Spartan by the Numbers Spartans like numbers. We write them on our arms and our faces with a big fat black marker before every race. We count our reps. We know our pace. We know exactly how many miles we ran on Saturday, and how many feet of altitude we climbed. We know how far we can run before we have to start using the mantra. We know how we placed in our age group last weekend. We can count the ingredients of our food on one hand. We know how many energy gels we packed. On a hot day, we’re counting the minutes to the next salt tablet.
Here are some numbers you probably didn’t know until today. They come straight out of Spartan history—old and new—and some of them just might make you fall backwards out of your pistol squat.
431 BC — a popular but misunderstood number in the Spartan timeline. It’s an important number, for sure. Just imagine the number of times we’ve seen it on t-shirts, beanies, and Spartan taglines across the board. Was this the year Ancient Sparta was founded? No, it actually wasn’t.
In 431 BC, Sparta started the Peloponnesian War by invading Attica, a territory close to Athens. Athens and Sparta ripped each other apart for 25 years. Once the war finally concluded in 404 BC, Athens was in shambles and Sparta had established itself as the dominant force in Ancient Greece. So, if anyone asks you what’s so special about 431 BC, you can tell them it was the year when Ancient Sparta got super ballsy.
150 — the number of people who showed up to the inaugural Hurricane Heat. The story goes like this: Spartan had a race planned for a weekend in August in 2011, but the State of Massachusetts cancelled the race due to an impending Category-3 Hurricane named Irene. The last-minute cancellation met with widespread disappointment, but no one was more disappointed than Spartan founder Joe De Sena. He sent out an email blast inviting participants and Spartan staff to meet him in Amesbury, MA at 5:30AM. They did. Three hours, four miles, and hundreds of burpees later, those 150 adamant, waterlogged Spartan racers became the first 150 Hurricane Heat finishers. By October, there was a Hurricane Heat at every race.
30 — the number of burpees a Spartan racer must complete after failing an obstacle on the course. But you knew that—all too well.
100 Million — the number of on-course burpees that Spartans have completed since the beginning of the race series in 2010, based on an average of 42 burpees per race per participant (an incredibly conservative estimate). I’m sure Joe is grateful to us Spartans for all the help; it would have taken him many years to do all these burpees on his own.
124 — the greatest number of elite waves entered, run, and finished by one person. That person is Kevin Donoghue, a member of the Spartan Pro Team. Twenty of those waves were in 2017, according to his racing profile. Fun fact: this is the man you see jumping over fire on our race results page. As if you needed another reason to look for your race results…
150,000 — the number of Spartan kids that run our Kids Race every year.
13 — the most TRIFECTAs that one person has completed in a calendar year, according to data from Athlinks and Chronotrack. Carlos Rivas Landaverde holds this record and set it in 2016 after spending a grand total of 112 hours, 52 minutes, and 50 seconds sweating on the course. His 13X Trifecta took him to 16 states, 5 countries and 3 continents (thanks to a few races in Edinburgh and Brisbane). Lord knows how many burpees it took. His addiction started in Miami in 2012, and it was literally uphill from there.
128 — the greatest number of Spartan Races completed by one person, according to our databases. Joe Forney, a 61-year-old man from San Jose, CA, holds this record. Despite his nickname “the tortoise,” Forney has come first in his age group 33 times since he started racing in 2013. He’s the classic story of a dusty college athlete’s glorious resurrection in midlife.
1,516 — the number of points it took Robert Killian to win the 2016 Elite World Point Series.
8 — the highest number of consecutive top-three US Championship Series finishes for any elite Spartan racer. Robert Killian hold this record for now.
35 — the number of countries worldwide that host Spartan races.
78,000 — the number of tons (yes, tons) of gravel Spartans have carried back and forth in buckets on the course (based on an average bucket weight of 70 pounds) over the past seven years. To put this in perspective, imagine you’re chipping away at the top of Mount Everest and carrying away the gravel in buckets. If all of us Spartans had been working together on this since 2010, we would have removed the top 54 meters from the peak. Continuing at our current rate, it would take us roughly 7 million years to move Mt. Everest 50 feet and back. Who’s signing up?
0 — the number of permits we received to hold the 2016 China Agoge on the Great Wall.
7 — the number of permits we would have needed to get, had we asked.
2.4 Million — the approximate number of spears that Spartans have thrown on Spartan courses since our first race in 2010. Altogether, these spears have traveled a collective midair distance of over 9,000 miles. Riding atop these spears, you’d get halfway around the world, depending on whether you’re in the jetstream. Once there, you could run a Spartan Race in Thailand, Taiwan, mainland China, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, or Australia. Or you could miss your target and do 30 burpees in the Mariana Trench.
156 — the total weight, in kilograms, of the kettlebells carried by the team that finished Joe’s unorthodox Agoge in Japan. By the end of the event, 16 participants remained, and they rotated the nine kettlebells among themselves, sharing in pairs most of the time. Joe required them to carry the kettlebells at all times during the 73-hour event, the longest Spartan event to date. Besides being the longest Agoge so far, the event became famous for subjecting its participants to four hours of costume karaoke.
3.1 Billion — the approximate number of Calories Spartans burned running Spartan Races since 2010, based on an estimated 600 events and approximately 750 Calories per Sprint, 1500 Calories per Super, 2150 per Beast, and 3600 per Ultra-Beast. This translates to roughly 90,000 pounds of fat lost (450 tons)—the weight of 75 adult elephants, three adult blue whales, or the population of any Wal-Mart at peak hours.
10 — the record for the most first-place elite Stadium finishes. Kate Cramer, a Louisiana-based personal trainer and Spartan Pro Team member, holds this record.
3 — the most Spartan Championships that any person has won, “Worlds” or otherwise. Hobie Call currently holds this record after winning the first Spartan Championship event in Vermont in 2012 and the first Spartan World Championship in 2013. In 2016, he emerged from an alleged “retirement” to win first place at Tahoe just before turning 40 years old.
There are a lot of numbers in the world. Some wash off in the shower. But some numbers tell a story. They’re the ones we remember, because they're the ones that matter.