Slightly later than usual for me but it took longer than usual to defrost following the Spartan Beast at Windsor on Saturday! Man was it cold! Wet and cold, for almost 15 miles and this made it tougher than usual. The word I have seen across social media repeated over and over is brutal, and it was!
I set out at the beginning of 2018 with my best friend and PT, Emma, to complete my second trifecta and her first. We had done the Sprint and Super earlier in the year in Kent over one weekend and Beast was the last of the set to complete.
Emma and I do almost all of the OCR events together and we are at different abilities but together it works – she is a better runner and walls and monkey bars are her thing, whereas I am more comfortable with the carries and weight obstacles.
Spartan have some standard obstacles you expect and there will always be one stand out that people end up talking about. At the super earlier in the year it was the tyre carry which seemed to go on forever and this year was the second sandbag carry. 1.2 miles! 1.2 miles with a pancake shaped sandbag, it seemed there was no end in sight as we passed sandbags that had been discarded, but this was my thing and I got it done. The first and second sandbag, bucket carry, log carry and atlas ball was my domain and all five saw me smiling as I completed them.
Unfortunately for us the rope traverse was closed by the time we got there due to the bad weather for safety but I saw earlier in the day that some got to complete it and better to be safe so totally understandable.
The route had the usual hills that you would expect from a Spartan race – especially those switchbacks going up and down the same steep hill, if you’ve done a Spartan you will know what I am talking about – those hills we all love.
This years Beast at Windsor was longer than last years by almost five miles, which I think was a tad confusing for those who took it on last year to go from just under 10 miles to just under 15 miles but this is what you should expect from these events – they are made to test you and it does say 12 plus miles and just under 15 is over the advertised 12. The race did become the race of 2 miles left for us though as from just over 8 miles everyone around us kept saying 2 miles left – for almost 7 miles in the wind and rain this went from being frustrating to being funny. How long left? 2 miles ha ha. 2 miles is a long way when you are cold, wet, tired, have heavy legs and are running on what looks like wet and muddy ground but as I found is actually a waist deep bog (yep that was a surprise that got everyone behind me laughing and subsequently taking a more sensible route).
I am so pleased to have earned my second trifecta and even more pleased that Emma got her trifecta too – couldn’t think of anyone else I would have rather done that with!
It was also so good as usual to see the many familiar faces during the race including finally getting to meet the fab Fitcetera the UK Mudd Queens, Mudd Kings, friends from The PT Barn and many more! Always super helpful marshals that I cannot fault and the skinny beer at the end was very welcome too – drank that when I got home and would never have been able to tell it wasn’t normal lager!
It was also great to see and hear from two of the competition winners from my blog who won two Super tickets, Cassie and Paul. Seeing their finish photo was an awesome feeling to know that they got to experience something that I love. Did they love it? Different to what they have done before, which is generally road racing, duathlon, triathlon and cross country running. However, the awesome Cassie managed all bar three obstacles (rope climb, twister and monkey bars), which is amazing. Her favourite obstacle was the inverted walls – there were three in a row and after help from her boyfriend Paul she completed the last two on her own! Least favourite for Cassie was Olympus – it’s a hand killer so I totally get that but teamwork makes dream work and as Emma sat on my shoulders for this Cassie did the same with Paul (great minds). Cassie said ‘it was fun, but nothing like I thought it’d be – absolutely loved it though’ and I love that!
Lastly kudos to those who took on the extra challenge of completing the course with a plank of wood, repeating obstacles and completing burpees prior to doing the obstacles – epic!
So who is up for a Spartan race in 2019 and earning your trifecta?