There’s never a lack of excitement in a Spartan Race, thanks to the endless possibilities of challenging obstacles you might face on the course. But add to that the technical difficulties of running through the Alps, or the uncertainties or flipping tires on top of a thermal vent, and the stoke factor goes through the roof. If you’re the kind of adrenaline junkie who gets their kicks not just from racing toward the finish line but from doing that in a once-in-a-lifetime location, you might just be ready to sign up for one of the most exotic Spartan races in the world.
1. The Most Exotic Spartan Races: Agoge Greek Isles
This 60-hour extreme endurance event—inspired by the original Greek Agoge, the rigorous training mandated for the citizens of ancient Sparta—takes place on the island Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands in the South Aegean Sea. The course traverses mountain ranges and long stretches of beach; dips into caves and ancient ruins; and winds through hidden alleyways of the namesake capitol.
2. The Most Exotic Spartan Races: Agoge Namibia
As a testament to the OG Greek Agoge—a word ‘agoge’ that means leading, guidance, or training—the Namibia event takes places in the semi-arid sandy savanna of the Kalahari desert. In the most sparsely populated country on earth, Spartans embrace the tradition ways of the San bushmen, navigating via the sun and stars, building traditional “boma” shelters, hunting with a bow, and evading wild animal.
3. The Most Exotic Spartan Races: Ultra World Championships, Sweden
Head north to race on the beautiful, wintry terrain of Åre, Sweden. The looped course is located in a traditional mountain village, and, like the Vikings before you, you’ll venture through Scandinavia’s vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains at one of the leading Scandinavian ski resorts, SkiStar Åre. If you’re lucky, the Northern Lights might provide an otherworldly backdrop for the grueling tasks of the race.
4. The Most Exotic Spartan Races: Whistler Sprint and Super Weekend
Selected by popular demand on social media, British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb Resort—home to the 2010 Winter Olympics—is the latest site for Spartan’s 2019 “Mountain Series.” A myriad of OCR distances and formats cover the two ridge-lines of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains (which reach 7,165 feet and 8,010 feet, respectively), as well as the deep valley with a creek running along the valley floor.
5. The Most Exotic Spartan Races: European Championships Dolomiti Alleghe-Civetta, Italy
The Dolomites, a soaring mountain range in northeastern Italy that forms a part of the Southern Limestone Alps, is home to the 2019 Spartan European Championships. The 21-kilometer cross-country course consists of 30 obstacles and goes through woods and bushes, moats, climbing obstacles, and uneven ground. Not to mention, to mountains themselves reach a staggering elevation of 10,968 feet.
6. The Most Exotic Spartan Races: Trifecta World Championships Sparta, Greece
This year, two thousand Trifecta members will descend on Sparta—built in the valley of the Eurotas River and surrounded by Mt. Taygetus, Mt. Parnon, and hilly uplands that reach up to 3,200 feet in elevation—for their chance to race on the hallowed ground where it all began. The course speeds by the statue of King Leonidas, past the tomb of Menelaus, and through the waters of Eurotas; there will by mud, water, hills and mountains, barbed wire and fire.