When it comes to fitness, trends tend to change as quickly as Midwestern weather. Do high reps and low weight. Lift heavy but don’t do too much cardio. One trend that takes all these rules and drags them through the mud, literally, is obstacle course races. And none is bigger than the Spartan Race.
The Richmond Hunting Club in Richmond, IL hosted this year’s Chicago Spartan Super and Sprint Races on June 11 and 12th. And having completed a few races that I thought were similar in the past, I felt like this one would be easy to get through. I was wrong.
If this is the first time you are hearing about the Spartan Race, let me break it down a little. This was a course like no other. You have options of the doing the Sprint, 3-5 miles with 20 obstacles, the Super, 8-10 miles with 29 obstacles or the Beast which is 12-14 miles with 35 obstacles. And if you complete all three in the same year, you get the Trifecta honor where all three medal pieces come together to make one special medal.
My fiancé, Alexandra Jaimes, and I chose to do the Sprint and her having only just begun to go to the gym consistently as of late, finishing the race was a concern going into this. “Honestly, I didn’t see myself finishing,” said Jaimes. But because of the overwhelming support of those around us, she was able to push herself through the obstacles and to the finish line. “It felt like everyone was on a team and just wanted everybody around them to finish.”
And the obstacles are what make the Spartan Races so popular. From thirty foot cargo net climbs and atlas stone moving to spear throwing and miles of knee deep mud walking, these obstacles help test your mental and physical limits and are what makes the Spartan Race so unique. “I think these races are so popular because it opens up a whole new ball game for athletes,” said local personal trainer, Markus Brems. “It allows for someone who might not have been good at your “normal” sports, shine through and make something of themselves.”
And as funny as it might sound, during the race, you feel like you and those around you are a part of something so much bigger than the race itself. During the course of the normal day everyone is all about themselves going from one thing to the next and usually stepping on those under them to get to the top. But not Spartans. “My favorite part was the comradery between everyone,” said Jaimes. “I am now proud to say I am part of the Spartan family.”
You wouldn’t think that a mud run would give you an idea of what type of person you are, but that’s exactly what they do. They help push you to places you didn’t think you could go and give you the opportunity to help others around you, something that is rare in today’s society. “I did it with my fiancé and our bond is now stronger,” said Jaimes. “I can’t wait to do it again with a big group of friends.”
For more information or to sign up for the next Spartan Race near you, visit www.spartan.com.