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 schedule and tell you everything you need to know so when you reach the start line, you're ready. On the docket this month: Midwest, Fenway, San Jose, Carolinas, Golden Gate Trail Classic, Arizona, and Citi Field.
Midwest Spartan Event Weekend (Nov. 5-6)
The Venue: True Midwest
This Sprint/Super weekend takes place on Indiana’s Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds in the “heart of Amish Country and the RV capital of the world.”
Accessible to residents of nearby cities, Elhart is about a three hour drive north from Indianapolis, three-and-a-half from Detroit, and only two hours from Chicago.
Hosting everything from the fair and rodeos to concerts and tractor pulls, the Elkhart Spartan courses will take advantage of trails and ponds located within the 300-plus acres of the grounds.
Expect pitch-perfect race temperatures this time of year in Goshen: right around 50 degrees. It may be a little chilly at the start, but you’ll warm up fairly quickly.
Bonus: Notre Dame Football Madness
Goshen is 45 minutes from Notre Dame. On November 5, the Clemson football team will be visiting and playing the Fighting Irish. If it fits in with your race schedule, it might be fun to be in town for the spectacle of a Notre Dame football game. O’Rourkes Public House will likely be overrun on game day, but it's still a good place for a beer and a burger later on.
Fenway Park Spartan Stadion 5K Weekend (Nov. 12-13)
A modern-day 5K Stadion race with 20 obstacles is slated for the 110-year-old, historical baseball park, Fenway Park. Plus, Kids races are also on the docket.
The Venue: Fenway Park
If you were ever a kid dreaming about what it would be like to sprint across home plate at Fenway Park — the same place where Babe Ruth hit one of his most famous home runs on September 20, 1919 — well, this is it.
Or maybe you dreamed of doing burpees in the Red Sox clubhouse, assuming that kind of thing is on your bucket list.
As Mud Run Guide said in a review of a previous edition of the race, “Spartan Race was granted nearly full access to the entire park and the surrounding areas. Nothing seemed off-limits, except for the actual grass playing surface.”
Even if you're not a baseball super fan, Fenway is definitely a cool place to visit. Be ready for running some steep steps and doing obstacles alongside the Green Monster. Another tip: Fenway is in the heart of Boston. If you plan to drive, arrive early to get a parking space. Better yet, take an Uber, a cab, or the subway.
Weather: Fall Forward
Temperatures historically fall between the low 40s and 50s this time of year. It’s one of the nicest times of the year to enjoy downtown Boston.
Bonus: Red Sox Crawl
You can basically just low-crawl your way out of the ball park to the pubs and restaurants of Lansdowne Street (the "best nighttime destination in Boston") for a real Fenway Park experience.
San Jose Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Nov. 12-13)
Venue: Out There
The rich history of Paicines Ranch — which is pretty close to being dead-center in the state of California — makes for a truly off-the-grid Spartan race experience. You’re a good way from the digital noise of Silicon Valley, and there's even a quail cottage on the 7,500 pristine ranch acres.
The racing itself will take place on wooded trails and hard-packed roads, offering a great opportunity to focus on running a clean, fast race and qualifying for the 2022 Trifecta World Championship.
Weather: California Dreaming
Expect temperatures from the high 40s to mid-60s, which is optimal central California race weather.
Bonus: Crashing Waves
In nearby Big Sur, you'll experience some of the most awe-inspiring coastal hiking you can imagine, like the Partington Cove Trail.
“In the late 1800s, the bay was used as a supply point for tanbark, and the trail and its tunnel facilitated transportation up the steep cliffs,” the trail report says.
Or, if you've had enough time on your feet, enjoy the Pacific Ocean and Santa Lucia’s from a comfortable perch at Big Sur’s Nepenthe restaurant.
Carolinas Spartan Event Weekend (Nov. 19-20)
A 5K Sprint, a 21K Beast, an Ultra 50K, and Kids races headline this North Carolina Spartan weekend.
The Venue: Horse Power
A horse-racing mecca with lots of course possibilities, the Tryon Equestrian Center features hard-packed trail complete with climbing that makes for the 5,000 feet of elevation gain that is to be suffered through in the Ultra.
Weather: Mild and Maybe Muddy
Expect temperatures from the low 40s to high 50s, with a decent chance of mud-provoking rain.
Bonus: A Tranquil Moment
If racing yourself to the ground isn’t enough adventure for you, you might want to drop in Fitness Wide Open, a CrossFit box located at the Tryon Resort.
Golden Gate Trail Classic (Nov. 18-20)
This legendary race weekend offers a series of zero-obstacle, trail running races in the ultra-running dreamland of San Francisco and Marin. Racers will choose from a 10K, a half-marathon, a 50K, and even a 100K race.
The Venue: The Golden Gate
When most people think of San Francisco, they typically picture the super-steep hills and cable cars of north-of-market downtown San Francisco. But as Bay Area distance runners know, some of the best trail running in the world is to be enjoyed on either side of the Golden Gate Bridge, most of it on the Marin Headlands side.
The area offers seemingly endless fire trails and single-track trails that explore the epic beauty of the coastal headlands. This is preceded by a run across the bridge, where you can look to your right and gawk at Alcatraz Island (provided you’re not running through a thick bank of fog).
Bonus: Beach and Beer
The Beach Chalet, located as far west as you can go in Golden Gate Park, offers a pleasant view of the ocean. Before or after a beer, you can cross the highway and enjoy the Northern California version of a beach. But be forewarned, the water is not Santa-Monica warm.
Arizona Spartan Trifecta Event Weekend (Nov. 19-20)
This Avondale Trifecta weekend features a Sprint 5K, a Super 10K, a Beast 21K, and Kids races near Phoenix, Arizona.
Venue: Think NASCAR
You’ll be racing on and around the Phoenix Raceway just a couple of weeks after the furor of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship has died down. Within the fury of your chosen Spartan races, you’ll get a chance to open up your stride along the race track, but also fight your way through the turf and tail of surrounding wildlife areas.
Weather: Not 110 Degrees
You’ll likely be glad that the timing of the event doesn’t cross paths with those Phoenix-ish temperatures of 105 and more. You might see the low 80s, so be sure to be ready for a hot race. But if you prefer cooler races, don't fret: Lows can fall around 50 degrees this time of year.
Bonus: Another Race Experience
Check out the Rusty Wallace racing experience if you want to take your NASCAR-venue visit to the next level.
Citi Field Spartan Stadion Event Weekend (Nov. 19)
This November, a 5K Stadion Race (and Kids OCR races) will unfold on the home turf of the New York Mets.
The Venue: The Mets Playground
Located in Queens, Citi Field is not only where the Mets play: It doubles as a place for Spartans to “play” in a major league baseball park, while maintaining a red-zone heart rate level.
The Weather: Pre-Thanksgiving Autumn
Great racing temps to be anticipated: mid-40s to low 50s. You might need long sleeves for a somewhat bitter-cold starting line that you'd anticipate in pre-winter New York City, but you'll be rolling them up before you hit mile 1.
Bonus: Faye Stenning’s Running Loop
There’s about a trillion things you can do if you’re visiting NYC, but Central Park is simply a must-do for any endurance athlete. You honestly may bump into super Spartan Faye Stenning, who does the bulk of her run training on the main loop. And if you've never been to Manhattan, you may be surprised to hear that you don’t have to run on the road — the Park's bridle trails offer a break from the pavement and the Big City.