To make a quick race weekend, part of the Relentless OCR team traveled down to the Atlanta Spartan Sprint the weekend of March 7-8, 2015. Despite the 3+ hours of stop and go traffic on the way there, the trip was totally worth it.
We arrived on scene at 6:30 AM in 27 degree weather. Paying the extra $40 for VIP parking was the first big win of the day. The VIP lot was close enough to walk back and forth to. We took advantage of having the car close to stay warm for an extra few minutes before starting to warm up. The Spartan village entrance was the “cargo bridge’ obstacle. The village flowed well, as usual, but there was something a little different going on. Every direction you looked from the village there were obstacles with great viewing positions for spectators. From the Start and Finish lines to the cargo bridge, herc hoist, rope swing, rope climb, stairway to spartan, vertical cargo, spear throw, and a few others. Along with the obstacles being a literal 360 degrees around the village, the obstacles were not all in one portion of the race, so spectators could see their favorites running different portions of the race and stay engaged from start to finish.
Before the kickoff of racing for the day, the Elite heats were to be in the corral 15 minutes early for the racers meeting (i.e. how to do a proper burpee). This meeting ended up being more like 20+ minutes, and a lot of runners were getting more and more anxious every minute the clock ticked past 8:00 AM. (A lot of pre-race prep is timed out by your start time, and every minute past you get colder and tighter.)
The course itself was cold, frost covered, and wet during the entire race for the 8:00 AM Elite heat, and many of the obstacles proved it be extra challenging because of it. From the monkey bars that probably dropped at least a third of the elite heat to the water moats, rolling mud/dunk walls, to a tough bucket brigade and sand bag carry.
The memorization obstacle had a unique twist. The board with words and numbers was upside down. Well played, Spartan Race. Well played.
There were several different types of terrain, including; side hill prairie, uncut woods, wide trail, and ‘access road.’ with the variation it made for a fun and challenging run, by switching between running wide open and running with extreme foot placement caution. The end of the race had a seven obstacle gauntlet in the last quarter to half mile, which was a placed well, and it attracted spectators to it like a kid to a shiny thing.
By the time awards were handed out, and the open heats were in full swing it was a beautiful 60+ degrees, and the other ~5,250 Spartans looked like they were having an amazing time on the course. You have never seen so many smiling faces at the end of a race as were at the rope swing! All in all, this was a great day, and event for both the Elite racers and the Spartan Challengers.