Every year, we seek to constantly evolve, both as a brand and as a sport. As the possibility of obstacle course racing in the Olympics becomes increasingly more likely, and as we continue to expand across the planet, our obstacles, rules, and regulations are ever-changing to reflect and accommodate a more global audience than ever before.
For the 2023 race season, we’re making some notable rule changes. There are a TON of small changes and tweaks (all of which can be found in the official 2023 Spartan Race Rulebook), but here are some of the major changes you need to know about as we gear up for an epic 2023.
The 3 Most Notable Rule Changes Coming to the 2023 Spartan Race Rulebook
1. Burpee Penalties Will Be Removed for Elite and Age Group Racers.
All Elite and Age Group racers at non-Stadion events will now be exempt from performing burpees as a penalty for a failed obstacle. Instead, a penalty loop, constructed at every obstacle, will be run if a racer cannot complete that particular obstacle. The standard penalty loop will be 200 meters, but if there is more than 25 meters of elevation gain across the penalty loop's intended terrain, the loop will be shortened to 100 meters (325 feet). If the penalty includes a carry, the loop will be 100 meters. In that instance, men will carry 60 pounds and women will carry 40.
Elite, Age Group, and Open racers will still be subject to a 15-burpee penalty while competing at Stadion events, and Open heats will continue to face 30-burpee penalties at all other events (except where a loop explicitly replaces the burpee penalty).
2. Elites Will Compete on 3K Courses at All Spartan Series and Championships.
Save for the Trifecta World Championship and Honor Series races, Elites will compete on 3K courses at all Series and Championship races in 2023. The new 3,000-meter format will consist of three laps, each of which is 1,000 meters. There will be 10 to 12 obstacles on each loop, for a total of 30 to 36 obstacles per race — similar to Spartan Cross, which was featured in Spartan Games.
“Series” events refers to any competitive Elite series, such as the Spartan North American Elite Series or the Spartan European Elite Series. "Championships" refers to Regional Championships such as the Spartan Pan American Championship, the Spartan European Championship, and the Spartan World Championship. All other Elite heats will be held on traditional Spartan race formats, such as the 21K Beast.
Laser Pistol — a feature part of the Olympic Modern Pentathlon event — is likely to be included as one of the 10-12 obstacles per lap at Elite Series events, as well as Age Group events at Regional and World Championships. We are currently working toward having Laser Pistol for all events, which means Open category racers will also be able to experience the new obstacle.
The rules are still being confirmed, though it’s likely that it will be based on time and a set number of shots to hit the target. If you’re headed to the 2022 Spartan World Championship in Abu Dhabi — regardless of whether you’re racing in the Elite, Age Group, or Open categories — you’ll be able to try this groundbreaking new obstacle.
3. Athletes Can Earn the 'OCR Triple Crown.'
A new trophy will be introduced in the 2023 race season, bringing together obstacle course racers from different athletic backgrounds in pursuit of the OCR Triple Crown. The crown consists of three marquee events: the 100-meter, 10-obstacle World Obstacle (FISO) Championship, the 3,000-meter Spartan World Championship, and the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder event.
An athlete's finishing position at each event determines their position on the final leaderboard, with ties being broken by exact finishing times. The best performing athlete (ie. the athlete at the top of the final leaderboard, with the most wins after all three events) comes in first place, followed by the next best performing racer, and so on.
After all three events have concluded, the top five men and women will win Triple Crown prize money and trophies in accordance with their leaderboard placement.
For full explanations and in-depth details on all of the 2023 race season rules, reference the official 2023 Spartan Race Rulebook.