* From: michael downey
* Event Details
First off i am going to say this was a first time for spartan to be at this venue so a few hickups were expected. but when we arived onsite around 7:30 there was no electronic signage indication where people should go so i could see people not familar with the property having a issue or two but once you got to the winter lot / garage area there was no one directing or informing people where to park and i saw backups forming fast. check in set up was the normal for SR and the festival area was laid out nicly and gave spectators a nice view of the 5 obstacles and they upgraded there merch tent to what looked like shipping containers so the presentation was nice but if you have been to a SR event in the past 18 months there was nothing reallly new to buy. they also had a reebok section selling a few shoes including there OCR shoe, Tip for the shoe selling section if you really want people to purchase the shoe drop the price a bit and give people a incentive to purchase today a
nd not charge the same price i could get them online for .the schwag was the normal SR schwag, free beer, free finisher shirt ( it seems they keep changing the style of these shirts. i have done 3 races so far and there are two different styles one is a lighter more comfy shiner shirt and the other is a basic grey teeshirt) and the finisher medal and 1/3trifecta peice
* Race Details
this is where things get interesting, leading up to this event it was presumed that this was going to be a business as normal muddy trail heavy spartan but once build got underway info/rumors were abound stating that would not be the case and this would be more close to the reebok invitational and the tampa stadium hybrid. so as the week went on it became clear that there would be a good deal of asphalt running and little to no mud so that that caused a bit of stress as people were trying to pick a proper shoe to wear that would work for both applications. if i had to guess about 1/3-1/2 of the course was road running with a mix of closed roads and running on a active road with a lane coned off for the race. on to the race itself the start line was in the middle of the parking lot and started by running through 2 garages making up about the first half mile or so and then up a hill and getting us on to some trails and to the first 5 ft wall. more trail running brought us past
the first mile marker and then up to a open area with a modified version of rolling mud but the water only going to our knees. and then a bit more road time till we got to the first REAL obstacles of the inverted wall and what i think is the biggest disappointment of the day the barbed wire crawl on a nice soft grassy field so it was easy to just crawl and slide along under the wire and compared to any other mud run in the region was a joke. i would have put the crawl in the ball field where the spear man was and the spearman where the crawl was to make it a lil more challenging. a lil more road time brings you to sandbag carry and this was a bit of a challenge going across some uneven trails up a hill double back and down the hill after tha a bit more road running and then into the woods for a bit then up to the cargo net being staffed by a voulinteer who really dident seem to care to be bothered watching the obstacle and was more concerned with posting “selfies” to facebo
ok and in the 10 mins i was there i think i saw him take his eyes off his phone for 10 seconds at best . i was going to call him out on it but i honestly doubt he would have cared anyways. next were two unmanned ” obstacles” a few tires thrown in the trail and a few 2 x 6 for balance beams that brought us to the main field with the most obstacles in the order of spear throw, rope climb and o-u-t and then a short jaunt to the atlas carry at this point we were the furthest point out and started to make our way back on some very tricky single track off trails when we got into the area of the overzided vehicle lot we worked our way up the steep hills to the road way and made our way down the road to the thames garrage where the tire flip was located and back to some road time and then on a embankment that was at times single runner wide with a STEEP drop off on one side and there were a few times inconsiderate runners could cause issues after that you get back to the festivle a
rea and the cargo container climb and walk the bridge over active roadway and back down to traverse wall, herc hoist with the sane bags, and the “slippery” wall with a tiny wading pool to bassicly clean off the footwear before goign up the wall and then fire jump and over. i have mixed feelings with this race, the course and views were nice but like i said it took over a mile before you hit obstacle one so the race was 20% done before you even saw a real obstacle thats a thumbs down i also thought the barbed wire crawl was to easy and hurt by bad placement and the last negative was the fact more of the race was on asphault i think they should have sold that more before hand so people wouldent be caught off guard. the good was it was refreshing to get a nice new first time course and the times we were in trails were good, i also think the paring of the obstacles was good because it wasent the normal assault on on the upper body or lower body it was mixed up . overall it was a
fun race but it almost felt like a spartan LITE and not a true spartan race. i know from what i heard mohegan may have been the cause of some of the issues and tying SR hands on some things. hopefully these reviews will make it back to them and maybe they can relax a bit and let SR do what they do best.IF they go back in 2015 i hope that maybe spartan could get to do more of what they do best and put on a true spartan and not a spartan lite/5k road racei would run the race again but if there was another race closer with positive reviews i might choose that event over this race.
* From: Daniel Hogan
* Event Details
Parking was great, right next to the festival so limited walking distance. Facilities were, well, as expected. A little dirty and hot, but porta potties will be what they will be.. Vendor’s were happy to serve as always, festival itself was, as always, a fantastic adventure!
Personally, I liked how we could bring spectator’s in for free. My grandparents came and they were delighted to see the festival and what it’s all about!
