Spartan Race Fenway Time Trial 2013


* From: Charlie Walsh
* Event: Spartan Race Fenway Time Trial 2013
* Date: 2013-11-16

* Event Details
Midsummer 2013 – I registered for the Ruckus Fearless 5K set to take place in early November.

October 31st – The bad news came: Ruckus has been postponed.

Rumors fly. Is Ruckus going out of business? Have I just lost my money? Despair sets in. A ray of hope begins to shine when I’m told I can transfer my Ruckus registration to the Spartan Race Fenway Time Trial happening in mere days. I complete the survey and wait, impatiently- no, anxiously – when suddenly…

November 12 – Spartan Race finally makes contact with my free race entry code! elated, I sign up right away and register for the 6:00pm overflow wave, or what would eventually become known as the “Ruckus Refugee” wave.

Reading past reviews and seeing many YouTube videos, realization sets in…

What the f*** did I just get myself into?!

D-day finally arrives and my trusty wife and I drop our kids off at her mother’s and we set off for who-knows-what at Fenway.

Thanks to my cursory scanning of the guide from the Spartan web site, I didn’t really know where we were supposed to go for registration. Fortunately, the kind folks at Gate A pointed us in the right direction and we were quickly able to see the registration area.

My wife tells me spectator registration was a breeze, as was my own registration, thanks to our having filled out our waivers ahead of time. With my packet in hand, we headed bag to Gate A where I strapped on the myriad (okay, only 2) wrist bands and we headed inside to see what there was to see.

Having never been to an event of this size before (our only prior experience was the 5K Foam Fest back in June), we didn’t know what to expect. We saw several tents all over the place. Entry into a contest to win some gear, a Spartan table set up with bumper stickers, postcards and discount codes for future races were among the set ups that stood out, but we were more interested in figuring out how my wife would navigate the spectator spots.

Soon, it was my turn to go to the starting area. I thought the headbands in lieu of bibs was a cool touch. Once I’ve washed it, I think my kids will love walking around the house like little Spartans.

* Race Details
I had heard about having to climb over a wall just to get to the start line and once I saw it, I felt like how I did getting over this would set the scene for the rest of this race. I made it over well enough. PHEW!

TC was there at the starting line, asking who was a first timer and then making us do 5 burpees. My tallness ended up having me mistakenly kick the woman behind me. Way to be awkward, Charlie! Apologies were made and soon it was GO TIME!

This being my first Spartan, I had no idea what to expect of the obstacles. Like I said, I watched previous years’ videos and ready reviews, but that can’t really prepare you.

You like your rowing machine at the gym? Great! Now row 500 meters in 2 minutes. We’ll count down the meters for you, but not the minutes, just for added stress. (Fortunately for me, I made it out of this one burpee free).

Jumping rope. Sounds easy, right? Try jumping a thick, fibrous rope, the kind you used to try to climb in gym class as a kid. Then band your ankles together. Now jump that sucker 40 times.

You like the lat pull down machine at your gym? That’s cute. Try hoisting this 100 lb slab of cement up about 10 feet or so.

You liked climbing that first wall? Here, climb over about 7 more. And we’ll make the last one about 10 feet tall (or so it seemed to me).

For me, my Moby Dick was the rope climb. I’ve never climbed a rope in my adult life. I never successfully climbed one in gym class, either. It was the one obstacle out of any of them that I was dreading. Thankfully, I have seen the movie “Sidekicks,” starring Jonathan Brandis and featuring Chuck Norris as Brandis’ imaginary friend, Chuck Norris. The one scene that stuck with me all of this time was Norris teaching Brandis’ character how to climb a rope. I never knew if it was a real technique or just movie fakery. Turns out, it worked! Movies CAN teach you something! Once I got up there and rang that bell, I finished out the rest of the course with a big s***-eating grin on my face.

Sandbag carry, monkey bars, the O-U-T walls, crawling under and hopping over ropes, the Hobie hop, box jumps and so much more.

The volunteers were plentiful and helpful, giving instructions on what to do and what was expected. One even helped me over the last wall by giving me her shoulder to step on. By the look of all the dirt that was on her shoulders, I was not the first person she helped.

This was by far the most excruciating, exhausting and difficult thing I have ever done. I was not remotely prepared, having only recently begun a strength training and running regimen.

It was the most amazing time. Not to sound cliche, but I really learned a lot about myself and what I am physically capable of. And although they give a medal to all finishers, it’s not a “fun run” souvenir like my 5K Foam Fest medal. I came away feeling like I truly earned it, as I’m sure all participants feel once they reach the end.

I cannot wait until my next Spartan Race.

