* From: michael downey
* Event Details
i cant speak for how the parking went since i did the hurricane heat but from what i heard the parking/ bussing was running well. the location amesbury sports park as we all know is a great location and for most of us this wasent our first time we had raced there this year. the merch tent was very well stocked with a lot of nice choices and since spartan race still lacks a solid estore on there website the events are really the only place to pick up spartan gear. i personaly picked up a pair of the reebok spartan race shorts and they are beyond comfy and i see them being my new race/ training shorts
* Race Details
this was my first spartan race that was not part of the stadium series events. since several races have already been through amesbury sports park this year going into the event there was a small concern about would the course be a little stale, but spartan did a amazing job of using the park and making a great course that was a bit different than previous races this season and having the start line halfway up the main hill was a nice change. as for the obstacles all the standards of spartan were there sandbag carry, rope climb, 8ft wall, spear throw, stone drag, slippery wall, inverted wall barbed wire crawl, monkey bars, traverse wall. the obstacles were spaced out nicely and wasent like some races where the obstacles are log jammed at the very beginning and end of a race. the only less than positive thing i could day was the course seemed a lil on the short side, but overall it was a fun challenging race and look forward to spartans return to this location next year
* From: Michelle
* Event Details
The day started with my husband and me traveling to Seabrook to board the bus. The parking was abundant, and easy to find, though I thought the cost was steep. Having porta potties at the parking lot was a fab idea and I was grateful to the organizers who planned for such. The buses were lined up and ready to bring us to the venue. All in all, the parking was very well organized and executed.
Entering the venue was streamlined and simple. I had no issues finding my bib number, checking in, or going through the bag check. Leaving the venue was also streamlined and simple and occurred without issue.
The only blemish on the day was the inability to bring our own food. I read the venue’s reasons for not allowing food but since the vendors didn’t provide anything I could eat, I just didn’t. Because of this we left earlier than we wanted to so we could refuel.
* Race Details
The Sprint was fab. I was able to complete the race which pleased me immensely. The obstacles were well placed, far enough away from one another so not to be on top of each other but close enough so that you didn’t feel like you were Forrest Gump.
I found each obstacle to be challenging and difficult. Surprisingly, the one which I thought would be the most difficult, the slippery wall, I had no trouble with. I zipped up and over happily surprising myself. The spear throw is an obstacle I would’ve passed without a burpee penalty but the spear was bent so though I hit the bale, it didn’t stick. I heard this story time and again. Sturdier spears seem to be required for next time.
This was my first Spartan event and I found it quite enjoyable and look forward to future events. I learned a few valuable lessons to make my next event more successful.
* From: MIke Ives
* Event Details
As always the Sprint was at Amesbury Sports Park and as always parking was off site, but to their benefit they did an awesome job. I rolled in, parked and their was 5 buses waiting to take people over. I already had my bib # so I went straight to the registration tent, waited a total of 5 seconds then was off to bag check with my packet and 5 seconds later made an immediate left and headed to the team tent. The tent was great but it appears that SR might of headed limited space so they put us right by a fast pitch booth, but if you don’t mind balls flying past your nose (and who doesn’t! :)) it was a good location. The “shower” and changing area’s were very acceptable and the high pressure wash was a nice touch for the extra muddy. I noticed that they had two merchandise tents this year which was great as one was right by the tent and a larger one closer towards the starting line and plenty of food and beer lines. As always I think they charge way to much for food and Spartan
merch (still bought several beers and another Spartan T), as an aside I’ve often wondered my the “Spartan Store” doesn’t reflect what you can get on race day….anyone? As for the free schwag; the finishers are on the poor quality side and I’m still not sure why they don’t have Tech T’s like we had at the Super in Montreal but that’s just me thinking out load. Overall though the Amesbury race always seems to be one of the most efficient and organized and I do look forward to next year.
* Race Details
So maybe it’s the fact that I am sub 175 as opposed to plus 230 but it seemed like an easier course that previous years!
