Me and Mikey took advantage of the Obstacle Race Magazine subscription deal earlier this year to get 2 free tickets to the Spartan Race Super in GlanUsk Estate earlier this month
(20th June 2015).
Having never taking part in a Spartan Race before we were excited and nervous at the same time at what we were about to encounter. We had entered the elite wave thinking that would give us a nice clear run at the course, ok we were a bit naive there as everyone else obviously thought the same 🙂
Check out our first ever go pro vid below:
Race day we rocked up in our new Bright Green Obstafit T-shirts, having rushed like mad from after our bootcamp in Cardiff in the morning. I managed to stuff down some peanut butter and banana sandwiches on the way up, which I don’t think Mike appreciated since he was suffering with dodgy belly syndrome.
Luckily a few glucotabs later he was feeling good to go.
It was good to see some of the MWD Runners at the start of the race. Sian Parry, Karen Reed and Liv Hayward were looking surprisingly fresh faced considering they had already completed the Spartan Race Sprint in the morning!
For those who are not familiar with the Spartan Race format there are usually 3 different distances, which when completed all in one year reward the runner with a trifecta medal:
- Spartan Sprint – 5km’s 15+ Obstacles
- Spartan Super – 13+Km’s 20+ Obstacles
- Spartan Beast – 20+Km’s 25+ Obstacles
The guys from MWD Runners are going for their Trifecta this year, as were lots of other runners on the day mainly due to the fact that Spartan made a mistake earlier this year and had to reschedule their races. The original plan was for the sprint to take place on the saturday
and the super to take place on the Sunday. Spartan Race decided to change this a few months ago so that both races were on the same day.
As a means of apologising for the inconvenience, all runners who had registered were offered an additional free entry to the spartan or the super. So understandably
most took the opportunity to go for the trifecta and do both the sprint and the super in the same day. We were tempted but we couldn’t let down our bootcampers, in the morning so we had to forfeit the free entry and instead decided to offer it as a prize in a spartan burpees competition at bootcamp.
Sian Parry from MWD Runners was the lucky winner of the comp 🙂
We were surprised that there was no warm up at the beginning. For me personally, im getting on a bit so a warm up at the beginning of a race is greatly appreciated. I would have happily run through my own warmup if we knew there was not going to be a warmup. However
we soon warmed up as we scaled the first unforgiving hill of the race right at the beginning, which was to be the first of many!
The first obstacle was basically a log carry – simply pick up a big log and run with it up and down some nice steep hills. The log carry wasn’t too bad tbh – what was frustrating was the bottlenecks due to a relatively narrow path. We were forced to a walk in single file, not much chance of overtaking. We pretty much resigned
to the fact we weren’t going to beat any records today but then that’s our fault for not pushing to the front at the beginning of the race!
THE DREADED SANDBAG
Now what was a major feature of the race was the dreaded Sandbag Carry. Simon Mud Mad Murray from MWD Runners had hinted to us at the beginning of the race that there were rumours of a 2 mile sandbag carry. To be honest I dismissed this at the time, surely that can’t be right? Oh how wrong was I. The Sandbag run was never-ending. I’m not usually a person
that swears a lot but trust me there were plenty of swear words being shouted between myself and Mike during that Sandbag Run. Those !$*** spartan organisers, how could they do this to us..etc…etc..
We were chuffed that we managed to maintain a steady run with the sandbags. Well I say run, anyone who saw us probably wouldn’t class it as a run. Watching back the video we look like we are doing some sort of slightly camp or drunken dance. But we thought we were hardcore at the time 🙂
We had to lug those sandbags through what seemed like endless cargo net and barbed wire crawls, over/under walls and up and down the hellish hills of GlanUsk. Let me tell you it felt amazing to finally get rid of those sandbags – plus it left us with a sense of achievement that we completed it. I’d like to pat Mr Richard Pringle on the back for this one,
it was challenging both mentally and physically which is what OCR is all about right!
HILLS, HILLS AND MORE HILLS
Following the sandbag carry there were lot’s more hill climbs and slaloms, with some amazing opportunities to take in the awesome scenery of Brecon. Personally I enjoy hill running so embraced the hills at Spartan Race, they were brutal but we ran up and down them with no problems.
All the usual Spartan Obstacles were pretty much bunched up all in one area of the estate and came pretty close to the end when we were pretty exhausted.
We dispatched with the first set of walls with no problems, plus the brick pull (not sure of the correct name)- basically dragging a breeze blog attached to a chain along a 200metre+ stretch. We were glad that we had purchased a rope prior to the race (recommended by Doug Spence from Dirty Dozen Races)
to practice our rope climbs which meant that we got up and down with no issues.
We also flew over the monkey bars and smashed the disk pull (a heavy disk shaped weight attached to a pulley which must be raised to the top of a frame). There was a pretty heavy rock carry aswell, not too dissimilar to the atlas stone event at strong man competitions.
Having flown through most of the obstacles so far we were feeling good!
BARBED AND WIRE AND SKIN DO’NT MIX!
Everything was going swimmingly until Mike emerged scratched from the barbed wire crawl looking like something out of a war film. Lot’s of blood running down the side of his head. We thought that was game over to be honest, but luckily it was just a scratch which looked worse than it was!
Onwards and upwards 🙂
I was feeling good at this point having got through most of the race without having to do burpees. Of course this was short lived. I reached the traverse wall and fell off about 1 metre from the end. Disappointing for me personally since I have started indoor climbing over the last few weeks so I was hoping to smash this one.
My big size 10’s got the better of me however! So as per Spartan Race Rules, fall off an obstacle and complete 30 burpees. I’m sure our obstafitters will get some pleasure out of seeing me doing some burpees since we have been beasting you guys for the last few weeks with burpees 🙂
To be honest those burpees were tough. This came at approx 10km into the race at which point energy levels were pretty low tbh. The tyre flip was immediately afterwards – obstafit bootcampers again will be happy! Following the tyre flip was a run over to the spear throw. Having never tried to chuck a spear into a haystack we were a bit wary of this one, and rightly so.
Mike’s spear flopped mid air and hit the target side on – cue 30 burpees for him. Devastatingly for me, my spear just glanced the top of the haystack. Cue another 30 burpees for me!
Following an A Frame climb we were surprised to see the finish line had snuck up on us. We both thoroughly enjoyed this race, the ending as always came too soon. These races are addictive, time flies when you are having fun 🙂
A WORD FROM MWD RUNNERS
We bumped into MWD Runners again on the finish line who were all happy to have completed 2 races in one day. Here are some concluding words from Sian Parry, soon to be a guest writer for Obstafit 🙂
“Great to see so many MWDers, we did really well out there today. Course was pretty hilly but what do you expect, this is Wales after all. It was pretty tough doing both races in one day, but it was worth it. A big well done is due also to Morris Attard who came 7th in the Sprint! (Sian Parry, MWD Runners)
Great to see so many MWDers, we did really well out there today. Course was pretty hilly but what do you expect, this is Wales after all. It was pretty tough doing both races in one day, but it was worth it. Well done also to Morris Attard who came 7th in the race!
Sian Parry, MWD Runners)”