Are you fit for the F.I.T. Challenge?

A short OCR course, based in New England. This OCR brainchild of Robb McCoy, brings its racers a non stop experience. With three words defining it, fortitude, integrity, toughness, F.I.T. Challenge tests physical capabilities on a multitude of levels. So are you fit enough for the F.I.T. Challenge? According to McCoy “Everyone is fit for the F.I.T. challenge.” His question is to what degree is your challenge? Covering distances and skill levels from multi lap survivor to mandatory obstacle completion, open waves and even coming out for a fun time as a team. “…there are so many challenges with in the one event you cant go wrong.”  Still unsure? Here’s a quick peak behind the curtain.

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The Fall Fit Challenge VII was located in Cumberland, Rhode Island, a 3+ mile course stacked with 40 obstacles and a solid 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Needless to say, this is not your average 5K in the woods. Taking off, racers immediately hit their first climb. A direct shot up the mountain. What goes up, must come down, right? Lucky for us it goes back up too. After making the first descent we hit a back to back climbs over walls, vertical cargo nets, over-under-through combo walls, before the first of two carries, the log carry. A quick, but steep loop followed by hitting to more jumps and a floating inverted wall, before our next climb. Are-you-fit-for-the-F.I.T.-ChallengeAre-you-fit-for-the-F.I.T.-Challenge

This climb wasn’t as rough, but the obstacles that followed were stacked. Descent into a hoist, pulley curl, Double Ups, and a, choose at your own risk, Wreck-bag carry. If you were questioning your fatigue now F.I.T. presented you with the first Destroyer before going back into the trails. Where we faced a cargo net style monkey bar, back to back peg board and rope climb. Hitting an incline, army style crawl then a final steep rolling hill and climb.

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Just when you think your out of the woods and in the clear, F.I.T. Challenge makes sure to get in some of its toughest obstacles. Over-Under Rig, walls, The Destroyer 2.0, 3-optioned Rig, Atlas Balls, and a slip wall, with a few walls and crawls sprinkled in between, before you were able to cross a finish line you know you earned.

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So, are you fit for the F.I.T. Challenge?

Yes, your physical capabilities will be tested in many areas, pure brute strength, cardio endurance, lifting and carrying, along with speed and agility, if your racing it, but being super human is not a necessity. F.I.T. Challenge opens itself to catering to many different athletes, whether interested in an Elite, open, or Multi-lap Survivor option.

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If your looking to have a challenging, but fun race, check out the open wave option. With ability to take your time and learn the obstacles, you’ll be able to build your confidence. Joe Crupi, founder of Team Panda Fit Camp SGX, says going out as a team is one of his favorite ways to take on a course “…It makes for an outstanding and fun experience, helping each other over walls, coaching each other through challenging obstacles like the rigs, and motivating each other to try our best and discovering abilities you never new you were capable of”.

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“Signing up for the elite heat in F.I.T. challenge is definitely intimidating” – Sarah Kelly

Ready to fight for your band and take on the Elite course? If 3 plus miles of quick elevation climbs and 40 obstacles wasn’t tough enough, F.I.T. Challenge has a mandatory obstacle completion for its Elite wave. Upside is you get to give that Multi-Rig another shot if need be. Female Elite, Sarah Kelly’s advice is to be confident. “It’s a small and stacked group…but it’s a great way to see what your made of and how hard you can push yourself, since it’s such a brutal course.”

Are-you-fit-for-the-F.I.T.-Challenge

Now if Open and Elite waves don’t quite feed your appetite, F.I.T. Challenge offers you the Multi-lap Survivor wave. Giving you a solid 5 hours to get in as many laps as possible, with a mandatory last lap start before the final noon wave takes off. Get three or more laps in and earn yourself a handmade block to show off your toughness. Taking on a multi lap course, competitively, takes a bit more grit and mental preparedness then the others. As competitive multi-lapper and elite racer Antoni Favata would say its “an entirely different animal.” Aside from training, he stresses the necessity of having fun in order to keep a good and competitive mental state on the course. His advice is to “…get familiar with pacing. Train time on feet!” and to toss out the “cookie-cut 60 minute workout window”.

