Spartan. Just the word conjures images of a harsh culture, austere way of life and—perhaps most notable—superior physical fitness. (History says that even babies had to possess superior physical prowess or risk abandonment). So it’s no surprise that when a group of guys back in 2001 were trying to come up with a name for the series of obstacle races they’d created, Spartan Race was what they agreed upon.
The Spartan Race, a series of obstacle courses that range in difficulty and distance from 3 miles to marathons, are now a popular option for anyone willing to prove their mettle. With over 40 races offered in the United States alone, it’s easy to find one near you. Be warned, though: even the 3 mile option is tough!
There are three different race options:
Spartan Sprint: 3+ miles, 15 obstacles. This is a great option for all athletes, but should definitely be where beginners start.
Spartan Super: 8+ miles, 20 obstacles. Designed to push you, both mentally and physically, out of any comfort zone to which you’ve grown accustomed.
Spartan Beast: 12+ miles, 25+ obstacles. Torturous. Brutal. Excruciating. All these words have been used to describe this race, yet many of those who utter them keep comin’ back for more…so it must be worth the pain…right?
So, what kind of gear will you need? Here’s a quick primer:
Moisture wicking clothes. Try to avoid pockets. This is a muddy race, and your pockets can fill with the stuff and weigh you down. Try technical fabrics that can dry quickly, since you will be getting wet.
Gloves. You’ll spend a good amount of time crawling and climbing. Make sure gloves have a good grip and strap on tight. Don’t get too attached to them though; they’ll really only last this one race.
Hydration pack. Of course, we like Orange Mud’s no-bounce HydraQuiver hydration option.
Elbow pads and knee pads. Feelings are mixed on whether you need these or not, but if you’re doing a distance farther than a sprint, at least consider the options.
Wear shoes that you’ll toss. They’re not going to come out looking pretty post-race.
Trash Bag for muddy clothes.
Flip-flops for post-race.
Full change of clothes for post-race.
Finally, be sure and leave your car keys, iPod, sunglasses and smartphone behind. Most people figure this out, but there are still some who forget.
Despite its grueling conditions, most who compete in a Spartan Race say they have a blast, and return to do it again. It’s a great way to build camaraderie with teammates, push limits, and accomplish something great!