Sunday, July 8, 2012

Utah Spartan Beast 2012

A few months ago my roommate told me about an ad he'd found for a race called the Spartan Beast. After watching the video on their website, I was sold. Twelve miles with thirty obstacles including rope climbs, mud pits, eight foot walls, carrying heavy objects, and running through gladiators who are trying to beat you into the ground had me convinced that it was the craziest race ever and I had to do it. I signed up immediately and started training.

Here's a breakdown of the obstacles on the course. 
1. 100 yard sprint through six inches of mud right off the starting line
2. A series of walls in which you had to jump over one, go under the next one, over, under, etc. 
3. More walls, this time jumping over one, going under the next, and jumping through a small window on a    third wall, repeated twice. 
4. A sandbag carry around a 200 yard loop
5. A steep downhill mudslide into a mud pit with fire hose attack
6. An angled rope net climb up one side and down the other
7. A muddy enclosed trench crawl
8. 20 foot rope climb starting from a mud pit
9. Cement block hoist 30 feet in the air
10. 15 foot vertical rope net climb up one side and down the other
11. Tractor tire flip
12. 50 feet of mud pits
13. Fireman's pull where you pulled a cement block up a hill and around a loop by a metal chain
14. Monkey bars
15. An angled rope net climb onto a bridge
16. Tire pull, pulling a tire up to the level of the bridge with a rope
17. The slippery wall starting in a mud pit, scaling a 12 foot angled wall with a slippery surface using a rope
18. 100 yard uphill barbed wire crawl
19. More mud pits, one of which I just swam across
20. 100 foot tire hop in which your legs were fastened together
21. Walk across a series of wooden cylindrical posts that were in a straight line all at different heights. It's amazing how hard it is to balance when you're that exhausted. 
22. Scaling two sheer eight foot walls
23. The bucket carry. You had to fill a five gallon bucket with small rocks and then carry it up a hill around a 300 yard loop. It was so heavy that I kept losing traction going up the hill and my quads were on fire. 
24. A rifle shoot were you had to hit a target the size of a quarter from 20 yards
25. Spear throw into a bale of hay
26. 30 foot horizontal rock climbing-type traverse
27. Another eight foot wall
28. Barbed wire crawl
29. Two mud pits followed by another short barbed wire crawl
30. The gladiator pit to finish it all off
There was no flat running on the course, you were either going uphill or downhill. None of the uphill portions were terribly steep and they had water stations ever two miles so it wasn't too bad. The obstacles were not evenly spread through the course. They packed a lot of them together down by the spectator area for the spectators' sake. There were eight obstacles in the last quarter mile of the race. 
The mud/water obstacles were the most refreshing as it was 97 degrees outside. My favorite obstacles were the rope nets and the rope climb. I felt like I did the best at the over, under, through walls, the eight foot walls, and the barbed wire crawls. The most difficult for me were the fireman's pull and the bucket carry. What made the fireman's pull so difficult was that the block of cement would get caught on rocks and roots as you were dragging it. I found that holding the chain with both hands at the lower back and leaning as far forward as possible made pulling it uphill much easier.  The uphill barbed wire crawl was the most painful obstacle. The water flowing down washed the mud away so it was basically like crawling on rocks. My knees and elbows got ripped to shreds although I didn't notice until after the race. My under armor shirt also got half a dozen tears in it from the barbed wire and I got a couple good gashes on my back. The fact that I was getting gunned down by a fire hose from the side also made this obstacle especially difficult and painful.This was by far the funnest race I've ever done.
The starting line

Climbing a rope net onto the bridge, then pulling a tire up to the bridge with a rope.

 You had to jump into a mud pit, then climb out over the slippery wall with a rope to help you

Hoisting a block of cement 30 feet in the air using a rope

 20 foot rope climb starting in a mud pit

Carrying 80lbs of rocks in a bucket up a hill and around a 300 yard loop

A 30 foot rock climbing-type traverse across a wall using sections of 2x4 for hand and foot holds. This was especially difficult because of the mud everywhere.  

Army crawling under barbed wire

Going through the gladiator pit right before the finish line

Coming through the finish line

Enjoying a hard earned banana at the finish line

Group showers after the race

This was definitely the most physically challenging thing I've ever done in my life. I finished the race in 2 hours and 10 minutes and was 70th overall out of 2375 people and 11th in my age group. I had a splenectomy three months before the race and had to wait a month after than to start my training. For two months leading up to the race I did interval workouts with weight lifting between intervals every other day, and long distance training with lots of hills on the days in between. I also did pushups, pullups, and burpees during any free time. I felt like none of the obstacles were particularly challenging except for the bucket carry, but the twelve miles were VERY long. I was comfortable running 13 miles in my training, but with all the obstacles I felt like I should have been comfortable running 20. I signed up for next year already and I will be better prepared. 

Check out the video at

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, that is awesome!! A lot of people finish a half marathon in that time without all the obstacles! That is super impressive!! What a fun and creative race. I have to give props to the people who created this race. I can't wait to hear about next year's race!