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: Hawaii, Portland, New England, Monterey, and West Virginia.
Portland Spartan Sprint 5K (Aug. 7)
The weekend also features a zero-obstacle Spartan Trail 10K running race.
The Venue: MX Mad
A half-hour drive from Portland, Ore. across the state line, the Washougal MX Park in Washougal, Wash., is a motocross thrill-a-thon venue amidst the rolling hills and green forests that you likely associate with Southwest Washington. It’s one of the three natural terrain MX raceways in the country.
“This is a world-class motocross track,” Race Director Johnny Waite says. “So much so that they are hosting the U.S. Motocross National Championships here a few weeks before our event. Lots of dirt, constant rolling hills, tunnels, ponds — the works.”
Waite says that the Spartan course will be fast, but taxing.
“We are also taking advantage of the forested areas all around the track with awesome running trails winding all over the property," he says. "Come prepared to run!”
Probable Weather: Dry and Relatively Mild
The chance of rain is relatively minimal this time of year for Washougal. Expect temperatures to be in the mid to upper 70s or low 80s. The chances it will be a humid, muggy day are exceptionally low — just one percent.
Into outdoor dining? Nearby Portland is hopping with patio and rooftop restaurants and bars.
New England Spartan Super 10K and Sprint 5K Weekend (Aug. 14-15)
This Loudon, N.H., weekend is highlighted by a Spartan Super (25 obstacles), a Spartan Sprint 5K (20 obstacles), and a range of kids races, from a half of a mile to two miles.
Get a grip on the course and the obstacles beforehand with the New England Obstacle Specialist Course on Aug. 13.
The Venue: New England’s Speed City
The racing takes place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a 75-mile drive north on Interstate 93 from Boston. The multi-use complex sits on 1,200 acres in an area of New Hampshire that's filled with forests and farmland.
Weather: Not Too Hot, But Could Rain
Expect temperatures will range from 63 degrees to 75 degrees, but it can climb up to the high 80s. This time of year in Loudon, there’s a 35% chance of rain (and about the same chance that the day will come with humid and muggy conditions).
If you want to put the course to an additional test, the Rusty Wallace Race Experience will offer some visceral insight into what driving a race car is like.
Hawaii Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Aug. 21-22)
A Spartan Trifecta weekend: a Beast, an Ultra (60 obstacles over 50 kilometers), a Super, a Sprint, and a Kids race.
A 10K obstacle-free Trail race is also on the schedule.
The Venue: A Historical Ranch on the Hawaii Island of Oahu
The Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve, covering 4,000 acres, was established in 1850 with a clear mission: “enrich people’s lives by preserving Kualoa’s sacred lands and celebrating its history.”
When it comes to the course, one word emits the right descriptive power for the Spartan racer: jungle. It’s worth mentioning that the Hawaii Islands represent nearly every climate zone on planet Earth, including a range of (unsurprisingly) tropical climates. So keep this in mind when you’re prepping for the Hawaii Spartan Trifecta weekend.
Weather: It’s Hawaii
Expect the heat to get into the low 80s. Combined with humidity, that temperature is probably muggy and possibly oppressive. Be sure to acclimate the best that you can and hydrate with ambition.
Prepare for heat, humidity, and sharp hills and descents that you may have only experienced in dreams (or nightmares — depends on your point of view.)
When you want to bring family and friends along to a Spartan race, the mention of Hawaii tends to work a certain magic.
Oahu is abound with possibilities. Here’s a guide tailor-made for those racing in the Hawaii Trifecta weekend.
You could also conceivably work a wedding into your stay. The ranch offers an amazing array of dream weddings.
Monterey Spartan Super 10K and Sprint 5K Weekend (Aug. 21-22)
The Steinbeck-country weekend of racing in Salinas, Calif., includes a Spartan Super 10K, Sprint 5K, and kids races from a half of a mile to two miles in length.
The Venue: Toro Park
Nearly 5,000 acres of prairies, hills, and wooded terrain, Toro County park is a short drive from iconic towns like Salinas and Monterey. Race perks include picturesque hilltop views and a robust wildlife scene.
Weather: Coastal Air Conditioning
As far as August weather goes, Salinas is typically not very hot or humid. Although the temperature rarely rises over 76 degrees during this time of year, it’s worth keeping in mind that 2021 weather patterns in California have tilted toward the extreme, so it’s best to hydrate and prepare for a hot race day.
From jellyfish to swell sharks to African penguins, a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a truly otherworldly experience.
Another post-race savor-the-day destination is the Monterey State Beach.
And — if you're looking for some mental exercise — you're within easy reach of both the National Steinbeck Center and, after a breathtaking drive down the coast into Big Sur, the off-beat Henry Miller Library.
West Virginia Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Aug. 28-29)
Preview the course and get a leg up on your OCR technique with the Spartan Obstacle Specialist Course on Aug. 27.
A zero-obstacle West Virginia Spartan Trail 10K Night Run will be held the evening of Aug. 28.
The Venue: Into the Wilds
A natural venue for Spartan racing, the Summit Bechtel Reserve is located in the “wilds” of West Virginia. It's also home to the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base and the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree.
“It’s a smorgasbord of terrain options in West Virginia,” Race Director Garfield Griffiths says. “Some flat areas for our faster runners to open up their speed, some water features and trails for the more technical racers, and of course — for the mountain goats out there — a few nice hills to get those quads burning.”
Weather: An Oasis
A weather oasis, that is, August-wise.
“The weather ranges from the 60s into the 80s,” Griffiths says. “It's sunny, but not too humid or dry. Generally, it's a beautiful time of year to be here.”
That said, it can still get hot while you’re battling elevation gain and other rigors of the course.
“West Virginia has substantial hills, and you know we will be including them,” Griffiths says.
Hence, be thorough in your pre-race hydration and also prep your legs for the climbs and descents.
The sheer beauty of deep West Virginia, Griffiths says.
“The Summit Reserve offers some of the most beautiful terrain of any Spartan venue, with rolling hills, lakes, and simply amazing views across the valley," he says. "This is one venue that should be on your Spartan Bucket list.”
“Get it?” Griffiths adds with a wry twist. “Spartan Bucket!”
Also, if you’re into whitewater rafting, you’re in for a treat. Check out West Virginia Adventures for details.