Whether Open wave, Elite racing, or Multi-lap Surviving, or having fun, the best way to see if your fit for the F.I.T. Challenge is to cross the start line.

Are-you-fit-for-the-F.I.T.-Challenge

Spartan Race – Killington Ultra Beast 2016: No Small Undertaking

The 2016 Killington Ultra Beast was no small undertaking. Two laps of one of the toughest Spartan Races on the map is not a feat to be taken lightly. One of the most challenging aspects of the Ultra Beast for me was knowing on the first lap that I would have to complete everything in front of me not only this time, but another. And when I dared set foot back out on that monstrous course for lap two, I already knew every last detail of what waited ahead.

I had never raced at Killington before, let alone attempt the Ultra Beast, but I figured why not. I know I could do the beast. Let’s push it a bit here.

My drop bin was prepped long before we arrived at the venue emblazoned with the words “You ran FIFTY MILES… You got this.” I was surrounded by family and friends, words of encouragement and good food leading up to the race. I was ready. Nothing much was different from any other race.

Saturday morning, my friends picked me up and drove me to the venue. They dropped off my bin so I could go directly to the start, being the only one in the 6 am heat. Standing around waiting, I got to talk to many friends I wasn’t expecting to see at the start, but I felt like I was in a daze. After a 15 minute delay and then 10 minutes of explaining the rules and singing the national anthem, we were finally off by about 6:25. Consequently, the cutoff times were all pushed back 30 minutes.

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From the very beginning, racers got spread out based on power hiking ability. The course started with a 1,000 ft ascent and from just those beginning miles, I was already thinking about lap number two – how much I didn’t want to do this twice. I knew it was far too early to think like this and I redirected my thoughts to each step, one by one.

It didn’t take long before I realized I was somewhere near the front of the pack. I could count the women in front of me: three. I wasn’t moving like I normally do through the obstacles though. I felt extremely sluggish through the first barbed wire crawl and practically powerless on the vertical cargo net. Something wasn’t right, but I knew I had to get it done; so I opted to keep my eyes on the women who kept passing me on the obstacles. I made sure I passed them back on the runnable portions of the course as well as the climbs seeing as that’s my strength.

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When we neared the festival grounds, my pace improved greatly, that is until I stepped into the lake. For the remainder of the swim, I was gasping for air because the water was so frigid. I climbed the ladder and made it to the top but chose not to go across the Tarzan Swing since one of the ropes was not knotted and I knew I would slip. I climbed down, swam the rest of the way across and completed my 30 burpees. Back in the lake, rocks and sand in my shoes, and then finally back on solid ground for some more power hiking – rocks and sand still in my shoes because I wasn’t taking them off.

Almost more treacherous than the ascents were the knee shattering and ankle rolling descents. If we weren’t hiking through dense woods on extremely technical “trails” then we were on the ski slopes. Usually, I’d be cheering myself on at this point because downhill running is another strength of mine and typically where I would make up a lot of time, but not on this course. A few steps into each descent and I could feel the pressure building up in my knees. I decided to go swiftly, but not too daringly, at a jog.

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I missed the spear throw… SHOCKING. And then a few obstacles later, I made it to the final and easiest object on the multi-rig, the pipe, but just could not shift my left hand forward. I fell. 60 burpees right there at the end before I could get to my sweet salvation: potato chips, sour patch kids, and chocolate covered espresso beans. But why was I so out of it?

