Spartan Race and The World of Obstacle Course Racing

Written from Prado del Rey, Spain
Spartan Race Super Madrid 2016
Spartan Race Super Madrid 2016

I ran my first Spartan Race in May of this year with my brother, Liam, and cousin, Craig.

Spartan Race is an obstacle course race. You probably know the type. They’ve exploded in popularity over the last few years.

The start of this video shows a little of us running the course.

The race was challenging. We crawled through barbed wire in mud, carried logs, rocks, sandbags and chains up steep terrain, climbed over 8 foot walls, inverted walls, structures covered in cargo net, ran through rivers, ascended ropes, threw spears.

It was fun and created some epic memories.


I grew up with this gem of a TV program, Gladiators. Normal fit folk would compete against a team of athletes, the Gladiators, over a series of events and obstacle courses.

My 8 year old self probably got most satisfaction from naively ‘knowing’ how I’d do better than almost all of the competitors. How I wouldn’t have fallen off the rings, would have crushed the last obstacle run and set a new course record.

Fast forward a couple of decades and there’s still something exciting about obstacle courses, although my perceived abilities are just a tad less inflated.

The documentary, Rise of The Sufferfests (well worth a watch!), dives into the reasons why these types of events are growing rapidly. And takes a healthy look at the craziness of it. Yes, we are paying to crawl through mud under barbed wire and carry heavy things up hills.

I’ve signed up for my second race, another Spartan Super, coming up in October. Will I do another? I don’t know for sure yet, but I’m leaning towards a ‘yes’. And rumours may soon start surfacing of my brother and I doing a big race next year.

I thought the first race would be one and done. The idea was to check an obstacle course race off the bucket list. In the days and weeks following that event though, I obsessed over improving, changing up my training and giving it another go.

The build up to the event, the anticipation, excitement, motivation are all part of the rewards of doing a race. It’s not a one day thing, but something to look forward to, to work towards.

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