Spartan Race

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88 thoughts on “Spartan Race

  1. Quick and to the point, the race was a typical Spartan Race. No special obstacles or anything due to being at West Point.

    The medal was amazing, as it was the special military honor series and the lanyard for the medal was specific to West Point.

    The shuttle issue towards the end is my major concern, we waited 45 mins for the shuttle once we were online. Once we got back to the parking area, I saw 5 buses sitting there with drivers playing on there phones, unless there is a logistical issue or something, why weren’t they running back to pick up the people in line? With it being the first race at this location, I am willing to give them a pass, but SR does this every weekend, this is something that should’ve been ironed out.

    My other issue is the layout of the festival area, it didn’t have flow to it. From where the finish line was, to bag check to the rinse station.

  2. I raced on Saturday in the driving rain! OMG – due to the weather, this was by far the toughest race I have ever done. Going in with a knee issue didn’t help matters since the biggest obstacle here was the MUD! There was not much time spend out of 6 or more inches of mud.
    A big hat’s off to all the volunteers who worked the course on Saturday and tried to make it as safe as possible for all the runners.
    For Communication – same as always. Got my emails and took care of my paperwork. One note, spent time getting the waivers ready only to find out they are not using them anymore! They use the tablets at registration. Not sure why they are still telling folks to print waivers unless the tablets are not at all of the venues yet.
    For Venue and Festival – Well…had it not been a massive mudfest, I would have enjoyed the festival more! Seemed like everyone on Saturday was making the best of the weather. I was very grateful for the usual treats (drink, bar, banana) at the end of the race since it took me quite a while to get through the mud.
    There was absolutely nothing they could do about it, but the changing rooms were one big mud bowl too. I was thinking after that it may have been better if they had put some hay down or something to help but I am not sure it would have made a difference. The lack of water pressure in the “shower” area made for interesting cleanup.
    For Course and Obstacles – WOW! This is the big one! The course was one big swamp on Saturday. With my bad knee I tried moving quickly for a bit and it became very clear that I needed to carefully watch my footing. I was a bit miffed by some runners who didn’t seem to care about anyone else on the course and almost made me wipe out in the mud a number of times. I stay to the right on purpose – to let the faster folks through. I also am more than happy to stop and pull over and let you go. Just let me know you are there. Most were considerate or let me know they were coming up. It was only a handful who didn’t.
    The obstacles were mad crazy for me. Still working on upper body, I could not even get a grip on the hanging ones. I tried Twister and the rig but didn’t get far. Lots of muddy burpees – but I have to say the burpees were kind of fun in the mud!
    Again, the volunteers made it work. At the time I got to the rope climb, we were told we could not do the rope due to safety concerns and to move on. Then again, on Bender I was terrified of slipping off the top because it was so wet and muddy but I made it over!
    For Swag and Awards – The usual! Ran my race. Did my burpees where needed, Got my shirt and medal! Now off to the SC Beast for my first Trifecta!

  3. I raced on Saturday 6/17/17

    COMMUNICATION: As always I think Spartan does a good job getting the emails out ahead of time. I was glad that they wrote in an email about how the parking was offsite and was a bit of a ride away and also to get their early. I took the Spartan email’s advice and it paid off.

    VENUE & FESTIVAL: The venue was on the Boy Scout Reservation which was around a lake/pond. It was beautiful. The offsite parking was a little chaotic. Lots of traffic getting into the place and then there was a long line for racers/spectators to stand in to get on the bus. The bus ride was a good 20 mins to the venue. I had no problem with the parking and transportation when I arrived because I got there early (like 7 am). I saw the frustration on other peoples faces when I was leaving though. The festival area was good. Good freebies (yassou bars).

    COURSE & OBSTACLES: Loved this course! It was technical terrain, lots of rocks, roots, mud, and gentle rolling hills. Perfect for a sprint course! Definitely not a Norm course but that was fine! I wasn’t looking for a Norm course at a sprint either. The obstacles were the same as always…but hey, its a Spartan course!

    SWAG & AWARDS: We got the biggest team so yeah!

    1. Comments refer to Sunday race.
      I jumped in last minute due to an opening in my schedule and thanks to Groupon. When you register with your Groupon code you are charged the $14 for insurance.
      Registration was easy, but I was not able to get a start time until I got to the venue, as expected by my late entry.

      I was forewarned of the horrors of parking by Saturday racers. Sunday parking was a breeze. Pulled in at 7:30 a.m., handed over my $10 drove waaaaaaaay into excavation land to park. Attendants were excellent. Then I walked waaaaaaay back out to the bus. Must have passed 3 sections of portapotties (with toilet paper, thank you) and running water station for hand washing. Busses were lined up and ready for the 25 minute ride to the venue. No waiting here either. Then I walked waaaaay into registration. Very quick, took the 9 a.m. heat because 8:45 was coming up very quickly and I wanted to stop by the tent to say hello to teammates, have time to drop my bag, and yes, hit the bathroom before the race. I would make sure to arrive at least 90 minutes prior to your start time if parking/registration areas remain the same next year. It was a nice warm up and cool down walk.

      I have not raced a Spartan since the Barre Super Sunday of 2015. I was disappointed then and gave up on Spartan, but the new venue was too big a temptation. I remain unimpressed by Spartan today. The course was beautiful. The mud was the greatest obstacle–thick and slick with rocks and roots just waiting to trip you up. Definitely a technical challenge requiring more focus on foot placement. There are 2 new obstacles (since my last race): Olympus and the Twister. Both are incredibly challenging and extremely fun. Kudos for the ingenuity. I could have spent all day just trying to master them. 60 burpees, you’re welcome.

      What was missing? Monkey bars, balancing anything, traverse, log hops, atlas carry, tarzan swing, pulls (log, block), anything requiring a transition. I’m sure I missed examples, but when you make a sprint 5 miles and leave it at 20 obstacles, it becomes a trail run. And yes, I recognize that we get a lot from our local races so my frame of reference is warped 😉 However, this is Spartan and they should blow you out of the water every time. Take out the repetitive walls and use any of the above.

      The venue was filled with a ton of options to eat/drink as well as many other booths to check out. I did not see obstacle challenges for the spectators to try that would entice them to sign up for a Spartan or pass the time while waiting to see their racers. Our biggest team tent had a cool vantage point of both the rope climb and the twister.

      Honestly I feel like the course was a lot of run through mud, climb some version of a wall, repeat. Believe it or not, even though I judged Spartan harshly, I did enjoy the day. The course has huge potential. I hope that it is used again.

      As always volunteers were top notch. Racers were courteous and helpful with each other. Positive attitudes were abundant! And I am happy to say the course was amazingly clean of racer debris. Special shout out to all the Ragnar folks who completed the Spartan race today. You are one special bunch of peeps!

  4. Communication:
    This is coming from a Volunteer point of view. I volunteered for build the Sunday before the race. It was a very odd shift. Then we were told we were already sent out free parking pass information but it was never there. Upon communicating to Spartan I never heard anything. Another teammate had better luck and was told by Friday. We received it Thursday. Though in the end it didn’t matter as I opted to pay for VIP parking.

    Venue & Festival: The venue has a lot of pros. But the biggest Con was the parking situation. Due to where I live, I opted for VIP parking for $30 because I would have spent that in gas going out of my way to the general parking location and back. I’m 20 minutes from Treasure Valley but nearly 40 from the general parking in Charlton. Then add in a 20+ minute bus ride? No thank you. I am sure others can give more detailed experiences of their parking situation. I personally was not putting myself in that spot. The festival area was great, busy, and there was plenty of great spots for spectating.

    Course & Obstacles:
    I loved this course! I really enjoyed it, even the hills. It was just around 5 miles. It was mucky and technical, but that didn’t bother me. In some places it was one track trail. That bothers me at races because people can be rather inconsiderate on these places. I personally try to get out of the way but other racers try to rush past and it can get frustrating for all parties involved. But besides that I did enjoy it. They used the natural landscape very well. Between rolling hills, streams, and even a short river walk. The Obstacles were what I expect of Spartan. I was surprised at how much I wanted to try Olympus. Everything felt like there was a rather decent spread between the ‘running’ and the obstacles. It did not feel like it was all too bunched together.
    I think they put the venue to great use! Almost everyone I personally spoke to were saying they really enjoyed this venue.

    Swag & Awards:
    Typical swag. I really like the 2017 medal. Also the fact that Spartan dates their medals? Bonus!
    I’m not a fan of the shirt design, but I still like the feel of it, so it will definitely be a shirt I’ll wear often.

  5. Loved the venue – it felt so much more quaint and calm than a New England venue. It seemed like there was half the amount of people I normally see at MA sprints or in Killington. Parking was about 10 minutes down the road from the race and was organized and efficient. I really liked the way the festival area was set up – the Start and Finish were in one area, vendors in another, and bag check was close to the showers and changing stations, which was nice because some festival areas are not organized as well. I feel like I constantly walk in circles to try and find things.

    The course was awesome, probably my favorite course ever. It was tough on the legs – lots of climbing. I thought the ratio of obstacles to running was pretty good, which is shocking for a Spartan Beast. I really liked the new obstacles – a ring rig, the Bender, the Twister, and the Olympus were all great additions and made the race more challenging and exciting. I missed the spear throw and failed the Olympus and Twister – more failure and burpees than I am used to! However, the course was definitely short for a beast… only about 12 miles. Which is fine by me, but if you’re looking to hit that half marathon distance, definitely consider another beast. If you’ve done Killington – you’ll definitely survive. I don’t think there is anything worse than Killington’s death march. Even the uphill sandbag and bucket carries seemed easy to me in Montana.

    The 2017 shirts are fine by me – though as a Graphic Designer, I think the front and back graphics should switch, but that’s just personal opinion. 🙂 The medals are different than last year, as those of you who have done Jersey know. When you finish, you get a Builder’s bar, banana and water, which is typical. Nothing special here.

    I would highly recommend this race – it was my first time venturing away from the east coast, so the competition was tougher. I ran the elite heat and Faye Stenning, Alyssa Hawley, and Rea Kolbl were all there (and placed 2nd, 1st, and 3rd). I don’t think I’ve ever seen them at east coast races. I normally place anywhere from 10th – 35th in elite heats, and I placed 39th of 76, so this course and the competition were definitely challenging! And maybe the 10 mile hike the day before didn’t help… 🙂

    Montana is such a great state. I hiked the days before and after the race in Glacier National Park, and it’s just so beautiful here. The views from the race were incredible. Definitely consider this as a destination race!

  6. This was my second time running this race. last year it was my fourth OCR, first Spartan. This year it was my 14th OCR and 5th Spartan.

    Communication and registration were smooth as always.

    Venue is awesome. I love Fenway for a lot of reasons, and its an awesome place to run. I don’t pay too much attention to the festival, but putting it outside seems to work well. They probably could do awards in a better spot than a random section of the stands for visibility, but it enabled fans to get up close and personal with the pros, who were very willing to chat with the weekend warriors, including me.

    Course and Obstacles: It was very similar to last year. I felt that bear crawling up stairs was slower, but less of a back killer than the ropes on the ramp from last year, so that was welcome. Otherwise though, not much different, and that is a bit of an issue. I like everything they have, but swapping things out here and there, even among the “Spartan standards” might be nice. I am not in the “lets bash Spartan for not being innovative” crowd. I actually like that there is a level of consistency to their series, but I see no reason not to tweak it a little. A simple swap or two like slip wall instead for cargo net or multi rig instead of monkey bars wouldn’t be difficult and it would offer up something different, but still be consistent to Spartan’s standardized sport goal.

    As one of the people who got lost last year on that corner heading to the spear, I like that this was incredibly well defined this time out, and only can think of one spot where I had to ask where the course went, and a volunteer was right there to direct things.

    One thing that they could do, is make a slight change to the course and re route/add lanes for the large teams, including the wounded warrior ones. Seeing them on the course is amazing…but seeing people resort to jumping over chairs going down the grandstand to get around was a little worriesome, and I am glad I didn’t see anyone get tripped up on a seat. I think a special or extra lane here and there would be a pretty easy fix to keep these amazing heros on course, and still keep other people moving right along.

    Swag and awards: I really liked the stadium medal, and that its not the same as another, this was a good touch. I also like that there is a custom ribbon, even if last year’s was better, its still a nice touch that I wish extended beyond stadiums.

    All in all, I had a good time

  7. This was my first Spartan Race, so I’m not sure whether or not that will sway my opinion differently than others. I really enjoyed this race. It was short, I’ve heard varying distances but all are under 3 miles. I liked that they incorporated other activities other than things to climb over or under such as slam balls and jump rope.
    Communication leading up to the event was what I’ve found to be typical from races.
    Fenway as a Venue was awesome. When I saw that the afternoon team heat was 415, I was worried. But it was amazing running under the lights of Fenway and looking out over the city. I really enjoyed that.
    Swag and Awards were nice, I like that it says Fenway Park on the ribbon, as well as the year on everything.

  8. What an epic weekend at Fenway. While I have completed a few Spartans before, I had never done a stadium race. I started off the weekend by volunteering at the kid’s course on Saturday.. The email sent out said to report for 8am and that we would be done at 4pm. I arrived early, to make sure I had plenty of time to find where to park and then where to check in. We were given a choice of some chips, granola bars, oranges, and Uncrustables as food for the entire day (a full 8 hour day). The “start” time of 8am didn’t happen. We waited until about 8:30 before being taken over. We walked through the course, and were assigned stations. We were told that the bigger kids would be doing two laps, and the littler kids would only do one and would also likely be accompanied by an adult. I was stationed by the warning track, in the chairs/box seats. This area, while easy for kids, was not adult friendly. I heard MANY adults complain that they couldn’t get through to, or keep up with their child due to the many railings. The other problem, at least for adults, were the cup holders. They jutted out into the row around thigh height, unlike the cup holders on the adult course that were much lower. Due to going up and down the box seat area to help the kids running, I am now the proud owner of some very dark bruises. Other than that, the kids race was great as a volunteer. I was happy to be in a location that allowed me the opportunity to not only help the kids, but also cheer on the adults.
    Later on Saturday, I ran a lap with Team RWB and the New England Spahtens. I met some RWB people from other chapters, as well as some Spahtens. It was probably the best time I have had on a Spartan course to date. We weren’t running for time. We all got to the starting gate together, but because we were such a large group, we couldn’t all cross the starting line together. So, 15 at a time, we waited until we all got to be one large group again. Then came the stairs. And more stairs. Its one thing to hear people talk about the amount of stairs you would run doing a stadium race, its another to actually run them. I was managing the course quite well. The weather was cool, and it was early evening so the sun had set. I hit the spear throw (for only the second time in 9 Spartan races), and then went on to the monkey bars. Normally I skip them and go on to do my burpees, as I have never been able to complete them. This time, knowing that I had the support of some amazing teammates, I attempted them. I managed to make it 2/3 of the way through!!! I was so pumped! Then the water station came up, which felt almost too soon. But when the weather is perfect, and the sun is not out, and you are just taking your time, water isn’t necessarily needed (as often). I was at the top of my game on that lap. I conquered the Z-wall for the first time ever without any help. The walls were not much trouble (except the really tall one). When you run with friends, everything is awesome. My trifecta for the year was complete!
    On Sunday, I decided to run for time. I have never, in any of my races the last three years, tried to run for time. The weather was much warmer than the day before. I made the mistake of wearing too many warm clothes, and not drinking enough fluids the day before. I started off strong. The sun was beating down. The stairs sucked. I felt nauseous the entire time. The first water station felt like it was miles away. I was over heating. There would be no DNF, like what happened to me at the Barre Super this year. I was still completing the obstacles, until I came to the spear throw. 30 burpees later, I got to the monkey bars. I still had the feeling of getting 2/3 through from the night before, so I went for it, and fell off after the second bar. 30 more burpees. Then finally water. And more stairs. And then I got sick. Its tough to know that you may vomit on course when you are running in such an iconic stadium. Luckily I found a trash can. Then I was back at it. Still overheating, but I knew I had friends volunteering at the ball slam, and that kept me going. I walked some, and then ran again. I needed help over the 10 ft (??) wall. Thankfully a wonderful group of women (Bonnie’s Badasses) gave me a boost. Then I saw them, my wonderful friends at the ball slam. I took off some layers and left them there. Ball slammed by way to the second water station (which again, felt soooooo far away). The last bit was the switch backs through the stands, in the shade (so glorious to be out of the sun). The last couple of obstacles were fairly easy, except the rope climb (one day I will get to the top and ring that bell!). And I crossed. It took me longer than I wanted, and I didn’t complete some of the obstacles that I had the night before. BUT I pushed myself. And I can only get better from here.
    The last little bit I have to say is about our team, the wonderfully awesome New England Spahtens. I have never before had such a large group of welcoming people in my life. I needed the support from #mytribe and they did not disappoint. I had all the love and hugs I could want. I can’t imagine belonging to any other group.

  9. Communication – i feel spartan sends out TO MANY emails and some of them just feel like they send out a stupid ” update” so they can pimp the sponsors

    venue – not 100% spartans fault. the construction going on at fenway had some adverse effects on course layout and such.I wonder if the red sox had informed spartan in advance of this and maybe a date change could have served this race better.

    course – said it before say it agian if you have done a spartan in the past 4 years nothing has changed. also was not a fan of all the short and fast switch backs just felt like wasted effort to attempt to pad millage on a event. if its short so what just sell it as a less than 3m event in advance. also this year just felt very obstacle light to me .
    Obstacles – a dept spartan FAILS at time and time again , there lack of innovation and abality to mix things up is what kills them. take away the walls and exersise ” obstacles ” and i am not sure we even got 10 real obstacles yesterday. considering this event is on the price range of most BEASTS you would think they could do a little more. for some reason we dont see a inverted wall, slip wall or even stairway to sparta at the stadiums . why?

    swag & awards – i miss the days of the custom colored medals to correspond with the home team colors it really made those medals pop. even though not a fan of the stadium design if they could have atleast used a home team color insted of the black backing would have been a HUGE improvment.

    spartan calls itself “Spartan Race is the leading global obstacle racing series! ” with each passing race i disagree more and more with that statement. its more like a wall and calisthenics race series . Spartan keept touting ” new ” obstalces but they get seen for one or two races and thats about it then they go into the graveyard. This is why in 2017 the only spartan event i plan on doing is the fenway one and the only reason for that is because that is where i started in 2012 other than that there are much better obstacle races that actually put focus on OBSTACLES id rather put my money towards.