After the multi-rig, just before the slip wall (one of the final 3 obstacles), was an exit off to the left which brought us to the transition area. As I entered the transition area, there was a woman holding white bibs. She proceeded to hand me one and said congratulations, you’re in seventh. That was probably the first smile I cracked in several hours. I was extremely proud to be amongst the top 20 females, but I also knew how exhausted I felt. I long thought about stopping here, but it wasn’t what I set out to do. I needed to get back out there for another lap.

After 5 minutes of searching for my bin, which I just couldn’t seem to locate, others began to help and ultimately found it for me. I was greeted by my water, Gatorade, Clif Bars and Bloks, gummy bears and other treats as mentioned earlier. I also had a med kit, towel and extra socks, none of which I used. Very unlike me, I couldn’t be bothered to take my shoes off. A racer nearby took a massive container out of his bin and asked if anyone wanted a peanut butter & jelly. He must’ve had ten sandwiches! So yes, I ate one. I refilled my hydration bladder and packed my race vest with all of my new morale-boosting snacks as well as some solid calorie foods and I was off.

We set out on a short trail run beside the start chute which quickly reconnected to the course. It was there that it was apparent who had just begun the course and who was on lap two. The Ultra Beast participants jogged or even walked as Beast participants sprinted on by. But for the first time this race, I was running with people I knew. And as we approached that first climb once more, we got down on our hands and knees, crawling forward. Before long, I was by myself again and moving slower than everyone around me.

All of the obstacles were textbook Spartan with no real surprises. The course started off with some of the easier obstacles and proceeded to diminish your spirits and crush your soul as you went along. But by lap two, nothing was easy. The Bucket Brigade must’ve taken me 20 minutes the second time around. And at the Tarzan Swing, I barely made it up the ladder at which point my grip was fried. I reached out and grabbed the first rope and then let myself drop into the water. “Well, my headlamp’s gotta be dead now…” And it was.

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The burpee area was a mud pit by now and I was thankful we were getting back in the water afterwards. Upon exit of the lake, I took out my Ziploc baggie filled with sour patch kids and espresso beans, drained the lake water out, and ate the espresso beans. It only took 6 miles at a snail’s pace to realize that this would give me the boost I needed. The power hiking expert me was back.

As I climbed up through Norm’s trails in the woods once more, I was soon stuck in a very slow-moving line. I used every opportunity to climb rocks and tree roots just to pass people. Many cheered me on saying, “You go, Ultra Beast,” but I replied “More like ultra idiot.” Although I was completing the obstacles with the most ease I had all day and really began to boost my pace as I watched the clock tick down to 6:30, I was only at the plate drag. Regardless, I sprinted down the mountain to the sandbag carry, got it done as quickly as possible, and sprinted toward the cutoff. I heard a stranger say good for you for finishing strong just before I reached the rope climb… 15 minutes too late. I topped it off with a smile and a heel click, just what I said I’d do when I finished, but it wasn’t long before my timing chip was cut off and I could no longer hold back the tears.

We had 15 hours to complete the course twice. We had to be out of the transition area by 2 pm, giving us exactly 7.5 hours per lap. I completed my first lap in 6.5 hours and despite the extra hour, I still didn’t make it. Approximately 28 miles into the 32 mile Ultra Beast and all that remained from that point was the Death March with a number of obstacles back down at the base right before the finish. The Race Directors knew that racers wouldn’t make it to the finish by 9:30 pm if they didn’t get through the rope climb with at least three hours left to complete the final 4 miles. I knew if I could catch my friend and my mom doing the Beast I would make the cutoff, but I never caught up to them.

As I returned to my drop bin, I received consoling words from friends as well as strangers, none of which seemed to help. Still now, I’m not quite sure how to explain exactly what it is I’m feeling, but one thing I know for sure is that I earned my DNF.

I watched headlamps line the mountain slopes as racers completed the final ascent and descent while I waited by the fire. Everything about it was remarkable: from the simple beauty of the lights to the incredible challenge Spartan Race put in front of us on such a magnificent mountain. Although what stands out most is the physical and mental resolve of the competitors who took on, and more so those who were able to finish, the 2016 Killington Ultra Beast: no small undertaking.

