Sweaty Betty takes on the Spartan Race
posted on Thursday, 6th November 2014 | find under
One of the Sweaty Betty principles is to 'Practice What We Preach', pushing personal boundaries and inspiring others to do the same. Here Social Media Exec Jemma Crow tells us about the trials and tribulations of her latest challenge: the Spartan Race...
I won the chance to take part in the Spartan Race earlier this year through the lovely people at ELLE magazine, and was given the chance to choose either the Sprint (5K + 15 obstacles), Super (13K + 21 obstacles) or Beast (20K + 26 obstacles). Looking for a real challenge, I decided to sign up for the South London ‘Beast’ with a friend, as I’d run half marathons before and thought it would be a great next step to take before running the London Marathon in April.
I have to say I didn’t really train for the race as much as I should have done – I had the running down fine, but the strength tests I definitely underestimated. I’d also taken on the Mudderella race with #TeamSB in the summer, and assumed the obstacles would be similar. How wrong I was…
Race day nerves
When race day came around, my friend and I took the train to East Grinstead and met some fellow 'Spartans' to share a taxi with down to the event. Definitely a bad move as one regular racer scared the living daylights out of us with tales of his dislocated knee at last year's event and narrowly missing out on his Trifecta medal – the extra medal you get for completing all three of the annual. Yet, somehow, he was back to secure his Trifecta medal for 2014.
The nerves properly set in when we got to the race course and saw a lot of (mainly) stacked men ready to take part in this battle of the fittest. We got into our starting heat and the Gladiator welcomed us to the race with a big ‘AROOO’. And then we were off! Immediately after setting off we struggled to stay upright on the course with it being soo muddy. It was clear our trainers weren’t going to cut it – I highly recommend trail shoes with plenty of grip. However we kept running through the woods, overcoming our first few obstacles and emerging to the sight of an army training zone. Our faces fell when we learned we were not yet three miles in.
The first big obstacle for me was a water task. Although we were informed that we didn't need to be a confident swimmer to make our way around the course, I had no choice but to swim as the water was deeper than I am tall. My phobia of open water didn't help, but completing the task made me feel really proud and keen to continue challening myself. Suffice to say, several water tasks later – including a massive swim across an icy lake – I was freezing when we finally saw the finish line.
The big finish
Six hours after crossing the start line, we completed the course. There were battle wounds to show for our efforts – cuts, bruises and scrapes from hitting our legs on tree stumps in the water and falling off the huge wall climb at the last hurdle. Oh, and the final obstacle? Only to jump over a fire pit.
I do feel like I’ve accomplished something pretty amazing and can look back on the experience fondly (now that I can walk again), but I've definitely decided it will be my last obstacle race. To anyone looking to take on the race, I would say that strength training is essential. The Spartan organisers actually run their own training sessions which would be good for getting accustomed to the cold water and any specific phobias you may have to overcome.
Entries are already open for next year's Spartan Race events. If you ran this year, do let us know what you thought!
Well done to Jemma for making it to the finish line and collecting her Spartan Beast finishers medal!