The Citizens Bank Stadium Spartan Race Sprint, the forgotten stadium race of the East Coast. Citifield and Fenway being the wildly popular stars of the Stadium circuit, Citizens Bank Sprint are the Goldilocks of the stadium sprints. Offering not too hot but not too cold weather, a well-designed course, and the perfect amount of space on course to not feel like you’re standing in a line all day.
Let’s talk about the course, most stadium races send you straight up to the top level almost immediately, making you question why you don’t do more stair runs. Instead, thundered down onto the field, doing some pretty good damage to the infield dirt track, and into the locker room to do our hand release push-ups. After this I figured we are going up top, nope we went back up to the ground level and climbed the A-frame cargo net which was right over top of the entrance to the park. This something I hope Spartan does more of, it creates a sense of awe to enter the stadium while seeing people flying over top of you.
Okay, now the stairs start, one deceptive thing about Citizens Bank is how high the stadium goes, the 400 section is up there and takes a lot longer to get to than you think but you are rewarded with a great view of the stadium and the Philadelphia Skyline in the background. After you burn your lungs and quads out on the stairs you start the first of many obstacle gauntlets.
You start it off with the 20 heavy jump rope, which isn’t exhausting but more time consuming to get the band around your ankles. Immediately followed by the longest, flattest sandbag carry in Stadium race history. But then you turn the corner to start the jug carry. You never realize how narrow stadium seats are until you are attempting to carry heavy jugs down the isle and not bang into every seat as you go. This is all capped off with the Herc Hoist before you fly back down to the ground level to gauntlet number 2.
This is the most exhausting series of obstacles I have ever seen. The 8-foot wall, to the Rolling epic, to the spear throw, to the Z-wall, to the Atlas Carry, and finally the 20 box jumps. All of these obstacles are within maybe a quarter mile or less of each other which is crazy close for a short distance obstacle race. Even though I completed all of the obstacles, I was on the verge of losing my pre-race meal after the box jumps.
But after all of these obstacle gauntlets, you are rewarded with a sprint down centerfield, the first time the race has been on the grass since 2013 if I am remembering correctly. Jumping over hurdles, running through the gauntlet and making sure you don’t smack your face on a heavy bag, to finish in classic stadium race fashion at home plate.
Citizens Bank is the race I highly recommend to everyone. This was the first race I ran that made me want to run competitively. Through the years it has been a beautifully designed and well thought out course. It doesn’t favor one style of racer over the other. It has something for everyone and the venue is designed for people to view OCR as a sport. It's the perfect race for someone wanting to run an obstacle race and not get dirty and it is a great race for grizzled veterans to have a little fun.
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