A Spartan Ultra is no joke. Not only do you have to tackle 30 miles of terrain, but you also face 60 obstacles along the way. It’s not just a mega-endurance challenge like you’d endure for a marathon—it’s a seriously badass way to test your strength and your mental fortitude, too. If you’re not convinced to give it a go based on the simple fact that it’s a crazy feat, worthy of years of bragging rights, let these 11 reasons to take on your first Spartan Ultra give you a little kick in the butt to sign up.
1. You Build Insane Endurance
If you’ve completed a marathon before—or even if you’ve just witnessed a friend do it, for that matter—you know it requires a commitment to slowly building your cardio and muscular endurance. Getting your lunges and your legs ready to work for hours is no easy task, and definitely takes some prep work. But the best part is when it comes time for race day, you’ve already put in the hard work. It’s just time to enjoy the final journey to the finish line.
2. You Get Stronger than Ever
Beyond being able to run for longer, you also build all-over strength when you train for and compete in your first Spartan Ultra. While your legs take on the brunt of the effort as you run between obstacles, your upper body and core also work through obstacles like monkey bars and sandbag carries. The more you prepare ahead of time, the stronger you become and the better you perform on race day—your time to show off those muscle gains.
3. You Improve Your Resiliency
With a race this distance, you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road—literally and figuratively. Maybe you don’t climb the rope as fast as you wanted or you have to walk point to point a few times, and, hey, that’s A-OK. The most important part is that you keep going; that you get back up and continue to push forward. That’s the biggest test of your ability to bounce back from a hardship and show yourself (and all your friends!) just how strong you really are.
4. You Test Your Mental Might
In many cases, the mind quits way before the body. That may happen to you during your first Spartan Ultra. But that just means you have to learn to think positive, talk yourself through the toughest parts of the race, and truly believe in your ability to finish. By staying mentally focused and determined, you’ll make it to the end—and not letting negativity or doubt get the best of you is a skill you can use on and off the course.
5. You Can Check Out Cool Spots
Compared to Spartan Stadium or Sprint events, the Ultras are fewer and farther between. But they’re set in some pretty epic places. From Hawaii and Iceland to Vermont and South Carolina, you have some sweet locations to choose from for a fitness adventure. Why not make a vacation out of it? Because you’re covering so much ground, you’ll certainly see a decent amount of the location’s land.
6. You Earn Plenty of Rest Days Post-Race
After hours and hours of non-stop movement, you will definitely earn some rest. As soon as you cross that finish line, permission to sit back and enjoy a brew (or a few)…for a few days. Your body and mind deserve (and require) time off from any activity.
7. You'll Get Some Serious Badass Cred
Not everyone has the guts to sign up for a race this long or this intense. But as a first time Spartan Ultra racer, you'll stand out from the rest with this decision to get after it. You'll be known as someone who’s willing to take a risk; someone who pushes their limits and isn’t afraid of a challenge; someone who is nothing but one of the biggest badass competitors out there.
8. Your Confidence Will Soar
You know that feeling you get when you crush a very intense workout or when you finally feel that medal around your neck after a half-marathon? It’s like you’re the strongest, fastest person in the world (even if it didn’t go quite as strong or fast as planned). Well, your post-Ultra attitude will provide the same high, except magnified by 200 percent. After hours of cruising the course, you’ll feel like you can take on the world. And, hey, maybe you can with your new dose of heightened self-esteem.
9. You Inspire Others
Maybe your sister wants to run her first half but she’s afraid she’ll have to walk it. Perhaps your buddy wants to sign up for an open water swim but he’s too afraid he’ll panic. Whatever it is that your friends and family want to achieve but they’re too scared to do, they now have you to look to for a little motivation. After the Ultra, you'll have completed one of the most difficult races out there. If you can do that, then they can take one step toward better fitness and health, too. (Feel free to tell ‘em that!)
10. Your First Spartan Ultra Is One Heck of a Goal
There’s just nothing like crossing off a to-do list item or completing an objective you set months ago. That’s true whether it’s at work or in the gym. But this? This is even bigger and better than those one-liners on your day’s task menu. Your first Spartan Ultra means you said yes to a challenge and you finished it, so you should be damn proud of what you did. At the end, enjoy the hardware and a new, accomplished headspace.
11. Again, the Bragging Rights!
Your friend ran 26.2? Your sibling did a triathlon? Pfft. They didn’t travel 30 miles on foot, completing 60 different strength-driven obstacles as they went. You will forever have the right to boast about your first Spartan Ultra whenever and wherever you want to. So go ahead, sign up, and you can already start talking about how crazy tough you are for even considering this ultimate challenge.