Spartan held its second annual Winter Sprint at Greek Peak ski resort in central New York. The event took place Saturday with the Elites taking the snow at 9 am. The crowds overall for the day seemed smaller than a typical Spartan race. The colder weather is the most likely reason for crowds to be on the smaller side. Overall, just about 1,500 Spartans took on the snow-covered course with temperatures in the upper 20’s. Registration was a much better experience than the mess that was created at the event last year. It took me 10 minutes to get registered. The festival area was on a much smaller scale with fewer vendors, but there was music playing and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
The race began with a nice climb up part of the mountain. The snow in some spots was Hurdles, Walls, Monkey Bars, and the Barb Wire Crawl were placed within the first mile. This is the easiest Barb Wire Crawl of the year as you can almost slide across the snow. Gloves were not recommended at the Monkey Bars, however, I was able to make it across with a pair of wetsuit gloves with no issues. The middle of the course included Atlas Lift, Bucket Brigade, and the Multi Rig. The Atlas Lift was much more difficult than normal with the stone being covered in snow.
Bucket Brigade had prefilled buckets with lids on them. These buckets were a fraction of the weight for a typical Bucket Brigade and I could not get word if this was an event specific choice by Spartan or if this will be the new norm. It certainly would even the playing field as we all know how the amount of stone per bucket can greatly change depending on how strict the volunteers are at that station. The Multi Rig was all rings as they typically are for Sprints.
The back third of the course was dusted with some easier snow related obstacles. The rope climb was a little more difficult than usual with the extra weight of cold-weather gear combined with the blowing snow which was causing the ropes to be slippery. Spearmen was once again a high-frequency burpee machine. Overall distance was listed as 4.2 miles.
This was a challenging Spartan for me. There was much more snow than last year and Spartan definitely added some more vertical to the course. It was a fair setup and I love being challenged. Olympus was very slippery and it got the best of me. I made it within inches of the bell on Rope Climb before my shoulder gave out on me. Finally, Spearmen continues to get the best of me. There will be a celebration when I hit my first spear during an event!
I did notice that the volunteers were being much more aware at the burpee stations keeping track of people and making sure they were getting arms over their ears on the jumps and chests touching the ground on the push-up part. I hope this accountability continues so every competitor will leave their event with a true account of their successes and true burpee counts for failure to complete some obstacles.
I watched the kids run their course for a little while, they looked like they were having a blast. If you get a chance at your next OCR, stop by the kid's race and cheer on the young racers. It will make your day, as well as theirs!
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