  10. The communication pre-race was the same as usual for a Spartan. They seem to have this under control. Fenway Park as a venue is fun and they make good use of the entire park for the course. I did think the biggest team area was lame. Very Small for when you are expecting a big team. It felt like an after thought. Last year as much better.
    The course this year felt more like a runner’s course than last year. It felt like a lot of space between obstacles compared to last year. Then they hit three in a row right before the finish. That being said I enjoyed the course. The obstacles were mostly the standard Spartan stuff, monkey bars, spear throw, Herc hoist, etc. But because of the stadium and lack of mud, they added in some exercise events like ball slam, hand release push ups, and box jumps.
    The festival was ok. Some good vendors out on Yawkey way. Hopefully seeing wreck bag there will mean Spartan starts using them rather than those pancakes.
    For swag, I liked that they had a different Stadium series medal but the shirt was the same old same old.
    i love Fenway Park and the race was a good challenge. I’ll be back next year.

  11. This race was important to me as I was going for my first Trifecta ever. A year ago from today if you asked me what OCR stood for I wouldn’t have been able to answer. Spartan to me was the movie 300 and no more. I had always been fit but was lacking something. So last fall I had seen something about this Spartan racing and drew my interest. I reached out to my friend Google and said I would sign up for a race in 2016, it ended up being a Sprint in Barre MA in June. In Jan i started training… more than just the gym routine though. I started trail running once a weekend and doing more Cross Fit type training. Ran the Sprint in June and LOVED it…… like I was reborn or something. The energy level was off the charts. After race read up on Spartan races and decided to go for the gusto and signed up for the VT Beast in Sept. (yes skipped the Super and review to follow below) glad i did because the Beast is what its named for ….. the BEAST. I was humbled beyond my imagination and almost caved 5 or 9 times! But my fellow racers is what kept me on track. Didn’t know names …..didn’t care. It was just the selfless acts that were displayed that motivated me and I gave back as much to them as I could. I finished that race and felt something I had never felt before….and wanted more!! Spartan does a good job as far as I have seen thus far. I’ve done some other local races in between and I know thats what this group is all about so I respect that but Spartan still showed me welcomed respect. Ok now that I’ve given you my bio sort of….. the NJ Super review. I raced Sat 8:45am…. loved the venue! The drive in was breathtaking as the fall foliage was peak and the crisp air was nice. Stayed in hotel Friday night and arrived at Mountain Creek right at 7:30am Sat. I had free VIP parking which paid off later in day…lol. Weather was chilly, drizzle, and windy…..perfect racing weather! I stowed my bag and warmed up. The base area was already pretty muddy which got worse as day went on. 8:45…Booom! The course was pretty good and there was enough gaps in waves to pass. Muddy in many places but I liked it! More mud the better right? gloves were useless and I saw many people tossing theirs (which wasn’t cool and I picked some up along the way) loved the 2 barb wire crawls and one with big mud pits. Wind was brutal at top in open areas but fortunately most of race seemed to be in woods on trails so you were sheltered by the woods. Nice of them to put the dunk wall at end before fire jump as that might have been a game changer if done half way. This was my best race of the 3 Spartans I ran this year. I enjoyed this one the most even with the weather conditions. My 1st trifecta and next year looking for more and also more local races as well. I would recommend this venue and I thought Spartan crew did a nice job with swag, vendors, staffing, food, etc.

  12. I loved this race and I will definitely be back next year. The obstacles were awesome and it was great that they brought the Tarzan Swing back. Good to see they fixed the issue they had last year with the lack of water. All in all this was one of my favorite OCR races that I’ve ever been a part of.

  13. This was an absolutely amazing race and is what OCR is all about for me. I race for the challenge to push myself to places I’ve never been. This race always does that for me and this year was no different. The venue is amazing and the course is top shelf. The obstacles provided a challenge even if they are the same at each race and the return of the swim / Tarzan ropes was very ideal. I even completed that obstacle!! The climbs were brutal and the death march very humbling. I finished the race in just over 6 hours and was surprised by how well I did and how hard I pushed myself. I felt very accomplished and confident that potentially someday I could do the ultra beast. I recommend this race to anyone looking to push themselves to another level. You will learn a lot about yourself and leave feeling accomplished on this brutal but fun course. I will see you in 2017 Killington!!!

  14. In my opinion, this was the best Killington course out of the 3 that I have done. 2014 I was in shock, 2015 was alright, but 2016 I loved. The festival area was not overly amazing. It seemed like it was a little cramped. I like a little more room to move around to see the course and a few more vendors might be nice. Now the course, the obstacles were the usual suspects one can expect from a Spartan Race; monkey bars, various walls, rope climb, Hercules hoist, rolling mud, and so on. I was very excited to see that they had the swim this year. And that lovely nature walk around the lake, was just a nice little addition.The carries were not soul-crushing. They were your standard log and sand bag carry etc… Not too long or steep. The other portions of the course I thought were well done. The trails were very clearly marked. The single track through the woods was not stupid difficult and for the most part resembled a “trail”. The fact that I was able to freely run a huge part of these downhills may have made a difference on my outlook. Even when there was a lot of people on the single track, we were still able to move around to pass and to let other people pass, which probably helped the UBers. Overall, the hills and climbs were really tough. This is the type of course where you had to work for every foot. They gave you nothing, which makes crossing that finish line that much sweeter. There was plenty of staff and volunteer support available. Water stations were not an issue. I never felt like I was in danger of being without water. I’m not sure what else I can really say. This race made me want to get back on that mountain immediately. Normally it takes me a few weeks of not thinking about Killington, but this year that was not the case.

  15. This was my first Beast, fourth Spartan, and 11th OCR.

    I loved the race. I like the Spartan trend of long run/hike in some areas and packed obstacle gauntlets in others – its challenging in both regards, and honestly probably spreads the field a bit. I ran competitive, where I was front of the middle of the pack, so there was no bottlenecks, but you never had the course to yourself either – which I like – as I’ve taken wrong turns before in less populated races. I am an avid hiker, so I actually liked the death marches, and was passing people like crazy on them – so I say lets add more! I did see some volunteers and staff not enforce the no help/men using women footholds on the 8′ wall where I had to burpee – it was little annoying, but it was that one spot, and not a ton of people.

    The obstacles itself were Spartan standards, plus the swim to bridge Tarzan Swing, which was the most fun I’ve ever had failing an obstacle. Overall, people were generally super positive on the course, the Spahten summit cheering section was really welcome, so I am glad they let people take the Gondola up.

    Festival was standard vendors I didn’t visit as usual, I did by snack bar food – best hummus wrap I’ve had in a long time. I got my standard medal and shirt, which is enough for me – I’m racking up swag so much, I don’t care about compounding it with special shirts. The DJ could’ve stood to play some Phish, as we were in VT after all, lol!

    I do agree that 1:00 and 2:00 heats were probably unreasonable. I finished in under 7 hours, but I noticed that not a lot of people did, especially in Open.

    All in all, a great day, I can’t wait to go back and try to break 6. I also hope that next year that they do the Sprint and Beast on different weekends like Tuxedo and Palmerton, so I can do both without racing back to back days – because that wasn’t happening – I was tired after, really fulfilled, but tired!

  16. I’m reviewing this as a spectator this year. My spectator experience was pretty good because I worked to figure it out. I spent some time down at the bridge, up on Bear Mtn, and at the finish line. Two things Spartan could do to improve:
    1) Give spectators a map – many had no idea where to go first or second or anything. I met a lot of people up on Bear Mtn who thought that was near the beginning of the race rather than the end. A simple page directing people on where to go when (and by when I mean first, second, third, etc. not specific timing) would improve the spectator experience immensely.
    2) The gondola to Bear Mtn opened earlier than Killington’s normal time. Great! But, why not ask that they stay open a little later? It could have run an extra hour before dark. At the very least, let people know when it is closing. We found out at 5:45 that it would be closing at 6:00 and spent that 15 minutes making sure all the spectators knew it was about to close. We/They would have all had a really bad time getting down if we hadn’t figured it out in time. There was a bit of a panic at the last minute because no one knew.
    Overall I had a great time. A spectator information sheet or some such with the logistics is the next step for Spartan to improve on an experience that spectators have to pay for. Give them their money’s worth.

  17. Communication and event information was as usual with Spartan, just fine. Nothing of significance to note.

    I didn’t have time to really check out the venue/festival areas before the race, after the race I was too tired to explore, and gave this a low rating as I couldn’t find the last water obstacle…the hoses. No one seemed to know. You never know what you’ve been crawling through….so I like being able to clean up at least a little bit after these races.

    The course and obstacles. After doing various Spartans and other races, I find that I am enjoying the trail running (well more like hiking up and running down). Killington did not disappoint. This was my first time doing Killington and it kicked my ass. Challenging technical climbs and descents, hill climbs that depleted everything and more from you, and down hills on the slopes that taught me I need bigger shoes (I like my toenails). When all is said an done, this course eats you, nut will leave you with awesome humbling views and fills you with pride that you made it. The obstacles…well, been there done that…this isn’t a tough mudder with cool new obstacles. Lift heavy crap, put it down. Crawl, crawl, crawl. Oh a wall. And lets put a bunch of crap at the end. Okay, one exception…I loved the swim. I found it very relaxing…really. I rated this a 9 almost completely based on Killington and the trails.

    The swag and awards. I call BS. This is Spartans back yard. I’m assuming the name Beast exists because of Killington (Beast of the East). There is no reason they should not have memorable shirts and medals ALWAYS for this one. As this was THE Killington Beast, I had to buy a shirt to make it memorable. Maybe that’s what they want….but to me that’s stupid as it comes off as being cheap.

  18. In a moment, I will paste my original review from my personal thoughts…but first, I wanted to address a couple of issues that I had with the race…

    1. I appreciate that Spartan has added the signs at obstacles telling people it’s ok to not do the obstacles if they don’t feel they have the skill or physical ability to do so. I do not appreciate the couple of volunteers I came across later in the race that berated me for not doing an obstacle/not doing burpees as my penalty (I replaced my burpees with 30 jumping jacks), although I still thanked them for being there after giving them a piece of my mind. I don’t care what you do with your race…if I’m racing open, which I always do, and I paid for my race, which I darn sure did, I will do what I came to do, and not what you feel I should do. I have a medical reason for not doing burpees, and I’m not going to explain it to every person who questions me. If Joe doesn’t want my money because I won’t do burpees, or won’t do an obstacle because I’m so broken I don’t feel I can do it safely, then he can personally ask me not to register for any more Spartan Races.

    2. Parking worked out for me…but it was a crap-show for some, having to park in a lower lot and be bussed up. That messes with preparation, if you don’t know it before hand.

    3. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so much trash on a course. People, have some respect for your surroundings, and the other racers on the course…it takes less than 30 seconds to tuck your trash into a pocket, your pack, or even your sports bra, ladies.

    4. I was a little disappointed with the medal design. With Killington being the birthplace of Spartan, I expected that the medal would at least say Killington/Vermont on it. What-evs, though, I’m still proud of earning it.

    And now a personal note:
    As I sit here with my morning coffee, I’ve been reading through all of my friends’ accounts of their experiences at Killington this past weekend. I have a few thoughts of my own I’d like to share.
    Before this weekend, I never quite understood the draw people feel to race at Killington. I always swore I would never race at Killington, for the simple fact that it’s a mountain…and everyone who knows me knows how I feel about “hills.”
    Fortunately, I met an amazing person last year, who became not only a very dear friend, but who is also my race wife. Debbie Finnigan and I decided we wanted to run the Chris Kyle Memorial run in Dallas this year…which happens to be a Spartan Beast. One thing led to another, and we hatched this “brilliant” plan for our Double Trifecta this year..which, of course, included Killington.
    Right up until I jumped the wall into the starting corral on Sunday, I was still adamant that I was never racing at Killington. It didn’t matter that physically, I was obviously there and getting ready to head onto the course….my brain was still in denial…and pretty much stayed in that mode until I hit the summit after the Death March.
    I’m not going to bore you all with the gruesome details of how brutal the course was. I think Saturday’s course was brutal, and Sunday’s was brutal in a different way. It rained for 4-5 hours sat night into sun morning…giving us sunday runners the added obstacle of slick terrain and slick obstacles.
    The day was tough. I fell…a lot…I scooted on my ass…a lot…I dropped f-bombs…A LOT (sorry to the parents who had kids out on the course)…I cried..a lot…but I also smiled and laughed…a lot.
    The highlights of my weekend, though…they are all about the people…
    On Saturday, I had the pleasure of finally meeting and hugging two very special gingers…Russ Blatt and Jeff Engler…I <3 you both, and I'm incredibly proud to call you friends…You were both out there in spirit with me on Sunday…
    On Sunday, I finally got to meet my FB friend Sharon Bolt 🙂 We met in the starting corral and ran into each other a few times on the course. She always had an encouraging word for me, and her smile kept me going.
    Isaac Lavado and Rob Butler, you caught up to us in the woods…on one of our many uphill treks…your hugs, smiles, and words of encouragement were much needed and much appreciated. <3
    To the couple who came upon me at the summit after the Death March…you caught me at a vulnerable moment…sobbing like a baby, because that was all that was left in me at that moment…when I finally gave in to the fact that I was racing Killington…It took me 1hr15m to walk, scoot and finally crawl my way up that damn mountain…I was afraid I wouldn't finish, after being on that hellish course for 11hours…I was beaten up, cold, nauseous, and just overall broken…I don't know your names, but your words of encouragement got me back on track…and I finished…and you know that because I saw you for a brief moment afterwards and you remembered me. Thank you.
    There are so many other people that I saw and talked to and hugged…and I can't possibly remember everyone…but I think I've tagged the majority of those I know…and of course, my NE Spahtens family played a HUGE roll in my perseverance and success. Huge shout out to Hannah Hawley, who was at the finish line to give me my medal, a much needed hug, and a shoulder to cry on. You have no idea how much that meant to me <3
    Debbie Finnigan, thank you for staying with me…and looking back to make sure I was still behind you when you got ahead. Thank you for finishing your race, even though you didn't see my text until afterward telling you not to wait for me. And thank you for coming back out on the course to try and finish with me, even though I missed you. I never would have gotten through this race without you.
    Killington is a beautiful place. There are some fantastic views, especially at the top. That being said, I will NEVER race at Killington again. I got what I needed from that mountain, and I left things I no longer needed on that mountain…I will visit…I will support my friends who still feel the love and draw of racing there…
    Peace out, Killington…thanks for the experience and the did your damndest to break me…but I won…

  19. Communication of the originally published cutoffs was good – if only more racers actually read the athletes guide they might not be upset. The course itself was fantastic (in an I hate Norm kind of way), but obstacles were the same old thing you see at every race – minus the swim / ladder / tarzan ropes. Would love to see something like that more frequently! I agree that Spartan had no business selling start times out to 2pm. Last wave should have left no later than 12pm.

    1. Let me start by saying this was my first beast and first Killington race, I’ve done a few other Spartans- both sprint and supers and this completed my first Trifecta. I’ve not done any other OCR so can’t compare to any of them.

      I raced Saturday, competitive division so I could get an early start, 8:00am and that paid off. Stayed a short walk from the Snowdon Lodge so parking was not an issue but was surprised to see no shuttle buses around when I got there at 6:35am so just started walking up to K1, was picked up immediately by other racers-Thanks! I like to have my paperwork all set so I printed and signed waivers ahead of time but was surprised to find out we needed another for Killington, no big deal for me since I was there before any lines but I could see it being a pain for the later racers once the lines started-Spartan should have let us know ahead online like they have done with Fenway and the multiple waivers. One thing that always irks me about the Spartan races is the cost of a spectator pass $20 bucks on line (plus taxes and fees bring it up to almost $24) is really kind of crazy especially if they are trying to generate more interest and people-just my pet peeve.

      Obstacles were what I expected, not sure how many new varieties they can come up with unless like at Killington they have the pond and bridge to utilize. The course was brutal, but I did my share of reading and figured it would be, about the only thing I was not quite prepared for was the last climb straight up K1, it was brutal! The finish was “heavy” with obstacles but it kind of makes sense putting a bunch close to the venue so people have a chance to watch plus I had no desire to do any on the way up K1. One thing to note for me was there were at least two spots along the route that I almost took the wrong trail and could have used a “wrong way” sign, maybe that’s just my age coming thru. Also probably should have planned for a larger burpee area at the swim since I’m sure like me, most of us had to.

      For me the venue seemed fine, not crowded, I finished at 3:00, my wife was right there and able to come over and greet/congratulate, we spent a few minutes checking out the gear, etc and then headed to get my bag and hose off. All that seemed well placed Bag check near the start-showers near the bag check-etc.

      One thing I did not even notice was where they “challenge” area was, tire flip and wall? Not that I was doing them but I’ve always seen that stuff going on in Barre at other races

      I’m kind of rambling here and not so good at putting my thoughts into words but all in all I was satisfied, there is always room for improvement but I think they’ve done a pretty good job of organizing an event, utilizing hundreds of volunteers with probably little prior experience, to pull off a race that by my gps log was 15.8 mile and 6400+ feet of elevation gain over who knows how many acres. I had no issues at water stops or obstacles with lines and back ups or bottlenecks along the route.

