I’ve been blogging and adding posts on my social media in the run up to Spartan Beast at the weekend. I completed my trifecta last year and this would have been my fifth Spartan event. Sadly due to injury I could not take part in the event at the weekend but as I had two friends taking part I decided to go along and play the role of cheer leader for the day.
Aside from it being bittersweet I had a great day and it was interesting to see the event from the other side as opposed to being a participant in one of the races – it took me back to when my husband used to do obstacle runs and I was there for him.
Neither of my two friends, Emma and Laura, had taken part in a Spartan event before and it was me that had convinced them both to sign up so it was slightly ironic that I was the one not to be taking part though I was very pleased they would be completing it together.
We’d hit some traffic as we neared the event location and unfortunately missed the start wave they were in but it was not an issue to move into the later wave.
After the usual intro from Spartan Phil the wave was off and the girls waved as they passed me and their nerves seemed to have changed to excitement to the run ahead.
It was then I realised I had a long wait in store!
I actually bumped into a fellow Mudd Queen who I follow on Instagram and so after some quick introductions we had a wander around the event village together.
A lot of people were late due to the traffic and so the event was short some of the marshals so I volunteered to help and found myself on the Juniors course for the bucket carry.
I love that Spartan put on a kids course so they can get involved and the ages of those that take part are so varied from very small kids to teenagers and they get to take part in something similar to what some of them see their parents doing. It’s also great to see the kids out here being active rather than just stuck in front of a tv or playing computer games.
I was also in a position that I was next to the final few obstacles for the adult course and got to see the elite wave coming back in which was amazing. I run for fun. I’m not particularly fast and I’m not particularly great at the obstacles but I give everything a good go and find OCR so inclusive that there’s always a helping hand and I love it for that. I love that these events are suitable for new obstacle runners, those that complete and elites alike. Seeing those that race at a competitive level is brilliant and I managed to see those who ended up in the podium finish – very impressive.
After my marshal duty was complete I headed over to the rig which was the first obstacle back in the event village and waited for my friends to return and when they did they both had huge smiles on their faces (as well as a lot of mud).
This meant I got to see them on the rig, spear throw, balance beam, traverse wall, 8 foot walls and fire jump before completing the Spartan Beast and getting their well earned medal (and beer).
And they had loved it and were happy to announce that they were now both Spartan’s! We also saw a friend Andy who had recently been to the European champs in Andorra and had completed again in under three hours.
The highlight for Laura was completing an obstacle and ringing a bell – she entered the event village exclaiming that she’d rung a bell with the biggest smile on her face shortly before absolutely nailing the spear throw. For Emma the highlight was completing the bender obstacle – for someone so small she’s so strong.
Before they had started this event I had briefed them on the obstacles they would encounter and had said the bucket carry for me was probably the worst. It’s a simple obstacle where you get a large bucket that you have to fill with stones and then carry over a distance (that feels like forever) though there are no handles and you cannot carry on your shoulder or head and it’s awkward and your hands will burn! Both Emma and Laura agreed and said that adding in a ditch in the middle of it seemed particularly mean.
They also both found the barbed wire crawl fun and I like me they were lucky to come out without any tears to their clothes!
More positives were the marshals – often marshals can make or break an event and so positive marshals are a great asset to an event and Spartan had them in full force. The bananas at the water stops were a good idea being just enough for a boost without being heavy or overly sweet. Neither found the obstacles intimidating and said it meant most people just got on with it without lots of hesitation.
They did find there was a lot of queueing and were slightly concerned at one point that there was a swarm of wasps chasing them but then realised it was the sound from a drone ha ha. They found the floor to run on good as it was springy although Emma did liken it to something you see in a horror film where you fall through and end in a dungeon – don’t worry though there was no dungeon in the making of these Spartan’s just a lot of burpees!
When you fail at an obstacle at a Spartan event you get a 30 burpee penalty and by the end of an event it’s safe to say most people believe that burpees suck! It was funny because whenever I saw them doing burpees in the event village and asked how many they had left Laura always had 3 – the strangest thing!
Emma had to fish a heat pad out of Laura’s pants at one point so it’s safe to say events like this bring people closer.
They even made a friend – a worm that hitched a ride for the whole event and Laura found in her trainer!
Next year all three of us will be back to get our trifectas.