The weather was perfect, nice and brisk in the morning followed by a beautiful sunny afternoon. The venue is great will plenty of hills, even a cliff, lots of water, and of course, Georgia red clay. Spartan once again scouted this venue, third time at the International Horse Park in Conyers, and put together a great use of the terrain.
The excitement leading to the event was incredible as this is usually the kick off to the OCR season in Georgia. Spartan had the festival area set up nicely with the showers and changing rooms over out of the way so people did not have to walk through the mess created as racers rinsed off. Parking while a bit of a walk is not bad.
Spartan did a really good job of balancing out the obstacle locations this year, with most of the obstacles near the festival area, but by looping back near it before going back out, allowed for the spectators to see more without doing an OCR themselves. The one thing I heard from just about everyone who has done a Spartan in the past is, there was nothing new. Spartan seems to be following the idea of “dance with the one that brought you”, no new obstacles, just a longer race to make things harder. This sprint had GPS marks showing between 5.5 and 6.1 miles, I understand that a Sprint is 3-5 miles, but at 6, doesn’t this fall into the Super length? I think Spartan needs to step back and buy their scouts/course designers a GPS and a card reminding them of the distances.
Spartan is listening to the runners, with plenty of water stations on the course and the rope climb over hay rather than in the water, they also put it BEFORE the mud crawl. Spartan did a great job of killing legs early then arms, then legs again as near the 4.5 -5-mile mark they had us back into knee to waist deep water which locked up a number of people’s legs. The Bucket carry, the rope climb, Atlas carry, slope wall, sandbag, Herculean Hoist, Multi-Rig, all back to back did a great job of killing arms before the final mud crawl.
The new medals and shirts are nice, slight changes to keep them new. I did hear a number of people say that Spartan needs to come up with some new obstacles rather than just increase the distance and have us carry more heavy “stuff” for longer distances, or they would be cutting back on the number of Spartans they do, and some of these are die hard Spartan racers. Hopefully, Spartan will keep listening and not just thinking of the bottom line, with the much higher season pass, people are not happy with the same old stuff.
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