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Photo Credit:Kevin Donoghue, Bill Durando, Spartan Race, Justina Rosado


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Civillian Military Combine – Introducing an OCRWC Obstacle

From start to finish, the Civilian Military Combine (CMC) was an event that truly had options for everyone to challenge themselves or just have a fun time. As a one of a kind hybrid obstacle course race and fitness competition, CMC provided options for the elite obstacle course racer as well as the weekend warrior, and even kids too. For those seeking a challenge, CMC’s Diamondback obstacle was announced as an OCRWC obstacle for this year – a true testament to their innovative and tough obstacles!

THE PIT

Having a CrossFit background, The Pit was one of my favorite parts of the day. CMC is advertised as a hybrid obstacle race series because of the 5 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) style workout before the race. With divisions for all abilities: Alpha – bodyweight, Bravo – kettlebell, and Charlie – barbell, it truly is for everyone. After 5 minutes of burpees, lunges, and other exercises, racers get 5 minutes before queueing up and hitting the course.

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The first elite wave went off 30 minutes behind schedule, which set the rest of the heats back. The number of racers waiting outside The Pit quickly grew to a crowd and those in front went in for the next heat, regardless of wave time.

THE COURSE

The majority of the course was grass, weaving around the buildings on base and making use of every last hill. One particular slope was used for the Wreck Bag carry which had racers ascend the hill four times. Small portions of the course crossed paved roads and sidewalks and even some small sections of stairs.

Course marking seemed sparse in one particular section of the course that was crossed several times. A little extra tape or spray paint would have gone a long way in directing racers, but after a few heats, volunteers made sure racers knew where to go.

THE OBSTACLES

Racers seemed particularly pleased with the obstacle innovation. In addition to the typical obstacles such as the 8-foot wall and rope climb, CMC added in a few that threw even your seasoned obstacle racers for a loop. The first worth mentioning is Diamondback, which has now been revealed as an OCR World Championship obstacle. Diamondback begins and ends with inverted climbs on wide bars which makes this twist on a classic obstacle that much more challenging! The bars were quite wide and fairly spread out testing both your grip strength and flexibility.

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Other notables include a wreck bag carry with 25 and 50-pound options, as well as a dummy carry later in the race which was an awkwardly shaped 60 pounds for everyone.

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The mud pit was quite small and there was only one, but with the wire hanging just over the mud, you had to get low and dirty.

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Thankfully immediately after, there was a refreshing dip in a dumpster of water covered with plywood, forcing you in, but also rinsing you off.

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There were two different rigs, the second harder than the first. One was similar to Spartan’s and the other was unlike any other rig I had ever seen. The first began with a rope climb to a floating bar. From there you had to swing across 3 rings and traverse another floating bar before hitting the bell. The second rig was the last obstacle before the finish. It began with a climb up a free hanging pole. From the top of the pole, you had to grab a hold of a ring which spun freely on a wheel. Two more of those and you’re on to floating monkey bars before hitting the bell.

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THE REWARD

After crossing the finish line, racers received a hefty gold finisher’s medal which definitely delivered a sense of pride in your accomplishment. Although the finisher shirts were cotton, they were a military coyote color with a simple CMC Finisher logo on the front, an American flag on the sleeve, and came in a wide variety of men’s and women’s sizes. The festival grounds offered several food options including food trucks and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, as well as quite a few popular OCR merchandise vendors, such as Obstacle Guard.

The course seemed to be about a mile shorter than expected, but it was overall a really fun event. It was a hot and sunny day in New York and everyone said they were glad to see CMC make a return and hope they do again in the future.

