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: Ohio, Tri-State New York, Colorado Springs, AT&T Stadium, Fayetteville, and State Farm Stadium.
Ohio Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Was on June 5-6)
Trifecta slate of races and more the first weekend of June: Sprint, Super, and Ultra. An SGX Obstacle Specialist Course on June 4, plus the weekend features the obstacle-free Ohio Spartan Trail 10K Night Run on June 5.
The Venue: An Off-Road Park
The Ohio Spartan Trifecta Weekend is held in Garrettsville, Ohio, about one hour east of Cleveland. The venue is situated within the 1500-acre, jeep-trail heavy Southington Off-Road Park.
“It’s flat, but the course can be very technical,” says race director Garfield Griffiths. “Given the right weather, there is a whole lot in the way of mud and water-logged areas.”
Key takeaway: It may be flat and at sea level, but it’s not easy.
“Expect lots of trails and some amazing views across the quarry areas,” Griffiths says.
Weather: Dreamy With a Chance of Mud
Be prepared for rain and mud, but you can expect the late spring temperatures to be mild to dreamy, typically in the range of 50 to 70 degrees.
“Part of the course runs right through a government gun and munitions testing range, which is very cool,” Griffith says. “But don't worry — it should be closed on race day.”
Tri-State New York Spartan Sprint 5K Weekend (Was on June 12-13)
The weekend features a Spartan Sprint (5K with 20 obstacles) and an obstacle-free Trail 10K Night Run.
The Venue: The Age of Aquarius
Bethel, New York, may ring the history bell for you. This new addition to Spartan racing will be held at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which gained international fame when 500,000 travelers met up for the Woodstock music festival (billed as the “Aquarian Explosion”) in 1969.
According to race director Missy Morris, racers will enjoy varied terrain.
“It’s a good mix of wooded trails and wide-open running," Morris says. "The course will run you through some swampy areas and in and out of creek beds.”
Related: Become an All-Terrain Vehicle
The second part of the course offers an additional treat, Morris says.
“There will be beautiful views of the entire venue on the second part of the course,” she says.
The Weather: Be Ready For Anything
“It can be all over the place for this race, but it's typically hot and humid,” Morris suggests. “Be prepared for anything.”
Race Tips: Drink Up
Be sure to hydrate early to help mitigate heat and humidity. Also, know what you’re getting into in regards to your footwear and mindset.
“The course will run you through water very early in the race,” Morris says. “Be prepared for wet feet and muddy conditions from the beginning,”
Cool Bonus: Visit the Sixties
For a deep dive into Woodstock history, plan a visit to the Bethel Woods Center Museum. Morris says it will be open over the weekend.
The Venue: Speed Play
This debut event for Spartan will be held on the Pikes Peak International Raceway, a collection of tracks, roads, and dirt racing for cars — and Spartans, as it turns out.
Weather: June Solstice In Colorado
Lows this time of year are around 50 degrees, and the highs can get up to 80.
The Air: A Bit More Than a Mile High
The altitude of Fountain, Colo. (the specific home of the raceway) is 5,545 feet. If you’re coming from sea level, this is certainly something to prepare for if you can. If you live in Boulder or Denver or something, no big deal (obviously).
Cool Bonus: Drive a Supercar
If you happen to be in the area for a week or more before the race, you could conceivably check out the Pikes Peak Speedway by test driving a Lamborghini Huracán, Ferrari 488 GTB, or McLaren 570S at the “Xtreme Xperience.”
AT&T Stadium Spartan Stadion 5K (June 19)
A Spartan Stadion with 20 obstacles.
Venue: Home of the Cowboys
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, otherwise known as where the Dallas Cowboys play. An entertainment metropolis in its own right, the stadium — with a retractable roof — can seat 80,000 and (thanks to standing room only) hold upwards of 100,000.
There are a wide variety of tours of AT&T Stadium, but it’s hard to imagine a more compelling tour than to run, jump, and climb your way through three miles of the place.
While you’re racing, it will be difficult for you to miss the live video streaming on what was, in 2009, the largest video board ever. (It's bigger than the basketball court itself.)
Weather: Climate Control
This is east-central Texas, near Dallas, with the weather starting to cook its way into summer. Lows typically around 80 and highs pushing into the mid-to-high 90s. Good news: they can close the roof and switch on the AC.
Cool Bonus: Jerry’s Art Collection
Like art? If you are still in town on Monday, you can further explore “Jerry World” (the AKA of AT&T Stadium, a reference to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones) by taking the one-hour art tour.
Fayetteville Spartan Trifecta Weekend (June 26-27)
The Fayetteville Spartan Trifecta Weekend features Sprint, Super, Ultra, AND Beast events, plus a Spartan Trail 10K Night Run.
An Obstacle Specialist course will be offered June 25 for those wanting to polish their skills and get a scoop on the venue.
Venue: Farm and Forest
The racing takes place on McCormick Farms, a 1000-acre spread of farmland and forest in Spring Lake, North Carolina.
McCormick is a family-owned farm, right next door to the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg military installation.
“It’s fairly flat but deceptively challenging,” says race director Missy Morris. “The course will run through pine tree forests, in and out of farm fields, and through some sandy terrain.”
To round things out, there may also be several creek runs and muddy sections, depending on water levels.
Weather: Hot & Humid
Fort Bragg can easily creep well into the 90s this time of year. Humidity is also a thing, with a 75% chance it will at least be muggy, based on historical data.
Morris is more succinct when asked about the likely weather.
“Hot, hot, humid, and HOT,” she says.
Training Tips: Beat the Heat and the Sand
Morris offers two pieces of advice when it comes to preparation. One, get in as much heat acclimatization as you can in the weeks leading up to race day, and hydrate before, during, and after.
The owners of the farm originally named their home “The Sand Hills.” And with this in mind, Morris suggests working in some suitable prep.
“Find a beach and run it with your race shoes on to prepare for similar parts of the course.”
Cool Bonus: Special Ops
Fort Bragg is the home of the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations Forces. The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum is open to the public.
Spartan Stadion 5K with 20 obstacles.
A high-tech/engineering marvel giving a fresh definition to the idea of an oasis in the desert, the State Farm Stadium is the home turf (natural turf, by the way) of the Arizona Cardinals and also the home of the Fiesta Bowl.
“State Farm Stadium is an incredible work of architecture,” says race director Dan Luzzi.
In particular, Spartan course designers are able to make use of the stadium’s roll-out technology, meaning the playing field is set on a 40-inch deep tray, with 546 steel wheels, set on 13 tracks.
“Thanks to this design, the Spartan team can use the field area as the Festival area,” Luzzi says. “This allows for more freedom with course design, and creates a special atmosphere for racers.”
Weather: Engineering Oasis
Outside the stadium, you shouldn’t be surprised if the thermometer seeps up to 110 degrees. But the race is indoors in a building designed to mirror away the incoming sunshine, creating a temperature-controlled environment.
Cool Bonus: Desert Mountain Air
Want some breathtaking desert air? Go for a hike in the White Tank Mountains.