  20. The course was truly brutal in nature which was to be expected. Terrain was very gnarly! Finishing this in the allotted time for many people was impossible. I get this is a Beast and meant to be difficult but open wave competitors deserve a chance to gut it out and have a reasonable chance to finish if they can keep moving. Start times for a race of this caliber should be earlier and nothing in the afternoon. Its too much for a lot of people to make the cutoffs when starting late. I barely finished just before 9PM and many many people were cut at the rope climb due to time and got DNFs. I think that some suggestions for improving chances for people are to avoid the bottlenecks. There were several crazy steep and long singletrack climbs through the woods where there were lines of racers 100s long waiting to proceed. It was nearly impossible to pass anyone and the line moved so slow. Some wider tracks or parallel tracks through these sections would ease congestion. Some of the obstacles had major congestion too. The swim was this way as there were so many people at the tarzan swing and people were waiting and waiting. And then those who had to burpee, and there were a lot, had no place to do them. Again…congestion. Trying to open up more space in these situations would be ideal. I really maintain that the festival venue has to improve for spectators. More tents and seating. And better communication. My wife was there alo e for 12 hours and for large chunks of time there were no athlete updates which worried her as well as a lot of other people. There needs to be better athlete updates….more reliable and more often. And there were too many obstacles all together. There should have been more spread out in the long stretches of trails.

  21. This may have been the toughest Killington yet, purely for the endless technical trails and mileage. We also once again got to enjoy a nice long (200 yd) swim in the lake, interrupted by a rope ladder up to a bridge with a tarzan swing. Otherwise the obstacles were all what is to be expected at a Spartan Race; walls of various sizes (not many), a monkey bar, rig, log carry, bucket carry, sand bag carry, 2 barbed wire crawls, rope climb, spear throw, atlas carry, sled pull, sled drag, slip wall, inverted wall, cargo net, Z-Wall (traverse wall), Tyrolean Traverse (rope traverse), Herculean Hoist, Rolling mud w/ Dunk wall… none of these in a specific order, however the end was pretty obstacle heavy. The rope climb at Spartan seems to have moved away from having water, which makes it much easier to get up and no recovery from cold water needed, though this wasn’t an issue for everyone on this warm day, but can be on the beast that is Killington with its unpredictable weather. I really do wish there was something more for obstacles, which is something I have said for each Spartan I have done this year. I just felt like something was lacking, and for an obstacle course, my upper body should feel A-OK the day after.
    This was my 4th Killington Beast in the last 5 years. It was my first Ultra and I DNF’d along with many many others for both the Ultra and the regular Beast. This was so tough, with nearly 16 miles and estimates between 9-13,000 feet of elevation change. Many were not prepared for such a feat. Many were cursed from the beginning with far too late start times for such a course. One of my big complaints is that the UBers were started a 1/2 hour late and told that cut-offs remained the same. Apparently the cut offs were bumped a 1/2 hour mid-day and this was not communicated so many, like myself, did not rush to the transition. Full disclosure, I had no plans of finishing that day, however I would have liked the chance to make it to the next cut-off. Instead I stopped and talked to friends both on top and on the bottom of the mountain after I finished and took my time through the end to find out I would have had a few minutes to get out on a second lap. I do know my body needs more conditioning before attempting this race again.
    As for venue and festival- Coors was the free beer- I was all set and I heard the “Free Beer” tickets were changed to “Free Drink” tickets, which is a nice move by Spartan because many don’t drink, or at least don’t drink Coors Light. yuck. The fact that they had the gondola running is so awesome. The last horrific climb was up the gondola hill and we got people cheering us from the gondolas the whole way up and friends and other cheerleaders on the top, which is where many of us needed it. A mile and a half left on Killington is probably going to be your hardest and longest miles.
    As for Swag and rewards… Well the Beast Medals looked cool. Some of the one lap Ultras took a Beast Shirt and Medal. It is my understanding that I was a DNF for the Ultra Beast, which is what I signed up for so I did not get a shirt, medal, or any time. I wish I got a DNF in my time box in Chronotrack after my already marked zone times. I started… that counts for something. At least I got a nifty Beast green armband! I also missed all the end of race extras- FitAid, banana, water, builders bar… I managed to get some friends to grab some for me though!
    Communication was pretty unclear, never an athlete guide ahead of time enough, but having Spahtens with experience makes it a non issue for us, but a huge issue for many. Like the headlamp thing… How many times do we hear “Oh, I won’t need a headlamp” or “I’m basing this off my half marathon time.” So wrong. People don’t understand that Killington is a Beast like no other.
    **This is written with my one-day post Killington brain. While it is all still fresh in my brain, I hope it is clear enough in writing!

  22. NOTE: I didn’t get to race Killington, so I’m leaving Course & Obstacles and Swag & Awards out of my ranking.

    As a spectator – the venue was cramped, with tricky access to anywhere other than the few festival obstacles and the one highlight being the lift to the summit – which they shut down at 6pm, way before night fall and way before we got to see all our peeps in.

    Parking blew. Even staying at the Killington Grand and getting buses, the lines were frequently long at high points with seemingly no change in the bus schedule to compensate.

    Last minute change in our meeting spot due to a mix up in communications on HQ’s part.
    HQ had no business selling tickets for waves after mid-day.

    Festival was the usual – zero new, no outside vendors.

    Highlights: Sandy Rhee giving every single racer a high five at the summit. The Candy Girls giving out Kisses and more. Every single Ultra Beast runner. Everyone who went out, and DNF’d. All my friends, and new friends. *That* is why I come to Killington.

    100% effort is rewarded way more richly than a medal at the finish line.

    See you in 2017, Killington.

  23. After last year, Spartan completely redeemed themselves and did the original Beast venue the justice it deserved.

  24. i do the Beast every year. This was the hardest. The long climb at the end killed me. Upon reaching the top there was a heap of hugs to be had from all the other Spahtens spectating. Loved the trail portions, both up and down. Good obstacle set -up, I really need to work on Tarzan swing and baseball swings. Happy with the swim and the switch to a ground based rope traverse.
    The medal should have said it was the VT Beast, even if just the lanyard. It is not the same caliber as other beasts. Fitaid, Clif builder, banana, shirt handout was perfect.
    The parking situation sucked.
    The layout of the festival was not racer friendly and the placement of the showers from bag check and changing rooms sucked, it was like another obstacle.
    I love the VT Beast. It is my pinnacle race of the year. I’ll be back. The upside of the course wipes all the downsides away.

  25. As usual the star of the race is the mountain itself. How many different ways can they send us up 30+ pct inclines. No new obstacles showcased just where do they put them and once again memory challenge without having to repeat it Kilo 6536120 . usual post race swag, festival a little smaller than previous yrs, imo, start and finish where 2014 race started. Had a few personal victories today, and certain training realizations too,abut then again OCRWC is the big race on my schedule, not this one. In many ways I felt this was the toughest course in the 4 yrs I’ve done it because I felt certain aspects of my conditioning were better than in yrs past.

  26. This was my first Spartan Super (I completed 3 Sprints prior to this, including the one in Barre, MA, in June 2016). I completed the race on Saturday, August, 13. The race was 8.1 miles (officially) with 28 obstacles. I read in some reviews that the course was actually nearly 11 miles, not 8. I didn’t wear a GPS device, so I can’t speak to this but the course sure felt long and challenging. It was a blast though! Loved every minute of it. You can read my full review of the course and obstacles here:

    Here are just some venue highlights. The parking situation was your typical Spartan parking -$10 and they shuttle you in a school bus to the actual festival area. It was a very hot day and I think Spartan Race did a great job to supply water, I didn’t bring a hydration pack and was satisfied with the amount of water provided during the race, even considering the heat. At one point, we even received strawberry Clif energy bloks, which were delicious! After the race, we received your typical bananas, beer and Clif Builders bars (love these!). In terms of improvement for the next time, I would love to see more food options at the venue. Some vendors were running out of food and your choices are pretty limited to say the least. Would love to see some nice food trucks next time!

  27. I raced at Barre, MA this past Sunday. I thought the distance and obstacles were great, but the festival didn’t seem to have much going on and there really should be an alternative option to beer; it shouldn’t be beer or nothing, offer another Fit-Aid or even water.

    Before all of this, I also had some difficulty in communication about the hours and location of my volunteer shift (nothing major).

    I love these races so it really doesn’t take much for me to enjoy myself, but I hate hearing that people are being scoffed at or discouraged about things like their choice not to consume alcohol (I just throw my band away, but there NEEDS to be a change).

    Anyhow, overall I thought the course/race itself was great!

  28. it was my very first Spartan super and I had a blast and it was so nice meeting everyone and I like everything there they had plenty of water stops I think it was total 5 water stations and I filled my bladder at 4 times.

  29. Spartan came back to Carter and Steven’s Farm in Barre, MA for the Super event weekend…and so did I earning my first trifecta.

    Communication – this particular race communication came out close to the race as it usually does, but had some issues working on the site to get bib numbers assigned. Got mine in the end thus enabling me to complete my waiver pre-drive to the race location to cruise through registration.

    Venue and Festival: – The parking I chose was the off-site option for $10 and a bus ride from there. Had I known (or remembered from the Sprint) there was closer parking for the same price and just a short walk I may have gone that route. I’m not sure where the $10 goes that I paid…maybe for police detail, bus driver’s to take time out of their weekends, to the farm if they own that land as well…I just hope it isn’t into Reebok’s coin purse. The venue of Carter and Stevens Farm is always a nice one and the festival was laid out well with well marked shower areas, biggest team tent, start line and vendors. Would have been really nice to see other options for fruit (like oranges along with bananas for those allergic) or something nice and cold (or frozen, i.e. Pro-Yo so good) at the end of a very hot and humid race. PA system could use some work throughout since the announcers mic kept cutting out when he would speak, but the music played through no issues.

    Course & Obstacles – Is meh acceptable? Trails could be a bit wider so single file isn’t the only option. Having the rolling mud and dunk wall in the middle of the course was a welcoming refresher (yes, coming from the girl who hates going underwater with my unfounded fear of drowning) with the heat being so brutal this weekend…kudos to course design for that one if it indeed was intentional. Where were the monkey bars? The rig was very difficult with the last ring seeming to be much further than the others and quite slick with humidity, sweat and tears – if they were metal I feel that obstacle could have had a much lower failure rate. Volunteers, as has been mentioned before, should be out there encouraging participants, describing obstacles and ensuring safety – not playing on their phones or not even looking in the direction of the obstacle. Yes, it was hot. Yes, volunteer hours are long. Yes, I thank every volunteer that I come across…even the ones watching me do burpees when I fail. While I know and understand that obstacles are “optional” for those of us not in elite or competitive status waves, I still believe that simply skipping an obstacle should result in penalty burpees or whatever other failure penalty that participant is able to do physically…why sign up for the event if you aren’t even going to try? Seriously annoying. With that being said, and I know I’ve seen it said before, run your own race. To me that means helping others on the course, offering an encouraging word, food, a leg up all while competing with myself to finish. It does not mean pushing people out of the way, being rude or mean and clean up after yourselves – I have yet to see a Dust Buster attached to anyone’s hydration pack (this event was much cleaner than I’ve seen before).

    Swag & Awards – what can I say, I love the medals here. Love that Spartan includes the trifecta piece with the regular race medal. Love that the ribbons are the same color as the medal to distinguish them and that they have the year on them as well. I enjoy the shirt and wore it around the campsite after I took a nice long hot shower at the campground’s community shower house (not putting that in my camper, thank you – no offense to Carter and Stevens Farm or their animals). Didn’t get much swag this time around. The free auto sticker is now a larger size, making it not match my others and throwing my rear window scheme all off (but, how can I really complain, it was free).

    Overall the more Spartan races I do, the more similarity and stagnation I see. Different obstacles, different layouts, better use of surroundings, heck…even just change up what is under the obstacles (mud under the ropes, water under the tyro, etc. but let’s not get too crazy all at once, I still want to finish :p ). Granted, I haven’t run a bunch of OCR events yet, or done more than one of any (except F.I.T. Challenge which is coordinated well and can’t wait for multi-laps November 19, so I may not be the leading expert on this.

    Have a great day all and am looking forward to seeing you all again on the course or elsewhere on a non-event day.

  30. Honestly, I’ve never written a review before, but after last weekend, I felt the need to give my two cents. Overall, I’ve been pretty conflicted with Spartan race recently; it’s like they’ve stopped really caring about the Average Joe that comes out to accomplish something they didn’t think they could. From what I can tell, it’s almost as if they constantly use the same obstacles to make the elites faster versus throwing something new at them. I haven’t really seen anything new in the past few races. It’s just the same basic obstacles over and over again, although I really can’t complain since they still give me problems (I’m looking at you rope climb and tyrolean traverse!), but it would be nice to have that little extra “wow” factor that really gets you excited to try something new. Awesome..there are baseballs now on the rig, good job on the innovation factor! I do love the farm for a race venue though! I just wish Spartan Race really used the land to their advantage more like Battlefrog does. I don’t find running through thick mud really all that exciting. I also felt like the obstacles themselves were spread so far out, which within an 8 mile course, I found a little surprising. The real killer on Saturday was the heat for me, not to mention the amount of people I saw dropping like flies due to cramping and heat exhaustion.

    I guess that brings me to my next point about Spartan Race (not the race itself just an observation of participants really). I used to always see people on the course willing to help others who needed it, whether it was a boost, or a mustard packet, or just an overall “good job, you’re almost there!” This past weekend the amount of people that I saw just blowing by people in genuine pain, struggling to get over walls, or honestly just not even letting people know you’re trying to get past them in the smaller trails while almost knocking them over and not even an “on your left” or “excuse me”. It’s almost like everyone has just gotten more rude. Call me old fashioned, but at least a little common courtesy goes a long way, especially when there are people struggling around you while you blow past them! Thank god for NE Spahtens! There are still some decent people in the world. I know that everyone has their own type of race, but this was the first race that I’ve finished where I honestly felt more annoyed than accomplished.

    The festival area, as always, is one of my favorite spots. The vendors are always great (can’t complain about free FitAid sunglasses)! Not to mention the fact that I’ve had some amazing ice cream and BBQ at Carter and Steven’s Farm. Long live Purple Cow ice cream! I get that races have corporate sponsors, but if I were Carter and Stevens’s I would’ve been pretty annoyed at the fact that they couldn’t have their beer in the festival area. Thank god it was just a hundred yards away. I took my free coor’s light, chugged it, then went to get a $7 quality beer versus $7 for water! I miss the days of Shock Top with some variety in the festival.

    My last point I’ll make is just the overall quality of the shirts. I remember at the end of last year, the shirts had switched from the time I’d done the Super (Barre) versus the Beast (Killington) so about 2 months. The shirts seemed to be getting tighter and tighter (or maybe my shoulders were just getting more jacked – we’ll go with that). This year, the type of shirt had changed even more. I like the new designs, but when my friends and I finished the race to get our shirts, I noticed a massive hole in my sleeve. When I was done changing, my boyfriend and our other friend had also mentioned that their shirts were extremely tight for being a size large, and had to exchange theirs as well. Luckily the volunteers were kind enough to just switch out our shirts with no issues, but it’s like the quality changes from one shirt to another. A large is a medium and an XL is a night dress!

    It makes me so bummed that I’m just becoming more and more underwhelmed by Spartan Race, as it was the first race I’d tried, and got me into the OCR community. Luckily, I’ve found some excellent RaceLocal events on top of Battlefrog and Bonefrog that I’ve come to enjoy so much more than Spartan Race.

  31. This was my first Super. I was anxious going in, but honestly, it felt just like the Sprint at Barre but with another 2.5 miles of walking or running. In the end, it didn’t really feel like more of a challenge than a Sprint – literally, when we exited the woods at the end I said out loud, “wait, that’s it?” And because it’s so flat compared to other venues, I didn’t really feel like I earned a Super (but let’s factor in the ridiculous heat and humidity and say I did!), especially after reading about experiences at some other recent Supers. I was disappointed that my nemesis the monkey bars were not there.

  32. 7.5 seems somewhat reasonable. I’d probably go a little lower. For the money I paid, I expected my free beer ticket to actually be a halfway decent beer. Serving goat piss called Coors Light when in years past the beer was from Shock Top was one of the more depressing aspects of the day, especially considering Carter & Steven’s Farm brews their own just down the hill. The BBQ tent sold out of everything except for hot dogs, which is completely reasonable except for the fact that the people working the BBQ tent directed us down the hill to get BBQ at the restaurant.. I’m not quite sure why they didn’t just go down the hill themselves in order to replenish for the rest of the day or whatever, but fair enough. Having to pay $10 to park and $5 for my bag check when I paid $120+ for the race and was served Coors Light is wildly ridiculous and is one of the reasons why after the Beast, I don’t have a desire to do the Spartan again. My buddy bought sneakers from one of the merch tents out of necessity and spent an unreasonable amount of time waiting in line. The volunteers were more worried about chatting amongst themselves and taking their time even as the merch lines grew, so that was nice.

    The course was stretched out into about 8.5 miles, which was fine. No real gripe there. There was more running through the woods than I thought there would be, which normally wouldn’t be an issue except for the fact that there’s really only room for one lane; many people would walk and hold up the other people who were running for time. One may say “Well, sign up for the competitive heat” but the problem is many people don’t run competitively. So that aspect was pretty annoying. There was one locked porta-potty at each water stop that happened to be a gigantic dick tease as well, I heard many people complaining about that. The water stops were plentiful and welcomed in the extreme heat, but the jugs weren’t cold so warm water was what we all got. Better than nothing. I saw one person comment that volunteers were telling runners not to fill up their water packs, I didn’t see that whatsoever, but that’s just my experience.

    I love the medal and t shirt combo that the Spartan Race gives out, which really keeps me coming back. The men’s changing tent is beyond filthy, but that’s to be expected when you have thousands of people going in & out. The downfall of the changing tent was that it was significantly hotter inside the tent than it was outside, so by the time you went to change, you’re sweating so bad you need to rinse off again. It was borderline unbearable. I ran the Sprint last year & the area to wash off was significantly better this time around. Instead of walking on wood pallets, this year the area was lined with small rocks which made things easier. Maybe they should do the same thing with the changing tents so that people aren’t walking barefoot on grimey wet grass.

    Overall, the race was fine but if it weren’t for the cool swag (Tough Mudder = no medal) I’d never do the Spartan again. If swag is a big deal to you, the medal & shirt is 2nd to none.

