One down, five to go!
Scotty’s CEO Stuart Robinson has set himself a personal fundraising challenge in 2018. In this blog post he gives us an update on his progress and an insight into the Spartan Race event…
Last weekend I took on what will hopefully be the first of six Spartan Races in 2018 as part of a year long fundraiser for Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
For those new to Spartan Race it’s an obstacle endurance race featuring physical challenges such as rope climbs, monkey bars and 8ft walls – it’s a little like being back at school!
To make things even more interesting there are 3 different distance options – the Sprint, the Super and the dramatically but entirely accurately named Beast. Completing all three distances in one calendar year earns what is known as a Trifecta. My personal goal in 2018 is to complete a double Trifecta.
The event last week in Kent was the first of the Spartan UK season (Spartan is now a global race with events in over 30 countries!) and was the Super distance, usually between 8 and 10 miles in length – they always keep you guessing slightly. I’ve done a handful of similar style events but not this actual race and it was tough. In fact the word I’ve used most since the race is ‘brutal’! But I finished with a real sense of achievement, it was tough but satisfying. It also set the level for the rest of the season – I now know where I need to be in terms of fitness, particularly if I’m to complete the Beast events later in the year. More training required!
The first section of the race was predominately running through woodland with the some reasonably steep downhill and uphill parts. There were a few walls to climbing over, under and through but the first real obstacle was the ‘Rings’ – swinging Gladiator style from one end to the other, ring to ring. It wasn’t pretty but I managed to get across and hit the bell at the far end without dropping. Most obstacles have a cow bell to hit at the end to signify completion. Fail to complete the obstacle and 30 burpees (google it – one or two are fine but 30 will seriously zap your strength) are your penalty before you can continue onwards. If you race in one of the more competitive waves the penalties for failing an obstacle are enforced but as the day goes on these rules are relaxed more and more and fun runners are encouraged to do them but it’s not required.
The next section was by far the hardest part of the race. First up was a 1km double tyre carry up and down hills. So, two tyres, one on each arm, carried for a km, with hills. Sounds easy – it isn’t! Reach the top of the hill and we found a wall traverse obstacle, designed to test your arm strength (the same arms which have just been carrying two tyres up and down the hills). This was quickly followed by a bucket carry (plasterers bucket filled with stones) and then another wall traverse obstacle. Individually these obstacles aren’t too bad but back to back they really tire your arms. The heavy weights up and down the hills had really taken their toll at this point and we were only about a third of the way in!
Fortunately, whilst it remained tough and the hills kept coming I was able to struggle on and only failed one obstacle in the rest of the race.
Other obstacles that followed included Twister (a new take on monkey bars), the Atlas stone carry, a spear throw (the one I failed!), rope climb and lots, lots more hills!
The hills induced some pretty intense leg cramp which kicked in as I was attempting to climb a 7ft wall – not ideal timing. A little stretch though and I was back on my way and managed to get over the A frame, up the slip wall and over the final two 8ft walls before crossing the finish line in 2 hours and 51 minutes!
The great thing about Spartan is that there’s a challenge for everyone. Seriously fit athletes can go straight for the Beast or even compete in the Elite waves for cash prizes. Fun runners who are new to this kind of activity but looking to challenge themselves can pick a shorter ‘Sprint’ event and go in a non-competitive wave with friends.
We’re extremely fortunate that Spartan have welcomed Scotty’s with open arms and we have a charity stand at each of their UK events. It’s great for us to be able to thank our runners personally and we’re also able to take along our range of fundraising sportswear to sell on the day too.
For me it’s back to training now and working on all those weaknesses I found during this race – and there are plenty. My next event is Aston Down in Gloucester in June. There’s another Super distance and also a Sprint over that weekend. For anyone interested in challenging themselves and taking part in a Spartan Race, Scotty’s has two ways to sign up. A fully funded place where you cover the cost of your entry (this can often be lower through the charity than the price offered directly by Spartan themselves) or a Fundraiser place which is free to enter but you’ll need to raise a minimum amount in fundraising sponsorship before the event.
If you’d like to find out a little more about our Spartan Race places click here.
If you’d like to find out more about Stuart’s personal fundraising challenge click here.