* Race Details
I’m sure this was always a topic, but a lack of mud was definitely a downside. However, the course itself was a sure 5/5. I loved how it wasn’t solely based on a mountain, how there was mostly trail running, how the obstacles were in the woodland. I know there was some speculation about the course being too easy, but personally, it was just right. Sprints are meant for those just getting into it, for those just doing it for a good run, some good fun, and to challenge themselves! Super’s and Beasts are for those looking for a bigger threat to their physicality, and so I don’t think it should be made any harder here at CT, or Any sprint for that matter. 90% of racers in open heats will walk the mountain, and where’s the good exercise in that? Running is so much better, and the woodland made that possible.
* From: Aura Mauricio
* Event Details
Since this was my first Spartan race I was so excited that nothing short of a hurricane was going to dampen my spirits. ….
Getting to the venue was easy and given I had one of the later heat times( 1:45) parking and traffic were not an issue. I enjoyed seeing all the various vendors, but honestly didn’t have an opportunity to check them out as I couldn’t focus on anything else but the race. ..
* Race Details
Again noting I have no frame reference, I thought the obstacles distance were laid out nicely. However I did expect a higher degree of difficulty given this was a Spartan race. . in retrospect being a newbie I was grateful that they were not. However I can see from a “veteran” perspective that this was not the caliber that Spartan is accustomed to.
The volunteers and staff were extremely supportive!!!! Would I do it again. .YES… not to far from home, convenient to change, grab dinner, and reminisce!!!
* From: Libby ellsworth
* Event Details
Parking was free, a little but hard to get too. Bathrooms were hard to find you had to register before you could even see them. The vendors were pretty good.
* Race Details
As this being my first spartan race I feel that it was a good one. I know that there wasn’t a lot of mud, but there was just enough for me to realize it’s usually not like that. Most of the course was in the woods which I liked. The obstacles were awesome the difficulty was just right for it being my first race.
* From: Matt Hallam
* Event Details
I was so excited for this race, for a number of reasons. It was both my first Spartan race, and my first Spahtan race as well. It was great to put some voices and handshakes to the people who I’ve been following on facebook for about 4 months now.
I had made it to the Spartan workout a few months back, so I was semi-familiar with the layout of the parking in relation to the casino, which still didn’t help out all that much because of the lack of signage on the summer side of the building, save for a poster in the elevator inviting me to run the race, so at least I knew I was in the right building. I started heading towards the arena, and luckily I spotted a few other people who clearly were not at the casino for it’s intended function (We tend to stick out anywhere, but this was even more apparent in a casino). As we got closer to the winter parking garage, and after getting accosted by security (apparently walking across the game floor with your kinds is frowned upon), a few signs started popping up to let us know we were going in the right direction. It’s a minor complaint, as the flow of the casino brings you to where you want to go, but an arrow here or there on the far end of the place would have helped. If I had
been running late, it would not have been fun.
Once on the race grounds, everything was plainly laid out and easy to identify.. for most people. For some reason I couldn’t find the team tent until I made my first awkward introduction to another Spahten and asked. While everything seemed well run and organized, I was surprised/elated that my wife and two kids were able to walk right on, free of charge. We were in no way trying to sneak past security, as that is all but impossible with a 5 year old and hefty jogging stroller with a baby in it. I even had my wife fill out the spectator form so we could get threw the lines quickly.. but we were just never asked. Honestly, I didn’t even notice until about 30 minutes later, but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to fix it. Bank error in my favor. 🙂
While I didn’t buy any extra swag, there did seem to be a lot more vendors than I remember seeing at other OCRs. I almost purchased some new shoes, but I just don’t know enough about them to make a snap decision on something like that. I’ll have to bother someone on the team next time. Everything was laid out in an orderly fashion, it had a very concert feel to it, which I’m sure is what they are going for. I can’t speak to the prices for anything except the food, which was not as gouge as you might expect. In fact, given the portion sizes of some of the items, it wasn’t a bad deal at all, especially compared to the prices for food in the casino.
* Race Details
Here is the point where my opinion may be more skewed than everyone else’s. This was my inaugural Spartan run, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I have read reviews, heard second hand accounts from friends, and even watched a couple of videos on the Spartan website, so I had the expectations of this being “more” of everything. More mud, more blood, more intensity, more… everything, so when word came out that there were issues with the site as to what could and couldn’t be done, it did take a little of the wind out of my sails. I was in it for the Spartan experience. That’s what I was sold on, and even though it’s not what I got, I still walked away with a sense of accomplishment, if not as many bumps and bruises as I expected.
The first mile was a combination of off/on road running, which included stints in a parking lot and exit ramp, I think. I actually enjoyed the diversity here, as it gave a feel of having to master all of the elements. I understand some people had complaints about not knowing which shoes to wear, but I guess ignorance was bliss for me, and my Saucony Hattori’s performed just fine on both terrains, except for the one time you step on a rock in just the right spot it makes want to burn the things after the race… but I digress.