  33. I really liked this course. The obstacles were good. This is my second Spartan and first Super. I like the venue as far as Carter and Stevens Farm. As far as what there is to do once your in the Spartan area I don’t feel like there is much. I was happy with the amount of water stations but disappointed that I was told multiple times that I was not allowed to fill my hydration pack at that water station and to wait until the next one. I also was very disappointed that the bathrooms on course were locked and I was told they are only for volunteers. This was not the case at the Sprint. Luckily I found one off course that was unlocked b/c my only other option would have been the woods. I loved the mud in the woods! That was fun to get threw. Most volunteers were great (esp the lady at the ropes) but there were a few that were on their cell phones or sitting away from the obstacle in the shade not telling people (esp new people) how or what to do on the obstacle. I was happy to see more photographers then what was at the Sprint in June. Can’t wait to see my pics!! Best part was all the other races and how helpful they all were! I wouldn’t have been able to get over the 3 walls without the two guys that helped! I love the community of Spartan.

  34. Spartan as usual delivered what I was hoping for – a challenging course, well built/secured obstacles, well placed water stations, and great camaraderie. I will say that Battlefrog did use the terrain a little more creatively (uphill riverbed specifically) but this may well have been intentional on SR’s part. I noted at the herc hoist, that there was a general unawareness of the burpee penalty imposed when letting the bag slam to the ground… this ticked off more than a few people while I was at that obstacle, perhaps clear signage for those new to that particular obstacle?

    Special thanks to Carter and Stevens Farm as I went to the BBQ then the ice cream and topped it off with an amazing Stone Cow Brew after… this place is worth visiting for that alone.

  35. This was my first Spartan Super. Only having 4 sprints to compare to, I was happy with my time through the course (3:34:57) since I “fast walked” most of it but I was surprised by the obstacles. The usual ones were there but I was disappointed that there were no monkey bars. Not sure if they are replacing the monkeys with the rig or not but I thought they should have both again. I was very happy the rope was not after mud and wet! The obstacles were challenging and fun but I just expected more with it being a Super race. It seemed like there was less than the Sprint.

    Over all It was a great race!

  36. Overall a good race.

    Two annoyances: 1. No new or innovative obstacles (and not even all the regulars-no monkey bars!). 2. The “free drink” can only be used for Coors Light. I know they are a major sponsor but its a big disappointment when there is the brewery right there. You should at least be able to use the free drink for a cold water or other non-alcoholic beverage. Just my two cents. Otherwise a solid showing from Spartan.

  37. Spartans second year at this location for a super, Better than there first attempt last year but still very lacking.

    the best part of this race is the food from the farm, this location has hands down the best food of any OCR. The course itself was rather uninspiring and underwhelming and quiet a few points where you were going back and forth just to get millage. the obstalces are as stale as a year old loaf of bread. i think the last time we saw a new obstacle in a Ma race was 2014 Amesbury Tarzan swing. the one upside was the obstacles were a bit more spread out and not the typical back loading we see from spartan

  38. – Course was what was to be expected of SR. Good on them for the multiple water stops on such a hot day.
    – Not that it’s SRs fault per se, but the volunteers might have well been statues with cell phones in their hand. Aside from that one dude at the Atlas carry, he was awesome.
    – Consistent finisher shirt sizing continues to elude SR.

    Overall I was pleased with the race and will continue to support SR

  39. I love the venue, But Battlefrog did a much better job with mapping a course through interesting terrain at the same place. There were also several trail loops that served to add length purely for length’s sake. I’m not a fan or random, roped off loops in fields just to add length. Also, I’m not a fan of Spartan enforcing the one try only rule, but not the penalty. It feels like they’re just trying to get people through the assembly line. Battlefrog’s allowing multiple tries and having several levels of difficulty provides a better obstacle experience, at least for me.

    The brewery on site was awesome, but Spartan didn’t allow them on the fairgrounds, instead they were by the busses. Spartan loses a point for giving generic light beer when Battlefrog gave out the local fare.

    Finally, there were no new obstacles from last year.

    Spartan is a great, consistent race, but if they want to be the leader in OCR, then I’d like to see more effort put into the course itself. After seeing a smaller organization do a much better job with the same venue, I’d say that Spartan needs to step it up.

  40. This was an amazing race today that was made very difficult by the heat. The course was tough for being as flat as it was. While the obstacles stay the same for the most part, this event is of consistent high quality and the atmosphere can’t be beat. Plus, the toughness factor of Spartan is to my liking. I personally don’t think local races are innovative at all with their obstacles and the races themselves are usually low quality with a less than gripping atmosphere. When I came to the super today, I knew I was going to get a quality event. Overall this was a great race and I would recommend it to anyone.

  41. What made this year’s Super strenuous were the high temperature and humidity. People were cramping left and right along the course. I haven’t given out as many salt pills at any other race before.
    Besides the temperature the race was pretty lame. Nothing new, nothing fun. Not even monkey bars.
    Rope climb was no longer over water. And the bucket carry had the exact same route as last year’s Super—just reversed.
    The barbed wire crawl was in the grass (last year’s Sprint was mud) and parted into two sections. As was the rolling mud. The Tyrolean traverse was long and an unexpected burpee obstacle for many.

    It was my first Spartan of the season as I try to avoid the big fat price tag in favor of smaller (racelocal) events that are actually much more fun and innovative.
    And this race reminded me once more why.

    My friend and I bumped into three other Spahtens, and pretty much suffered through the heat with them from the beginning until the end. Their company made it a fun event for us, which was topped off by roasting marshmallows over the (fire jump) fire.

  42. This year being the second year doing the super at Carter and Stevens, myself as I’m sure most people were expecting and hoping for a better race than before. Last year wasn’t awful by any means, it just wasn’t what I was expecting (the New Jersey super last year was perfect). Carter and Stevens farm is always a great venue, and great people that let companies have these races that we get to enjoy. Crossing the finishing line was bittersweet for me today.

    Spartan race is what got me into the world of OCR, it lead me to meeting my girlfriend, and has helped motivate me to get in better shape. But it seems like the quality of the actual event itself has gone down. This is in regards to obstacles, the character of the other racers on the course, and from being a screen printer for so many years the quality of the finisher shirt drives me insane. (It’s impossible for me to buy printed shirts without a thorough look.). The obstacles were the same, nothing really new except the sled pull from hell, and the addition of baseballs to the rig. I’ve seen pictures of one or two new obstacles they have included in other races around the country and was hoping for at least one. My group was especially disappointed when we found out there wasn’t even going to be monkey bars at this event. An influx of people sprinting through the narrow trails almost knocking other people over, the amount of trash on the course wasn’t too bad. But there was one thing that really bothered me. As I was helping a few women get over the first wall on the a-frame, a younger kid comes running up almost knocking one of these women off half way up the frame. Not safe or smart.

    In my opinion, which I’ve noticed a lot of other spahtens share the same idea that Spartan has fallen from its glory. While race local events and the smaller companies are more innovative, friendly and care about putting on the best event possible (F.I.T Challenge, Bonefrog, battlefrog, savage race and terrain race to name a few). As for my group and I, killington might be our last Spartan Race. Focusing more on the race local events and smaller races mentioned above.

  43. This was an absolutely brutal race, and I loved it. It started with some confusion as they changed the bin drop off time on Sunday morning without telling anyone so I made a trip to the venue for no reason. This allowed me to buy some incredible cheap spartan gear for clearance prices (2 tech shirts and 2 pairs of shorts for $20 total) so that was OK.

    The course itself was up and down the mountain. People have cited this as a negative, but I disagree. This is an ultra beast. It’s supposed to push you to your breaking point, it’s supposed to cause doubts, it’s supposed to change you. Spartan was getting grief for some of the easier ultra beasts they’d put on recently, namely Hawaii and NJ, and this silenced all those critics. A less than 30% finisher rate shows the difficulty.

    HOWEVER, there’s a healthy medium. There could have been more obstacles in between the climbs/carries. Platinum rig saved the “obstacle” portion of the event and I would personally LOVE for them to get a deal going with USA Spartan.

    The swag for this race was generic, which is disappointing considering venue specific swag was what I received at my last 2 ultras. The generic ultra beast belt buckle which was actually being sold in spartan stores a few months ago was the medal and the ultra beast finisher shirt was generic as well. But, I’m just happy to have finished and will wear both with pride

  44. Lot of the same old, same old for a pretty big price tag!

  45. Communication: Several pre-race emails were sent letting us know the essentials like how to print the event pass (waiver), directions to the venue, and what parking and bag check would be like. An additional email was sent letting us know about a triathlon happening in a neighboring town that could cause traffic to the venue. Alternate routes were suggested. Very helpful!

    Venue/Festival: The venue, Mont Owl’s Head in Masonville, was easily accessible. Located approximately 1.5h from downtown Montreal and 1 hour from the nearest border crossing in Stanstead, QC. Parking was onsite with no shuttles for $15 CAD. You received a plastic bag for bag check and this was only bag allowed. It easily fit all the things I needed for showering and changing. Bag check was $3 CAD. Registration was very simple as your bib number is assigned on site.

    The festival area was small but had a food stand with limited options (meh, spoiled by the farm fresh food at C&S), several sponsor tents with freebies, and 4 or 5 mini-obstacles for warming up and practicing. A water tank was available for filling your pack pre-race which was really nice. The merch trailer disappointingly didn’t carry a venue specific shirt but did have many items on sale including a dri-fit beast shirt for only $5. The chair lifts were operating allowing spectators access to the peak for viewing the race. In addition, both the start and finish lines as well as the rope climb, herc hoist and rig were easily viewed from the festival area. Showers and change tents were available just outside the festival area.

    Course/Obstacles: With a top elevation of 2,480 feet and over 4600 feet of elevation change, this course was extremely challenging! The terrain was steep and rocky with mostly one-lane technical ascents some requiring a bear crawl. The mountain itself was the most grueling obstacle of the course. The first climb was a killer! If you were trudging up a steep black diamond path or trail you were navigating down a similarly steep descent. This was a hikers course. Very few area opened up allowing for a open run. Many racers described the continuous up and down as relentless and I couldn’t agree more.

    Most of the obstacles were the old standards. Numerous walls of various heights including 3 short walls placed closely together that had to be jumped without touching, hurdle-style. Some other variations included horizontal pipes that were angled inward or outward and spaced just far enough apart to make you think about how to get over them. Of course there were carries- 4 of them: sandbag, jerry can, tires, and a version of the bucket brigade (these were pre-filled with dirt instead of gravel and the women’s were only half-filled making it the easy bucket brigade I’ve ever had to complete.)

    The most interesting obstacles were the rig- which featured a rope to 4 monkey rings to cargo net to a foot ring ending with you placing two hand on a pull up bar. The space between the second and third ring was doubled making this very challenging. Lots of burpees here! And a new balance obstacle. You started across the short edge of a very wobbly 2 by 6 for about 8 feet transferring to a tension strap for the last 5 feet before hitting the bell. If your foot touched the ground you did burpees.
    Not a lot of variety in the obstacles and in my opinion they were not spaced well probably due to the limited flat spaces located on the mountain.

    Eight water stations were spread across the just over 10 mile course. Were were allowed to fill our packs at any time. The volunteers were fantastic giving instructions and encouragement in both English and French.

    Swag/Awards: Finishers shirt is ok. Not the dri-fit tech shirts from 2015 that I was hoping for. Also no Canadian flag or anything marking this as an international race. Neither the shirt or medal have 2016 on them (I know this may sound like nit-picking but sometimes it’s the little details that make things special.) Upon exiting we were allowed to take two of the black 2013 finishers shirts. The sizes were limited to small and large. Spartan is really trying to liquidate old stock but who can say no to free shirts?

    Overall this was a race that I feel a real sense of accomplishment for finishing. Not going to lie there were a few times I was questioning whether I could keep going. It was so much more challenging that the NJ Beast from earlier this year. I was not prepared for how difficult it was going to be and while I did have plenty of water and some fuel I definitely needed something more substantial than the blocks and beans I had. Lesson learned on my part. This was a great practice for Killington and I would probably do it again.

  46. Parking: Offsite, no lines each direction and 5 minute drive to and from. A-
    Festival and Registration: smooth sailing through registration and same ol same ol festival area. A
    Course: 8.5 miles of flat terrain and very muddy. Open fields, single track trails and old buildings used for target practice. Overall thought the course layout was really good, but too many single tracks. A-
    Obstacles: Same obstacles for the last 2 years, not one new obstacle. Bucket Carry, Rope Climb, Pancake Carry, Traverse, Cargo Net, Spear Throw, Barb Wire Crawl, Bag Hoist and others I cant remember. C-

    1. Communication: Several pre-race emails were sent letting us know the essentials like how to print the event pass (waiver), directions to the venue, and what parking and bag check would be like. An additional email was sent letting us know about a triathlon happening in a neighboring town that could cause traffic to the venue. Alternate routes were suggested. Very helpful!

      Venue/Festival: The venue, Mont Owl’s Head in Masonville, was easily accessible. Located approximately 1.5h from downtown Montreal and 1 hour from the nearest border crossing in Stanstead, QC. Parking was onsite with no shuttles for $15 CAD. You received a plastic bag for bag check and this was only bag allowed. It easily fit all the things I needed for showering and changing. Bag check was $3 CAD. Registration was very simple as your bib number is assigned on site.

      The festival area was small but had a food stand with limited options (meh, spoiled by the farm fresh food at C&S), several sponsor tents with freebies, and 4 or 5 mini-obstacles for warming up and practicing. A water tank was available for filling your pack pre-race which was really nice. The merch trailer disappointingly didn’t carry a venue specific shirt but did have many items on sale including a dri-fit beast shirt for only $5. The chair lifts were operating allowing spectators access to the peak for viewing the race. In addition, both the start and finish lines as well as the rope climb, herc hoist and rig were easily viewed from the festival area. Showers and change tents were available just outside the festival area.

      Course/Obstacles: With a top elevation of 2,480 feet and over 4600 feet of elevation change, this course was extremely challenging! The terrain was steep and rocky with mostly one-lane technical ascents some requiring a bear crawl. The mountain itself was the most grueling obstacle of the course. The first climb was a killer! If you were trudging up a steep black diamond path or trail you were navigating down a similarly steep descent. This was a hikers course. Very few area opened up allowing for a open run. Many racers described the continuous up and down as relentless and I couldn’t agree more.

      Most of the obstacles were the old standards. Numerous walls of various heights including 3 short walls placed closely together that had to be jumped without touching, hurdle-style. Some other variations included horizontal pipes that were angled inward or outward and spaced just far enough apart to make you think about how to get over them. Of course there were carries- 4 of them: sandbag, jerry can, tires, and a version of the bucket brigade (these were pre-filled with dirt instead of gravel and the women’s were only half-filled making it the easy bucket brigade I’ve ever had to complete.)

      The most interesting obstacles were the rig- which featured a rope to 4 monkey rings to cargo net to a foot ring ending with you placing two hand on a pull up bar. The space between the second and third ring was doubled making this very challenging. Lots of burpees here! And a new balance obstacle. You started across the short edge of a very wobbly 2 by 6 for about 8 feet transferring to a tension strap for the last 5 feet before hitting the bell. If your foot touched the ground you did burpees.
      Not a lot of variety in the obstacles and in my opinion they were not spaced well probably due to the limited flat spaces located on the mountain.

      Eight water stations were spread across the just over 10 mile course. Were were allowed to fill our packs at any time. The volunteers were fantastic giving instructions and encouragement in both English and French.

      Swag/Awards: Finishers shirt is ok. Not the dri-fit tech shirts from 2015 that I was hoping for. Also no Canadian flag or anything marking this as an international race. Neither the shirt or medal have 2016 on them (I know this may sound like nit-picking but sometimes it’s the little details that make things special.) Upon exiting we were allowed to take two of the black 2013 finishers shirts. The sizes were limited to small and large. Spartan is really trying to liquidate old stock but who can say no to free shirts?

      Overall this was a race that I feel a real sense of accomplishment for finishing. Not going to lie there were a few times I was questioning whether I could keep going. It was so much more challenging that the NJ Beast from earlier this year. I was not prepared for how difficult it was going to be and while I did have plenty of water and some fuel I definitely needed something more substantial than the blocks and beans I had. Lesson learned on my part. This was a great practice for Killington and I would probably do it again.

  47. Communication: This was only my second Spartan race, and the communication is so/so. There was no bib assignment until about two days before (this may have been different for other racers, but I like to have my waiver all done in advance and each time I checked my bib was TBD). The results were fast to come out for my heat and then for the entire weekend.

    Venue and Festival: Carter Stevens Farm is a nice local venue for me and I was glad to see that our team is environmentally friendly picking up trash as we went along (being in the 9:15 Saturday heat there was no trash to be had…which is a wonderful thing in and of itself). Regardless of where the event is held, I always tuck my trash in my pack or somewhere else to be dropped in a bin or taken home if I can’t find one or forget. Loved seeing the animals as we rounded the barn/pen area. The cows were so sweet with their big brown eyes and the large pig wasn’t shy with selfies either (left my phone in my bag so no photos for me). The festival was nice with the protein yogurts and Marriott being there with little towels if you signed up to be a rewards member (already am, so I got a towel that was nice to sit on as I left dirty). The Biggest Team tent was a little hard to find and a volunteer in the festival area that I asked where it was located of had no idea, so I wandered around until I found it. After the race, for some reason, I once again wandered around; this time it was for locating the showers. It wasn’t a huge festival area, but I just don’t feel it was laid out all that well.

    Course and Obstacles: The start of the race had good separation of obstacles and then there was a pile-up (seemingly) at the end. I enjoy all of the walls I can get my hands on (made it over the 10′ with no assistance – not even the board for the ladies), love cargo nets, adore A-frames, monkey bars, rings and the rope climb is always fun. The Herc Hoist is an issue for me as I just can’t seem to get it beyond halfway (some very nice runners or volunteers come and help me…I will conquer this obstacle). The sandbag carry was a tad easy with the little elevation change and the bucket brigade was a mental challenge (get the momentum going and don’t stop…one foot in front of the other). Lastly, the dunk wall is by far my least favorite. My irrational fear of drowning takes over but I talk myself into going under anyway – two out of two times I’ve come up on the other side which is always a positive. The course was a very nice gentle trail run course with no major hills or technical climbing.