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Spartan Race – Boston, aka Barre Mass

Barre-EntrySummertime in New England is a beautiful thing. One day you can have the perfect 70-degree day, and the next you can have blazing hot magma a slight change in humidity and increase in temperature. I ventured back to Barre, Mass for the Spartan Race Boston Super on an early August morning. Having been here once before for the Spartan Sprint, I was looking forward to the tasty burgers that the farm stand has for sale after the race.

Parking was the usual at the farm. You have to drive off site where they hitch you up to a horse and buggy and you chariot race into the venue. Note, this is otherwise known as riding a school bus from the parking lot to the venue. The drop off and pick up locations for your parking lot chariot is a smooth transition. You are dropped off right next to the farm stand and you can find adequate transportation back as soon as you are ready to leave. The venue has strategically made sure that you see and smell the food being cooked in the farm stand so when you have finished running your lap(s) you smell the deliciousness on your way out. Well played Carter and Stevens Farm, well played.

I’ve noticed that this venue does a few things well that stand out in my mind separate from the dozens of other races I’ve participated in. A few of those things are:

  • Well placed porta johns/janes. Close to the start line and plenty of them.
  • Great festival area.
  • Medical tents are placed near the kid’s race start line. I think this is smart, and I’ve seen other race venues plan this out this way, but the kids tend to get more boo-boos than the adults… sometimes.
  • GREAT food vendors.

Barre-Rope-ClimbThe course took you through a lot of wooded areas, plenty of open fields and the same swamp that Atreyu lost his horse Artax in the NeverEnding Story. The swampy areas were insanely impressive. I heard many remarks along the lines, “I’m ready to be done.” “How are we STILL in the swamp?” “Okay.. more swamp, yes I can do this.” “I CAN’T DO THIS!!” I personally gave up running and called it good walking through the swamp. At first, I tried staying off to the sides bobbing and weaving on the high ground to keep from potentially losing a shoe in the suck. By the end, I was just walking in a straight line and I eventually made it out alive.

The course was set up well for the longer distance. Several of the harder obstacles were placed toward the first half like the Rope Climb, Multi-Rig and Herc Hoist. I’ve noticed Spartan has changed up their rope climb recently from years prior. They used to make you wade into a pool of muddy water and climb out soaking wet for the rope climb. Now, they place a bunch of soft hay down and let you climb up without getting wet first. I thought this would make the obstacle easier, but I was wrong. There were just as many people burpee’ing out of the rope climb as there was when it was over water.

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The Multi-Rig that Spartan has come up with is…interesting.  The first part was several plastic rings that didn’t have enough rope at the top to get a proper swing. If you could make it across those rings you would have to grab a hold of two baseballs before grabbing the long metal bar to the bell. I love rings. LOVE love LOVE them, but these were almost impossible for my little wingspan. I made it to the last swing on the rings. Because my wingspan isn’t very wide, I couldn’t get the momentum up to swing far enough to grab the last ring. Thus, I slipped and went to the side to do my burpee penalty.

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Depending on who you are and your athletic abilities, this could have been a very challenging course. The layout was different than the Sprint earlier in the year so it didn’t feel like Spartan Sprint 2.0. It was hot and muggy so I kept an eye out for the water stations,. None of them ran out of water (thank Heavens) and one even offered a Gu Gummy for the runners. At the end of the course, all I could think about was the burger I was about to eat for lunch. We grabbed a burger from the farm stand and cooled off with some brews from the…well brewery. When you can have the full experience of running a great race, post-race entertainment and food, with ease of getting to and from the venue, it makes for coming back to race at the Carter and Steven’s Farm a pleasure.

I’ll see you in September Spartan Race.


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Loki Run, Village Pillage

Down in the South of England – Thetford, Norfolk to be exact, there is a small company known as Loki Events. My friends and I came across them in our neverending search for virtual races; it’s fair to say that, upon finding them, the Loki Run virtual events are easily one of the most challenging & fun virtuals we’ve completed to date. So with that in mind when we saw that they had an actual event coming up, we took notice.

