If you think you're just going to walk onto a Spartan course and crush it, you're in for a rude awakening. You need to prepare: You need to know the venue, the course, the terrain, the level of difficulty, and the likely conditions. Every month in OCR INSIDER, we look at the upcoming races on the U.S. schedule and tell you everything you need to know so when you reach the start line, you're ready. On the docket this month: Charlotte and Palm Beach.
Charlotte Spartan Sprint 5K Weekend: Fun on the Farm (April 10-11)
Held on the weekend of April 10, the Charlotte Spartan Sprint Weekend — which takes place on a family-owned farm in Concord, North Carolina — features a 5K course with 20 obstacles.
A Spartan Hurricane Heat event will kick off at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
A Family Affair on the Farm
Porter Farms is a 600-acre, family-owned farm about 40 minutes east of Charlotte. They've hosted the race weekend for six years.
“The family is very invested in the race,” Race Director Missy Morris said.
So invested, in fact, that they not only run the race in the sense that they host it. The entire family actually runs the race every year.
Be Prepared For Rain and Mud
Listen, it’s April in North Carolina. And if you've never been, trust us — rainy conditions should be unsurprising, if not expected. Be sure to bring the appropriate apparel, as well as a set of dry clothes for after the race.
The Course: Get a Grip
The course is generally flat with some rolling hills — a combination of trail and pasture surfaces. Wear trail running shoes for sure. Even if it’s a dry day, you’ll still be running through the occasional creek bed, so you’ll need the extra traction. No matter what, you can count on it being muddy.
This year's trip to Porter Farms will take advantage of additional property that the farm recently opened, which we've never ran before. Returning racers will be met with a different course with an array of new challenges — this time with a net elevation gain of 350 feet.
Temperatures May Vary
Morris said that it’s hard to predict the weather this time of year in Concord. The annual average for the April 10 weekend in Concord, according to U.S Climate Data, is a high of 74 degrees. But don't get too excited — Morris says they’ve also seen early April temperatures dip into the 30s. So much for Spring!
Final Notes to Keep in Mind
- Charlotte is a Trifecta-eligible event.
- A Spartan Obstacle Specialist Course, a one-day introductory class to offer insider how-to information for race day, will be held on April 9 starting at 9 a.m. Sign up here.
- The address is 7600 Miami Church Rd., Concord, but be sure to take Miami Church Road — NOT Mount Pleasant Road — to get to race central and the appropriate parking.
Palm Beaches Spartan Sprint 5K Weekend: A “Race-Cation” (April 24-25)
It’s warm, it’s flat, it’s fast, it’s fun.
Now in its third year at the South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, Florida, the Palm Beaches Spartan Sprint Weekend — a “race-cation” if there ever was one — is not much more than a spear throw from virtually countless South Florida beach destinations.
Can We Get a Hill Yeah?
Palm Beach weekend takes place at the South County Regional Park (872 acres of pure park) in Boca Raton, Florida.
“It's Florida, so it's flat,” Race Director Garfield Griffiths said.
But if there's one thing we know about Spartans, it's that we don't settle for easy. So, we found the only hill for miles and built our course there. You didn't think we really meant flat, did you?
Worry About Warmth — Not Gators
Consider that you’re racing in a location that isn’t too far from The Bahamas. In other words: It will be WARM, with temperatures typically reaching the mid 80s in April.
“We have a few nice lakes at the venue that we dunk people in to cool them off during the course,” Griffiths said.
However, he made a point to emphasize that these natural dunk tanks are “alligator-free.” (We're all up for a challenge, but running zig-zag patterns to dodge giant reptiles is not yet part of our course catalog.)
Be sure to hydrate well in the days leading up to the race and during the race. And whatever you do, don't forget your sunscreen.
“Do that and you’ll be good,” Griffiths said.