    Swag and Awards: I do like the quality of the medals that Spartan gives, and that they give you the trifecta wedge even if you aren’t intending on completing a trifecta. The ribbons are nice and wide and have a smooth soft texture/finish to them which I do enjoy after my “day at the spa” racing in the mud (although my favorite ribbons are from Robb McCoy’s trail races with the biceps on each of the themed characters). The t-shirts are quite comfortable and I wear them at the gym, mowing the lawn or just around town to be like “Yes, I completed a Spartan Race.” I can also be seen in my F.I.T. shirt along with #racelocal.

    Overall: I LOVE OCR! Some people have commented how I light up when I talk about it. Always wanting to try harder obstacles, go faster, but above all, I want to do my best. Telling people they are doing a great job, saying “Good Race” to fellow participants along the way. Speaking to Spahtens out there (would you believe me if I said I am shy?) and trying to remember all of your names and constantly being reminded what a great community NES is. Has Spartan gone downhill? I really don’t know with my being a newbie to their races in April 2016 (tackled the Jersey Beast as my entry into Spartan territory). Would I recommend them to others? Certainly, just as I would recommend the Epic F.I.T. Challenge to them. Would I run this location again? Absolutely.

    End of rambling review 🙂

  48. Pre-race communication was great, but because there are multiple email addresses, sometimes things get lost in the fold and you have to resend the same email to a different address.

    Carter Stevens Farm is a great location and the race route and obstacles were fantastic, especially for me as a first time racer!

    The festival was great from what my spectator experienced; though, I can’t speak to it because when I wasn’t racing, I was volunteering.

    Overall, I’d say this was a fantastic event and I’d recommend this location to any Spartan newcomer!

  49. Awesome race…long for a sprint 5.6 miles. ran it twice first for time (1:26:30) then again with family. only missed the hoist. some complain ‘same ole obstacles’ but the order this year was tough and, by the way, i love those obstacles! (except for the hoist – haha) Great job as always Spahtan!!!

  50. This was my first race. I thought the buses ran on a great schedule. The venue, well Carter and Stevens Farm is just great on its own! So put Spartan there and its even better. For a first timer I think the obstacles were great. There were a few that I couldn’t do really at all, and others that I defiantly needed help with. Which is great b/c it gives me something to work towards. I wish there was a bit more communication with emails and such. For a first timer I got confused at bit on their website but overall great time!

  51. Great race – typical Spartan obstacles.

    Swag: medal, shirt, frozen yogurt, FitAid, banana, cliff bar

    Festival: various food options, plenty of tent space and a biggest team tent, stuff to do. Well marked and contained. Coors was the free beer – other options would have been nice. Free bag check for biggest team – awesome. Plenty of port-a-potties and showers.

    Others: great Parking and bus service with port-a-potties and the pick up and drop off.

    For a national race this is a very solid race and should be a recommendation, especially for those new to the sport/hobbie/addiction.

    Not the average includes all Spartans and not just one particular race. Read the comments to find specifics on the race you’re looking for.

  52. I ran both days which provided some interesting contrasts due to the contrasting weather: Saturday sunny warm and nice; Sunday rainy, gray, and overall cool. I’m a big fan of the Carter & Stevens Farm for an OCR – the scale of the property feels right and frankly, an old, working New England farm has a ridiculous amount of charm. The festival itself holds little value to me, but the finish line is usually well done. Saturday’s was fantastic, but I ran one of the last heats on Sunday and it showed. Frozen Protein Yogurt? Yes please.

    Spartan’s communication is alright. Good enough to get most of the information you need, but they really don’t do anything over and above the obligatory for your specific race.

    This was my 5th Sprint and I found it challenging, several obstacles I haven’t encountered previously. I wasn’t prepared for the heavier hoist; the rope gave me problems it hadn’t before – it’s hard for me to know if it was the rope itself but that was a much more difficult challenge than I was prepared for. I tend to hoist myself up with upper body strength as opposed to technique or core strength. This required both of those and less upper body.

    By Sunday afternoon, the atlas stone resembled a malted milk ball, with mud just caked on there and it must’ve added an inch to the overall circumference. I was glad I toted gloves, because I’m not sure I would have been able to get it done otherwise.

    Saturday’s course was, as you’d expect, in far better condition, but for those having bought the Afternoon slots, the bottlenecks at the obstacles were not insignificant. Sunday’s lighter turnout (almost 1000 less runners) made for a much easier flow…well except for the crummy course condition.

    Spartan remains the standard bearer in terms of competitiveness. I was pleased with my experience overall.

  53. Communication is self explanatory. The venue date and entry confirmation is all you should need.
    The venue was awesome and I liked the crowd and music playing.
    The course was perfect, mostly running and you had to always look down to make sure you wouldn’t land awkward or in a hole.
    The badge was sufficient as it was a hot day and to date the longest Spartan Race I have run.
    The only negative comment I have is I had to wait to get over some obstacles for slower “obstacle climbers”. Perhaps we could have ten feet to the far right for more agile climbers/runners. Great job team!!

  54. Communication overall was pretty clear, as expected from such a large race. Got the email with last minute details Monday before the race, with access to start time, bib number, access to waiver, and satelite parking info (not thrilled about it, but not a whole lot that can be done about it considering the turnout).
    Venue and festival area was pretty well laid out, easy to find your way around. Good but limited food options.
    With the course being as flat as it was, the course was extended to increase the difficulty to be more in line with other Sprint venues. Having it at a working farm was an interesting venue (with the odors of the farm in some areas), but some of the trails had ankle-breaking terrain that made footing treacherous. The obstacles were standard for a Spartan Race, no new obstacles that I personally haven’t seen besides the Tyrolean Traverse rope and the Stairway to Sparta. There were the expected bottle-necks at some of the obstacles, but nothing out of line from what I have seen at other courses.
    I really like the new design for the medals and the T-shirt, with the cutout for the Spartan helmet and engraving on both sides, and the new graphics on the shirt including the “reverse” flag.
    Overall, a fun, fast course in the classic style of Spartan Race.

  55. Communication: I didn’t even get an e-mail for this one, which is annoying. As someone who’s raced Spartans for years, I knew where to look and it didn’t phase me personally, but it’s really crappy for those who have no clue. There were a lot of signs to point to the far away parking, so that was good. I also got a lot of e-mails regarding the hurricane heat, but that’s another review.
    Venue & Festival: The venue has lots of usable space, which I love. The biggest issue is parking. It’s a family friendly venue and festival, but not family friendly to get to. I chose not to bring my kids because getting on and off the bus with my brood would be awful. There are also not a lot of tents so if we didn’t have the team tent it could have gone bad really quick. The food choices were amazing! The farm had their normal foods including ice cream, Firefly’s was there, plus a brick oven pizza place. The pizza was the only meal-type meatless food so I stuck with that. Plus pizza is my favorite. There was also a bunch of vendors to visit and things to do.
    Course & Obstacles: I do wish we’d see something new. The rig was really lame, too short for remotely tall people. I’m short and was happy but am also happy to have a step up to a taller rig. I really like that the elevation was made up for by distance. Even though the obstacles were same old, the placement was good and kept things going and exciting. I do have issue with the single track trails. I hate to disturb the environment more but I was stuck in a hallway of poison ivy (which I still got despite staying on the trail because the path was so narrow) and stuck behind walkers. I’m all for people being out there, but I’m not all for running them down or forcing them to move over into the poison ivy so I can “get a good time.” This is most likely just a me problem since no one else seemed too bothered by the poison ivy 😀
    Swag & Awards: T-shirt, medal (2 kind of with the pie piece), builders bar, proyo (delicious), a banana, and a t-shirt. Plus stickers at the exit. I’m happy with the swag! The t-shirt and medals were great, though I knocked a point-ish off for not having female cut. Other races can do it, come on Spartan! They give us a ton for biggest team too. Why would you not be so greatful?!
    Overall: I went into this race not extremely excited and with low expectations. This is partially for me just getting burned out of the same old Spartan race. This race was kind of the same old, but it also had something more to it. There were a lot of obstacles, they were spread out, and they gave us all kinds of terrain (my ankles still hurt!). Spartan is quite accommodating to the team and it really makes our day, especially someone like me who spent the entire day hanging out around the team tent hugging and talking to hundreds of people. Maybe Spartan is just lucky to have the smiling Spahtens 🙂

  56. What can I say this is practically in my backyard so of course I loved it . I thought it felt better organized this year.
    I did not use their parking this year but a private lot across the street so worth the 20 bucks.
    Swag there really is none it be nice to get something in your registration packets the headband actually fit my fat head this year but I’m disappointed that the material is so cheap.
    I loved the finish line food and recovery drink 🙂
    I found a lot of course volunteers to be pretty quiet or to involved more with their phones then with racers. I was most annoyed by the volunteer at checkout who didn’t look up from her phone once and just threw the coupon sticker and sample out at you as you walked by. Most volunteers were wonderful!!!
    I felt like there was plenty of water stops but wish the offered something along the lines of a GU or gatorade especially when it’s hot out
    I felt like the spirit of Spartan has been lost maybe I’m just a geek but I missed the AROOs you would get on the course and I thought the starting line motivation was lacking I didn’t feel very pumped up …I just get the feeling that it’s become all about the money and it didn’t feel any different from any other OCR .
    Now my personal experience as my first official race as a NES was pretty darn good met a few people and hung out for a bit before race at the tent . Missed the team picture and award because I was in line at the porta pottie HAHA .
    I would totally recommend this race to everyone the terrain is totally doable no matter what your level of fitness is and if you don’t think you can do an obstacle by yourself there is always someone to lend a hand . To the people who think its not challenging or too easy run elite or do it with extra weight. I also wish (for what its worth)that they would at the starting line remind runners to let other runners know they are passing I only heard a few poeple say “on your left” tha’ts just running etiquette . I’m very excited about the super and I AM SPARTAN AROO AROO AROO

  57. Once again, Spartan Race put on another great race.

    Communication: Typical Spartan. One email prior to the race letting me know bib numbers are up and to check the website for more details. Nothing fancy but it does its job.

    Venue and Festival: I am not a huge fan of the venue as like many others, I miss Amesbury. However, it is nice to have a course that is fairly flat instead of always having to climb a mountain. Plus I enjoy running past the cows!! The festival area is always top notch. The atmosphere at a Spartan Race is always engaging, more so than any other race series that I have done.

    Course & Obstacles: The course was laid out nicely and the distance was perfect for a sprint. 5.6 miles for a sprint definitely makes you feel like you got your money’s worth. There was plenty of good terrain and many spots to pick up the speed and just run. The obstacles, while still the typical Spartan obstacles are still a challenge every time. I failed the spear throw per usual and the Z-wall because of the rain 🙁 It would be nice to see the addition of new obstacles but the course still keeps me coming back regardless.

    Swag & Awards: I love the swag at this race. The new medals are great. I now have a red one to go along with my green one. The T-shirts are improved over prior years. I love the banana and Fit-Aid after the race. The addition of the Pro-Yo (I think that is what it was called) was great! It was delicious! Always top notch swag at Spartan.

    Overall: I thought this was a great race. Spartan Race never fails to put on a high quality event. While new obstacles would be welcome, you can’t argue with the consistent quality and amazing atmosphere. I will be back for the Super in August.

  58. Had a great time . Fun and challenging course , the venue was awesome as always .

  59. I loved the event today. I’ve only done one other Spartan Sprint and that was in CT a few years ago. This event blew that away. Also enjoyed the distance of 5+ miles. Felt like I got my money’s worth. The only obstacle I didn’t enjoy was the barbed wire crawl. I hate that obstacle everywhere and today’s was particularly long. Other than that I had a blast.

  60. I have mixed feelings about this year’s race and part of me wonders if Spartan’s focus was on the Monterrey race run the same day Since that had all he big names and will be televised later this month.

    Communication – If I hadn’t seen Paul’s post about the team wave. I wouldn’t have known without looking for it myself. It’s easy enough to find the info on the Spartan website but I got no emails from them after I got my receipt.

    Venue and Festival – They do a good job here I think there were more food options this year than last. I thought the snowcone truck was pretty cool. The only disappointment for me was Coors Light.

    Course and Obstacles – I’m not a huge runner but even I got frustrated by the lack of places it was actually ok to run. Ultimately meant a slow time for me. My big frustration was with obstacles that used a rope. By the time I got to the Herc Hoist and the Rope climb, the Nylon ropes were coated with mud. I struggled through the Hoist but after trying 3 different ropes, couldn’t complete the climb. Which upset me since I can climb a rope. Plus my hands were trashed after both event. I might have to start carrying gloves. I have mixed feeling about all the shoe sucking mud and the obstacle packed last half mile. I don’t mean to be ultra negative. I had some good times on the course. I has never done a Tyrolean Traverse before but was able to complete and while I did fail, I almost completed the multi-rig, which is an improvement. But Spartan wants to be the gold standard of OCR and I think some of the local races I’ve done this year topped it.

    Swag and Awards – New style shirts and medals are nice. I like the changes. Being given Tasty Frozen Yogurt at the finish line was awesome and the volunteers handing out water and bananas after a hot race were awesome.

    Overall it was a good race not a great race. But did it make me want to chase a trifecta? Not really

  61. I really like Carter and Stevens farm as a venue. It is not super hilly and it is absolutely gorgeous. It is a locally owned, locally run business so I enjoy going there to support the community. The ice cream there is a MUST HAVE. There were tons of great food options including some basic sandwiches, wood fired pizza, Firefly’s BBQ and even some cold watermelon.

    I enjoyed this race, more than most of the Spartans I have run. The obstacles were very typical of Spartan but I felt that the spacing and the order definitely helped at a challenge to the race and there seemed to be a lot of obstacles. I really wish there were some new obstacles. Lots of walls, a couple of carries, the standard rope climb, monkey bars, z-wall, cargo climbs and such. I laugh at the course map with all of the “classified” obstacles because even though you don’t know where it is going to show up you know what will be there. I hated the barbed wire crawl. Covering it with hay left me very itchy and scratch to hell.

    I feel Spartan Swag has improved this year. The medals have a cut out which is pretty cool and the t-shirts are a little different than the past few years. Upon finishing you were inundated with free samples, the Pro yo high protein frozen yogurt being my absolute favorite.

    Overall, I was happy with my race experience today. Will I be back for another Spartan Sprint next year? Probably not, unless Spartan does something to change things up a little bit. This to me is definitely a race to do, but once you have done it once you have done it a million times.

  62. This ranking is for the 2016 MA Sprint. A detailed, Featured Review from me will come in due course!

    1. I love Cater and Stevens farm for a race venue. True, it has no hills, but racing at a working farm is fun and different. The food and welcome this venue offers will keep me coming back. On to the race- first disappointment, no parking on site for volunteers. Ok. Shutting wasn’t a hassle for us, little to no wait. Course left me wanting. When I come to Barre, I expect a runners course, and there were few areas to run without worrying about twisting an ankle or worse. Obstacles were same old and highly predictable. Switching out many of the rope obstacles to thinner nylon line actually made them hurt to try. (For me). Swag was typical medal and shirt- fro yo was a pleasant after race treat, fit aid (while I don’t care for taste that much) did replenish me for round two on the course. All in all, a typical sprint, I came as much for the venue as the race. Btw, I camp at locally close by Coldspring RV resort, and they too are very welcoming to SR racers, quite pretty with two pools and a 9 hole golf course. Paul demands reviews, so reviews he shall have.

  63. Introduction

    Hi all, I’m Christopher ! This is my third year in OCR. I’m 37 as of this race. I train 3-4 times a week at medium intensity. I’m scheduled for about 12 races this year, varying from Blizzard Blast, Boldrdash Winter, Battlefrog Xtreme, Tough Mudder, Spartan Trifecta distance races at flat, stadium and mountain venues, FIT Challenges, Bonefrog WC, and others. I’m semi-experienced, but I haven’t been around as much as some ofther folks on our team. I hope this review is helpful…


    Fine. No issues with the instructions provided by Spartan. Accurate bib number, directions, etc.


    I decided to fly in from Logan to Columbus Airport. Flight out on Friday was direct via Delta and on the way back was one stop via American Airlines through NY. Pretty straight forward although I do encourage getting paper boarding passes vs. electronic. The AA website went out in NY and I couldn’t get my boarding pass. I had to work with the check-in folks to get the situation resolved. Luckily I had time in between flights.

    Car Rental – we rented a car through Expedia from Enterprise. I’m sure I missed something in the fine print, but the cost to reserve the car was far less than what was ultimately paid. Be weary of what the actual costs are going to be before booking a car through a secondary booking site.

    Hotels – We stayed in Zanesville, OH (Econo Lodge) which was just under 1 hour from Columbus airport. The Lodge doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the room was surprisingly clean. The Wilds was a short smooth 30 minute ride. After the race, we drove back to the airport to drop off the car and get a shuttle to a local hotel. There’s a bunch of hotels with shuttles near the airport so you should be able to get a pretty good deal. We stayed at the Sheraton Four Points which was a noticeable step up from the Econo Lodge. They have a nice restaurant in the lobby with good beer and food selections.

    Overall, I’d copy this itinerary if I decide to come back to Ohio for another race.


    Parking is a tale of two very different experiences depending on when you arrive. My roommate Tony Martinez was running Elite (@7:30) so we arrived around 6:20. Parking was very smooth getting in. You could tell there were going to be issues with some folks since the lot was a large tall grassy farm field with deep holes and tire tracks. We lucked out and were placed in a good spot near a dirt/stone road. If you arrive later than 7:30-8, be prepared to deal with long waits and questionable parking spots. A few other NES tribemates were waiting for 40 minutes to park because of issues with mud in the lot. When we got out of the race and headed for home, you start to see the scale of how much land was used for parking. They used the entire field on the venue side of the street as well as some hillier land on the other side of the street.

    If there is any advice I can offer here, it’s to get to the venue by 7:00 am regardless of your heat time. It matters for this venue. Hang around at the venue and soak up the atmosphere. Do recon and take pictures for a team race review! There are a bunch of obstacles near the festival area, so you can strategize a bit. I went out at 9:30 so I got to see the preferred lanes on the rig and z-wall. I also saw that I needed to save energy for the rope climb (more about that later). I also had a chance to cheer on the team as they started the Elite and Competitive Waves.


