As this race approached I was feeling more and more nervous. In fact I had never felt so worried about any race I have done, including the my first one. Spartan races have a reputation for being tough, but I think it was the thought of doing 30 penalty burpees for every failed obstacle that was really getting me worked up. I have always struggled with burpees and can’t do them fast or well. I also knew there were obstacles that I was going to fail, for example I know I can’t climb a rope, and it’s not a nice or comforting thought going into a race knowing there are things you just can’t do.
I arrived feeling quite sick, but having my awesome “RPCC famly” around me helped with the nerves, well, I say helped, as some of them had done the Sprint the day before and kept saying how tough it was – and this was going to be longer!
Spartan Races do not release their distances beforehand, they just tell you that the Super will be 13+km. With the people from the Sprint the day before telling us that the 5+km course clocked in at around 7km we were trying to mentally prepare for anywhere up to a 15km course, however I have seen some peoples data from the Super and it actually looks like it was only about 12km, surprisingly under distance. I said at the time it didn’t feel that far. The course was going to be hilly and over some tough terrain, but I was prepared for this as I had raced at Pippingford earlier in the year. Since at least some of the course had already been churned up during the sprint the day before, it was also going to be really muddy in places.
We gathered at the start line, for a bit of a warm up, although there was not much room, a race briefing and a lot of crys of “I am Spartan” and “AROO” then a quick three, two, one and we were off over the line.
We set off slightly downhill, across a rather bouncy bridge and then set off up a long gravelly hill, towards the top of which were a series of small walls, one to go over, one to go through and one to go under. As usual I’m sure I will start getting things in the wrong order and miss things out so please forgive me, I try my best.
After some tricky trail running, a bit of wading through mud and water it was back down the hill and heading back towards the main obstacle field by the event village where you were first taken into some trenches, to crawl under barbed wire and some netting suspended above the trench, this was followed by a short run to a large A frame net to climb up and over.
Once over the net you had to clamber in and out of a series of muddy trenches then it was around to the traverse wall. This was so slippery that despite really trying to take my time, my shoe slipped and I was off – this earned me my first set of 30 burpees so down I got and started the slow process of getting these done.
This was followed almost immediately by the monkey bars, slung low over a shallow pit of water, I gave it my best shot, but slipped straight off the narrow bars with a splash, clambered out of the pit and set to doing my second set of very muddy burpees. If there was ever a moment when I thought I might give up, this was it, 60 burpees already, very close together, and no idea what was coming next.
Once I was finally through with my burpees, it was back into the woods, through some more mud, one misstep and I found myself buried up to my knee, laughing I pulled myself out and carried on, before long finding myself at a sandbag carry, grabbing a bag I set off down the hill, around and back up again – at which point I took a bit of a wrong turn, but noticed quickly and set off again in the right direction.
Throughout the course there were several other sections where you had to carry objects, from huge atlas stones(which I struggled to even lift) to ammo boxes. Towards the end was also a jerry can carry, but there was a huge queue and the marshals suggested we just took the burpees as it would be quicker! There was also a heavy tyre drag, which I actually got through surprisingly quickly, and a log carry that took you through a pool of water that seemed to be full of rocks, but that I actually quite enjoyed.
A set of parallel bars at the top of yet another hill earned me another set of burpees as I failed to shimmy along holding up my own body weight, before setting off for another run.
Once again you looped into the main event village area, this time to be faced with a rope climb, followed by a hoist. I failed the rope climb, this was inevitable really, and did my burpees, then feeling a bit worried about my lack of strength, moved onto they hoist. I actually had no problem with this obstacle and heaved the weight to the top, lowering it carefully to the ground lest I pick up yet more burpees, then I was off again, up a hill to a barbed wire crawl. I chose to roll under this, which saved my knees and was quicker, but left me really dizzy!
Some more running, mud and obstacles such as a wall climb, which I managed with just a little push from the girl behind me, and it was time for the spear throw as you headed back towards the event village for the final time. My throw was on target, but not hard enough to stick in the hay bails, and another 30 burpees came my way.
After the spear throw it was around to the hang tough obstacle – which I again failed, yet more burpees and this time with the finish line in sight! Once I had struggled through these I sprinted off, trying to finish as strongly as I could. To finish you had to run up the steep side of an a-frame with the help of a rope, before climbing down the net the other side, before taking on a fire jump then a straight run down to the finish line.
After crossing the line you were handed a very nice sized medal, and 1/3 of my trifector attempt was successfully completed. There were some decent freebies once you had finished racing as well, including a cold beer, and some really nice ice cream. Then it was time for our customary post race selfies, hugs and group shots.
With my first Spartan Race completed, it’s time to look ahead to my second, the Spartan Sprint, which is next weekend and to think about really upping my training in order to complete the Spartan Beast in October, which still scares me. I was chuffed to find out when the results were published that despite my thought on the way round that being in the top 100 women in this race would be ok, I managed to finish in the top 20, and 4th in my age/gender category with a respectable time of 1h55mins.
I will leave you with our final group shot of the day. In the end despite being so nervous about this race I thought I might throw up, I had a fantastic day with some amazing people and enjoyed (almost) every moment of it.