If you're a true Spartan, there are certain things that you absolutely must do — things that capture the true essence of what it means to be a Spartan and live the Spartan lifestyle. We're talking about the most challenging races and the most uniquely Spartan experiences. If you tell others that you've done one of them, you command instant respect. You immediately go up a notch (or three) in their book.
Behold the ultimate Spartan bucket list. If you've done even one of these 10, you're legit. If you've done multiple, you're in rare company. And if you've done all 10, you are the ultimate Spartan.
These are the 10 things that every Spartan must do before they die, and why they're so incredibly epic.
The Spartan Bucket List: 10 Things Every Spartan Must Do
1. Earn a Trifecta
Our ultimate annual challenge, racers earn a Trifecta when they complete a Sprint, Super, or Beast in one calendar year. When you complete one of each race type, you receive a special magnetic wedge along with your finisher medal. If and when you complete all three races and earn a Trifecta, the three wedges fit seamlessly together to form the coveted Trifecta medal.
There are few feelings more satisfying and more rewarding than creating that elusive medal, and you instantly become a member of the Trifecta Tribe, which shares a special and lasting bond.
2. Visit Riverside Farm
There's always something interesting happening at Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena's farm in Pittsfield, Vermont. Several extreme endurance events — the Death Race, Camp Spartan, the Bloodroot Ultra, and the Woodsplitter Mountain Bike Challenge, just to name a few — are held there, and Joe actually extends invites to those who want (or need) a kick in the ass. Nobody can whip you into shape quite like Joe, and he's always willing to get you on track at the farm if you're willing to do the work.
If you want to experience it, send Joe a message on his Instagram page (with your story) and you might just get an invite that will change your life.
3. Run Killington, the Birthplace of the Beast
Just 8 miles down the road from Pittsfield, less than a 15-minute drive, is Killington, Vermont. The birthplace of the Spartan Beast — the maiden 21K, 30-obstacle Beast was held there in 2011 — it has also hosted three Spartan World Championships. Not only is the course punishing with its steep slopes and massive climbs, but there is also a special aura in the air, a feeling that you're experiencing — and becoming part of — Spartan history. Ten years later, it's still one of the most popular race weekends on the schedule, and our hardest U.S. course.
Great news: We'll be back in Killington the weekend of Sept. 16-17 in 2023.
4. Attend the World Championship
The Spartan World Championship brings the best of the best, period. Whether you're there to run an Open heat, watch the top Elites battle it out, or take in the world-class festivities, you're pumped up and excited just knowing that you're surrounded by the top OCR athletes on Earth, all battling it out for the most coveted and prestigious podium spot of the year.
The World Championship established itself as a premier event in Killington before moving to Lake Tahoe, but in 2021, for the first time in our history, the World Championship was held outside of the United States, in the desert surrounding Abu Dhabi. The 2022 Spartan race season culminated with an even more epic rendition of the UAE event, and we'll be back again in 2023.
5. Visit Sparta, Greece
Sparta, Greece is our homeland. Everything we believe in, everything we stand for, everything we try to impart to our community: It all comes from the ancient Spartans of Sparta. The second you touch down in Laconia, of which Sparta is the capital, you're instantly transported back to 480 BC. Almost instantly you embody Leonidas, preparing and leading his men into the Battle of Thermopylae.
Joe has traveled all over the world, and many cities and countries occupy special places in his heart. But none have as much meaning or hold as much significance as Sparta. If you've never been, we recommend making your first pilgrimage Nov. 3-5, for the Trifecta World Championship (where Unbreakable Pass holders can also experience the Unbreakable Event).
6. Experience a Race Abroad
Spartan hosts races in more than 40 countries, with events in such exotic locations as Andorra, Ukraine, Chile, and the Philippines. (We're also in Australia, if you don't mind flying across the world.) Every time you experience a new race in a new country, there's a slightly different personality and distinctive flavor that makes it wholly unique. The Spartan spirit certainly transcends borders, but the event delightfully takes on the host country's culture and traditions. International events generally attract racers from a multitude of neighboring countries, giving it a truly global feel, and you can expect to hear several languages (and sometimes more) being spoken as you wander the festival area.
If you want a taste of the international experience, check out these incredible highlights from one of our races in Okinawa.
7. Run the Stadion at Fenway
The first Spartan Stadion race was held at Fenway Park in Boston — mere minutes away from the company's headquarters — back in 2012. The home of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is arguably the most iconic stadium, baseball or otherwise, of all time. (The only other MLB park that can rival it, in terms of tradition and reverence, is Wrigley Field in Chicago.) It's special to race where the pros play regardless of the venue, but Fenway takes the experience to an entirely new level. This is an opportunity to compete in a 109-year-old stadium, on the same field as Ted Williams, David Ortiz, and Babe Ruth (and countless other legends).
This is a relatively easy one to cross off of your list, considering a Stadion is just 5K and 20 obstacles. Plus, we'll be back in Boston in November, so you have plenty of time to sign up.
An interesting little piece of history: Joe initially hated the idea of the Spartan Stadion, and was actually opposed to it. He let his team run with it anyway, and it ended up becoming one of our most beloved race types. Needless to say, he's thrilled that he was proven wrong.
8. Mountain Bike Across Costa Rica
Widely regarded as the hardest mountain bike race in the world, La Ruta spans the Costa Rican coasts over a grueling three-day period. The course is broken into three stages, covering approximately 300 kilometers (approximately 186 miles) — the exact distance varies, depending on terrain changes — nearly 12,000 meters of elevation, and five mountain ranges.
The views, as you can image, are otherworldly. If you want to sign up for this life-changing race, click here.
9. Complete a Spartan Agoge
A modern-day adaptation of the 13-plus years of training that the ancient Spartans were put through when they were just 7 years old, the Spartan Agoge is a grueling, 60-hour-plus expedition in which students are pushed to their mental and physical limits.
Notable past missions include decoding a Ming dynasty stone tablet on the Great Wall of China, shooting flaming arrows, and taking part in a Mongolian shaman fire ceremony. Your endurance and strength will be put to the test, too. Students have squared off in Bökh wrestling competitions, hauled loaded whiskey barrels across remote Scottish highlands, and swum 380 meters in brutally cold temperatures.
Past Agoges have been held in such culturally significant (and insanely beautiful) locations as Beijing, Kyoto, Mongolia, Namibia, the Greek islands, Iceland, the Isle of Skye, and Slovakia. Where will we go next?
10. Finish the Death Race
"You may die."
That slogan pretty much says it all, don't you think? And it's not an exaggeration. The Spartan Death Race is the hardest race on Earth, period. And while it's true that "you may die," if you're able to somehow finish it, we guarantee that you'll never feel more alive.
What makes this race so extreme? Though no single Death Race is the same and racers generally go into it completely blind to the challenges they'll conquer, the race has previously featured a 14-hour ruck, a barbed wire crawl marathon, a 26.2-mile sandbag (50 pounds) carry, 26.2 miles of rope climbing (31,000 feet in seven hours), and 26.2 miles of burpees (3,000 total) in 12 hours, just to name a few of the insanely difficult challenges.
Held on Joe's farm in Vermont, not just anyone can enter the race. In order to be eligible, you must have completed one of the following: a Spartan Agoge, at least two Hurricane Heats (or an H3X), a Spartan Ultra, a Death Race (or other Peak Race), or a Peak Ultra. There are also other additional requirements, which you can learn more about here.
Taking it on is the challenge of a lifetime. Finishing it is the accomplishment of a lifetime.