    Very smooth as we arrived earlier for the Elite heat. Plenty of lines marked in Bib number tranches. Spartan has printed time bands now and they were very thorough checking bands at the Start Line. No jumping in earlier heats for this race.

    Venue/Festival Area

    The festival area was very spacious. Similar to Barre, they had a lot of room to work with. Showers and changing area was in the far off corners. Registration, Start Line, Finish Line, Kids Race, food vendors, and merchandise tent were all spaced out from one another well. There isn’t much cover from the rain and wind so weather will be a factor for how enjoyable the festival area will be.

    Food – They had two food trucks right next to one another. I grabbed a falafel pita from one of the trucks and it was very good. The other truck had a smoker for BBQ. The lines were reasonable. No complaints.


    Kids Course – Legitimate kids course. It went out into the field quite a bit, close to our Big Kids Course. It had elevation and very well built obstacles, including a water/mud pit. The volunteers were running alongside the racers which gave comfort to the parents watching their eager youngsters blaze the trails. I hope they continue to put some work into the kids’ courses as the younger generation are their future customers. They also had a Spartan Rig in the festival are that became a kids jungle gym throughout the day. It’s just awesome to see these youngsters so amped up for OCR.

    Beast Course

    Killington or Jersey Comparison – Let’s get this out of the way. I haven’t done the Jersey Beast. I only did the Jersey Super 2 years ago. I have done Killington the last 2 years. Ohio and Killington cannot be compared. Killington is much much harder in all aspects (obstacle difficulty and terrain). Much harder. My guess is that Jersey was also materially more difficult than Ohio. This venue is much closer to Barre. OK, now for the Ohio Beast review…

    Stats – My Suunto Ambit 3 Sport clocked in 13.25 Miles at ~2943 feet of Total Elevation Gain. I’ve seen a few different ranges here and I don’t totally trust my watch software (Suunto Movescount) for Total Elevation, but that’s what I registered. Overall this was definitely a runner’s course, but they maximized the limited hills they had to work with, sending us up and down a number of times in short distances. I was pleasantly surprised as I had lower expectations for elevation based on last year’s review. That said, there were no long inclines on this course so you can’t compare the Ohio’s 2900 feet to 2900 feet at a mountain or hilly venue. You just don’t get the long extended burn of a long march uphill.

    Terrain – The terrain was real muddy and generally flat. There were a number of single lane freshly cut trails throughout the 13+ mile stretch. If you wanted to pass, you had to be strategic about it. I probably lost maybe 10-15 minutes from these stretches. Like I said above, they made very good use out of the limited elevation they had to offer. Lots of short incline decline stretches. A couple inclines were very steep and one needed ropes to complete the climb. There were a number of low water crossings along the way (knee height). Almost tripped over some fearless bird in the middle of the trail and spotted a large snake in the woods, but that’s it for wildlife. The trial running was very nice in my opinion. My favorite obstacle is the trail running and Ohio offered plenty of it. There was one very long stretch without any obstacles which I had no problem with. Others may disagree with me here.

    Fuel and Hydration – This race didn’t require nearly the amount of fuel a mountain race would need. My brand new Geigerrig Rig 700 held 70ml of water and plenty of room for fuel. I didn’t need this large of a pack for this race, but I also didn’t have many issues with it beyond taking it off for crawls and the spear. It was a comfortable pack and it worked. That said, most other folks had much smaller packs like the Solomon S-LAB SENSE or smaller traditional Spartan Rig. I may get another pack that is smaller, but still holds a good amount of water. I used all my water and even took advantage of 3 water stations for a cup along the way. I probably lost a handful of minutes messing around with my pack.

    Start Line – Well-oiled machine. I watched the first 9 heats including my own and they went out on time. All bands were checked by the volunteers. They were not letting anyone in earlier than their assigned wave. They even sent folks back to registration if they didn’t put their bracelet on.

    My Race (see pictures for references to the obstacles) – I crossed the finish at 3hr 45m from the 9:30 wave (9th wave) with no fails, having kept a pretty consistent slow running cadence for the entire race. (I did Killington in 6:02 last year and I was in a little better shape – OOPS, I’m comparing to Killington 😉 ). Because there were no predictable ascents, it was difficult to time fueling beyond checking out the watch. I dropped a Salt Stick pill and GUs every 40 minutes, along with taking in Nuun flavored water throughout the race. I did not cramp the entire way. As far as obstacles go, they were your typical assortment of Spartan obstacles, but I would rate them as medium to low difficulty compared to other venues. For instance, the carries (Bucket, Sandbag, and Log) lacked the incline and length and object weight of some other places I’ve been (Spartan VT, Spartan NJ, Spartan Amesbury, FIT Challenges). The log hops were all level and closely spaced out. There was no memory test although it was on the map. There was a nice stretch of obstacles near the start line about 45 minutes in (A-Frame Cargo to Z-Walls to Multi-Rig to Dunk Wall). It was muddy so lots of folks failed the Z-Wall. So, after expending energy trying to complete that obstacle, they did the 30 burpees, then went straight to the Rig. As you can see from the picture, the Rig was manageable. Knotted ropes, rings, a pole, and you could kick the bell at the end. Plate drag was on flat ground and wasn’t terribly long of heavy compared to a tire drag on an incline which I have seen in the mountains. The log farmers carry was light and brought you through water where you could float the logs for a small stretch around a flag mounted in the water. End of the race from what I remember – After a fairly challenging sandbag carry, the rope climb up next. It included a narrow slippery rope without knots (maybe 16′-18′). The Slip Wall after the rope was extremely slippery from the mud and there were really only 2-3 tracks with well knotted ropes. I saw someone struggle for about 3 minutes to get up, only to fall all the way back down when he couldn’t make the final grab to the top of the wall. It was deceivingly difficult with the mud and water. Stairway to Sparta next, then off to the Hoist. Nothing special about the Hoist. Heavy as hell as usual. Fire jump, then DONE! I don’t remember all the classified obstacles except for the Rope Traverse which was over solid ground and used a medium size plastic rope which made it easy to slide down for the first half.

    That’s all for my race review. I will likely pass on this race next year unless I need it for a double-trifecta. Any questions, please let me know!

  64. I personally love this area and venue. I raced mountain creek last year and came back this year. Next to Killington it is my favorite. The course this year was very tough – almost Killington-esque. Excellent use of terrain and mountain. EffNorm. The festival area was spread out and not too congested, which is nice. It is easy to find your way around – everything is clearly marked. Registration was a snap – then right on into the venue. The race was grueling and hard – as a beast should be, but sadly lacking in any new obstacles. despite this I really enjoyed (that doesn’t sound right) the race. I like this years shirts – very soft. I like the new medals too – the cut out makes it more interesting. Local places to stay are really supportive of the race which is nice. I strongly recommend Hamburgs Hot Bagels

  65. I’m going to try and be as open and honest about this event as possible. There were things I absolutely LOVED and things I absolutely HATED.

    Swag – The UB finisher shirt was custom made for this event as was the amazing belt buckle. Last year after Killington you had to purchase the belt buckle. This event it was given to you and was custom. Well done Spartan.

    Course – Mountain Creek is an incredible venue, home to the Super in September and a venue I have been to numerous times, never have I been disappointed. This event was a WHOLE new ball game as I felt like I was in a completely different venue, one I had never seen before. Amazingly well done. Many of the trails were clearly newly blazed, as evidenced by the cut trees and brush in many of them. I had just over 15 miles and 4,600 feet of elevation gain per lap, that’s incredible! It’s clear Spartan Race removed the restrictions on Norm and allowed him to “Norm It.” There was enough true climbing, gradual climbing, technical trail and downhill, and just true trail running to satisfy everyone’s needs. I have done many a Spartan Race. Aside from Killington, this is the best course I have seen at a Spartan Race and I can’t say enough good, incredible and positive things about the terrain of the course! AWESOME job Norm and effyou! 🙂

    Obstacles – Unfortunately, this isn’t a trail race and this is an OCR! Seriously Spartan folks, its time, its time to up your freaking game. The double barbed wire crawl is cute, and very STFU of you but clearly isn’t quite the innovation WE are looking for. As an RD myself, I’ll be honest, I look up to Spartan Race. They’re like my unofficial “big brother.” I go to events cause I love to compete in them, but I also love the ability to learn a thing or ten about the OCR world. They’re freaking Spartan Race!!! They want to be the industry leader, THE brand, THE event. Well, in terms of obstacle innovation, density, design and implementation I’d like to invite them to Bonefrog May 21st and FIT Challenge November 19th and we can give them a lesson in this department! You’re Spartan Race!!!! It’s unacceptable and It may sound harsh, but its the same old, same old. Nothing new, innovative, earth shattering or ground breaking. Same stuff from two weeks ago at the CitiField Stadium Race, oh but a couple carries and some weird tube things to jump over. Take away the incredible terrain and this event is an EPIC failure. Local OCR’s should NOT be setting the bar in terms of obstacle innovation. You’re freaking Spartan Race! If they spent as much time building obstacles as they did carving their name on every downed tree in the woods it would have been much better! I’ll be honest, I don’t see myself taking part in many going forward aside from the ones that have incredible terrain, OR where Norm is actually allowed to design the layout. It’s just not worth it, the value isn’t there. I can go to Blue Hills or Wachusett, bring a bucket and log to carry here and there and get the same elevation gain and mileage. The 37 time trifecta medal is bla and not motivating enough! Its clear to me their vision as a company is in the lifestyle brand, the delta non-sense, the “STFU” bla bla, the image etc and NOT in LEADING the OCR world which is OBSTACLE course racing, yes OBSTACLES. Its time for them to actually STFU internally, get some smart folks in a room, get some designs and build some new obstacles dammit!

    My ratings might seem a bit weird, and it might seem a little weird with my review. The course and swag could NOT possible have been better and I don’t want to down play them, it was amazing. The obstacles just detracted from the overall value of the event, and being Spartan Race I feel its unacceptable for that to happen. They’re better than that, and leaders lead from the front.

  66. Communication leading up to the race was sparse but all the information was available on their website 10 days or so before race day and it was easy to find what you needed.

    The venue was nice. Off site parking was 10 dollars which seems pretty standard. We were bussed from the off site parking to the parking lot where registration was held. Registration was quick and easy and it was then just a short walk across the street to the festival area. The festival area was pretty typical. There was the merchandise tent, bag check, some lockers that could be rented, tons of port-a-potties. There was the typical hose showers and a changing tent that was WAY too small for the amount of people trying to get changed. There were a few tents with picnic tables near the start and finish line that we were able to use to get geared up for the race.

    The course was a really long, really tough hike. The obstacles were sparse and far between and then clumped together. While I understand that it is difficult to get things up mountains and safely secure things on slopes, there has to be a better balance between running/hiking and obstacles. There were tons of technical trails and natural obstacles but the man made additions were very typical. Wall, Wall, Rig, rope climb, carry this, carry that, carry something else, crawl up hill, crawl flat, rope climb monkey bars, pick things up and put them down. It is a bit repetitive. I thought the layout of the course was great (although the hill climbs were a little excessive) but when I do an obstacle course race I don’t want to be going for miles without an obstacle.

    The new medals are nice, with a cut out design and they feel a bit heavier than previous years. Shirts were a new design as well, similar to previous years with a little more design. It is a nice lightweight blend shirt which is greatly appreciated.

    Overall, this was a very hard, challenging race. I have no regrets in competing and am proud that I was able to complete it. Spartan needs to step up their obstacles and find a way to make things a little more interesting. I can’t say that I would do this race again, knowing that it would probably be the same thing over again. Been there, done that.

  67. Communication: As team captain for the Saturday Open Heat, I got an email early on with a supposed start time. I politely requested an earlier time since a lot of us were traveling pretty far and I knew we wanted to get out there early. Spartan Support replied with a start time an hour before the first one they suggested. I appreciated that they honored the request for the team. However, I never got any emails about the race after that, including anything about parking, bibs, race manual, etc (AKA I never got the traditional pre-race email, which was weird.)

    Venue/Festival- Typical spartan festival set-up. My only issue with it was that VIP bag check for Season Pass Holders was shared with the Volunteer bag check making it the longest line and nothing at bag check was labeled. I waited in one line, then got moved to another, then another. There should be clear signage telling us which line to get into. (They did a great job with this in Austin).

    Course- That mountain was a total suck-fest. Norm definitely wanted to make sure we got a lot of climbs in. I kind of expected that, just not to this degree. While I hate hills, that is not why I marked down in this category. The obstacles are stale, just the same old obstacles every time. I expect to see walls, a spear throw, fire jump, etc but c’mon Spartan, can’t you give us at least 1 thing we haven’t seen before? Also, the dunk wall was WAYYY too shallow.

    Swag- I like the new medal design. I am also pretty pumped that I have already earned a trifecta this year, however, despite knowing that I will get several more trifectas this year, I have no interest in getting the delta plates because of the fact that you have to buy the corner piece at every venue. (I didn’t know this and would already be missing a few). It seems like just a ploy to get money. At least give the option of the delta plates without needing the corners.

    Overall: This was my first Beast. I will be walking funny for a few days. I loved the mud trench (and the NES volunteers at it). I have a crazy amount of respect for everyone who did this race and/or the Ultra Beast because this course was no joke.

  68. Let me just start off by saying that the course and terrain were BEAUTIFUL. The race took place at a ranch which had a nice variety of terrain (flat, rocky, creek, hills, downslopes, straight up dirt, mucky mud). Thanks to all of the recent rain, there were wildflowers everywhere. As I said, beautiful.

    I went to race, my aunt, uncle, and cousin came to spectate. When we arrived at the parking lot, we were initially directed the wrong way, had to turn around, then go back the way we came. After the initial mix-up, parking was pretty easy. There were shuttles moving at a nice pace, which meant little/no wait time to get on the bus and to the venue.

    Registration: Pretty standard for Spartan, however there was apparently a mix-up with the waiver they had available online, causing anyone who had come prepared with their waiver already done, to have to wait in the line and fill out new ones anyway.

    Festival Area: Clearly labeled, easy to navigate.

    Course: The trails were very clearly marked, and spread out through a lot of different styles of terrain (as I mentioned above.) There were several climbs (again, spread out pretty nicely). I particularly enjoyed the use of the water. There was a creek winding through the property that they had us going in and out of A LOT, but you couldn’t really predict when the next dip in the water would be. I was pretty amused at the amount of people who stopped after every water entry to empty out their shoes. (I am hoping a few of them took my advice to only do that if it was absolutely necessary, or they would have stopped at least 15 times.)

    Obstacles: Standard Spartan Race Obstacles. O-U-T, a few different walls, weight sleds, bucket brigade, sandbag, memory test (the banner was hung upside-down making a lot of people confuse 6 and 9, and they did actually ask us for them later on), Wall to Sparta, Herc. Hoist, Rig (this rig went from the pole to three rings, then a baseball on a rope, followed by three more regular ropes), spear throw (NAILED IT) rope climb (Did Not Nail It), mud trenches, and a dunk wall. There were also some crawl pipes on the property that were kind of interesting. There were 4 sets, 2 long and 2 short. If you wanted to crawl through the short ones, you had to pay with 10 burpees before-hand. The long pipes were a LOT longer, and much more narrow.

    Mileage: According to the map I have, it was about 9.5 miles. This could be off in either direction.

    Additional Comments: Having never brought spectators to a race before, I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to see my relatives until the last mile or so. This WAS NOT a spectator friendly course.

    Overall: I enjoyed the race, made some great friends from the Lone Star Spartans (who are planning to come up and play with us for Fenway), and got my medal. It was worth it for me to travel simply because I have family out that way to stay with and I have a season pass. The venue and terrain are gorgeous and were creatively used, but the obstacles were a little stale.

  69. Communication – 7.5
    Typical Spartan communication. 8-10 days before the race date they post the start times. A couple days before race day they posted bibs. My biggest gripe is the waiver. I have a season pass and every race I have to print and bring a waiver. These days you should just have a waiver on file for the length of your season pass.

    Venue & Festival – 7
    Again nothing out of the ordinary here. Parking was about 10 min away and the buses were plenty and ran one after the other. Festival had the usual stuff for races. Climbing rope and booths for different vendors. My 9yo daughter did 12 pull-ups at the Marine challenge and won a water bottle which she was really proud of in addition to the new kids finisher t-shirts which are the same as the adults, just orange.

    Course & Obstacles – 7 (Course 9.5 & obstacles 4.5)
    Course was not for the faint of heart. Steady climbs all day long and technical tracks most of the day. Saw one bad injury on mile 3 where a guy visibly dislocated his knee and that is where I balanced the risk reward the rest of the day. Obstacles were Spartan vanilla as usual. The only “new” obstacle I saw was a variation on the sled drag. This is the one area Spartan needs to step up their game. Especially for those of us that have done multiple races. Enough of the walls, attach a rope and make a variation to the usual.

    Swag & Awards – 7.5
    Nice Finisher t-shirt and medal design is new. They had a bunch of new gear that was nice to choose from. Post race they had the bananas, clif bar and fit aid. Again usual stuff for those of us that have done multiple races. One additional note is that they customized the buckles for the UB finishers, thought that was a nice touch.

    Overall – 7.5
    My 4th Spartan race of 2016 but first tri-state Beast. I will definitely be back next year as the 4 hr drive for me was worth the challenge the race presented. I just hope that Spartan gets a little more creative with their obstacles to bring a new dynamic to both new and seasoned racers.

  70. Review of NJ Beast 2016, Raman

    This was my first Beast, and my 4th Spartan race (ran the Barre, Fenway and Killington Sprints in 2015)

    Administration – registration, communication, pre-race notifications: decent

    Venue: well organized, buses from parking to event was decent – no long lines or waiting.

    Course: I LOVED the course. At a Beast, the course is the most challenging obstacle. Great use of the available area to carve out multiple up and down sections. Most of the course precludes any real running. Loved the Mud – there was a LOT of it.

    Course support: there were water stations. Allowed filling of water backpacks. One station even had Shot bloks – nice touch. The one port-potty stop I decided to use had a bit of a queue and wait – few more would have been nice.

