Welcome back to the PNW, for without a doubt, the most exciting one-day Spartan Sprint weekend of the year, Spartan Portland, Located in Washougal, Washington.
Relax people. The Vegas race is located in Arizona and in a different time zone. The 30-minute ride from Portland to this race venue is negligible considering the wonderful experience.
Anyway, back to my unbiased opinion of this amazing race. It all starts with a HUGE parking lot outside of the Washougal Motocross Park, where all participants can easily access the festival area via a short walk.
If you’ve never been to Portland (or Washougal), early August is the best time of year to visit. The weather is always perfect. On race day, we were welcomed with a mid-60s temperature and light cloud cover. You really can’t go wrong, even with the wildfires across the surrounding areas. Throughout the day, the weather cooperated tremendously, with the sun shining as the first group of open participants crossed the finish line.
The Portland course is fast, furious, and sneaky challenging. From the get-go, participants are on the soft motocross track, barreling down to the first walls. Soon thereafter, what seems like a continuous incline through the grassy back areas of the venue, introduces your quads and calves to the burn. Standard sprint obstacles sprinkled the track, as Spartans took on the approximately 650 feet total gain of rolling dirt track hills, and the occasional 20-plus-degree incline.
This course has two trademark segments that prove to be game-changers for competitive racers: The very long, very muddy barbed wire crawl across shallow, repetitive dirt bike moguls, and one long incline where, in the last two years, the sandbag carry has been waiting. In previous seasons, this mountainous section has been used as a start line, water slide, and uphill barbed wire climb.
This course has been known to bring out some of the top Spartan pros, with its intensity and speed, so it’s always fun to see who will show up for the first “Aroo!” To my surprise, as I was checking in, the legend herself, Rose Wetzel, was running late and barely made it to the start line. Of course, that didn’t stop her from, sans warmup, taking on Alyssa Hawley for a Sprint finish that would make the National Series blush!
Your top three women in the elite heat were Wetzel, Hawley and Lauren Griffith, and for the men, Greyson Kilgore, Josh Fry and Beni Gifford.
There really isn’t anything I would ever change to this course, except for the need for a second race day on Sunday and/or adding a Super to the mix. There was a trail 10k, which brought racers around the venue a bit more, so I do believe the opportunities are out there!
The Portland Spartan Race is a must-do.
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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.