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: Nashville, Tri-State New Jersey, Telluride, Ocean City, Atlanta, Big Bear, Dallas, Virginia, Fayetteville Trail U.S. Championship, and Citizens Bank Park.
Venue: Explore the Farm
The race is held at Neal Farms, just a half hour drive east of the Nashville airport. Expect the course designers to take maximum devious advantage of a 12-foot-wide creek that runs through the farm.
Weather: Early Autumn
Prepare for early autumn at its very best this weekend. Expect the temperatures to fall between a low of 57º and a high of 76º Fahrenheit. On average, there’s a 25% chance of rainfall exceeding 0.04 inches.
Bonus: Visit the Parthenon
Obviously there’s no shortage of fun stuff to do in Nashville for music fans. But you're a Spartan, so did you know that the town also hosts the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the Parthenon? Inside you’ll find the city’s art museum and a replica of the Athena Parthenos.
Venue: Vernon Peak
Drive a quick 47 miles from the George Washington Bridge in New York City and you'll end up in Vernon Peak, New Jersey’s largest ski mountain and a year-round haven for lovers of outdoor activity. Race central is the Mountain Creek Resort. The race course is churned from all of the difficult terrain that the Spartan race designers could find.
Weather: Target Temps
Vernon temperatures this time of year generally range from 47º to 67º Fahrenheit with a 28% chance of precipitation.
Bonus: Zip It
The most adventurous Spartans can top off their intense race weekend with a visit to the TreeScape Adventure Park, an epic outdoor course loaded with rope walks and zip lines.
There are tests and then there are tests, and the test of Telluride is a whole new level. This weekend features a Spartan 24-Hour Ultra World Elite, Age Group, and Open Heat championships, plus a Beast (21K, 30 obstacles).
Venue: Telluride Ski Resort
Expect scenic beauty in the rugged San Juan Mountains, which will be breathtaking in more ways than one.
If the expansive distance of this weekend's events is but one dimension of the challenge awaiting racers, oxygen availability is another. The base elevation of the Telluride Ski Resort is 8,725 feet — more than 3,000 feet higher than the elevation of Boulder. The Telluride summit, towering over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, is 13,150 feet. Altitude preparation is a must, as well as being ready to climb and descend.
Weather: A Chill in the Air
The Telluride regional airport sits at 9,000 feet, and the range of temperatures (on average for mid-October) is 37º to 54º Fahrenheit. It can be colder, so be prepared for sub-30º temperatures. There’s also a one-in-five chance of significant precipitation — yet another factor to keep in mind.
Bonus: Dream Recovery
After the race, there are a myriad of outdoor activities in this region of Colorado. But if you're a recovery buff (and you might become one after racing Telluride), a visit to the Peaks Resort & Spa will likely be in order.
Ocean City Spartan City (Oct. 16)
Undoubtedly the most beginner-friendly race of October, the Ocean City, Md., Spartan City race is between 3K and 5K in distance, features 20 obstacles, and weaves through the popular vacation spot. Bring the whole family, because there are even races for the kids.
Venue: Once More Unto the Beach
Rated one of the top 10 beaches in the country by Trip Advisor, racing takes place in the heart of Ocean City — 10 miles of well-maintained sand — with the newbie in mind: in-town sea-level racing with little in the way of elevation or descent.
Weather: Almost Too Easy
Expect temps between 54º and 65º with a small chance of rain.
Bonus: Liquid Therapy
From fishing to mini-golf, Ocean City has a dizzying number of fun things to do. If you just want to kick back post-race, for the ultimate combo of fresh-air and good beer, visit Ocean City’s newest waterfront bar, Liquid Therapy.
Atlanta Spartan Super 10K and Sprint 5K Weekend (Oct. 16–17)
A Spartan Super and Sprint 5K are the marquee races for this weekend in Conyers, Ga., including a Hurricane Heat and kids races. Also on the schedule, an obstacle-free Spartan 10K Trail race is slated for that Sunday.
Venue: Georgia International Horse Park
The Georgia International Horse Park, which hosted the equestrian events during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is where Spartans will be lacing up. Think mud pits, slick red clay, and overall hilly, tricky terrain.
Weather: Seasonably Welcoming
October temperatures in this part of Georgia range from 55º to 72º with minimal chance of rain.
