Our First Spartan Race: Ohio Sprint

Our First Spartan Race: Ohio Sprint

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40 degree weather, sleet, cold water, obstacles, and the thought of the race being 3 miles, but come to find out was almost 6. To say the least, I was pumped. No, really!

We arrived to our destination and came upon this. iPhone 5s 016I do love me a good traffic jam, but only when surrounded by fellow Spartans. So, yes, this was a first.

My wife and I were excited. The entire way from our stay to the The Wilds event location for the Spartan Race, I chanted, “AROO!”. She was puzzled and could not understand how I could be so excited about climbing, crawling, and running through mud, as well as having no idea what else would be in store for us. In the end, we made a pact–No matter what, we would start as a team and finish as a team and that is exactly what we did. We approached the parking area and it was packed, but I did see a Spartan Race Hummer as we approached the muddy lot I was about to park in with use of my 2 wheel drive vehicle. No, I did not spin once.

TIP: People–stop applying a ton of pressure to your accelerator, all you will do is spin and get no where.  

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We approached the entrance and found warmth from two fire pits and a map of the obstacles course.

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The Course:

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This makes you feel AWESOME before you even start:

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#SPARTANUP” the first sign read as we made our way to the registration booth.

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Thank goodness, because I was truly worried things were not going to get worse.

I signed the consent form without hesitation. My wife on the other hand read the legible print which stated something along the lines of the Spartan Race crew not being liable for any injuries, ice/heat issues, dismemberment, animal bites, allergic reactions after touching any type of poisonous plants, and death. Simplistic and to the point. My only thought, “this will be an awesome race if we have to be warned of such threats to come about.” As a nurse, my wife did not feel the same. But, we are all thankful for the awesome nurses out there who provide amazing care and this is one reason why they are so great. I guess you could call her reaction–preventative care. 🙂

We made our way into the “square” and found many tents and areas where you could practice / warm-up with use of a pull-ups, tires to flip, some slosh pipes, merchandise tents and so forth.

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As we approached the starting line at 9:45am, we were puzzled. Hey, why is there a wooden barrier in the way?

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Oh, yes. You have to climb a 5’ish wooden barrier before you even cross the starting point. I like it! I helped her up, hopped the fence, and helped her down. I knew we had not warmed up properly and did not want either of us landing from such a drop cold and start with a twisted ankle or straining a muscle. As we crossed the start line we gave one another a high-five. We were about to be SPARTANS. AROO!

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We ran from the start to the first obstacle where we had to go under, then over a wooden barrier, go under another barrier, over another wooden barrier and under again. Okay, that wasn’t bad. We kept running and came upon another: go over, go under, go through an opening in another wooden barrier. Still not bad. Run for a little more and we began to notice the crowd thinning out where we then approached three mud pits. NOW WE ARE TALKING! I went first and just before she entered, a couple of “gentlemen” launched themselves into a cannonball like fashion into the center of the mud pit. Well, that’s another way to do it! The water wasn’t as cold as I expected.

Continuing on, we ran for some time through hilly and muddy terrain before the next obstacle. The next obstacle consisted of climbing over a cargo-like netting where a few fellow Spartan racers held the net downward so that it was easier to climb over. (Thank you again!) As we climbed over, we had to run up a hill and along the way do 5 Burpees at I believe 4 different locations before approaching another obstacle where we had to carry sandbags down the slippery / muddy path and routing your way back up to the starting point: women: 20 lbs and men: 40 lbs. Next Up: Tire flipping x 4, run to a ~7 foot wooden barrier. I assisted her up, jumped over, assisted her back down.

While assisting her down this 7′ wall, a Spartan Race asked if I needed assistance. Let’s pause here real quick. Spartan Race = Team Work! Throughout the entire course, you meet fellow racers who offer help just as you offer assistance to them. It is fabulous! Even if it is simply stating, “Awesome Job”, to them or you both quickly glare to one another and state, “I hate Burpees”. Many laughs are shared along the way. But, in the end, it is all about team work!

