This past weekend, Spartan Race has joined the celebrations of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary. To celebrate in style, the ballpark has been converted into an obstacle racing venue for the Spartan Sprint Time Trial, the shortest distance race in the series.
We could not have asked for a nicer day. I have to do a double take to make sure it is, indeed, middle of November in Boston.
We make it over to the race site for the 8.30am wave – excitement is in the air, as racers are picking up their bibs and painting their faces. The first trial wave, including Joe DeSena, the Spartan race co-founder, takes off at 7.00am.
I’m pretty sure this consent form says that I may die… eh? How many of these have I signed this year?
Unlike Spartan’s regular starts, each wave only has 10-15 people. Two minutes before the start, we line up, and warm up with 10 burpees. I am asked to demonstrate the form. I use the opportunity to crank out ten of the best-looking burpees I can master, knowing the burpee quality will diminish severely throughout the race.
As I take off, it is at the same time strange and exciting to know that this race I will finish fairly dry. And not covered in mud. Weird. We run up the incline having to duck, crawl under, and jump over the strips of strategically placed tape. I scrape my palm against the cement floor pretty early on – there may not be mud, but at least there will be blood!
One of the first obstacles – pick up a jug of water and carry it down the stairs. And then… up the stairs, obviously…
Guys had to carry two at the same time!
We also covered quite a bit of ground, running through the bleachers.
I am sporting a huge bruise on the side of my thigh, where I kept bumping into the chairs…
As expected… lots of stairs.
Some of the obstacles we encountered (in no particular order):
throw a ball into the basket
bunny hop up the stairs
medicine ball slams
burpees (and burpees, and burpees)
This sandbag was heavy. Holy moly. And we had to carry it for a bit. Up and down the stairs, naturally.
But the reward was… yours truly on the Fenway Jumbotron. Oh yeah…
Some classic Spartan obstacles close to the finish:
Last obstacle before the gladiator pit – looking pretty fresh!
I finish the race in 47:56, 8th woman, and 2nd in my age category. Not bad after the peak week insanity…
I look really mean while I race. What’s up, angry face?
I still suck at the spear throw.
Push-ups are easy. Yay!
As I walk around after the race, I run into a number of familiar faces. After racing in the first wave, Joe DeSena, is now busy around the race course. His kids are climbing the obstacle closest to him. I approach to say hello, and extend my hand for a friendly shake. I nod at his children climbing the closest obstacle, and ask if they are participating in the Spartan Kids race. “No”, he shrugs casually. “They are doing the regular race – they’ve upgraded”. Of course, they have…
Margaret Schlachter says hello after finishing, and is shortly off for her second lap – not an unusual occurrence!
Before we leave, I also get a chance to talk to Brian Duncanson, the other Spartan Race co-founder, who was also the race director for Fenway time trial. Brian’s background is in orienteering and adventure racing, so organizing a sprint in an enclosed space is definitely a new experience for him.
Solo: Was this race more difficult to set up and organize in terms of logistics and security?
Brian: Actually, this one was probably easier, as the whole thing took place in an enclosed space. We came here on Tuesday. Putting up tape between the seats took a lot of time.
Solo: Do you think you will do anything like this in the future or was this a one-off?
Brian: Oh, we will definitely be back.
Indeed, we will!!!
Be on the look-out for my video race report for Get Out There magazine coming out soon, including close-ups of specific obstacles, and interviews with Chris Davis, who lost over 300 pounds after discovering Spartan races, as well as with the parents of Margaret Schlachter from Dirt In Your Skirt who talk about raising and loving an extreme athlete.
Signing off, SOLO