What an awesome day out.
This was my first real dash at an obstacle race since shoulder surgery AND, after months of anticipation, it was time to hit the filth with my own two boys as well. While 13yr old Gus had already had a taste at the 7km Spartan Sprint earlier in the year, this was Liam’s baptism of fire. Already at 18yrs, he had never run further than 5km in his life and was there at the starting line….dead keen to nearly triple that distance.
On the back of what I had experienced, I had made big promises on behalf of Spartan Race Australia…..trying to instill a healthy mix of fear and excitement into the two of them with regular spouts of “The course will be awesome”….”The obstacles are tough”….”Practice your burpees, boys”….”Why aren’t you training today!!?? No dinner for you!!” So, with a van full of testosterone and hype, the three of us trundled up the highway at the respectable hour of 0700.
Thankfully, I would not be eating my words. Everyone I knew that ran in the Elite wave assured me the 14km course was indeed a good one. I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.
Knowing my own competitive nature as well as they do, Gus and Liam were happy for me to run a lap first to “suss the course out” and try to get a respectable time. I jumped on the 1000hrs wave and hit the trails. While the run went relatively well, it’s funny how you can slip into that groove of long distance running and kind of lose your sense of ‘race urgency’. I held a reasonable pace and while getting through the obstacles well enough (except that f^cking spear throw) came in WELL behind the sharper end of the field. Next time through I’ll definitely jump in with the Elite wave…I don’t think I’ll worry too many of them, but running in a faster bunch will definitely pull me along a little quicker. Take a look a the times from the spritely bunch at the pointy end, will you?…..respect.
Crossing the line 1:46.26 later, I was met by two very eager beavers and within 14 minutes we were racing. With no time to eat or drink, it took me a little bit to get going again, so the boys kindly took off and shouted a few random taunts until I caught up. Throughout the next 2:46.51 we laughed, joked, threw mud and battled through the course…both the boys doing an awesome job while really struggling with some of the tasks, but refusing to give in without a fight. For those that did the event, you’ll know that the Sandbag Carry, Hercules Hoist and Block Drag are not easy for the uninitiated.
The only constructive feedback I’d think about mentioning was for the course marking….those small garden stakes with the tiny flags are not easy to see sometimes….when the wind blows the flag directly away from you it disappears completely, plus with a bit of rain and dark skies the whole thing can tend to disappear. From experience at other races, the markers would be more effective with fluro plastic squares nailed to the stake….windproof and high visibility. On the lap around with the boys the herculean hoist (awesome exercise) had failed, with the right-hand anchor collapsing…no injuries that I heard of, but hopefully an issue easily rectified for future races.
I’m not going to ramble on and on, but it’s pretty cool to see your kids push way beyond what they thought they were capable of…they gave every single obstacle 100% and faced their burpees without complaint….their new found sense of self-confidence and general bragging rights was palpable. Smiles all the way home…until they fell asleep.
Salomon Speedcross 3, 2XU Run Compression socks, 2XU compression shorts, Asics shorts, 2XU compression t-shirt and my new ENUF headsock.
For those that haven’t heard of the ENUF organisation, they are simply driven to bring an end to the stigma so often faced by those with HIV. Inspired by ENUF ambassador Deanna Blegg’s global success as an obstacle and adventure racer, the organisation wanted to put together an ENUF team to hit the dirt at the Spartan Super. So many people have supported this worthy cause and signed the pledge to do their bit to end HIV stigma. Please visit their site by clicking the image below and follow the links to register your own support…it costs nothing, but means everything.