* Rating

* From: Nate DeMontigny
* Event: Fenway Spartan Sprint
* Date: 2013-11-16

* Event Details
PARKING: Simple, we drove into Alewife Station from Worcester, hopped on the red line there, got into Park St and swapped to the green line then to Kenmore and we were there. We bumped into Spahten’s in Alewife (Shainia Brooks and her contingent) so our experience started there.

REGISTRATION: For the adults, as usual, things were smooth and we were able to get our stuff quick and then we moved on to the kids registration. The line was long and was taking quite a while. I had stepped away for something, had to change a heat for one of us, and when I came back Leah was talking with the Kids Race rep, Mies. She handled us quick and efficiently from there.

SCHWAG: The usual stuff in your packet, except this was my first Spartan where they had the headbands, and I actually like em so it was cool to have. That said, my bib was nice and clean for a keepsake since I did not have to wear it.

* Race Details
COURSE: Umm, it was Fenway friggin’ Park folks!! The course designer did a great job of laying everything out. The obstacles were laid out in a way that they were on top of each other and surprisingly, there was a ton of running. Whether it was though the stands, on the warning track, into the dugout or even into one of the locker rooms. We were everywhere and anywhere in that field.

I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan so having the opportunity to run a Spartan Race a couple weeks after they Sox won the 2013 World Series in the very park we were racing is a dream come true. A DREAM COME TRUE! Racing through the stands and looking out to the field was amazing. Running on the top of the Green Monster was stunning and something I will never forget.

OBSTACLES: There were a lot of the Spartan staples, the herc hoist, pancake carry, hobie hop (up some darn stairs), rope climb, etc but there were also some missing. For instance, no mud and no fire. It is perfectly understandable as to why, and although they were missed I was ok with it. They did sprinkle in some rough CrossFit like exercises such as ball slams with a 25lb weight ball, rowing 500 meters in under 2 minutes, box jumps, etc. Overall I have nothing to complain about with the course.

DIFFICULTY: Based on the fact I have been sedentary for the past month, this race kicked my rear end. All the stairs brutalized me from the beginning of the race to the end, they seemed to never end. There seemed to be wall after to wall to climb over at the end. The 8 foot wall I was ready for though, thanks to Unleashed in Warwick, RI for that bit if confidence!!

My family had a great time and we created so many memories this day will never be forgotten by us. Thanks Spartan and thanks to my teammates for being there for eachother, you all rock!!

* Rating

* From: Jeanine Peirce
* Event: Spartan Fenway 2013

* Event Details
What you get when you volunteer: We arrived at 5:30 a.m. & lucked out with free parking. The volunteer goodies: bottle of water, granola bars, almonds & gummie snacks, free food & drink tickets and a Spartan Volunteer shirt. The free volunteer heat was run at 6 p.m., but I chose to bank the race for 2014. The Spartan team was very clear on instructions and came out to check on us numerous times throughout our day. If you have the time, volunteer because you won’t believe how many people you can help just by saying a few words of encouragement or giving them a hand when they truly need it.

Thank you Spartan race for allowing spectators in for free! I would gladly preregister free spectators at any race!

* Race Details
I find this race more physically challenging than the Amesbury Sprint. I believe it’s a mental thing for me because I do not enjoy running on pavement. Any obstacle that could be compared to a barbed wire crawl is less of a challenge at Fenway. You cannot get hung up on elastic cord, tripped up–sure. The higher unders were too high in my opinion. Great idea to add the elastic band and make us hop over one section of this. Adding the elastic band to our ankles for the weighted jump rope was asking for trouble and turned ankles. I had one moment of confusion while running through the seats because the signage was not clear, but a volunteer was able to get me back on track.

If I could change 1 thing: bring the water back over by the rowers. Killing myself and then having to do burpees without water was harsh. If I had known it was around the corner, I probably would have shaved 5 minutes off my time.

The volunteers along the course were stellar! Major kudos to one man at the rope climb who pushed many through the mental “no” to get up and ring that bell. Running through the course and high fiving, fist bumping and getting/giving shout outs to teammates was exhilarating. That really boosted the spirits when things were getting tough.

My husband brought my nephew, 8, and son 11 to run the 12:05 kids heat. He would give it a scathing review for organization. The registration area was confusing because they had to go through 3 lines (re-register, get a time written on their hand and the tshirt line). This should have been all in 1 stop. Jake says he will not run the Fenway race again because it didn’t have good enough obstacles. He had more fun watching the race and the gladiators at the end. Amesbury wins over Fenway for the kids venue. I believe that in general the ocr world is not able to capture the 11-14 age group because completing 2 laps of the same course is not fun when the obstacles were not enough of a challenge the first time through.

