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: Nationals Park, Killington, Seattle, Red Deer, San Jose Trail, the Midwest, Kissimmee Spartan City, and the Spartan North American Championship — North Lake Tahoe.
Nationals Park Spartan Stadion 5K (Sept. 11)
The Venue: Nationals Park
Baseball fans will appreciate racing in the park where the Nationals played three of the seven 2019 World Series games. Although they lost all three of those games to the Houston Astros (Games 3, 4, and 5), the Nationals remarkably won the final two away games in thrilling fashion to take the series.
Weather: Let It Rip
Expect mild-to-moderate temperatures, typically from 53 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Local temps rarely climb into the 80s around this time of year.
Bonus: The Capitol Riverfront
Kayaking, fishing, dining, splash pads — you name it — the Capitol Riverfront has epic attractions waiting for those looking to reward themselves after a hard race effort.
Tune up your OCR skills and preview the course at the Obstacle Specialist Course scheduled for Sept. 10.
Venue: Meet Your True Self
There’s off-road, and then there’s off-off-road. Be prepared to face rigorous climbs, highly technical descents, and ice-water dips that will cool you off — not to mention the Vermont ski country's stunning beauty.
Weather: Not the Problem to Be Solved
The weather won’t be extreme. Look forward to temperatures being in the mid-50s to the mid-70s. You can put all of your energy into the grind of the course.
Bonus: Discover Your Inner Ninja
There’s plenty to do while you're in the area. In the winter, Killington is bustling with skiers. In the summer, well, take your pick. Test yourself by trying something new, from downhill mountain biking, to hiking, to discovering your “inner ninja.”
Even if you just want to enjoy some serious post-race recovery, you might be up for the Killington Grand Spa.
Seattle North Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Sept. 11-12)
Yet another Sept. 11-12 race weekend, the Snohomish, Wash., event has a Trifecta on the menu: Beast, Super, and Sprint races are waiting for intrepid souls to take on the challenge. Races for the kids make the whole weekend a family affair.
Similar to Killington, the Sept. 10 Obstacle Specialist Course offers technique training and a preview of the course.
Venue: The Heart of Cascadia
Within the pristine Pacific Northwest, Snohomish is centered between the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. It’s about a 45-minute drive north of Seattle and a couple of hours south from Vancouver. Have your trail legs ready.
Weather: Dreamy With a Chance of Rain
Racers will enjoy temps between 54 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a sobering 22% chance of rain this time in September.
Bonus: Hidden Life of Trees
If you like a post-race walk to get the blood moving and enhance recovery, check out this walking tour of the spectacular trees in Snohomish.
Red Deer Spartan Trifecta Weekend (Sept. 11-12)
Venue: The Ranch
The Heritage Ranch consists of 217 acres along the Red Deer River.
Weather: Late Summer by Early Fall
Expect temperatures to push no higher than the low 60s.
Bonus: Bombing With Your Bike
If you have your mountain bike with you, sneak over for some intense cross-country, single-track tracing through the Red Deer Mountain Bike Park.
For an award-winning post-race refreshment, swing by the Troubled Monk Brewery.
This Saratoga, Calif., weekend is a festival of Trail racing on northern California trails among the redwoods and tan bark oaks, featuring a 50K Ultra, a half-marathon, a 10K, and a 10K night run — all with zero obstacles.
Venue: Home to Redwoods
Weather: Dry (And Not Too Hot)
The air in the area is typically dry during this time of year. Expect temperatures to range between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bonus: Big Basin on the Rebound
The CZU Lighting Complex Fire of 2020 ravaged the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, but signs of life are emerging and parts of the park have reopened. You can be a part of the Reimagining Big Basin.
Midwest Spartan Beast 21K and Sprint 5K Weekend (Sept. 18-19)
A 21K Beast and a 5K Sprint highlight this weekend in Attica, Ind., about 80 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Feel free to bring the kids — we have races for them, too.
Venue: The Badlands
The Badlands Off-Road Park consists of 1,400 acres of wicked race terrain, including wooded trails, rock, mud, and sand dunes. The design is meant to stress test ATVS, dirt bikes, and the like ... and you.
Weather: Not Too Bad
Racers can expect temperatures from the mid-50s to mid-70s for this time in late summer.
Bonus: End Your Search of the Sasquatch Burger
If you have a machine that you can drive off-road, you can blast it through the Badlands.
And while you’re there, don’t miss out on the Sasquatch Burger.
Kissimmee Spartan City (Sept. 18)
Ideal for the newbie, the Kissimmee, Fla., Spartan City ranges from 3K to 5K in distance — a 20-obstacle race that scrambles into major metropolitan centers.
Venue: A Big Park Near the Amusement Parks
Get started at the Osceola Heritage Park with a welcoming course and a pitch-perfect introduction to OCR.
Weather: You Won’t Need a Scarf
It’s Orlando, during the last days of summer. Exceptionally warm (into the 80s) with the punch of central Florida humidity. Come prepared by getting a good dose of heat training, complemented by a disciplined pre-race hydration program.
Bonus: The Happiest Places on Earth
2021 Spartan North American Championship: North Lake Tahoe Spartan Ultra 50K and Beast 21K Weekend (Sept. 25-26)
A challenging, high-altitude set of races, the Spartan North American Championship starts with an Ultra (50K, 60 obstacles), a Beast (half-marathon, 30 obstacles), and also a 10K Trail run that — save for the fact you’re racing at night — is without obstacles. Make it a family weekend and sign your kids up for the Kid of the Hill races.
Venue: Olympic History
Squaw Valley is also known as Olympic Valley, a historical salute to the venue’s hosting of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
You’ll be facing a base elevation of just over 6,000 feet, with technical trails that can ascend to 9,000 feet.
Weather: Cool Enough
The Tahoe weather is beginning to get an autumn, high-altitude chill, and temperatures typically range from the thirties to the low 60s. If you’re doing the Ultra, come prepared in every way that you know how.
Bonus: The Big Blue
Nearly 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, Lake Tahoe is one million years old, making it one of the oldest lakes on Earth and a premiere travel location for the lovers of the outdoors. Beaches, rafting, boats, hiking and — for the true Spartan averse to the cold — swimming.
For a wide-spectrum look at things to do when exploring the region, visit here.