5 Things Every Kid Should Know About Running a Spartan (From One Who Did!)

5 Things Every Kid Should Know About Running a Spartan (From One Who Did!)

Hi! I’m an 11-year-old from Pelham, New York. Last October, I ran my first Spartan: The Bankwell Stamford Kids Race in Connecticut. Running a Spartan has shown me strength, self-discipline, and strategy. It was also really fun. However, if this is your first time, too, you may be a little confused about what to do before and during the actual race. In order to make things clear, here are some tips and suggestions about running a spartan race.

Related: Is Your Kid Failing Enough? 10 Experiences That Build Grit

1. Dress lightly.

There is no getting around it: You’re going to sweat. A lot. No matter what the weather it is, dress lightly. I wore a tank top, running shorts, and tied my hair back. I think this is the go-to for what to wear. Also, it’s important that you wear proper footwear. Don’t wear your brand-new white Air Jordans and expect them not to get messed up. At some point, you’re probably going to cross through water that will submerge all of your shoe, so I recommend old Nike or Adidas sneakers. Just make sure they’re not so old that they’re too small, or else your feet will hurt a lot.

Related: 7 Things You Shouldn’t Stress Over When Your Kid Runs A Spartan Race

2. Get there early.

If you’re like me and your parents are always telling you to hurry up, this is one time to listen to them: To have plenty of time to prepare, you should get to your race at least an hour early. There might be a long line to sign in. 

Related: Raising Spartan Kids in the Modern World

3. Your time doesn’t really matter.

At least not this first race—just finishing is an accomplishment. Before you run, one of the wristbands you’re given to put on is a time tracker called a Chronotrack. It’s a little orange square that loops through a band, which you put on your wrist. I didn’t realize that I had to put the square on it, and when I figured that out, it was too late—the wristband wouldn’t come off. So I started the race by tucking the square under the wristband. It dug into my skin and really hurt. And halfway through the first obstacle, it fell off, and I couldn’t find it. I panicked because I thought I wouldn’t be considered “finished.” After I finished the whole race, I learned the time tracker isn’t a big deal. And even if I had kept it on the whole race, I wouldn't have worried about my time. What I’m trying to say is, Spartans are about how well you do the obstacles, not how fast you are.

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4. Pace yourself.

The best way to get through a Spartan efficiently is to run at a consistent speed so you don’t get tired as quickly. The length of the race is pretty long for however old you are (mine was 2 miles), so it is ideal to pace yourself. Also if you get tired, know that you have time to catch your breath while waiting for your turn to do an obstacle.

Related: The Character-Building Perks of an Obstacle Course Race for Kids

5. Try your best.

I can’t stress this enough. Don’t compare yourself to other racers, because they might be way more experienced than you. Do every obstacle to the best of your abilities. Keep burpees as your last resort if you truly can’t complete an obstacle, and do the full 15, if so. As with every sport, you should be extremely exhausted by the end if you truly used all your energy. I sure was, and that’s a good thing. Most of all, HAVE FUN!

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