    Obstacles: this was one of my least favorites part, ironic since I signed up for an OCR. There wasn’t a single obstacle I hadn’t already seen before (in previous races). Being a middle aged avg. Joe with a bad back – I’m not the biggest fan of obstacles involving moving HEAVY weight (aka Atlas carry, sleds, buckets, Herc hoist), but that’s just me. At least a few obstacles were repeated on the course with minor variations (barb wire crawl, sled carry.) I did like that the rope climb wasn’t in the water.

    Festival: nice festival area. I gave away my beer coupon but I did hear many people not being happy with the choice beer. Also, most races have little or no options for vegetarians.

    One thing that really irked me was the amount of trash on the trail. I saw so much of it on the course, and saw people tossing empty wrappers. I know this is more of a comment for the racers and athletes, but I do hope the race organizers can do something to address this – perhaps more trash bins along the course, and more of an effort to ask the runners to not litter. (I did see one NE Spahten actually pick up a wrapper accidentally dropped by another runner in front of her – kudos D.C.)

  71. this review is part about the 2016 tri state beast part about spartan race in general

    this was the second year for the Beast at Mountain creek in Nj . this is a solid venue for OCR very solid and challenging hills but not so challenging its like a Killington where its best for rookies to not venture. this year we spent a lot more time going up and down and almost no time on actual ski trails and most of it off the beaten path. we spent the first 3 miles bone dry but once we hit ” ball shrinker ” BTW a stupid name for a obstacle we were never really dry again. unlike past races we spent a LOT more time going in and out of streams than then created giant mud quagmires and doing a lot of the same old obstacles you see at every single spartan. most of the course was slow gruling uphills and quick steep downhills where you would give all that elevation right back. at times i felt like they were just having us going in circles just to pad the millage for this race. overall the path of the race was a killer but the obstacles were a big fat DUD.

    As for Spartan on a whole, they remind me of a band thats just kinda given up and are on auto pilot playing there ” greatest hits” when it comes to obstacles. this is my third full year doing spartans and the only real new obstacle i have seen them introduce and keep is the inverted wall. SR was even warning volunteer members who posted pics of the site and obstacles would not be allowed back because for some stupid reason Spartan still thinks keeping things a secrete is necessary and claiming there always working on new and innovating obstacles but yet nothing ever comes to be.

    also on there maps they say ” worlds best obstacle race” but i honestly feel they should not be allowed to call themself a OCR, at this point there more a TCR task course race almost 1/3 of the obstacles they use are pick this heavy thing up move it from point a to b or using 5-10 walls to help get that obstacle # count up. Spartan has gotten comfortable and lazy in there position being # 1 and not working to advance and better there product. I have seen better inovation from local events that have very limited people, budget and time. But the people are noticing and numbers are down just look at how big NES was at the 2015 beast and then look at this year LARGE drop and would have been ever bigger if there wasent a ultra beast there.

    so my message to Spartan, you have the money and resources other races can only dream about but seem to only be focused on expanding the brand and not improving it. its time to focus on improving the brand.

  72. This was my third race at the storied Fenway Park, and it continues to be my favorite venue to take part in. Full disclosure here…You could probably set me up with a slip and slide in the middle of the winter, and I’d still think this was an incredible venue as I have grown up being a massive fan of this park and the history that surrounds it.

    Every year I have been here has been great in it’s own right as the course has been switched up year over year just enough to keep things interesting. This year having the most changes in obstacle location as well as overall course layout. I will say that this year’s layout was certainly my favorite to date. I was a huge fan of the obstacle heavy layout in certain areas…especially the Jerry can, box jump, smash ball, crawling descent!! That was a full body nightmare that added a difficulty level to this course that I hadn’t really experienced before. As always with this course, we were run through the visitors locker room and dugout, as well as through an inordinate amount of stairs throughout the entire park.
    Having volunteered, I was unable to run with the NE Spahtens team. I was however able to spend some time in the “biggest team” area and enjoy the photo op for the aforementioned award.

    The venue poses it’s own inherent challenges, however. Parking should always be mentioned here, as it is Boston and you most certainly need to plan accordingly. Most of the lots are open at around 5am on race day, and thankfully don’t feel any need to charge any more than their normal minimum fees…I was able to park all day directly across from the park for $10. Within the venue you will certainly feel cramped as you move about. This will be no surprise or shock if you’ve attended a Sox game, but if not, be prepared for some close quarters mingling amongst strangers. On the course it’s really no different. There is really no place to fit the multi-thousands of people on a sub 3-mile course, so, unless you plan to run elite…plan on some bottlenecking.

    The layout is awesome to get a great point of view of an amazing ball park and to run through the halls of many childhood hero’s. If you plan to use this event as a timed and truly challenging event, be careful!! If you plan to use this event to get your feet wet in the AWESOME world of O.C.R..GREAT IDEA. It really is a FUN race with some great sites and experiences…as long as you bring some patience and knowledge of what you signed up for.

  73. This was one of my favorite races of the year. A lot of the typical Spartan obstacles but in a ridiculously awesome venue.
    I did two laps on each day, along with two laps of the kids course with my students.
    Pros: The venue. Clearly. Two obstacles on the actual field (cargo net and monkey bars) with photographers at the top of the cargo net and on the field in front of the scoreboard. That crazy long, never ending bungee cord descent (in place of barbed wire).
    I also loved that amount of photographers that were in “hidden” spots. I know I will look completely ridiculous in some of those pictures, and I look forward to seeing them. Last year it was an incline which royally scraped my legs and arms because of the style of flooring. The decline made it a bit more easy to control my body and not get as bloody.
    Despite the shorter distance of the race, I still felt challenged with the spacing of the obstacles and the amount of bleacher climbing.

    Cons: The only big con was the huge bottleneck to start. Both of my am heats were fairly close to their actual start time, but the afternoon heats were backed up by almost 20/30 minutes at one point.
    This race also gets to be crazy expensive, but that is to be expected with such a glorious venue. I think as long as they can actually hit the full 3 mile minimum, no one can be too annoyed with that. This year was a bit under the distance mark.

    Overall, this was a great race. I am definitely coming back!

  74. This was my first Spartan race, and I thought it was an excellent introduction to Spartan races and OCR in general.

    Communication was great, all the information I needed was easily found on the website. I was able to skip certain sections of registration by downloading and signing the waivers before showing up to the venue which made things quick and easy when getting there. The staff at the venue were super helpful as well.

    As far as the venue goes, its Fenway Park, does it get much better? OK I am a bit bias since I am a huge Red Sox fan, but it was certainly a unique place to have a race even if you aren’t a fan of the Red Sox.

    Overall I thought the course and the obstacle were good. It was my first time doing many of these obstacles so they were plenty challenging for me. All the well known ones were present, robe climb, spear throw, etc. There were also some more unique ones like this scooter obstacle where you use your hands to push yourself back and forth while kneeling on a small scooter. I felt like I was back in high school gym class. There were some backups when I ran which I didn’t really appreciate. My start time was 11:15 and I didn’t get to start until 12:00, that was probably the worst part of the race overall.

    Swag was high quality. The metals are nice and lanyard had the Boston skyline on it.

    Overall I thought it was a great race, but again I don’t have many under my belt. It was certainly a good race for an OCR beginner and with it being at such a cool venue there is a lot of additional excitement around the race.

  75. Communication was a little difficult, as I was gifted a race code for my daughter and I.. and I was unable to pre-register online. However, I was able to register in person the day of and that went smoothly.

    The venue of course was lovely, as Fenway Park is beloved. I didn’t have issues with parking because I parked at the Riverside T station and rode in. $6 for parking and a round trip total of about $5.50 on the T was well worth the absence of traffic and ease in which I could get right back on the Pike after a tiring race.

    The festival area was great. A little crowded inside the park but that is to be expected. I didn’t spend a lot of time outside the park at the vendors. Spartan could stand to put up a little more signage at intersections so people know where registration is. Having raced here in previous years, I knew where to locate it.

    The course was challenging for me as I have not trained or raced at all this season. I liked the newer obstacles, and either I am way more out of shape than I thought or some of the weighted obstacles have increased. The atlas carry and herculean hoist seemed far heavier than I remember! I enjoyed getting in the locker room, but wish our “obstacle” in there didn’t require us to stare at the floor the whole time!

    The medals are great – love that it is different on the back than my previous medals. The Boston skyline and Citgo sign were a nice touch. I love the fact that they give out Biggest Team trophies, and that our team won it!

    Overall, I was pleased with this race. Despite the miles of stairs, I love the stadium series and will continue to race Spartan races at Fenway for as long as they have them.

  76. Venue: Super cool. Racing through Fenway is something very very few races could ever offer. You get access to the locker room, duggout, field, and all of the seating areas. Also, RUNNING WATER. Funny how you don’t need it as much at this race.
    Parking: Boston is notoriously expensive for parking. Heck, Fenway is absurdly expensive for Spartan to put this race on (hence the lowest price of $100+ dollars to run a 2-2.5 mile race), so Spartan opts out of arranging parking for this event. Get to the event however you can/want. I personally found an amazing deal on the Landsdowne Street Parking garage for $11.50, which is actually cheaper than taking the train, and turned out to be incredibly less of a hassle than it’d have been to save a few measly dollars to drive up to the green line (since the red line has a mid-line shuttle due to construction) and park and ride the T in. I had no problems getting in and no problems parking.
    Swag: The usual finishers T and medal. The medal was venue specific (super cool), but the same as last years (but I didn’t care as I missed last years race, however some people wouldn’t like having the same medal with a new lanyard). There as also the usual finisher’s line bananas, a smaller version of their typical builders bar, and a recovery drink (not muscle milk this time). I can say that I’m over the top excited that an XS finishers shirt has been added mid year! Its nice not to swim in my finishers shirt and it meas I’ll actually wear it!
    Registration/Vendors: Registration was outside of the park, across the street from Gate B. I had no problem finding or getting through it, as usual. Spartan really shines here. Once you crossed the street, all the vendors were lined up along the private street. There were plenty of challenges and such around. The only bad thing about this was that your bag was checked going into the stadium after entering the street, so it didn’t feel as though you could easily go back outside without the hassle of having to get checked through security again to re-enter. Logistically, it was the only thing that made sense, but was still off-setting to me.
    Course: This was my first stadium Spartan. I expected it to be relatively easy compared to the outdoor events, and generally it was. The course was short, 2-2.5 miles. It made GREAT use of the stadium, allowing runners to get into the locker room, the duggout, run around the warning track, etc. Photo opportunities were everywhere, and not discouraged! I was not a huge fan, of the use of more PT exercises. Ball slams, jump ropes, etc.; I do those at the gym to train, but I like climbing up and over things at races. Those really skinny targets placed on the Spartan wooden men needed to go. Missed the spear throw by inches! The inconsistency of these guys throughout their races is maddening. This was also the only place in the race where there was bottlenecking, and as usual, a few lanes were open due to bent tips or severely curved spears. Their new concept on the Z wall (they cut out the middle), was really neat, however, the traverse was much harder than usual, and the space missing the middle allowed for people to put a foot on the top of the lower wall, which kind of defeated the point of it. Overall, though, I think they did really well with the space they had. Its really fun, and the most beginner friendly Spartan race you’ll find.

  77. Parking for Fenway is always a nightmare so this year I decided to take the Green Line from Riverside. It was 6 dollars for parking and $2.65 to take the train. The drop off was right at the Fenway station and in a short walk we were at the stadium.

    Registration was quick and easy and we were in the stadium hanging out with the team within 15 minutes of getting off of the train. There were some vendors outside and some under the grandstand but we really didn’t take much time to walk around.

    I felt that this year the course flowed really well. The start line was way down the far end under the bleachers. This opened up a lot of the grand concourse area for spectators which was nice. It was nice to see a couple of new obstacles come to Fenway, including the first time I have ever seen the skateboard plank walk thing. This was deceptively tough. The other thing I have never seen at Fenway was the bridge similar to what you will see at there outdoor venues built up on the rafters of the concourse. Very intimidating and definitely a good use of the space.

    While I was glad the the box jumps came early in the race, I was not crazy of the idea of them being on concrete. It was crazy busy at that obstacle since it was early in the race and it would have been easy to slip or fall back and have a major injury.

    The only back up we had all day was at the spear throw. Overall this was my favorite Fenway racing experience. It was a great day and an awesome race. I am definitely looking forward to this next year.

  78. ok gonna try and make this short and sweet .

    parking – people may complain but the red sox and spartan get ZERO say over this. unlike the other stadiums the red sox do not own any of the lots so thats that.

    schwag – i feel spartan cheeped out on this one big time. first they just recycled last years medals and we got the same old boring shirt from every other sprint. 2012 was the year they did it best with a special finisher shirt and a medal that was colored differently to match the team. i think for the added cost of these events they could give us better shirts and medals

    course – i marked it low due to several factors. first DISTANCE, have not seen anyone post a GPS above 2.5 miles most of them were in the 1.9-2.2 range ( even more of a reason spartan should be ponying up for better shirt and awards being this is far and away there shortest event ) . next just obstacle choice and placement was less than great . also think they could have fit the stairway to sparta and or the “slip wall” on the warning track just to add to the mix of something different in a stadium. next is there any logical reason as to why the herc hoist is the only real obstacle that does not have a uniform standard? i dont think ive done two races that had the same weight some races i think it goes as high as 145 dry to yesterdays 90lbs dry.

    overall – i love spartan fenway because of the unique location but this race does show spartans biggest flaw they currently have and dont seem to attempt to address. lack of innovation and change. they need to mix things up and not have it hop a wall carry heavy shit back and forth hop another wall and thats it need to mix things up add new things and change up the old to keep it fresh to keep people coming back. this is a area where tough mudder kills spartan race in.

  79. First off, this was my first Spartan, first time with NE Spahtens, and only fourth OCR. I had an absolute blast. I did knock the “course” rating down a bit, not because it was lacking, but because one spot had a logistical issue I will further discuss in my unique race day story.

    so, I had a super unique experience at Fenway, this was my first Spartan, first race with the team, and only fourth OCR. Big thanks to those of you I conversed with between laps!
    I ran the 12:45 heat, finished, ran a clean race, failing nothing and got my result: 39:06. I was psyched, as I blew my goal of breaking 50:00 out of the water, even beating my trainer. It seemed too good to be true, turned out it was! I talked about my results with some other Spahtens. I said it was weird that opens didn’t have to spear throw…they said, yeah you did, I think you missed a piece. Yup, that’s what happened, the course was poorly marked, the volunteer must have stepped away, and I unintentionally skipped a part, a short section, but the section with the two most difficult obstacles, and a third easy one. Feeling deflated, they said, here’s a band, run it again.
    So, I ran again! I was back on the course at 1:52, not even 30 minutes after finishing. This time, I didn’t miss the turn, ran a clean race INCLUDING the spear throw and Hercules Hoist I previously missed, and finished in a still solid 46:38. I then explained what happened to the staff, they informed me that the corner had been a problem all day, used the timing chip to update my time to the second one, and told me keep the second medal I offered to give back!
    Honestly, getting it done twice was pretty exhilarating, probably more than if I had just done one sub 45:00 lap, which I am sure I would have – so here’s to roughly 1.8 laps in a combined 1:25:44!
    Its pretty awesome that a year ago I was doing Couch to 5k after not running regularly for about 8 or 9 years and that I have never ran a race of any kind longer than 4 miles – OCR, road or trail, I am excited to add some mileage.

  80. SR Dallas 2015, was subject to the forces of mother nature. Im pretty sure if Tx got any more rain, it would turn into Atlantis. Venue Rough Creek Ranch , in Glen Rose , about 90 mi SW of Dallas ( are they ever in the town they advertise,lol) Showed up friday , to show a friend where the venue was. Had to help push a Hurricane Heater’s car out of the mud in the parking lot, sign of things to come.m Many of us have superstitions/ prerace rituals …How did i diverge, did it affect the outcome, dont know. Didnt have prerace coffee, actually had no coffee saturday. Wore my OCRWC band, i never wear anything that isnt specific to me racing that day( going forward will not wear it ) . Neither probably affected the outcome but who knows… Get back home and its pouring out during dinner, this is where being in multiple FB groups paid off. About 6 am Sat morning, a message on SR Vol page comes through, main entrance flooded, we need to go through the back entrance to Rough Creek ( there’s a joke there) Explicit directions were given so for those of us running early, i chose to go with the big boys, it was a minor inconvenience.. Parking same as last 3 yrs, reg and festival area same as previous, i really didnt explore it that much. Lone Star Spartans were the biggest team, ( their tent blew down over night, but was up by the time i got there ) though they were situated rather peripherally at the venue. First obstacle it was dark and we needed a venue waiver , but none had arrived, so lots of racers waiting,. I said hi to Amelia Boone while waiting, didnt help me run faster…. So its nearing 730 elite male team to start and there is an announcement the course is being checked out, by Norm ,et al, Long version short, due toe the rain , certain water crossings were deemed too unsafe and the course was going to be shorted by ~3 miles, including the lake swim but i didnt see any lane markings on friday, just some spartan tape at the edge.. First male elite teams went out at 9 am ( that as the 730 wave) and then we went out 5 min later, ladies elite team 10 min after etc. for the team race , there were teams of 4 and for the team obstacles, 2 racers had to be tethered together, each team had 2 ropes, and if one racer failed, all 4 had burpees, on indivicual obstacles, ie spear , burpees were only for the racer(s) who failed. Course is rather flat, by northeast standards, though a lot of the locals were bitching about the climb, we know better. First obstacle i failed was a balance beam , think a 1×6 on its end and not totally secure, sort of like balance box at shale hill. when i fell off hit my left shin, which continued to remind me for the remainder of the day… At 33 min in for me ( 23 for them) , the super team of Amelia, Rose, April and Chikorita, all sporting mustaches passed me. Glad to say i wasnt the first guy they passed . should have thrown poptarts , could have kept amelia at bay all day, but i digress. At the muddy spear, i failed, so did april, suffice it to say ,her burpees were spot on, and that was the last i saw of them for the balance of the race. there was a fair amount of trail running, through a few gun ranges, including the area where Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield were killed( there was a series of pumpkins set up , which at the time i did not know the significance). we had the muddy atlas carry, slip wall, rolling mud, a number of 7 and 8 ft walls, which were muddy on top, and really sucks when you cant get help. sandbag and bucket of suck up the hill, which over the course of the day they took us up and down maybe 7 or 8 times. log hop, failure, herc hoist and monkey bars were both failures for only the second time ever due to slippyness. probably could have made monkey bars but for me it was a foregone conclusion id fail as it was wet, but that was mistake number one, my grip strength has gotten a lot better recently and shoulda just taken my time. log hop, there was a thin rope rope climb over hay bales, clif bar rig and dryrolean- tyrolean over the grass, which was the last obstacle before finish. Tom tom cut out right at end of the barbed wire crawl, 7.5 mi which had the mud which attached to you when you went through…….There was a definite lack of photographers, even to the point i didnt hear the beeps of the automatic cameras but they may have been on the part of the course not used on saturday, From what i read in LSS the course came in ~10 mi give or take..As i heard they used the whole course sunday. Leaving the venue they sent us out the normal route, and it was flooded over the roadway with a decent cross current. I had thought by going early on saturday that if i wasnt hurting too much i might try 2 laps. While i finished before 1, they were sending people off after 4 pm. , however, besides the shin bothering me, to me this was more like a Tough Mudder. For those of you who like TM, thats great, but for me it was miserable so it was more just get through this,….Hopefully next yr mother nature will play nice, will be back…..

