When you think of racing in Colorado in previous years, thoughts of rolling hills and mountains or the military vehicles at Fort Carson are what normally come to mind. However, due to contract disputes and issues over dates, Spartan had to pivot and find a new home this season. Enter the Colorado Springs Super and Sprint Weekend, held at the Pikes Peak International Speedway. This was a new location in Colorado after previous years have been held in Breckenridge, Aspen, Fort Carson, and the canceled event at the Colorado Renaissance Festival event area in 2020. This was a much different take on a Colorado course and allowed for some very fast finishes with the flat and fast course.
This had to be the biggest change of them all in regard to a Colorado course. There were only 200 ft of elevation gain throughout the course with the majority of it coming when you did a sandbag carry up the raceway bleachers at the end. There were very few hills on the course itself and it allowed for a smooth and fast run. Runners start around the racetrack for nearly a mile before heading off into the back sandy area. The majority of the course was a sandy rocky mix with sparse cacti. This made the single barbed-wire crawl a little difficult if you were in the early waves before the brush got beaten down. It has been unseasonably warm in Colorado with temperatures reaching near triple digits for the past week and that made the lack of shade throughout the course very disappointing. There was no relief with the dunk wall and rolling mud happening within the first 2 miles of the course. By the middle of the day, there were cars running the track and burning tires on a drifting course. This made the smell and noise around the last half mile almost unbearable and took away from the sound of the friends and family cheering runners on at the finish line.
There was nothing new or unique at this course that runners had not seen in the past in regard to obstacles. The main difference was what some of the obstacles were made out of. Spartan has moved away from the traditional painted plywood and moved to a plastic almost plexiglass-like material. This made obstacles like the box, vertical cargo, and Olympus more difficult as you do not have the same grip as the past. There was no rain and little water or mud on the course, so things did not get too wet or slippery. The biggest burpee makers this weekend included twister, the multi-rig, and of course the spear throw. It is interesting to note that this course did not have the traditional tire flip and that seemed liked a missed opportunity with the race being held at a motor speedway. The only creative use of the course and obstacles was having the sandbag carry to up the grandstands around the racetrack before the finish line. Spartan must be mellowing with age because the turnaround point for the carry was not even halfway up the stands.
This is one place where the race seemed to be better than in the past. There was more area to spread out with a collection of vendors and tents all over. The music and D.J were pushed into a corner and there were some speaker issues early in the morning Saturday. The best move they made all weekend was setting this area up underneath the bleachers. This provided shade all day long and allowed everyone to comfortably spread out and get ready for their heat. The mask policy was recently lifted before this race and little distancing or COVID protocol could be seen. The festival area felt like races of the past and was a welcomed change to many. There was no finisher beer, but rather a Mike’s Hard Seltzer to go with the normal banana and Fit Aid. Water in a can was provided at the finish line from new sponsor Liquid Death and we all missed the Body Armor and protein bar from years past at the end.
Overall, this race was a bit of a letdown compared to the events held in Colorado in the past. It is just the second in-person OCR event in the state in 2021 and many were excited to just get back out on the course and race with friends. This race rates a 4 out of 5. The change in venue took away a lot of the challenge racers are looking for in Colorado and losing both the Honor Series and Mountain Series races from the past was a tough pill to swallow. The Ultra World Championship is being held in Telluride Colorado later this fall and should more than make up for the lack of elevation and overall course difficulty this race lacked.
Have you done an Spartan Race?
Leave your own Spartan Race review and feedback...
This author is part of the Mud Run Crew and received a free race entry in return for an independent review. All opinions are those of the author and were not influenced by the race sponsor or Mud Run Guide.