Before I start my race recap article, I must clearly state this recap was for the Saturday, April 7th, 2018 Charlotte Spartan Sprint. I think it is important that I inform everyone, since the Sunday, April 8th, 2018 Charlotte Spartan Sprint was a slightly different experience based on the drier weather. The rain on Saturday definitely added a degree of difficulty when it came to completing obstacles, especially as the day carried on.
Porter Farms Race Location
Arriving at the race location gave me one of the biggest surprises I ever had. It was extremely busy. There were numerous lines of vehicles waiting to enter the farm from the connecting streets. Now, there is no doubt that Spartan Races can get packed, but at 7:00 a.m.? Heck yeah, after inquiring about Spartan Races and the trifecta mission in North Carolina. The Charlotte Spartan Sprint for some is a must. If there is one suggestion I would have for anyone is to be wary of what vehicle you are driving to an OCR venue such as Porter Farms. I would gladly say, the bigger the tires, the better.
Why? When I see a farm, with a weather forecast of rain, I'm immediately skeptical of the parking. Thankfully, I have never had a vehicle stuck in the mud while parking. But, it can happen. A race participant can easily come back to there vehicle stuck in the mud, due to the ground becoming too soft because of rain. Well, based on where I was parked, I really didn't notice a lot of people struggling to drive on this farm. Yes, it is the south, so trucks were everywhere, and the likelihood of those vehicles getting stuck is slim. But, there were a lot of cars to getting around seemingly okay. Jokingly, I personally credit all those earthy big bodacious cow pies of Porter Farms that may have aided in the texture of the ground being stable. Stable enough to absorb rain, minimizing mud, which made the passage of vehicles manageable. Shoutout to all those fine bovines, you are the true parking hero's.
Staffing and Race Day Presentation
The first few faces I got to see while entering the venue were security. Not volunteers, nor Spartan staff. I'm talking police officers. I wouldn't necessarily call their presence intimidating. It's just an observation that can be capped off with a sign as you are entering the Spartan Festival stating, “Please do not bring your firearms onto Spartan premises.” Or, something similar to that quote. I appreciate that gentle reminder, especially to those who are packing, and to those who need a heads up about the community a race is being held. I'm sure Spartan has enough on its plate to make sure a race goes as smoothly as possible, so their subtle way's of gently enforcing a law pertaining to their grounds, regardless if it work's or not, is still respectable.
At the beginning of a Spartan Race, no matter the weather, the grounds tend to look pristine. Like a holy Spartan land barely touched by even the tiniest of animals. That is before the countless number of epic weekend warriors start to inundate the land with their constant foot traffic making everything look shabby. In other words, the grass at 7:00 a.m. on the festival grounds was lush and green, by 2:00 p.m. including all the rain, the grounds looked like muddy soup coating everyone walking through it. So, if you came to a Spartan Race looking to get muddy and dirty, the festival grounds on Saturday definitely lived up to the hype. It was truly a prequel to the actual race. If this was your first Spartan Race ever, you got every bit of what to expect once you parked and approached the festival grounds. That is, an absurd amount of mud, a ton of smiling people taking pictures, and the consistent sounds of Spartan medals dangling and clanging into each other.
This course was not a typical PR/PB (Personal Record/Personal Best) course. But, if you did dominate this course, kudos to you. I mean sure you got the elites and the age group competitor's out there making things look easy, yet competitive, but even some of those men and women encountered a sloppy terrain. But, let us not forget, there is one slight difference being some of the first runners on the course, you thankfully get a clean course with obstacles that haven't been soaked, muddied, or worn out. So, to clarify, there are Spartan Race's, and then there are muddy Spartan Race's. Those are two totally different races folks. So, for this race from the start until the finish line, the eerie feeling as if we were going behind enemy lines was a recurring theme that played through my head as we all roughed it for approximately 4 miles while challenging ourselves during the April 7th, 2018, Charlotte Spartan Sprint.
After my experience of countless falls up and down hill's, having my forearms screaming at me while on the monkey bars due to how slippery they were, and questioning my grip strength, or lack thereof while on the Twister. I accept like all races the high's and low's as they go. But, if you asked me would I run this race again, I would gladly say YES! Spartan can't control the weather, so when it rains, that's just what we all have to deal with. My only complaint has nothing to do with the overall race it. My complaint has to do with the lack of shower water pressure. We all were basically sitting, or lying on the ground to guarantee some kind of water comes out the hoses. But, deep down I know it was because everyone was muddy and using up a lot of water to rinse themselves off. So, the later your race wave, the chances are you were not going to get adequate water pressure. That's just how it goes in the muddy Spartan Race World. Aroo!! Aroo!! Aroo!!
Thank you, Spartan staff and all affiliated agencies working while at Porter Farms. Shoutout to all the Spartan volunteer's, and Spartan Race Street Team. It takes a village to put on a Spartan Race and the village at Porter Farms answered the call.
Photo credit: Derek Ross
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