    By Kevin Pearson

    My 4th Super stop on the quest for a 6-fecta in 2015 forced my hand on a trip to Chicago to make up for the changed Super to Sprint in the South Carolina Beast Weekend setup. Already mad at Spartan for making that change (based on races in that portion of the country), it was offset minimally by adding a second Beast in VT. Those feelings will not be held against them during this review. However, my feelings for more Spearman obstacles are still Super strong (Pun heavily intended).

    Getting There/Parking: The Cliff’s Off Road/ATV Park in Marseilles, IL, according to GPS directions, is almost 2 hrs southwest of Chicago/Midway. I stayed in a hotel in Joliet, IL, which was basically the halfway point. The road which parking was on was 1 left turn off of Route 55. There was VIP parking on site ($40) which was not anywhere close to heavily populated at any point between 7am and 1pm, and off-site shuttle parking that was 2 minutes down the road. However, later in the day there were as may as 5 shuttle lots, which increased my return trip from 2 minutes to over 15 as we had to go to a parking lot across the town of Marseilles to get to a lot from which only 4 people exited the bus. Seems like there should have been at least 1 bus dedicated to the overflow lots that were further away. When I got on the shuttle in the A.M. (No wait) there was a line backed up at least 40 cars deep pouring back onto the main road waiting to get in. I must have just gotten parked before a parking disaster was created. Shuttle drop off was not more than 20 yards from Registration setup and pickup was in the same spot. Porta potties in all shuttle lots. Grade (For the fact it’s Illinois and ISN’T Chicago…Tough Mudder “Boston”): B+

    Registration: The same standard setup as always. Yet somehow again, I get stuck in the one line that has 5+ people at 715 in the morning. Every other line is always empty. Wait wasn’t significant enough to dock points for, however, the volunteers for my line were playing the wave time wristband on the athlete at that point in time. I made a request not to have mine put on because I only put it on as I am ready to approach the start line. They complied and understood what I was getting at. One nice thing of note that everyone’s finally aware of, that they moved the sticker from the front face of the packet (new “bib” portion) to the reverse side with the timing chip instructions. However, I wish they’d forcing people to subscribe to the theory that they need to wear their headband for photo recognition. I had to explain to a team of 12 that if they wanted awkward suntan lines, to wear their headbands, but most photos were done at timing stations (which, after the fact, isn’t going to help because all but the Start, Fire Jump and Finish line mats were out of service due to the severe rainstorm that rolled through Friday PM), and THAT’S how it’s sorted out. Grade: A-

    Festival Area: Upon leaving the registration line, immediately in front of you there is a truck-sized width lane to travel through the woods into the normal festival area. Registration/VIP parking side of the festival was the Porta Potties (silly idea) and Biggest Team (Corn Fed Spartans). Spartan Race failed CFS terribly, not putting them in the middle of the festival area. Recognize them as a biggest team, however, isolate them from the rest of the general public. For shame. One thing I think Spartan needs to do a FAR better job at, is the amount of covered areas for races in OPEN FIELDS. They put up 3-4 spectator tents, and underneath them are all the spectators and completed racers trying to stay out of the sun. That just creates chaos. Add more tents, make the festival area larger, to accommodate the hundreds of spectators that need shade. Or, start allowing Biggest Team to take an entire section, bring X number of tents to put up, and take the Biggest Team tent and use it as another spectator tent. People don’t come to Spartan Race for the Sun poisoning, but SR sure as hell isn’t doing much to prevent it from happening. The sun didn’t disappear for the 7 hours I was at the race. Normal festival sponsors, Army, Cliff, Whoever the Milk people were for the finish, Merch, Bag Check, Rinse Stations, Changing Tents, Beer Tents, etc. Of note, one thing I will tip my non-existant cap to Spartan for, was that they dug a trench around the rinse station (which was covered with rocks), and dug a trench all around the inside of the festival area to a stream or larger ditch. The water would seep through the rocks, overflow goes into the perimeter ditch creating almost an aqueduct system of removing water. It worked PERFECTLY. Grade: B- (Almost an F merely on Biggest Team tent placement, but the Roman Design of the Rinse Station made up for it).

    (Insert Course Map picture here please)

    Course/Obstacles: As previously mentioned, it rained the night before. Which made miles 3-5 of the course extremely muddy. First note, was the start chute. Good ole Dustin was in Chicago doing his normal awesome work, however Spartan decided to split the start waves by 3 minutes. So half the corral started and then 3 minutes later the rest of the corral went. I’m sure this wasn’t the initial intention, but, the rain again messed all that up. The course was never backlogged, so that may have been a huge change made going forward. Based on the map, the first obstacle was to be the Rolling Mud/Dunk wall. Rolling mud could’ve explained any creek trench that they used during the first two miles, but there was certainly no dunk wall. So the first real obstacle was a pair of 4-5 foot walls. The first “classified” obstacle would up being a sandbag carry, through an ugly portion of the track. Next up was the wall trio, made a little more difficult by the tops being slipper and muddy and my Icebugs not being able to grip with caked mud on the bottom of them. Got over but needed a little push (of less than half a foot) for the 9 foot wall. The inverted wall met us after a good little run in the woods, in front of the spectator area (which was actually the VIP Parking Lot/Registration area off to the right of the lots). Right off of that wall was the rope climb. Yes, obstacle #6, the rope climb, less than 4 miles into a Super. I was pumped. However, the rain had done its damage to all ropes, and gaiters on or not, I spent 10 minutes attempting to get up the rope, never getting more than 8 feet high. Lots of failures. Almost Amesbury 2014-esque. Back into the woods to keep running. The second of the “classified” carries was a memory board. I did my due diligence to remember my bib number, and off we went. Meanwhile, the voice in my head is telling me “90% chance there’s no turn in. After more trail running we arrived at a quad-set of obstacles. Atlas Carry then around the bend it was the plate drag (didn’t have to sit down on the ground like in PA), Spear Throw (continued the perfect season, 9/9 and 15 of 16 lifetime). Right after that was a Spartan Staple, that’s right, The HAY BALE!. Woooo. Back to running. Into the woods we met alongside a river, the Vertical Cargo net, and started running again only to meet up with a Cliff Climb. Ropes dropped down a muddy hill to assist in climbing up. This was 4-5 Spartan Obstacles at the PA Super, and at this juncture of the race, wasn’t extremely necessary. Muddiest Barbed Wire Crawl ever was after that, and it was interesting because it was a “rolling” hill of a forest, and the barbed wire was relatively high. It was so muddy and smooth that you could basically slide on your butt and move quickly through it. Last section of it was water over some rocks that you could low crawl or just float and move yourself with your hands. The next obstacle immediately after that, called Spider Web was a bungee section wrapped around trees, but it was made difficult that it was on an uphill that was completely muddy and slippery. People were using the trees to get under the bungees but still scale the hill. You come out of the woods again and to the Herc Hoist which was a little tricky as the first 10 feet of every rope was drenched, and of course, the bags were heavier due to the rain. Off the herc hoist and over to the next Classified (which if you’re following the course map at this point you know there hasn’t been the Z-Wall yet and there’s no other classifieds left). So there’s that, and then into the Cliff Multi Bars. This multi Bar setup was rope, ring, rope, ring, bar, ring, rope, ring, rope. However, this was not elevated off the ground as other rigs have been, so it was not tall people friendly. Failed on the last ring and couldn’t swing my feet to hit the bell, burpee time and on my way. This point became the cutoff for the Super course away from the Sprint, somewhere around the mile 4 marker. The Super-only portion of the course was more reminiscent of up/down trail runs, with a few “cliff climbs” thrown in. Obstacles during that part of the course were: Cliff Climb, Marine Hurdles, Log Carry, Stairway to Sparta and the Monkey Bars. Monkey bars were also not elevated off the ground and there was no hay bale or anything to allow shorter people to grab the first bar to start. From the Monkey Bars you looped back onto the Sprint course to finish the last two obstacles: A bone dry Slip Wall (seriously, was like a rolling desert of hard Earth in front of the thing) and the Fire Jump (Fire Grade: C-).

    Overall thoughts on the course: Would have been GREAT if it didn’t downpour, as I was hoping to prep myself for running a solo lap for the Sprint. Having done the first 3+ miles in under 60 minutes was good preparation given the terrain. However, I’m mentally preparing myself, oh wait, did I forget to mention that there was NO BUCKET CARRY?!?!. I’m mentally preparing myself to be sub 90 minutes as there will be 23 obstacles or so over those 3 miles that I trail ran. Course Grade: C- (Seriously, most sprints have a Bucket Carry, how can you call it a Super?!?!).

    Overall Super Grade: B-. They need to fix the Biggest Team location, continue the trench at rinse stations, and make the course a bit more challenging.

  82. Dallas Beast Weekend – 2015
    By: Kevin Pearson

    The 4th and 5th Beast stop on the Road to the 6-Fecta occurred Halloween weekend this year, in Glen Rose, Texas. The Rough Creek Lodge hosted, for at least the fourth consecutive year, and a prior host of the 2011 World Championships. This weekend it hosted a Double Beast weekend, along with the Spartan Race Team Championships, and a Hurricane Heat Friday PM, and lastly a 12hr Hurricane Heat Saturday PM into Sunday AM. Lucky ducks who did the 12hr got to do a 13hr as Daylight Savings Time was not on their side.

    Getting There/Parking: Due to torrential thunderstorms that delayed flights, etc on Friday, the course was an absolute disasterpiece waiting to happen. However, things like freaks of nature are unavoidable. Two of the main roads that were the entrance points were washed out/flooded to get in. So they had one long road to get into, which EVERYONE, racers and volunteers were arriving at the same time for the early heats. The road that was used since it wasn’t washed out, had two course crossings, which volunteers kept stopping traffic to allow runners the right of way. We had friends who were supposed to start at 8am, and had just gotten parked at 2pm when we were leaving, they had been in traffic on that road for 6 hours. Due to unforeseen circumstances I can’t hold it against Spartan or Rough Creek, so I’ll leave the grade as an N/A.

    Registration: One registration tent, which happened to be the one I needed to go to, had blown down overnight. So the bibs were a little soggy. However volunteers were quick to inform everyone that there was a last second addition to the waiver setup, as there was one for the venue now, and they were very polite about handing them out to people. Registration informed everyone that there was a 60 minute delay due to the weather, however, they continued to write the original wave times on the wristbands, and the start line was VERY good at enforcing specific wave times, allowing 2 wave times at a time (example – 8 and 815) to be in the same corral as there were a lot of racers missing. Registration, given the circumstances and adjustment Grade: A+

    Festival Area: Again, this is just an overview, no grade given the fact that I’m sure they had to move tents because of all the mud. The Biggest Team tent was near the finish, and that belonged to the Lone Star Spartans (of which during our 4-hour run we only encountered 3 of them and 2 Corn Fed). Never had the time to go say hello, but Leo was friendly with one of the Southern Spartans as she recognized his NES Akuma Jersey. Merchandise wasn’t the trailer, but it was a large bag-check sized merchandise tent which had basically ALL of Spartan’s Merchandise, which included the Foam Spears I had been searching for. There were finisher shirts and changing station far away from the bag check station. But due to all the mud paths, it was impossible to stay clean after the race. The beer offered was not the typical Shock Top, but there was word that because it was a Dry County they were limited with their offerings, which was Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Coors Lights cans.

    Course/Obstacles: Course map is included, however, the race was GPS’d to be just shy of 11 miles. Due to the rain and flooding they had to cut ~2 miles off the course and close some of the obstacles. Standard Spartan Obstacles included: Balance Beam, Log Hops, Stairway to Sparta, Bucket Brigade, Pancake Carry, Atlas Carry, 6-7-8-9 foot walls, Fake Memory Test (starting to get a little redundant now), Barbed Wire Crawl, Dunk Wall, Rolling Mud, Plate, Monkey Bars, Spear Throw, Herc Hoist, and a Multi-Rig that had ring/rope/ring/rope/bar/rope/ball/rope/ball/rope setup. The rope climb was over a bed of mulch that was rather impact friendly. All of the ropes were knotless but looked to be the 1” nylon that they’ve been using. There was 1 “hill” used and it was used for 5-7 ascents as they used it for the bucket brigade and a few more up and downs. I guess it made sense if it was their only incline. If the course was dry, it would have been an extremely fast, runner’s course as there were many flat sections that were riddled with large footprints from the Elites and Hurricane Heaters prior. There were a few changes for the Teams which included a taller piece of plywood on the Stairway, a 10’ team wall, a plate drag that had 6 sandbags on it, and tethered bucket and pancake carries. Course Grade, based on Conditions/Obstacles: B-

    Overall thoughts: For any event here on out where Spartan is at a location where the course crosses a road, whether it is intended to be an emergency exit, or become the main entrance in times of inclement weather, they need to just bite the bullet and put up a ladder bridge. Mohegan style. That’ll allow traffic to flow continuously and racers not interrupt that flow. Overall grade: B.

    Updated with Day 2:

    In addition to everything mentioned before regarding Saturday, Day 2 went much smoother. Parking was a quick in using the main access road on which the water had receded enough that it wasn’t an issue anymore. There were tracks EVERYWHERE from cars stuck in the mud, but it didn’t hinder our progress towards getting a parking spot. We didn’t get stuck on the way out on Saturday (GMC Terrain SUV without 4WD) nor did we have issues on Sunday.

    Registration and the entire event felt much “smaller” despite no changes being made. There were 4 tents for participants on Saturday, down to 2, 4 lines total, for Sunday. The Festival Area looked like a Ghost Town (which is an irony for Texas plains) the entire day; from the start of Men’s elite at 730 to later in the day, post 2-pm finish. I would venture a guess to say there were 6000 participants on Saturday (Chronotrack shows 3100 finishers, my bib # was 4900, and I’m PE), and another 2000 on Sunday (Chronotrack shows 2100 finishers, my bib # was 9165 and I’m PE). In all honesty, with the way the festival area was spread out, even if there were 2,000 people there all at once Sunday AM, you wouldn’t have known there was an event. Bag check lines were down to 2, Merchandise tent was quiet, and they had taken down all food vendors, which made it tough for Spectators who were there for the day cheering on our team. Props to Angel Burgado who came to spectate after dropping Leo Nevar off at the airport, to get back at 10am and finding out that yes, they did open the FULL course and he’d be waiting awhile). He was without food until we got back to our lodge after 4pm due to the vendors being gone.

    Since I mentioned it, yes they did open the full course, and it was made public knowledge upon entrance to the race, as it was so quiet you could hear the MC from Registration. The remainder of the course that was closed on Saturday, but now Opened, included an immediate 2 river crossings (waist-chest deep), open field mucking, before meeting back up with the hay bales and balance beams that were originally the first thing we encountered on Saturday. The remainder middle section of the course (the 10.x miles logged on Saturday) were the same, however at one point we veered off that course as good ole Norm Koch had made the course longer, and send us through a longer section of what we should have had. The obstacles that were in that group included: 4-5 Water Crossings, a few VERY unsafe and slippery technical down “hills”, Tire Flip, Invert Wall, Z-Wall, Farmer’s carry (which, for a 6’2 person, was a total of 16 steps so the distance out and back was not that far out) and vertical cargo climb which was only 9-10 feet off the ground and suspended by 1 cable between 3 trees. Then the course met up with the Dunk Wall and the final string of obstacles from the previous day (hoist, monkey bars, log hops, multi rig, mulch-rope climb, tyrolean and fire). The sun finally poked its head out at 1pm on Sunday afternoon after being overcast all weekend. I guess when you bring members of NES to Dallas, you bring the NE Weather with you too.

    While Sunday was clearly a longer distance (definitely over 14 miles), and took longer, it felt like this was more of a Super/Beast weekend than Beast/Beast. It was my first double beast weekend ever, and most likely my only, but I don’t think I’d be as limber as I was the day after the race if it was the same 14+ miles both days. We jokingly thanked the Sheriff for giving the thumbs up on Sunday’s course re-opening when we crossed paths with him at the road interchange.

    Adjusted Dallas Beast Course Grade, based on Sunday’s actual course, had Saturday been the same: A-. I still don’t know if I’d have preferred all this mud or if I’d have wanted the sun out all weekend. This was by far the muddiest Spartan I’ve ever done, and tops both the Chicago Super and MA Super as muddiest Spartans of the year.

  83. Great pre-race communications, especially as captain of the biggest team.

    Killington base lodge is now more crowded than ever – and moving the biggest team tent as far as physically possible from the start / finish line was a bit rough.

    Obstacles were fun, but not the quality and standard of other Spartans – in line with the “founders” style though. Killington was still the biggest obstacle of them all!

    Great unique medal, distance specific medals!

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