Looking back on recent Spartan achievements, are you ready to get muddy this year?
Attracted by a mix of awesome obstacles, a chance for glory and new friendships forged in sweat and MUD, many participated in last year's challenging Spartan races. Spartan entered China in 2016 and has since then expanded to most major cities, with globally standardized obstacles and localized flair to prioritize instantly available hi-def photos (not even available in other countries).
If you aren’t familiar with these races by now, it’s about time you climb out from the rock you have been hiding under and watch the movie “300”, which depicts a band of muscly Greeks (the Spartans) sprinting around shirtless chanting cool things and kicking bad guys into wells (for the honor of Sparta of course).
First launched in the United States in 2007, Spartan obstacle races not only test physical prowess but also encapsulate team spirit with values of Courage, Camaraderie and Competition.
With a variety of distances listed on the Spartan website, some of our FitFammers banded together in fearsome groups to conquer the Sprint 5K with 20+ obstacles while others ventured out to the Super 12K with 25+ obstacles. Most will agree that helping one another across a course that challenges you in ways you previously may have thought of as impossible makes for an incredible and memorable experience. The cherry on top, of course, is to see your workout buddies fully caked in mud!
A few brave FitFammers journeyed on to “the Beast”. With 35+ obstacles and over 21 kilometers of racing distance (equivalent to a half marathon), this is no small feat. We spoke to some of our warriors about their journey and experience with the 3 races on their way to complete the legendary Trifecta.
Kelly “Xinghui” Chen
I did the Trifecta weekend in Beijing but also joined a lot of other races before and after, including the Shenzhen Sprint, Hong Kong Sprint, Taiwan Super & Beast and Hangzhou’s Sprint.
I signed up for the Trifecta weekend (all 3 races over one weekend) in order to complete the APAC Spartan City Series, and was selected to represent the China Spartan Team at the World Championship in Malaysia. Unfortunately, my partner had our visa applications rejected.
I was completely exhausted after that weekend not just because of the grueling races on back to back days, but also because I hadn’t slept for two consecutive nights before the start. Despite all this, I was happy with my performance as I know that I did my best in all of the three races and didn’t get hurt or injured despite my lack of sleep.
I knew there were some elements of danger in joining the Spartan race, but I just couldn’t wait to participate. The hardest obstacle for me was the two-sandbag carry followed by the twister. I used up all my strength, struggled to finish the sandbag carry and fell off the twister.
After the Trifecta weekend was over, I decided to focus on my weaknesses and began adding more weights to my squats and walks. I also worked on my grip strength to improve my pull up performance.
I set goals physical and career goals every year. One of them was to complete the Trifecta since I knew I wouldn’t have time to finish all 3 level races in 2019. So, after completing the Sprint and Super races, I was determined to go on to complete the Beast in Beijing.
My favorite moment of the Beast race was when I finally caught up with my teammate on the course. We got separated at the start due to some confusion over start times and thought I would end up doing all the obstacles alone. I went as fast as I could and was delighted to eventually make up the time and reunite.
I joined every Spartan-related training beforehand and took all of them very seriously. Sometimes I would even join a Skillz session with Igor or Mass workout with Richardson (the China Spartan Ambassador). In parallel, I added a lot of long distance running to complement the rest.
I recommend all this to anyone thinking of giving the Trifecta races a go. Take lessons and be prepared. I saw many people suffer from cramps or even vomiting during the race. So be prepared, especially if you're taking the Beast.
Dush Kumar Singh
When people ask me why I did it, I say it’s because I wanted to push myself. To see how much I could do. I think it’s the best way to find yourself. Completing the Beast was my favorite moment of the Trifecta journey as I simply never imagined I would be able do it. To me, the hardest obstacle was the monkey bars, multi rig. I had to practice over and over again and learn the technique before I could get across.
For any newbies I would say: “You can do it”. There is nothing to worry about if you push hard during training — you’ll gain more confidence in your ability to finish the races.
If you don’t how to train your body to prepare for such an event, don’t you worry: FitFam’s got you covered! On top of our regular HIIT workouts which give you a solid cardio and strength foundation, there are additional workshops provided by volunteer FitFam leader Igor Valentic. His sessions focus on specific skills and movements needed to overcome the all of the Spartan obstacle races.
Although the event itself is loads of fun, you may be surprised by how much you enjoy the preparation, the new friends you meet and the new tricks you learn along the way. A personal favorite is learning to trap a rope with your feet so you can ascend like a monkey and strike the bell to let everyone know about it.
Congratulations to all the FitFammers who completed their Spartan races and Trifecta in 2018!
If you’re searching for new things to try in 2019 or have yet to settle on a new year’s resolution, then you might want to consider joining a group of adventurous souls on an obstacle race.
FitFam has plenty of these and after sampling the rich muddy taste of Spartan fun in 2018, many will likely be drawn back by the allure of conquering its hardcore obstacles. If there’s ever a Trifecta Hall of Fit-Fame, we have no doubt that your hard work and success will get your name up there!