Truth be told, we did complete the race – with some help. Both of us went for the last open race slot at 11.45am on that race day. Since it was an open race, the Spartan officials at each booth were quite lenient to us. Without their encouragement and push, I don’t think the two of us could make it.
What is Spartan Stadion race? How is it different from other races?
Spartan Race is an obstacle race course where fire, mud, water and barbed wire are involved. So basically this race trains you to be physically tough and strong like a ‘spartan’ – the so-called warriors of Sparta, an ancient Greek city. If you have watched the movie titled ‘300’, you’ll probably know what I mean.
Over the years,
If you are unable to complete an obstacle successfully, you will need to do 30 burpees as a penalty. For Spartan Stadion, the penalty is halved. All you’ll need is 15 burpees and you’re good to proceed to the next obstacle.
Why didn’t we train for Spartan?
It doesn’t come easy, at least not for me as I had no prior training or experience in Spartan. All I did was some running on the treadmill and basic abs exercises. As for Wynne, she took part in the actual Spartan Race before and had some form of Spartan training last year. But, like me, we actually did not prepare to join this race until we were invited by Singapore Sports Hub to join the race. And we were like, why not?
Spartan Stadio @ Singapore Sports Hub
On the race day itself, we just went to the stadium in our exercise outfit and sports shoes. I brought along a pair of training gloves as I know that there will be a rope climbing station but I forget to wear the gloves before the race. The gloves would be exceptionally useful but not necessary. Though I actually wish I had worn them!
Never underestimate Any Spartan Race
I guess we were pretty naive then. Since the race was only 5 Km long, we thought at all the obstacles were confined within the air-conditioned stadium. But as we ran along from one obstacle to the next, we realised that there were more obstacles to complete outside the stadium. By the time we reached the third obstacle station, I was already cursing and swearing. It seems like the Spartan officials are really out there to challenge you physically. This is unlike any other race which I’ve taken part.
Spartan Race tickets are not cheap too.
What are the obstacles we faced?
Even before we start to sprint off at the starting point, we had to first jump over a wall. To overcome this obstacle, you will require a lot of upper body strength to push yourself up and swing your legs over. For me, I literally had to climb and lean my chest against the wall ledge before I could swing my legs over.
Guess what? There were more walls to climb in between each obstacle. But thankfully, I had a buddy around to push me up and over the wall. Racing a buddy really helps in this case.
The Stairs at the National Stadium is an obstacle too.
Throughout the race, we did not entirely run along flat ground. Instead, we had to climb up and down the stairs which made it even more tiring for some of us. My calf muscles felt so sore the next day, after the race. We even had to carry 18 kg sandbags and 19kg water bags up and down the stairs.
Obstacles which we didn’t manage to complete
For me, the more challenging ones are the Hercules Hoist (where you have to haul up a heavy sandbag which is almost two times my body weight), rope climb, Multi Rig (shown in the picture above) and twister (similar to monkey bars). For these obstacles, I just resort to the burpee penalty. And the standard Spartan burpee requires you to touch the ground with your chest and do a push-up. Even though it’s only 15, it can be very tiring!
There’s also a 7 feet tall wall which we had to climb over. I managed to climb over with the help of the ‘kicker’ block and some help from Wynne. Phew!
What are some of easy obstacles that doesn’t require much training?
Those involved climbing like the vertical cargo and A-frame cargo (the one shown above) where you need is to climb up and down. Other obstacles like barb wire are easy to complete too. All you need is to roll yourself under the barbed wire instead of crawling with your arms.
What is the secret to complete a Spartan Stadion Race?
All you really need is strength and endurance. With training, you gain strength. Strength to help you get through the tough obstacles. Most importantly, you’ll need endurance so that you can persist, move on and not give up. Even if you are not strong enough, you can still pull through with endurance. If you can endure burpees, you are good to go for a Spartan race.
In the end, we completed the race is 1 hour and 28 minutes. Even though we encounter many difficulties, it was fun going through the obstacles course especially if you are doing it with a friend. We two were also super proud of ourselves for completing the race even though we did not complete some of the obstacles. This race has definitely motivate me to train harder and exercise more!
Some of the participants were really kind and patient. I remembered this guy who said, ‘ It’s okay. Just take your time!’ as I was struggling to climb over the Vertigo cargo. However, there are some instances where the competitive streak in some of the participants made them appear to be unruly and impolite. It’s as if they were part of the Survivor TV show. Cool it, bro. It’s just a race.
Would you take part in a Spartan Race? Chef Martin Yan’s quote holds through for every scenario – even an obstacle race. If I can do it, so can you!
Special thanks to Singapore Sports Hub to providing us with the opportunity to experience what is like being a ‘Spartan’.