out of my way (kidding, not really). Steel yourself, once the gun sounds you get to revel in the majesty of running up a ski mountain rippled with jagged rocks.
The toughest obstacle is the terrain itself. Tuxedo Ridge where the race was held is a ski mountain in the winter, so you can imagine the hill climbs to be brutal. They sap your strength quickly and most end up walking them to conserve energy. The obstacles range from laughably easy (knee high walls) to moderately frustrating (spear toss / rope climb / horizontal climbing wall) to “why did I sign up for this” levels (12 ft wall / barb wire crawl) for most people. Personally the only one I really badly botched was the spear toss. The obstacles most couldn’t complete were the one opportunity and done one’s such as the monkey bars, horizontal climbing wall, rope climb, and
fucking spear toss, etc…For each obstacle failed you have to do 30 soul shredding burpees before you progress. The other obstacles like the sandbag carry, tire pull, 4 ft, 8 ft, and 12 ft vertical walls are literally in your way and you have to complete them to continue. Help from your fellow racers is abundant and readily apparent at the vertical walls and cargo net climb where you can get a boost if you need it. With that said it is immensely satisfying to make the 12 ft wall your proverbial bitch by climbing it with nothing but a running start and some willpower.
While the Sprint is the easiest Spartan race at only 4 miles it is not without some danger of injury. Cuts and bruises abound, some broke fingers, twisted ankles, dislocated joints and such. It’s a mud run after all and you have to carefully watch each step. We escaped again with only minor cuts (mostly from the rocks we dragged ourselves over for the barb wire crawl).
The race, environment, and people are all ridiculously fun and enjoyable. The groups of attractive fit women aplenty, getting dirty, getting wild and looking for excitement for a weekend will keep you occupied.Starting a conversation couldn’t be easier since they’re costumed as the Justice League or Doctor Seuss characters. Really it’s open season if you run tight game. We’re big on the idea that you need to surround yourself with people that you want to be with instead of sitting behind a keyboard claiming “there’s no good women/men left”. These races bring out all of the people we love, outgoing, fit, and open to new experiences, if this describes you you’ll fit right in. If you like bookish quiet women go to a library, if you want club rats hit the Jersey Shore, just please stop complaining. The teams are hilarious and this race, while a step up from the Warrior Dash is still easy enough to finish without dedicated training. Contestants from the television show The Biggest Loser ran the course and I think it was an episode if that means anything for you. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge join us in September when we aim for the coveted Trifecta medal with the 8 mile Spartan Super and then 16 mile Spartan Beast in Vermont. See you at the finish line Spartans.