For the third year in a row, Greek Peak Mountain Resort has hosted the Spartan Winter Sprint.  For many living on the east coast, this was the first event of their season. One official reported that they were expecting about 4,500 racers for the event.  The early morning heats were greeted with chilly temperatures in the mid-twenties, while those who started after the lunchtime hour enjoyed a sunny afternoon around 40 degrees.  The morning crowds were on the smaller side. I am not sure if this is because some people wanted to avoid the coldest part of the day or if people are trying to save money by taking the open heats over the more expensive elite/age groups.

The Course

The sprint began with an ascent up a groomed ski slope.  This was followed by a descent into the woods and the first third of the course obstacles.  Several short walls were followed by an all ring setup of the Multi-rig. In the morning, the grips on everything were both clean and dry which is a huge plus for an early start. The Barbed Wire crawl soon followed, and in the snow, it is so much better on the body than on rocky, jagged hills!

The middle of this course made minimal climbs, but it was packed with the most demanding obstacles.  Atlas Carry, Rope Climb and Sandbag Carry were found in succession. The sandbags were frozen solid and felt 20 pounds heavier than any other sandbag I have carried.  A long, but mostly flat, Bucket Brigade seemed so much friendlier than earlier sandbags. Monkey Bars, Hercules Hoist and those darn Z-Walls rounded out the middle of the course.  I can’t blame my failure on the Z-Walls for being slippery. This obstacle more than any other, in my opinion, is about choosing the correct walls with the best transition around the difficult outside corner.

The end of the course featured Spearthrow, A-Frame Cargo and the Slip Wall.  As usual, Spearthrow was surrounded by Spartans getting their final 30 burpees of the day.  While the obstacles at the end of the course were not too demanding, there was a 700’ climb in the woods that slowed the pace before taking the fire leap and collecting the first medal of the year.

Overall Impression

The Greek Peak Winter Sprint is a fun way to start the year.  This year, I hardly noticed the cold throughout the morning.  Temperatures were so nice after the race; hundreds of Spartans could be found eating and drinking on the deck of the Greek Peak Ski Resort.  Check-in went as smoothly as possible with wait times around 5 minutes. Parking for VIP was on-site and general parking was off-site with a short bus ride in.  There seemed to be plenty of volunteers on the course and the 2 water stations were all that was needed for this 3.7-mile course. If you go next year, mark Brix Pubaria in Cortland on your to-do list, you won’t regret it.  As long as Spartan holds a winter race at Greek Peak, I will be there for the views, the challenge, the food and the chance to wake the body up from the long winter.

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Rating: 4/5


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