There wasn’t much in the way of hill work at this point, and the only “obstacles”: I can remember seeing other than a couple walls were some balances beams that barely noticeable at all. I was the only person I saw who even bothers to walk across them as most people either just confused them for downed limbs or just didn’t see them at all. They were pounded into the mud at this point and barely stood out more than an inch or two. I’m not even sure if they were from the Spartan, but at this point I was not feeling great about the rest of the race.
Another gripe would have to be the lack of passing lanes, especially in some of the wooded areas. I don’t mind this every once in a while, as it gives me a chance to feign disappointment as I catch my breath, but it seemed to be more prevalent than in any other race I’ve done before. It understandable when you’re one false move from careening down the side of rocky embankment and into a river, but I wish they could have found a way to flatten a bush or two on some of the trails.
As I approached what I thought was the halfway point of the race, I hit two obstacles that I had no prior experience with during a race. The spear throw and the rope climb. Fortunately, I had the chance to go to the grand opening of the FIT OCR training site at Foure Courte a while back, and the guys there should me how to climb a rope and throw a spear… well enough to not completely embarrass myself when I came up just shy of the hay bale. At least it was on target and straight. And those thirty burpees were a good discouragement to not f-up again. My training paid more dividends on the rope climb, and this was probably the highlight for me by way of obstacles. This whole section was well managed and challenging, and very enjoyable… you know.. in retrospect, after the pain.
After this, everything sort of melds together. There was a stone carry and sandbag walk, more single file stop and go trail running. So when I came to the 3 mile marker, I was feeling a little let down. Some cool obstacles, but nothing to great. Better than average, but not what I was expecting… then I kept running. I have been running at my 5k race pace now, so I was about ready to pull back a bit, but apparently that wasn’t an option. I must have been the only person out there who didn’t know the length got extended (I really need to be more sociable in the race tent next time).
And here is where I give Spartan Race high marks for caring about their product. They could have just thrown up their hands, packed it in, and put the blame on the vendor. I don’t know how much support they would have gotten from the community, but they wouldn’t have been wrong in their assessment by all accounts. Instead, they rolled with the punches turned the terrain and my expectations into an obstacle, and made the best out of a bad situation. They got the most Spartan out of the venue as they could.
Approaching the end, the tire flip, weight hoist and wall traverse stand out as the most memorable of the obstacles, but let’s talk about that hoist weight. Those were redonkulously heavy. I gave it a shot, got it a few feet off the ground, and knew immediately that I needed help. Fortunately, there were a bunch of other non-herculean types (see: runners) in the same boat, so we took turns helping each other out in pairs. After that and some burpees (I can’t believe I fell off the wall, still upset about that), I jumped over the fire and got a high five from my son who now thinks I’m the toughest person on the planet.
In the end, it was very enjoyable, but what my expectations had built it up to believe. Spartan Races, to their credit, played the cards that were dealt to them about as well as they could, and they deserve more credit than they are probably going to get, especial from lay OCR runners who don’t put in as much research.
* From: Courtney Crooks
* Event Details
Parking was easy and free, right across from festival. More signage could have helped people that didn’t know which garage to park in.
Portapotties were aplenty and never had a wait. Plenty of hoses to wash off after the race, including a power washer manned by a Spartan volunteer if you wanted to get blasted clean. Changing tents located nearby with ample room.
Schwag was nice – finisher’s medal (plus trifecta piece), nice tech shirt (although when I got mine she said they were almost out and people were getting cotton shirts after that), another tent offered a drawstring bag with a deck of Mohegan playing cards (oh happy day!). Banana, water, Core Power drinks at the finish.
iPads to check your time immediately after finishing was a nice touch that I’ve never experienced at a race.
I didn’t check out the vendors because I was watching Elite racers before my heat and wanted to get the hell out of the sun afterwards so we just left.
* Race Details
The course was listed at 4.5 miles with 20 obstacles. Right off the bat, we knew there weren’t 20 because The Gauntlet was listed which wasn’t there. The order on the map was wrong as well, but not a big deal to me.
For someone not in the greatest shape (yet), I found this course challenging. I regularly do road running, so this wasn’t an issue for me (surface-wise, the heat was another issue) as it seemed to be for other people. I greatly appreciated the shade when we went through the trails in the woods.
I liked the teamwork I saw out there, too, especially at the cargo net in the woods. I was a little apprehensive going into my first Spartan with the whole team aspect. I assumed it was less teamwork, more about time, but that didn’t seem to completely be the case.
The volunteers were fantastic at the obstacles (mostly). I’d like to throw a shout out to the dudes that hoisted my scared butt over the inverted wall. One guy at the cargo net in the woods barely paid attention to anybody, but he was an exception. The rest of them were out there, cheering us on in the blazing sun all day and it was great.
Check in/exit were really organized, however if they wanted us to sign two waivers, maybe they should have sent us both waivers instead of making everybody grab the second one the day of and have to wait in two lines. Minor issue, but still.
Overall, I’d definitely do this race again. I have no frame of reference to any other Spartan since it was my first, but to me it was just another OCR to tackle.
For a more detailed review and pics: http://dontblinkjustrun.com/2014/07/02/spartan-sprint-ct-race-recap/