The Special Needs Spartan Race is an obstacle course race designed to test resilience, strength, stamina, and ability to overcome adversity. Sports are a universal language which unites people on and off the field of play, cutting across lines of race, ethnicity, education level, social status, and economic background. The Special Needs Spartan Race paves new ground by increasing collaboration, decreasing stigma, and raising awareness. Most importantly, we provide a safe and structured athletic event where individual differences are embraced and where children and families feel comfortable to express themselves and engage fully in the Spartan community.

About the Course:

The Special Needs Spartan Race course is designed for participants with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Special considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical and cognitive limitations, and behavioral issues associated with the challenges faced by race participants.

About the Race:

In keeping with the Spartan Mission, our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Spartans welcome racers of all abilities. We integrate people with special needs to challenge the public’s perception of what is normal. The spirit of the Spartan Race community encourages the development of skill, courage, sharing, and joy and transcends boundaries of geography, nationally, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion. All racers receive a Finisher’s Medal, a T-shirt, and a Victory Photograph.

Special Needs Spartan Course

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability
  • Cognitive delays
  • Significant learning or vocational delays
  • Must be ambulatory
  • Must have functional vision

Special Needs Spartan Race Goals:

  • Increase self-esteem
  • Increase self-pride
  • Increase self-discipline
  • Provide an authentic sense of accomplishment
  • Develop lifelong fitness skills
  • Provide a safe and fun athletic experience for persons with disabilities
  • Help persons with disabilities participate as productive and respected special needs athletes
  • Increase public awareness

The Spartan Code:

  • A Spartan stands up for what they believe in, no matter the cost
  • A Spartan proves themselves through actions, not words


  1. Under- Wall build with about 18in gap at the bottom to crawl under.
  2. Through- Wall build with 3 holes to climb through. Bottom of hole is 2ft off the ground and has about a 2.5ft opening.
  3. Wall- 2.5ft tall 8ft wide
  4. 1ft jump- 4 wood planks that gradually take them up 1 ft then drop off to the ground.
  5. Plank walk- 50/75 ft balance beams made out of 2×4 and 2×6 lumber.
  6. 2 A Walls- 8ft wide 3.5 ft tall angeled walls in a pie shape/ A shape.
  7. Tunnel crawl- 50ft long tunnel made out of a black breathable mesh.
  8. Cargo Net- 4.5/ 5 ft tall A frame with cargo net draped over.
  9. Wall- 2ft tall 8ft wide

Tips for a Successful Special Needs Spartan Race:

  1. Bring your registration with you to the race as this will greatly expedite your check in process.
  2. Bring sunscreen. Even on cloudy days the sun can burn. Re-apply every 2-3 hours.
  3. If you have portable chairs, bring them and to help make your day as comfortable as possible.
  4. Bring extra clothes! You and your child will want to change after completing the course.
  5. Arrive early. This will help your child transition to the event. Getting there early lets your child get comfortable with the environment. Being relaxed makes the race that much more fun. (Note please do not ask to check in before 1:30 PM because our volunteers are very busy getting everything ready).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an Intellectual Disability?

According to the American Association of Intellectual and Development Disabilities (AAIDD), an individual is considered to have an intellectual disability based on the following three criteria:

  1. Intellectual functioning level (IQ) below 70-75
  2. Significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive skill areas
  3. The condition manifests itself before the age of 18

What is an Developmental Disability?

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. About one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays.

Common Developmental Disabilities include (but are not limited to):

  1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  2. Autism Spectrum Disorders (includes Asperger’s Syndrome)
  3. Cerebral Palsy
  4. Downs Syndrome
  5. Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
  6. Fragile X Syndrome
  7. Pervasive Developmental Disorder

How do you define ambulatory?

The person must be able to walk on his/her own without assistive devices.

Is a person with a physical disability eligible to participate in the Special Needs Spartan Race?

Yes, if the person also has intellectual disability and is ambulatory.

Are people with autism eligible for the Special Needs Spartan Race?

The Special Needs Spartan race serves individuals with Special Needs and intellectual disabilities. Those with some of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are eligible to participate, while others are not. We rely on the assessment and advisement of professionals (teachers, counselors, doctors) working with the individual to determine eligibility for this event. If you are interested in becoming involved but are not sure of your eligibility, please e-mail evancarl@optonline.net or call 201-739-9300 for more information.

How old do you need to be to compete in Special Needs Spartan Race?

You must be at least 4 years old to participate in the competition.

Copyright © 2015 Spartan Race, Inc. All rights reserved