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Spartan Sprint Tahoe 2015 – Race Recap

While the Championship Race on Saturday was the highlight of the weekend, lots was happening on Sunday as well – Ultra Beasters took off nice and early, followed by few more waves of the Beast, and then the Spartan Sprint – including the competitive wave, as well as the charity race, special wave for the media, and finally open waves throughout the day.

This was the first Spartan Race for my friend Abhi – an awesome guy I met while mountaineering in the Himalayas few years back. Another friend (hi, Jen!) joined us at the start, and we had a blast.

The Sprint course was a section of the Beast course (full GPS data here).

Distance = 4.65mi (7.47km)

It was longer than I thought it would be, but similarly to the Beast, it was a runner’s course – lots of single track, and runnable sections.

The blistering pace from the competitive wave confirms that this was a fast course indeed, with the fastest male time of just over 45 minutes.

Rose took first among females, coming in at 57 minutes on the dot. And another Canadian podium for the weekend – congrats, Allison!

Elevation = a measly 1,300ft (396m).

The lowest point of the race was 6,191ft (1,887m) , and we climbed to 6,936ft (2,114m) for a net gain of 745ft (227m). This is just a few hundred feet more than the Toronto Sprint earlier this year.

For the most part, we walked the hills, and jogged on the flat and downhill sections. The pace was quite manageable – I can always judge how hard I am working by heart rate. On Sunday, my average heart rate was good 30 beats below what it was on Saturday, which left me fresh at the obstacles. Sweet!

It was significantly warmer. Now mind you, the day itself was colder than Saturday – many struggled with the Ultra Beast, as it was freezing at 6am. However, because we started later in the day (11.30am), I did not struggle with the cold as much. I wonder why that was… Hmm. Ah, yes – not having to go into the lake (or under a dunk wall) may have had something to do with that. #captainobvious


As far as obstacles go, this race was quite tame, and light on obstacles. If you ran the Beast the day before, none of the obstacles would be new to you. All the work clearly went into the Beast, with the Sprint being more of an afterthought.

The rig was a bit of a bitchslap at the end though – given that this was not a difficult course overall.

Speaking of which… I made it across! The cheering of the crowd was fantastic (if you got across, of course).The day before I experienced the crowd’s disappointed collective “awwww”, when my grip gave out. You could feel the tension build, as racers successfully transitioned from the first set of ropes to the second hanging bar, as that’s where most fell off.

And from what I heard, not too many women made it across, so the crowd was ecstatic, indeed, erupting in cheers and applause. What a finish.

And an unexpected bucket list for me – a burpee-free Spartan Race!

Yes, it took me freaking four years to run one. I finally learned the damn spear throw (thanks to my friend Jamie), when they started including rigs – often at the end, and often covered in mud.

While I am usually quite strong on the rig, completing both the rig AND the spear throw has not happened for me so far (and when it did at the 2014 Championship in Vermont, of course, there was a second spear throw on the course. And let’s not forget those monkey bars, where many people failed that year, including myself for the first time ever, after the grip was completely worn out by the sandbag carry and few grip-heavy obstacles before that).

I can now attest with certainty that burpees ARE the most difficult obstacle. My god. Not having to do any, I felt like a million bucks at the end. Hoping for more of these burpee-free races in the future.

Liked this post? Check out my post-race analysis of the Championship Race!

Hugs, SOLO


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