7 Best Spartan Obstacle Course Races for Beginners

7 Best Spartan Obstacle Course Races for Beginners
Presented by Spartan Training®

If you're sick of making excuses not to try something new or push yourself out of your comfort zone, you can bet that we're sick of hearing them. (And we've heard them all: I can't do burpees, I don't have great grip strength, I can't run that far, I don't have anyone to race with. The list never ends.) Ready to get out of your comfort zone and try something new? Here are seven beginner-friendly Spartan races to get started.

The truth is, Spartan races are HARD. But here's another truth: So is life. If you continue taking the easy way out of every situation, you'll never be prepared to persevere in the face of real-life challenges. And if you're waiting to commit to making progress until you're "ready," you'll never start. The perfect time, or the perfect amount of "readiness," will never come. You just have to do it.

You don't have to be a burpee extraordinaire to complete a Spartan race. It's not the end of the world if you fail an obstacle (or a lot of them). And nothing will happen if you decide to walk. Fellow Spartans are there to support you and encourage you every step of the way, and you might just make a few new best friends.

While every Spartan race is hard in its own right, most first-timers understandably don't want their first race to be one of our hardest. To help you get started, Spartan Pro Kevin Donoghue selected the seven most beginner-friendly Spartan races on the schedule, along with notable features and insider intel about each event.

SIGN UP FOR A 2024 SPARTAN RACE NOW: The 2024 Spartan Race Schedule: Dates, Details, Venues, and More

The 7 Best Spartan Races for Beginners and First-Time Racers

1. Arizona Spartan Event Weekend (Feb. 15-16, 2025)

Spartan Race for Beginners

This weekend in sunny Arizona features two of our shortest distances: a Sprint 5K (where most first-time Spartans start) and a Super 10K. The altitude is low, there's relatively little elevation gain (517 feet, to be exact), and rolling, hard-packed dirt roads aren't very technical, so your joints will thank you. 

The arid trail does have one notable incline: to the top of a mesa for an astonishing view of the towering cacti below. And, as an added bonus, it's February in the desert. Temperatures this time of the year peak in the (dry) mid 60s and 70s — practically perfect race weather. 

Related: I'm New to Exercise and Fitness. Can I Run a Spartan Race?

2. Charlotte Spartan Event Weekend (April 5-6, 2025)

Spartan Race for Beginners

Not only is the Charlotte race one of Donoghue's favorite venues ever, but it has also become a favorite of NFL stars Randy Moss and Tyreek Hill: Both chose this course as their first Spartan race ever.

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Charlotte, the 5K race takes place on an absolutely gorgeous family-owned farm in Concord, NC. Featuring all of the rolling hills you'd expect on a traditional farm and plenty of red clay mud, every mile is a messy one. Put elevation and altitude out of your mind entirely and focus instead on pushing through the discomfort of relatively technical terrain at times, including many creeks. (Though expansive pastoral views and mid-60s weather make it easy to forget the pain.)

"This venue truly makes you understand what it takes to be a Spartan, while still being very achievable and fun," Donoghue says.

Related: Did You Know That These Celebrities Have Crushed a Spartan Race?

3. Palm Beaches Spartan Event Weekend (March 29-30, 2025)

Spartan Race for Beginners

This late-April weekend is the perfect escape for northern Spartans looking to evade the last few bitter cold days of winter. Forty minutes south of West Palm Beach and just an hour north of Miami, the race venue, South County Regional Park, is probably as flat and open as a Spartan race will ever get, as it runs through grass and open fields.

Temperatures will fall between a humid 70 and 85 degrees, and — to compensate for a lack of hills — this course is generally designed for back-to-back obstacles and heavier carries, so get working on that grip strength. 

This race allows first-time Spartans to kick off the summer season early. After you earn your medal, pay a visit to one of Boca Raton's many beaches and soak in all of the sun and glory. 

4. Tri-State New York Event Weekend (June 8-9, 2024)

Spartan Race for Beginners

The Spartan race festival for this Sprint 5K weekend sits directly across the street from the legendary stage of the original 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair, where over 500,000 mud-covered concertgoers once descended upon the same fields to witness over 30 legendary performances on a 600-acre dairy farm. 

What remains today is the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, where Spartans will face a fantastic mix of beautiful trail running, open fields, and more than enough mud to make it feel like you were there watching Jimi Hendrix explosively shredding "Purple Haze." Temperatures expected to be in the low 70s will double down on the venue's peacefulness, but some moderate elevation gain might just give a few first-time Spartans some hell. Train those legs. 

5. Hawaii Spartan Trifecta Event Weekend (Aug. 17-18, 2024)

Spartan Race for Beginners

One of the most unique and legendary Spartan venues of all time, our weekend in Hawaii marks the first Trifecta weekend to make this list. If you've already worked through some of the Sprints and Supers above, you might even consider graduating to a Beast this weekend, or you can stick with the shorter distances.

The combination term for race vacation — "racecation" — was coined for this exact race. Aside from being an overall epic tropical oasis, the course's rolling, wooded trails and expansive fields with ocean views (hello, low altitude) will run you right through some iconic locations. But beware: Hawaiian temperatures in August can reach up to the high 80s.

Plus, additional Kids races make this weekend a perfect race vacation for first-time Spartans and families. 

6. Nashville Spartan Event Weekend (Oct. 5-6, 2024)

Spartan Race for Beginners

Neal Farms, a returning venue just 30-40 minutes from both downtown Nashville and the Nashville International Airport, features a Sprint and Super with minimal travel hassle. In traditional farm style, you'll barrel over flat, open fields and — though October may be cold in the northern United States — Tennessee temperatures will still likely be lingering in the mid 60s. But like Palm Beaches, wild cards are sure to decrease the comfort of the course in unexpected ways. After all, this is a Spartan race. 

Related: These Are the Hardest Spartan Races on the Schedule. Think You Can Handle One?

And by that, we mean that although you'll be racing at low altitude and lower elevation gain, you will have to wade through a 12-foot wide creek to reach the finish line. Donoghue encourages first-time Spartans to take in all of this course's beauty along with the pain.

"Much like Charlotte, this rolling course in beautiful farm country has all of the ingredients for a hit country song," he says.

7. Boston Spartan Stadion Race Weekend (Nov. 9-10, 2024)

Spartan Race for Beginners

America's oldest and most iconic ballpark, which first opened in 1912, was home to Spartan's first Stadion Race in 2012 — exactly 100 years later. It's still Donoghue's favorite to this day (and that's coming from a New York Yankees fan). While Stadions are typically only a one-day event, the home of the Boston Red Sox has earned weekend-long status for its incredible popularity among the Spartan community. 

The streets around the park are shut down during the 5K, 20-obstacle race, allowing easy racer access to all of the area's vendors, bars, and restaurants, and ensuring that you get the most out of your visit to our headquarter city, Boston. A rite of passage for seasoned Spartans and an extraordinary starting point for first-timers, this course will have you doing burpees in the clubhouse and crossing home plate alongside the legendary Green Monster.

With all of that epic history, lots of stairs, and an expected low of 39 degrees, this Stadion is wicked in more ways than one. 

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