The obstacles were standard Spartan fare; over/under/thru walls, slippery wall, (barely)rope climb, Hercules hoist, (stupid) traverse wall, barbed wire crawl, tractor pull, monkey bars (DID IT!!!) and spear throw (nailed it again!). The Gamble was a new one and honestly didn’t think much of it, I went left and the .3 up hill. The PIA award (in the best possible way) goes to the tire drag and pull (or whatever you want to call it); I saw a lot of muscle heads using the smaller tires and struggling to drag it out and pull it back. As no one told any different I rolled the large tire out and before dropping it down kicked some rocks (there were plenty!) and it to avoid suction and dragged that sucker back….took me a good 5 minutes and it tore up my left hand a bit. Oh and the duraflame log jump…were I tried to look cool going over but got smoke in my eyes so I “look forward” to seeing that picture. Overall I thought it was a well laid out course and on the fast side, that be
ing said there were a lot of folks WALKING the course during the 10 am heat and in some spots it was one lane in addition to the delays at some obstacles so it murdered my time. I finished in 1:16:42, next year I am thinking of running in the elite heat as I know I’ll be towards the back and there shouldn’t be a delay at obstacles. I want to see how fast I can get it done but as I shaved about 40 minutes off fat mike’s time I am pleased.
Oh and if you didn’t break my code I failed the traverse wall (again) 30 burpees is it though!
TWO MUDDY THUMBS UP!
* From: Erin Jones
* Event Details
I thought that the parking situation for the event was really well organized and easy to get to. Having a shuttle that was constantly running really made the difference than having to walk after you get done running the race. There was plenty of port-o-potties and cleaning stations to handle the crowd which was very impressive. And the vendors had some good fries and beer to serve.
* Race Details
I thought the course was pretty cool. I struggled on the spear throw and monkey bars, but it was because my technique was off due to fatigue. I think that the way the obstacles were set up allowed for a mixture of upper body and lower body strength components without overdoing the running portions in between. I thought that the weighted pulley obstacle in the woods was the hardest one by far. I think the concrete block was about 115 lbs and it took all I had to get that sucker up. Very cool!!
From: Paul Battaglia:
So that’s what a Spartan race is all about…
The 2013 Spartan Sprint in Amesbury was my first official Spartan Mud and Obstacle Course Race. Sure I had done the Fenway Time Trial last November, I participated in Muckfest, Super Hero and last year’s Warrior Dash but this was what I had been waiting for as a bona fide and highly reputable OCR. This was what I had read about, followed, and learned of from my teammates; Mata, Jones, Schultz, Michaud, Norm, Klinkenberg, Taddeo, Rhee, Giordanni, and Casavant (and obviously more.) It was all I could have hoped for. Knowing that the NE Spahtens had the largest team was a boost in spirit of support. There was also an extra added bonus in hosting the gracious and humble Irene Call, wife of Poster-Boy and Spartan Phenomenon Hobie Call for two nights at our home in Methuen. I finished with a time of 1:24. I did all that I could to avoid the potential of massive amounts of Burpees and when all was over I only needed to do 30. Yes-sir-ee Bob, my one failed obstacle was the Hercules Hoist- 110lb’s of unstable concrete to be lifted and lowered via pulley system. I just didn’t have it. There were times throughout the course where I had faced obstacles that I thought for certain I would fail. The first was the rope climb. I had succeeded this at Super Hero, but I didn’t feel it this time. Much to my surprise, I was up that braided snake like a bottle rocket and slapped that bell with conviction.
Moving on, the next concern was the inverted wall climb. I watched the strategy of those ahead as many failed and that weakened my confidence but alas, I positioned my grip and scaled the wall enough to feed my leg over the top. Done deal! Soon I came upon the monkey bars. With an ailing shoulder and still toting too much weight for my liking, this was not going to be fun. I could see beyond the end of the obstacle a collected pool of burdened burpee failures and once again thought I may join them. No. Such. Thing. Rather than head-on vaults from pipe to pipe, I went sideways which ergonomically eased the strain on the shoulder. I allowed myself to swing into momentum to the next pipe and soon I felt a wide smile of joy stretch with elasticity across my face as was witnessed by gal-pal Kandice Fogarty. KILLED IT!!!