Yes, I recommend this race to everyone.

* Rating

* From: Corrine Giordani
* Event: Spartan Race Fenway Park
* Date: 2013-11-16

* Event Details
Fenway is a great place to have a race. Everything was easy to find and we’ll marked out .The only picky thing I would say about facilities was maybe next year open up a few more restroom areas . It seemed like the only ones open were near bag check.
Swag: Spartan medals are all ways cool. One thing I am hoping for next year is maybe have race specific tees. Some of us who run a lot of Spartan Races have a million “I finished, can you?”

* Race Details
Great course this year! It was fast, challenging and good workout. Can’t wait for next year

* Rating


* From: Josh Chace
* Event: Spartan Race – Fenway Park
* Date: 2013-11-16

* Event Details
The Spartan Race returned to where the Stadium Series all began, the home of the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park! My first stadium Spartan Race didn’t disappoint and created experiences and memories I will never forget.

As with any Spartan event, the New England Spahtens had a serious showing and made it even a little more special this time around by adding a Wedding (congrats Sean & Brittany) before we all headed off onto the course!

Registration/Vendors – A

As always, SR had clear and easy registration procedures set up and away from the stadium enough to not cause any traffic nightmares. Bibs numbers posted, envelopes organized, and as with every race, they communicate well in advance logistics such as parking, wave times, bib numbers, and need-to-know details. Bag check was set far enough away where it wasn’t inconvenient and well manned by volunteers to be very efficient.

As always the Spartan Shwag Stand was swamped. They had several event unique shirts (currently rocking my Boston Strong Spartan Race t-shirt) including some sticker kits, foam swords, etc. There didn’t seem to be too much of an inventory issue as with past events which was positive. I personally also like that they don’t inflate their costs much. $25 for a SR t-shirt is extremely affordable for me and for anyone who paid their $5 to check a bag, got a $5 coupon back (which turned into a sticker pack for us!)

Communication – A

As mentioned above, SR does a great job organizing their pre-race info kits. Athlete’s Guides are posted and updated frequently. Bib numbers and wave times are organized about a week in advance. And they even through in an option for the now defunct Ruckus Run’s Refugees to get into a wave at Fenway at the last minute. Great move by a great company especially with so little time to organize such an offer.

Parking – A

While not able to handle parking themselves, SR made sure to promote carpooling, public transportation and available lots nearby. My wife and I took MBTA in from Melrose and had no issue getting to the Park.

Racer Support – A

Being a Sprint, SR had only 2 water stations set up which I believe was more than enough but what really impressed me for this event was the amount of Volunteers that were in place on the course. Past races have just had bodies there, doing nothing more than chaperoning an obstacle but this time was different. Volunteers were great with instruction. They helped racers over obstacles they found trouble with and they cheered you on every step of the way. Great work by them for sure, as these events can’t go off without their help.

* Race Details
Obstacles – A

In no particular order you saw the usual rope maze (over/under), water jug carry, thick rope jump rope stations, the ball slam, the 500m row (this was my first time doing this – TORTURE!) the Hobie Hop, where you bound your feet and hopped up stairs and over a few ropes, pushup stations, pancake carry, rope climb, spear throw, traverse wall, Hercules hoist, monkey bars (are you exhausted yet just reading these?) cargo net, Over/Under/Through walls, and wall after wall after wall. A few at the start, a few in the middle, a bunch crammed together at the end and then one GIANT one before a final sprint to a couple bench hops and ending with the signature Gladiator Gauntlet. Spartan really does nail their events with obstacles but I am waiting for a few new experiences on these. But I also don’t think the stadium events are the place to debut new obstacles.

Terrain – A

By the end of this race we had run up and down every stairwell and ramp, through the stands and back again, up through the premium seating sections, across the famous Green Monster, and what I found amazing, was heading into the bowels of the park and into the visitors locker room where you banged out a few pushups before heading down the tunnel such greats as Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, and Ichiro had walked down before you. And who could forget the final lap around the fields outer track starting at Pesky’s Pole and then past the scoreboard (I hope you stopped for a few pics as we did) and down behind home plate for the grand finale. It’s a location like no other.

Overall – A

While the Stadium Series isn’t by any means Spartans most intense or hardest event it certainly is the most unique. Being able to see the Park in and out puts a spin on these events that I truly enjoyed. I wasn’t racing for speed so I made sure to take the time to enjoy some of the sights, some that I probably wouldn’t see again. With the amount of runners I saw today I would fully expect this to continue to be a staple in the Spartan Race’s repertoire and I look forward to running Fenway (or perhaps another stadium) again.

-Josh Chace

* Rating

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