Help! Spartan Race

I’ve done a Tough Mudder, how different could a Spartan Race be?

Very different if you aren’t actually racing/running it.

Yep you read right, but guess what? I still participated, just as a volunteer. And let me tell you it was an eye opener.  Spartan Race makes Tough Mudder look like a walk in the park!

The Differences


  1. Is Timed, get through the course and the obstacles as quickly as you can.
  2. You’re in it to win it. (Elite runners race first)
  3. If you fail to complete an obstacle (or skip it) you have to do 30 full burpees (one with push-ups)
  4. There are 3 distances, Sprint (7km with 15 obstacles), Super (14km & 20 obstacles), Beast/Ultra (21km & 21 obstacles)
  5. At the end of the obstacles, you have to get past the Gladiators.

Tough Mudder

  1. It’s untimed
  2. You can skip an obstacle if you are not confident or have a fear i.e. heights, water, etc.
  3. It’s 20km long with anywhere from 17-21 obstacles
  4. Expect help from random strangers to get you through obstacles
  5. Expect to get electrocuted.

I’m glad that I volunteered for Spartan Race, I learned loads even though I was standing around for most of the day. The look on people’s faces when I told them they were nearly halfway.  Some were like “YES” others were like “No, you’re kidding right?”

What I learned/observed from Spartan Race

  • Elite/Advanced participants ran in trail/minimalistic/or Vibrams.
  • Black seems to be the colour of choice on course.
  • Only a handful of participants were honest with their burpees (I witness some seriously pathetic burpees from one particular woman)
  • Not a huge amount of costumes, but those that did wear costumes you could tell they were having a great time (mostly superhero theme)
  • Saw about 3 participants that wore goggles during the water course. (I thought this was an excellent idea for those that wear contacts)
  • If you are not confident in the water DON’T GET IN. One guy nearly drowned and nearly drowned the lifeguard too.  Know your limits (and do your burpees).
  • Saw some women with makeup caked on.  Seriously?! Why bother?
  • Lunch is supplied.  However, bring your own food and cold/hot drinks.  Also if you have any dietary needs, provide your own lunch.
  • If you aren’t sure you are going to race that day, take a race credit and race at another event.

Once I was relieved from my post (at about 2.30, over an hour what it was supposed to be), I got to have a bit of a tour of the course, and some of the obstacles (see the photo’s I took above), and quite a few of the obstacles are a lot harder than Tough Mudder. That being said, I like a challenge and I’m still going to do Spartan Race, I’m taking my race credit to do the race next year, I would have done it on the day, but I hadn’t trained for it, and I knew it was a lot different from Tough Mudder. I also had to drive 2 hours back home and didn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel.

Overall I had a great time, and look forward to doing this in May 2014

Have you ever volunteered for a race?  If so what was your experience?
Have you ever done a Mud run? Did you enjoy it? 
If you haven’t done a mud run, why not?


1 – A lot of volunteers, ran in the morning and then went home, and never did their afternoon shift, which is why I got stuck at my obstacle for so long, as they hadn’t had anyone to replace me. Personally, I think this is really rude.  It tells me they just wanted to do it for free, which makes me really angry, and it’s unfair and an insult on the people that organise the event and the other honest volunteers.

16 thoughts on “Help! Spartan Race”

  1. Oh, wow! That’s a great way to get to experience a Spartan. Without actually running it!

    I have not yet volunteered, but I will be soon.

    I haven’t done a mud run. Mostly because I hate mud. 🙂

  2. AWESOME volunteer experience!! I got to volunteer this year at my favorite half marathon! I’m hurt so I couldn’t run it… but I LOVED seeing everyone give their best out there and be able to cheer everyone on!! 🙂 It was great! 🙂
    Found you through RunningBloggers’ Friday Link Up

    1. Hi Zaneta, Thanks for posting.
      It was great giving back, I learned loads too. I look forward to volunteering for another race, this time something closer to home. I am going to be on the committee of Run The Gap next year so I look forward to that too.

  3. The spartan race is really popular here in Colorado. My friend did it, he’s an ex-marine and said it was really tough. I’d love to try it some time but I don’t love the idea of the mud 🙂
    I have to say, I laughed at the burbee comment. I don’t know how hones I’d be with my burpees…I hate them! 🙂

    1. Yeah it’s a shame about the unreliable volunteers, I just hope that they do their job the next time it comes around. But at the same time I’m sure race organises would expect that to happen. It was just as well I didn’t have to be anywhere and could help out for a little bit longer. And the plus side, I got to see part of the course in action.

  4. Volunteering is something I will be doing next year for sure! A cheap / free race entry after is just a bonus!
    I want to do a mud race too even though I hate mud also! But I think it will be good fun 🙂

    1. Volunteering is just a great way to give back. I mean I’ve done so many races, it’s only fair I help out when I can. I look forward to helping out again.

  5. I’ve never volunteered at a race before. I haven’t done a Spartan or Tough Mudder race yet! My boyfriend did the Tough Mudder last year and loved it. I’d like to do either race next year, but the registration fees can be very expensive so I’d want to commit and sign-up early on.

    Your insider info is so helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. There are loads of “mud runs” out there. Some are a lot easier than Spartan and Tough Mudder. I know of stampede, tough bloke, dirt girl runs (i think that’s the name of it), beserker. Stampede and Tough Bloke (girl), are Aussie ones, so I don’t know if their origins are from oversea’s. I know dirt girl is a USA one (saw an add for it on Tribesport), and that’s only 5km long. So there are some tamer ones out there that you may want to try.
      Yeah the registrations can be a killer. I remember when I first signed up for Tough Mudder it was 9 months in advance so I could get the early bird price, and even then it was expensive, but well worth it imo.

  6. Cool- I’ve never heard of the Spartan Races before although I had planned to do a Tough Mudder one day. I didn’t know they weren’t timed though and that you can opt out of obstacles. What’s the point of that? The Spartan Race sound a little bit more up my street- I like the burpees penalty!!

    1. Spartan have 3 distances too.
      Most people I talked too, ended up doing anywhere from 90+ burpee’s. The javelin throw gets everyone, it’s also at the very end. So you are tired. I’m looking forward to May to giving it a go.

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