If you’re a dedicated trail runner, fell or road runner- or just up for a challenge- you need to know about the extreme obstacle courses of the Spartan Races. Developed by Selica Sevigny and Richard Lee, if the warning ‘You May Die’ for the events doesn’t put you off, you might want to take part!
I spent a summer with Richard many years ago in Camp America, an ex marine with a passion for physical activity and pushing himself to extremes- he was already quite a character! Fast forward a few years later and Richard is the co-director of the Spartan Races alongside his girlfriend Selica.
The Spartan races are something completely new in the world of obstacle courses. Inspired by the Death Race they took part in in 2009, a 48 hour test of endurance that resulted in Richard’s broken foot and Selica’s hypothermia, they decided not to run screaming from the world of endurance racing, but to set up their own race!
Open to everyone, not just elite athletes, the Spartan Races are international obstacle races, with different levels of courses. There is the entry level 3 mile ‘Spartan sprints’, intermediate 8 mile ‘Super Spartan’, and 10-12 miles advanced Spartan Beast. There is also the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Spartan Death Race with it’s own website at www.youmaydie.com ! (We jest not!)
As well as the race itself against the clock, you need to defeat the obstacles in your path, including water, fire and other people. Exhilarating and mentally taxing- these are designed to get you out of your comfort zone. The World Championship Ultra will be held annually starting in December 2012. I caught up with Richard about the upcoming races in the UK (The races will be in Yorkshire and London in September and November 2011. )
“Anyone who is free and fit definitely has to race our race. It is 10 times better than any other obstacle course out there. We do 4 levels, the 5K, 8 Miles, 14 miles and 48 hours. They are great for anyone. In fact, I had a fit 68 year old lady finish the 5K!”
After trying to convince me to race, I’ve never been so relieved to say I was on holiday that week. “Another time!” was his defiant reply.