This weekend marked the return of Spartan Race to Southern California and the debut of a new venue at Pala Raceway. For years, Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, and other OCRs have been held at Vail Lake in Temecula. Love them or hate them, the endless, relentless hills overlooking and surrounding that venue were iconic to obstacle course racing in this part of the country. This year, all that changed, as the new owners of the Vail Lake property decided to rescind access to all of the various races that called Vail Lake home.
If we were to pick two words to sum up this last week in OCR, I would have to say it was "Spartan" and "Beard". One crushing it with nationwide domination and growth, and the other...for its lack thereof. (RIP chin curtain)
Spartan Race kicked off its 2016 season in Southern California last weekend with back to back races at Vail Lake in Temecula. Immediately obvious on arriving at the venue was the distressing lack of water in the lake; with a drop of at least 10-15’ of depth since our last visit back in September, it was clear that the long California drought is far from over. This also left exposed a vast mud plain that was once the lake bottom and would play a role in the race.
Let’s take a closer look at this new pricing structure for the Spartan Race Annual Pass. There have been some, strong, reactions and I think I can help clarify some of the concerns. (Take note, I have no direct link to any financials to Spartan or any other organization, this is my mind maths).
After Saturday’s Spartan Race World Championship at the beautiful Squaw Valley, the OCR world was happily surprised to crown Robert Killian Jr their new Champion. Many followers were most likely scratching their heads wondering who this “new guy” is and where the hell did he come from??
In the quest to complete my first Spartan Trifecta, I knew there was only one race worthy of the accomplishment. Thankfully, living in New England, we are close enough to head up Vermont, the birthplace of Spartan Race, for the always challenging Killington Beast. I attended last year's race and barely survived the 10-hour ass kicking that it delivered.
Spartan Super returned to Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, New Jersey. I can’t speak for the weather on Saturday, September 12, but Sunday’s event was near perfect conditions with plenty of sunshine. The Spartan Village was a great setup at the base of the mountain with plenty of vendors. For a Sunday event, there were a large numbers or racers on the course.
Spartan made its first appearance in the Asheville area in Black Mountain, NC today using The Grove Sand & Stone Company as its location. There was plenty of parking relatively close to the start line and the festival area was also nicely spread out on this beautiful property. The scenery was amazing.
The Pennsylvania Spartan weekend has been one of the most anticipated Spartan race weekends of the year for me as last year’s Pennsylvania Sprint course was my favorite Spartan course I did all year. I also was super excited that Spartan was stepping it up this year and offering a Super at the same venue and I had high expectations for both the Super and Sprint to be good races.
My experience with Spartan Canada has been awesome and I had very high expectations for this race weekend. The drive from Upstate NY to the Mont Tremblant area was a long one (over 320 miles each way), other than an hour and half delay at the Canadian/USA border entering Canada the drive was a good one.