I finished the race unscathed, injury free and happy with my time. What I did learn thinking back, was that I lost valuable time at several obstacles waiting and watching others. I’ll remember next time not to wait to see how it’s done, but rather to show others how it’s done. I also realized that I need to step up my running between obstacles to gain ground and improve time. Practice will indeed make perfect. I can’t wait for the Mid-Atlantic Super in VA next week. Spartan puts on a great campaign and it became clear to me as to why they are leaders in the industry.
I am a New England Spahten and I’ve learned late in life that there is an athlete in all of us. We just need to find it. Thank you all for helping me find mine.
* From: Rob Fournier
* Event Details
Spartan Race returned to the New England area with their wildly popular race series. It was the first time we got a chance to see how the Reebok sponsorship would affect the product. The email we received prior to the race included some interesting new wrinkles that were added since last year. For the first time, Spartan Race was implementing something called a “remote start” and also a new obstacle called “The Gamble”. We were excited to see what other changes were in store for us this year!
Once again, Spartan Race returned to the Amesbury Sports Park, the hub of Obstacle Course Racing in New England. No matter how many races we attend here, each race does a great job utilizing the terrain and park in different ways. Anyone familiar with previous races run here is well versed on the parking situation. For a $10 fee, participants are sent to a satellite lot at a local abandoned dog racing park and shuttled over to the venue. With the popularity of the Spartan Race series, we were anticipating a crowded lot and a substantial line for the shuttle. Fortunately, there was no problem with parking and there was a small army of buses waiting to shuttle us over. No wait at all. It was impressive how efficient the process was.
Once jumping off the bus, racers were greeted by placards explaining each step of the registration process. For those that didn’t already retrieve their bib number online, they had sheets of all participants with their associated bib numbers. Step 2 was the waiver station for those that didn’t print it out beforehand. After a quick bag check, it was off to the registration tents. The tents were broken up by bib number and there were no lines. After handing in the waiver and showing our IDs, we were presented with our registration packet, including a timing chip to attach to your sneaker, racing bib and a cool black Spartan Race headband personalized with your bib number on it. No need to write your bib number on your forehead anymore! Nice touch.
* Race Details
The first thing we noticed was the “remote start”. The starting gate was located half way up the mountain instead of at the bottom like previous years. Once in the starting pen, we were subjected to the overly-dramatic hype man. It seemed like he rambled on for 10 minutes before we started. We get it…AROO! AROO! AROO!..but is it really necessary for everyone to repeat it 50 times before we start? I also missed the music that they incorporated last year. The Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up to Boston” got me way more amped than any MC could.
After a quick adrenaline burst up the hill, it rapidly bottlenecked and turned into a slow walk up to the wooded area behind the park. After a slow, crowded jog through the woods, the course eventually opened up. The first obstacle named O-U-T included your typical over, under and through walls before heading back into the woods for a substantial trail run. We were then presented with the “gamble” obstacle in which each participant was faced with a decision. You had to choose between the short, technical trail or the longer, flatter run. However, the difference between the two distances was only 0.1 miles. We picked the shorter path because it seemed more interesting. While it’s a good concept, I think it would have been a more difficult decision if the longer distance was at least twice as long as the shorter, more challenging one.
We circled back to the top of the hill for the rope climb. The knotted rope was suspended from a log spanning across two stacked shipping containers. Trying to get on the rope while in waist deep water was difficult as was navigating the widely spaced knots. It also seemed way higher than it appears from the ground. As always, the penalty for not completing a Spartan obstacle is 30 burpees. My goal coming in was to complete the course with no penalties. So far, so good! After running down the hill, we had to return back up and down again carrying a sandbag. Next up was the traverse wall. Unfortunately, with about 5 feet to go, I lost my footing and fell off. Damn it!! 30 burpees later, we headed to the wooden ladder wall. We had to climb the ladder wall up to the top of two stacked storage containers across the top and back down the other side. The obstacle was simple enough but some people seemed a bit freaked out with how high it was.