Moving along: we then hit the inverted wall, Hercules Hoist where we hoisted sand bags up and slowly back down (let it fall too fast and you “get” to do burpees). After this point, I think we may have approached the wrong trail…maybe not. If you look at the map with obstacles, it states that the Sprint Racers then reach the “Double Dirty” obstacle. Well, we did quite a bit of the Super part of the course as well I believe, but no worries. We are runners and do not mind. 🙂 We approached the next obstacle where we rolled under barbwire and then had to hop from one log suspended a couple of feet above the ground, to the next log which was a few feet away but higher, and then another log which was even further away and higher up. Point to the logs: don’t touch the ground and you only get one attempt. Touch the ground = 30 burpees (if you are unable to perform any obstacle, you perform 30 burpees).

Next up, the traverse wall. A wooden wall with 2″ x 4″ blocks about 4-5″ in length spaced out along the 20-30′ wall. The objective: to climb laterally while having no contact with the ground. Upon reaching the end, you smack the bell in triumph. Fall to your impending doom (I kid), and you get 30 burpees. Don’t forget to smile at the GoPro cameras setup in the Burpee pits. 🙂

After completing the traverse wall or the 30 burpees, we approached the spear throw. Let me point out, we did no specific training for this either. You launch a spear into a bale of hay approximately 20-30′ from you. Yes, one throw only. Yes, if you fail on the first attempt, you have the pleasure of doing 30 burpees. Enjoy, it helps you stay warm. 🙂 We continued running and approached another cargo net–a big cargo net. Climb up an incline, I will attempt a guess of 40-50′ high, and then decline.

After running some more, we then approached the Dunk/Slip Wall and Rope Climb photoed below. Yes, it was cold, muddy water, and yes you have to go under the wall in the water. As you surface, you climb out of the mud pit and then use a rope to pull yourself over a slippery wall. 

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Panoramic View: It will look better if you click the image.

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The next obstacle: the Rope Climb and estimating 20′ high where you get as many attempts as possible. Unable to climb to the top and ring the bell, 30 burpees for you. 

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After climbing the rope or performing 30 burpees, you reach the gauntlet:

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Smile pretty because a photography awaits you. But, you are not quite done. We then jumped a fire…..

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….before reaching our destination and receiving your medal: The Finish Line!

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Upon finishing, all we wanted to do was strip down and get our wet clothes off and that is exactly what we did.

After changing, we went back inside the area and bought some merchandise. Just as we approached the tent, we were slammed with sleet.

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Thankfully, we were done and sprinted back to the car and blasted the heat. All was well in the world now!

Merchandise purchased: my well-deserved drink holder and some stickers for the rear window of my car.

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Take Home Message: The organization and race course was unbelievable and the atmosphere was fantastic. It does not matter how many YouTube videos I watched nor articles I read as the experience itself is tremendously different. I highly recommend it to anyone! It is a race where you discover your true abilities and how much you have to give. Sure, you can just give up or skip an obstacle and perform obstacles, but that wasn’t the case. No matter the size of the individual, I saw everyone give every obstacle their best shot. In addition, camaraderie is displayed between you and individuals you have just met and individuals you have known forever. For my wife and I, we were both surprised at one another’s performance in what one was capable of doing. My wife is a beast, but better yet, she is a Spartan.


On a side note, I successfully completed every obstacle and performed zero burpees other than the ones required. I would be curious to see how we would perform if competing and if we had trained for the specific events. Heck, I need to look into this Trifecta as well.


Joshua Reed
Joshua Reed is an Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is the owner of Reed’s Wellness and Fitness Training. He currently operates a small space in Ludlow, Kentucky and travels to see clients in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. He offers both personal, online, and small group coaching from his location, the client’s home, and/or outdoors. He is a 2012 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Adult Fitness and Wellness Management. Joshua currently attends the University of Kentucky’s, where he is earning a Master’s degree in Biomechanics with a concentration in running mechanics and injury prevention.