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Official stance on burpees (for NES)

Who would have thought that burpees would continue to be so controversial in 2016? That explosive physical movement that Spartan Race brought to our collective minds as a penalty – 30 of them – when you “failed” at an obstacle at one of their events.


There was a time when I genuinely thought that if you couldn’t do 30 burpees in a row, then you should probably not sign up for a race of such integrity and physical challenge like a Spartan. Maybe go do a Warrior Dash, or Rugged Maniac – or an easier, less demanding course with no penalty.

12530890_1727321334157591_1112189754_nThen, after seeing countless new comers to the sport get the OCR bug, and push themselves to their limits – sloppy burpee after sloppy burpee – or their own burpee equivalent – and cross the finish line full of pride, and new found love for themselves, I took my head out of my ass and got over myself.

It seems it’s every season this conversation comes up too – newbies are told both extremes – they should try their hardest, but not worry about it too much … or no, they should do their 30 burpees – it’ll change their lives and make them better people – it’s the Spartan Way and Joe always intended it that way. In some dark corners of the OCR internet, it can be quite rudely put too.

The people who bring it up, tend to be newbies nervous for their first event, or fan boys in year two or three of their Spartan Race Life Cycle and CAUGHT someone CHEATING on their BURPEES at the last event.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 11.01.04 PMI’ve gone on at length in the past explaining my personal views – and I’ve gotten into debates, discussions, arguments and internet shouting matches with people about this before. I’m not going to do it again.

What I am going to do is to explain the stance of the New England Spahtens – our community’s official stance on “The Burpee Situation” as it exists today, in 2016. As the sport develops, this may change. For now though:

If you are participating in the OPEN waves of a Spartan Race:

You are asked to do 30 burpees at each failed obstacle. If you can, do so. If you can’t – modify, adapt and overcome to the best of your ability. Be kind to the volunteers, they don’t know your circumstances. Cross that finish line proud of your effort, but don’t boast about your finish time.

If you are participating in the new Competitive, or the Elite wave of a Spartan Race:

Do your damn burpees.

If you see someone struggling with their burpee form, or unable to count to 30, or doing something else entirely, or even walking right on by, whistling show tunes under their breath:

Mind you own damn business. If it’s THAT important to you, run in the Competitive or Elite waves, and complain all day about your fellow competitors.

Lastly, it’s been pointed out before that IT’S IN THE RULES! Spartan REQUIRE you to do 30 perfect form burpees, or you get time penalties – or maybe even disqualified!

Excerpt from the current Spartan Race Rule Book (dated 2014!) - does this sound like it's applicable to Open waves?" width="708" height="141" /> Excerpt from the current Spartan Race Rule Book (dated 2014!) - does this sound like it's applicable to Open waves?
Excerpt from the current Spartan Race Rule Book (dated 2014!) – does this sound like it’s applicable to Open waves?

To which we say: phooey. Spartan Race have not, do not and will not ever DQ or penalize an Open Wave athlete for not doing 30 perfect form burpees. As this author did – run a lap with an adaptive athlete, or someone doing something athletic for the first time in their life, or someone with an injury – and you tell them they have to do 30 perfect form burpees.

Run your own damn race.

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