Bonus: The Design of Survival
It’s not hard to find all brands of entertainment, dining, and activities in Atlanta. This October, one exhibit of particular interest to Spartans is the Survival Architecture & Art of Resilience installation, which puts a magnifying glass to resilience within modern society, hosted by the Museum of Design.
Big Bear Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Oct. 16–17)
A Trifecta weekend in Big Bear Lake, Calif., consisting of a Super, a Sprint, an Ultra, a Beast, and kids races. Tune up your obstacle skills and get a preview of the course at the Obstacle Specialist Course on Oct. 15. Even your trail running purist friends can come along for the obstacle-free Spartan 10K Trail race this weekend.
Venue: Rare Air
With altitude ranging from 6,750 feet to 9,000 feet, California’s Big Bear Lake region has allowed Spartan designers to manufacture a course that reaches upwards of 8,000 feet and plays with 4,200 feet of vertical drop. You will blow out the tubes: Thin air for the lungs and max burn for the legs. To help you hold the discomfort in check, you'll face unforgettable views that will enable you to internalize the radical beauty of the area. Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles.
Going for a Trifecta? Pack your foam rollers and ice bags.
Weather: Outrun the Chill
It can get chilly at this time of year, dipping below 40º with a high in the mid-60s. But don't get too worried — There's only a 4% chance of any precipitation.
Want the trail but not the obstacles? The event weekend includes a Spartan Trail 50K, Half Marathon, and 10K.
Venue: True West
The action all takes place at a ranch that's practically named for Spartans — True Grit Ranch — just a 75-minute drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.
Bonus: Closest Thing to Jurassic Park?
If you or your kids are into dinosaurs (and if you missed out on this year's Hawaii Spartan race, the site of filming for Jurassic World), Granbury hosts the the home of Dinosaur World and Dinosaur Valley State Park. With the latter, you can hike your way along dino footprints, exposed when an epic flood in 1908 washed out the Paluxy river.
Virginia Spartan Super 10K and Sprint 5K Weekend (Oct. 30–31)
Venue: Dramatically Scenic With an Extra Dose of Pain
Weather: Sliding Into Fall
The hot, muggy summer weather has slipped away. You can expect temps to be between the mid 40s and mid 60s. There’s a 22% chance you might get some rain.
Bonus: American History Awaits
American history buffs might want to trek to nearby Monticello, where you can visit the home and estate of Thomas Jefferson.
Fayetteville Spartan Trail U.S. Championship (Oct. 30–31)
Halloween weekend will bring the Spartan Trail U.S. Championships to Fayetteville, Ark., this year. The zero-obstacle running events include a 50K, Half Marathon, 10K, and 10K Night Run (bring your headlamp).
Venue: Kessler Mountain Regional Park
The 620-acre Kessler Mountain Regional Park lies in southwest Fayetteville. Initially a hotspot for mountain bikers, the city led a team of volunteers to forge a system of trails with varying degrees of difficulty. From rocky to rolling to technical and more, you’ll enjoy the challenge of tough trail running within the Ozark National Forest and the Ozark Plateau.
Weather: Dream Running Weather
Historically, the temperatures fall in the mid-40s with highs reaching into the 60s, and there's about a one in four chance that you’ll see some rain.
Bonus: Old School Movie Night
Another kind of trail exists for craft beer fans wanting a cold one after the race: The Fayetteville “Ale Trail” offers you 17 options to choose from.
And if you’ve never been to a drive-in movie, here’s your chance: 112 Drive-In Inc plans to be showing movies on Friday and Saturday nights each weekend this fall.
Citizens Bank Park Spartan Stadion 5K (Oct. 30)
Race in one of the country's most iconic stadiums with a 5K Stadion race at the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Venue: Phillies’ Home Base
Spartans will face 20 obstacles situated throughout a major league baseball park in historic Philadelphia.
Expect a race-day temperature between a low of 47º and a high of 60º.
Bonus: Rock Out
If you’re a Spartan visiting Philadelphia, you might first think of making the classic Rocky pilgrimage to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to run the steps. If you do, don't stop at the door. Inside you’ll find impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces by the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Cézanne.
But back to the Rocky thing. Closer to the ballpark — about two miles — is the shooting location where Rocky runs through the Italian Market, near the intersection of S. 9th Street and Washington Avenue. Don't miss it.
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