Beyond Expectations: Miller Park Spartan Sprint, 2013

I had heard of the “Stadium Sprints” put on by Spartan Race, but the idea had never really appealed to me. I love the single track woods trails, the natural obstacles. I’m not a ball-sport person. I honestly had to ask what Miller Park was, so the draw so many people talk about of a famous location held no appeal to me. 

I started dating a fellow mud warrior, and she mentioned that she wanted to run this race, but was unsure if she could get there after attending a wedding the night before. OK, you need a driver and battle buddy. I can do that. So I signed up to run it with her.

Wow was I wrong about the stadium sprints. A different category of challenge from field Sprints, not more or less challenging but different, more like a weightlifting class than a run.

We had a team of more than 300 in attendance. 

These sprints release groups of about 15 people every few minutes to avoid bottlenecks on the course, as it is restricted and there is little room for passing. We started out running up ramps to the upper levels of the stadium, with ropes tied across that we had to go over or under. I found that if I got low and extended one hand forward, I could run under the ropes like a cartoon ninja and not be slowed down.

We then came to the familiar obstacles, 6′ walls and lots of stairs.

Then we hit the more unusual events. Medicine ball slams. Hand-release pushups. Wait, rowing machines?

You had a certain time to cover 500 m. No time shown on the display, when you reached the goal or ran out of time it would simply say “Congratulations. ARROO!!” or “Burpees for you!!” Several of our team were literally on the floor unable to rise for a few minutes after this obstacle.

Most things were pretty basic, carry heavy object, go up and down bleachers, etc. The jump rope with a 2″ rope was unexpected and much tougher than it looked. I couldn’t get more than 5 in a row, and several people injured their ankles at this point.

Some of the team donated reps to get the rest of us through, formed burpee teams to assist those that failed obstacles, and otherwise encouraged us all.

There were a few places where the race went out into the parking lot with the more familiar obstacles, jerry can carry, atlas lift, traverse wall. My girlfriend/battle buddy spotted me as I went across the traverse wall. The last step was too wide to clear, but I was able to stretch enough from the previous step to ring the bell, then went back and spotted her, and we both made it.

The last section of the race had several obstacles scattered around the baseball diamond, the first being the cargo net, where most of us ended up on the jumbotrons.

We nailed the Hercules hoist, both burpeed out of the rope climb, and went to the final obstacle, 10 over-and-back box jumps, then charged through the gladiators.

We received our special-edition medals and joined our teammates in the bleachers watching the rest of the team finish.

Typically, I am the personification of “I come. I tear it up. I leave.” For once I took the time to hang out with teammates, chat with the families of other competitors, hit up the after party, etc. Somewhere along the line I’ve gained a team off the course as well.

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