Spartan Race – Toronto Super

CA-Spartan-Race-logo* From: Tarah Ryfa

* Event Details
Parking: We got a spot close to venue. I believe there were 3 lots. There was no busing in. Everyone walked. Parking was 10.00 Canadian, we were able to park for free as our group had a season pass holder.

Location: Ski Brimacombe in Clarington, Ontario. And it was HOT!

Registration/Bag check: When you first walked into the registration area there were two separate entrances, clearly marked “Racers” and “Spectators” and they were a good distance from each other. Check in was VERY different from the USA. There were no assigned bib numbers & start times (unless elite). You got to the table, gave your waiver/ID, they found you in the system and scanned a headband into the system (packaging had a barcode). Then they gave you a timing chip (square plastic tag) you zip tied to your sneaker. I actually really liked this. Nothing around your ankle & no sticky tag like the ones like they had at Citifield. And the zip ties felt secure. No race packet (also no free beer). When you registered you chose a start time & when you registered they asked you if you planned on the same time. It was run on an honor system. No band with your time written on it, you just went when you were suppose to. This would make it easy for anyone to do multiple, unpaid laps
. For our 10am start time (was suppose to be 9:30) it wasn’t overcrowded. I guess Canadians truly honor their start times for the most part. Bag check was 2.00 Canadian, cheap, but no merchandise credit. In CA they utilize the white bags like they did at the NJ Beast. This is a huge thumbs down. It takes forever and their bag check was about 1/3 of the size of a US one.

Festival area: Similar to the USA but scaled down on so many levels. Maybe 1/2 the size. No “grand entrance” (walking under the bridge racers climb over). There were 2 or three food vendors, a beer patio, an area for port-a-potties (maybe a dozen but not corned off like they do in the States), a merchandise truck, Reebok specific tent & a couple other tents I don’t remember. They were giving out free Oikos yogurt & Buddah coconut water. No area of festival challenges (like pull up bar, wall, etc). The M.C. of the course was a little lackluster as well. The “showers” were my biggest issue of all the facilities. One, just one, long PVC pipe with hoses off of it with non-existent water pressure. Sundays usually find less racers, so I can only imagine what a nightmare Saturday was (which was also a Sprint). What normally takes maybe 10 minutes for me to rinse off (using soap), took me double, if not triple, that time. No less than 5 hoses were not working. Also no mats on the gr
ound. You were showering on dirt. Changing tents were also very tiny, 1/3 of the US size. Also I didn’t see any maps/reveal of obstacles.

Swag: Water at end was a cup, not bottle. No fruit of any kind. Cliff bar. Metals are same to the US. T-shirts are dry fit which is awesome. Look is very similar to the US.

* Race Details
The course ended up being 8-8.25 miles. It was well marked. Only one moment I took a double take to check the right direction. It was definitely more of a runner’s course & not obstacle heavy. The obstacles themselves were not as “pretty” as the US (think of the Atlas carry being marked with flags, all the balls looking the same, etc) they almost had a worn in, “used” look about them which isn’t inherently a bad thing but some truly needed updating. Because Saturday had been a Sprint, the obstacle layout seemed to be specific to the Sprint distance, with a bunch of miles added in the middle with a couple obstacles, to make it a Super. Definitely not a well thought out/planned course. That’s not to say the it was “easy”. We went up and down the mountain 6 times fully, right to the peak, and another 2 times 1/2 to 3/4 of the way. There was some flat terrain similar to Barre, with lots of divots/roots, we went into the woods a few times but spent a lot of time going up,up, up. Th
is race also felt backwards. The rope climb and herc hoist were right at the beginning where we usually see them towards the end. No water under the climb & no knots & 30ft up. Herc hoist was done with propane tanks & the slack from the line was already wrapped around a pole. I felt it was much easier than US sandbags. Not many walls on the course. The vertical walls were painted and the top edges were skinny and rounded, which I didn’t like. Overall their walls felt much more slippery. Z wall was the same as was the inverted wall. Standard cargo net climb. There was an Atlas carry with burpees; a sandbag, water can and ammo can carry, all short distances. A tire drag by chain, up a hill, through mud, which was reasonably difficult. There was a sled pull in which the sleds were double the size of the US ones and still had the weight inside & shorter distance to pull. Monkey bars were the very narrow kind. There was a narrow balance beam to one of those nylon strap things y
ou balance on (I forget the name). They of course had the spear throw (one day I’ll get it) and 2 barbed wire crawls which were easy to what we have comparably done this year in the US. Theirs are MUCH shorter in length. The second I really enjoyed as it was super muddy. There was tons of mud at the end (which I love). Lots of long walks through it & quite a few people got stuck (oops). After getting ridiculously muddy you came to their Rig. This was hard due to all the mud. Two rope swing (a’la Tarzan) to wooden monkey “bars” (sorry don’t know how to describe it), to rings. All upper body. And at first glance you think “Not too bad” but it was caked in mud. People were failing it left and right. Next was a (metal) slip wall then the fire jump at the end. Now this was a real fire jump and it actually made me a bit nervous. They use hay to fuel it as well as logs and it was wider. You truly needed to jump. OH! There were also water faucets along the course to wet yourself and
misters (they utilized the snow makers). Heaven!

The biggest problem with the course was the lack of volunteers and medical on the course. And the guidance/organization of the volunteers on the course was bad. Where there are obstacles that are divided into women’s and men’s weights most were all thrown together (except sandbag carry). The different weights were labeled (red and black) thankfully but if this was your first race, you would be confused. The volunteers weren’t as motivating as the US either. Hardly any cheering on.

There also wasn’t really anywhere for spectators to watch (though they had to pay 15.00 Canadian). I would have felt bad if I had a spectator come.

Back to basic rugged course
View/landscape was gorgeous. The mountain itself was nice and challenging.
Prices of parking and bag check were much more reasonable.
Registration was quick and easy.
Great finisher T.
Misters on course! Water faucets on course (not to drink just to wet yourself)! Such a luxury!
Not having an obstacle map was nice. Surprises!
Better fire jump (US needs a lesson).
No bucket brigade.

Not a well thought out course.
Obstacles need a bit of TLC.
Obstacles need to be clear (men’s weight vs. women’s weight)
Volunteers and medical need improving in size & presence.
Showers were horrible. Need more & figure out the pressure issues at this location.
Bigger changing tents.
Change the back check system
No banana at finish.
No bucket brigade (I’m a sucker for this obstacle)

Overall going to a Canadian race expect similar but very different from the US. The US races are much more though out course wise and festival area wise (thanks Norm, Woody and all the others at SR USA). Things I took for granted for in the US I will certainly appreciate more in the future (showers, changing tents, vendors, my free beer at the end). Granted the Canadian franchise is still pretty new to the game but we are pretty lucky here in the States. I won’t forget that at my next race.

* Rating

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