We reached out to Spartan Race to find out what happened July 20th an 21st at the Illinois Super Spartan. We had heard complaints about poison ivy and/or “swimmer’s itch” from several participants. The race took place at the The Cliffs Insane Terrain Park, in Marseilles, IL.
We were directed to Mike Morris, who is currently the VP of Production and Race Director over at Spartan.
Here is what he told us:
“It’s still unclear as to how many people came away from our IL Super Spartan with the rash that some of our racers have developed. My gut tells me it’s less than 5% of those that raced only because if it was more, our customer service team would have certainly let us know. It’s also still unclear if the majority of the cases are Poison Ivy, Swimmers Itch, or Chiggers (the three common diagnosis’ we are hearing about).”
“What IS clear is that it sucks for those that are dealing with it. I think every racer understands the inherent risk of crawling through mud, swimming through swamp, and running through the woods but we still never want to see our racers leave the event and have the event stay with them like this!”
“I personally want our customers to know that we are listening and, just like any feedback we receive, we care. For what it’s worth, whenever I saw any Poison Ivy on the course (I’m super allergic) I made every effort in routing the course around any patches instead of through them. Also, we are doing our homework on Swimmers Itch and although we still have much to learn about it, it’s on our radar. After talking to some health professionals it’s still unclear if you can even test bodies of water for it. (Again, still learning…)”
“I’ve been bitten by crazy bugs at races and suffered post-event poison ivy in a major way so I appreciate what these racers are going through.”
ORM has seen various posts from participants on social media in the days that followed the race. There has even been a Facebook group created called Spartan Rash which is demanding refunds for those afflicted.
We would love to hear from you on this topic. Is this Spartan’s responsibility or should people running in the woods just expect that things like this may happen?