After a quick crawl through some mud, we approached the slippery wall. With the assistance of a rope, we were able to climb it fairly easily.(Quick tip for the people still duck taping around their sneakers so not to lose them in the thick mud: covering up the treads of your sneakers is not a good idea, especially during obstacles like this where grip is so important.) After heading back up the hill, the course opened up to an enormous, open area that I can only describe as an “obstacle oasis.” There were obstacles everywhere and the sight was awesome! After wading through four muddy pits, we came to another cool new obstacle: the inverted wall. The 10′ wall was slanted towards the runners and had wooded slats to grab hold of and assist you over. Next up was supposed to be the dreaded log jump. Last year, we had to hop across the differently sized and spaced logs without touching the ground. However, this year, apparently the stumps were unstable in the mud, so they decided it was not safe enough for runners to attempt crossing them. Instead, they ran some wires over the top of them and turned it into a military crawl.
Back into the woods and to the tractor pull: a concrete block attached to a chain that we needed to drag a certain distance. Over the 8′ wall and towards the Herculean Hoist which involved hoisting a cement block using a pulley system. Not sure if it was heavier this year or I got weaker, but it was pretty tough. After some scenic trail runs, we came to the monkey bars. Congrats to Elena for completing her first set of monkey bars!! She actually went right by me in the process. Great job!! We then headed back to the open field for the tire pull which had each runner carrying a tire about 15′ away and then dragging in back with the attached rope. The spear throw was next. Last year, I really had a pathetic attempt at this one and I was back to redeem myself . Unfortunately, I missed again! High and wide!! I need to figure out how to practice this one. After another 30 burpee penalty came the barbed wire crawl. After a seemingly endless crawl, we came across another new wrinkle for this year. In the middle of a mucky pool of water was a wall, leaving only a few inches from the bottom of the wall and the top of the muddy water. They also added some barbed wire to the top of the wall for anyone considering climb over it. All racers were forced to duck under the wall, thereby submerging their heads in the muddy water, making for some pretty awesome photos. We finally headed back towards the hill, over the fire jump and past the gladiators to the finish. Another great Spartan Race!!
After the race, we headed over to get our obligatory post race photo in front of the Spartan logo before heading to the wash off station. They had a power wash station where racers could get blasted by a power washer before heading into the hose corral. Similar to last year, they had rows of hoses for participants to wash off with. The past few races held at Amesbury simply used one of the giant snow making fans to spit water on people, not even powerful enough to get the mud off. I was glad to see Spartan stuck with the hoses. Spartan also made a smart decision by placing the t-shirt station AFTER the wash off area. They also had some decent sized changing tents, although I have become pretty adept at just changing under my towel.
Once arriving at the venue, the Reebok influence was immediately apparent, from the slick promotional banners to the enormous merchandising tent. Along with the standard free beer, they had your typical food choices. They also included a large, covered picnic area. Along with a kid’s race, they also had some fitness challenges in the festival area for spectators and participants. Spartan Race offers unprecedented spectator access. There was a path leading up the hill that allowed spectators to view many of the obstacles for some great photo opportunities. However, charging each spectator $20 (or $25 the day of the event) is way too much money. How about offering one free spectator pass for each registered athlete?? Another benefit for each runner is the free race photos that Spartan Race makes available a few days after the race. While last year’s photos came out great, I think Spartan dropped the ball this year. Instead of actually hiring real photographers, it appears they simply used stationary cameras set on timers. Many of the photos were not the best quality and the fire jumping one was way too far away. Not impressed!
Once again, Spartan Race proved why it is considered the best in the business. From the spacious festival area to the thoughtful layout of the tents, they continue to improve and innovate. While I was originally concerned that the Reebok sponsorship would negatively affect the grassroots appeal of obstacle course racing, I now feel the partnership will help the sport to evolve and grow. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Spartan Race and the obstacle racing community. Spartan Race raised the bar yet again..will the other race series follow or be left behind??
Please visit muddywarthog.com for video and pictures from the race! Thanks!!