Okay, Spartan. I guess it was time to turn it up a notch at the Nationals (Nats) Park Stadium Sprint on May 12, 2018. I was one of many individuals in 2017 to participate in the inaugural Nats Park Stadium Sprint. I had a great time at that race. The medals for the 2017 Stadium Sprint were cool too. I must admit this year's medal is freaking awesome. Kudos to the Spartan Medal Design team for all your creativity. The 2018 medals rock!! Having a Spartan Race at Nats Park is a wonderful collaboration.
Typically, depending on the distance of a Spartan, such as a Super or Beast, the further out you must travel. Well, not at the Nats Park Spartan Stadium Sprint race. Washington, D.C. along with all the major figures that played a role in bringing a Major League Baseball team to this city, made sure locals can come to games to watch their beloved Nationals with as little deterrence as possible. This could all be possible with the help of WMATA and its Metrorail Station Navy Yard-Ballpark on the Green Line. Jokingly, not to sound to D.C. snooty, but having the luxury of commuting to a Spartan Race using the public metro system just felt good.
The location of a stadium race meant one primary element would be missing, that is mud. These stadium races are clean. I'm sure 99.9 % of all participants finished sweaty but clean enough to go to a happy hour. Not unless you took a tumble running or completing obstacles along the warning track of the field and got dirty. I've done a lot of traveling to Spartan Races and can't help but giggle with excitement when a local race such as the Nats Stadium Sprint comes to town.
I can't help but reminisce about my experience last year while volunteering during the week of the race. Since it was a new venue, I definitely wanted to absorb all that “feel good” Spartan energy flowing while at the Nats Stadium. That was a Spartan minute ago, and what a difference a year can make in the designing of a Spartan Race. The race this year had a lot more steps, way more stadium seat bypassing, and numerous obstacles on the baseball field warning tracks. There was enough Sun at the Nats Stadium to take out the strongest deodorant. I want to take this time to apologize to any racer I may have encountered at the Jerry Cans obstacle, my deodorant ran out. The humidity mixed with the physical demands of a Spartan Race at certain points turned the Nats Stadium into an OCR sauna.
The Non-Obstacle experience
Obstacles like the Assault Airbike were a fabulous addition to the race. Even though it's not really an obstacle, it served its purpose in giving your legs a little more love, just in case the steps weren't enough. The goal was simple, ride the Assault Airbike until you burn 10 calories. But, here's the kicker, all the Airbikes were placed in the sun. I don't know if it was done on purpose, but trying to burn 10 calories on an Airbike in the heat meant instant fatigue and dry mouth. The Hand Release Push-up station in the actual Nats locker room is definitely a memorable experience. Sure, it was 15 Hand Release Push-ups, but it was in an air-conditioned locker room where you got to see some of the biggest names in baseball. I appreciate Spartan and the Nationals keeping this unique experience in this year's race.
Spartan exceeded my expectations from last year's race. It's almost like someone walked around prior to setting up the race and said, “I got them this year.” What was odd was hearing the number 15 being yelled as burpee penalties for not being able to complete an obstacle, especially since 30 seems to be Spartan's lucky number. I'm guessing it had a lot to do with the heat. I also enjoyed the numerous walls, and the extra rows of seats provided, which would allow more passing lanes for others. This was a well thought out Spartan Race.
My only issue was finding the beer afterward. Knowing there were other locations closer that sold beer who did not honor the Spartan wristband made things way more alluring than simply hunting down the actual free beer location. Or, maybe I was just being lazy. Either way, free beer after a Spartan Race taste a whole lot better. Regardless of the beer search, I look forward to running this race next year.
Photo Credit: Derek Ross, Nathaniel Giles III