On Sunday, April 10th, 2016, they held a small, community-based obstacle race which they called the Village Pillage. Now as we were in the area for the first 2016 UK Spartan Sprint the day before we figured we should just make a race weekend and we signed up for it. The more mud the better, right?

With our small team, a mix of the Healthy Hibees & myself with my team RAW top, we had no idea what to be expecting. After an engaging Zumba warm up the individual runners took off for the midday start. The teams of four were held back to do a second warm up and we were then informed we had some extra challenges. This is where is gets interesting – the challenges were, throughout the course we had to carry two car tyres without letting them touch the ground (a lot trickier than it sounds) and more importantly, two raw eggs which had to be lovingly carried the full course – ever watched mighty ducks? I found myself repeating the mantra of “soft hands” throughout the race.

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The tyres and the eggs made all of the obstacles a lot more interesting, but with a little team work we got there. The course was laid out at the back of the local high school and into the fields beyond. We started off with some standard obstacles, net crawls, tightrope crossing, inverted walls & some nice 6-ft walls. Also, some volunteers were dressed in sumo suits, (side note I need to stop telling people in those suits I’m going to rugby tackle them, some of them looked worried). Nearing the 1km mark, we broke free of the school grounds and ended up running through a wooded area. Time for another surprise. I can’t say I’ve ever come across a lucky dip obstacle before – ping pong balls in a bucket of water with a number written on each one. I drew no 26, so, at the next stopping point, we had 26 burpees at station one, then 26 squats at station two followed by 26 push-ups at station three.

Our next new obstacle experience was that of a slightly different nature, volunteers dressed up as sneaky ninjas playing a version of obstacle tag rugby. If they caught you, you could end up with 27 burpees, or 5 squats. The punishments varied; I think that depended on the person who caught you. We also had to swipe the tags from the ninja area.  So from the 5 ninja stations, we managed 4 tags & 3 punishments. It made for an interesting break in the 5k course. Emerging on the other side of the wooded area and we had pretty much circled back towards the start. Around 4km and we found the log carry slalom – a single log needed to be carried about this part of the course by two team members; so, with Egbert the egg in one hand and a log in the other we got it done. (Yes, I named my egg – and we also named the tyres). With the finish line in sight, our next obstacle was a mallet target throw, a lot easier than a Spartan spear throw that’s for sure. On to the final 10-ft wall and then a water slide under the very low to the ground finish line.

Loki-run-mallet-throwBoth eggs & tyres survived!

You could tell that this race was organised by a team who loves the OCR scene. The entire event had a large family type feeling towards it, with the extremely friendly marshals, enthusiastic race briefing and the overall atmosphere on the day. It seems that the race director has taken elements and obstacles from other events and combined them to bring a really great experience to the athletes. They may currently be a small company, but with the virtual races, promising race days and awesome bling I can see them becoming a company to watch out for.

Loki-run-village-pillage-team

Photo Credits: Geoff Herschell

Spartan Agoge: What you should know

Agoge 000

When the Death Race and Spartan separated ways, Spartan Race gave birth to a new endurance event called the Agoge (pronounced Uh-go-gee). They have had only one Agoge event, held in the Fall of 2015, as sort of an experimental event. That class was composed of 7 civilians and 15 West Point military cadets.

With only one Agoge event in the books for Spartan Race, there isn’t a whole lot of information about what to expect at this event. Is the Agoge just a gentler, kinder Death Race? Or is it going to be more difficult than past Death Races?

Since I’m on a journey to obtain my Spartan Delta, I wanted to find out what to expect and how I should train for the Spartan Agoge. So I tracked down 3 Spartan Agoge class 000 finishers to get more information. I was able to speak with Andi Hardy, Alexander Ouellet, and Scott Gregor about their Agoge experiences. I asked each of them the same questions and was able to get some great information, without breaking their codes of silence. Hopefully, this will help anyone who chooses to do a future Spartan Agoge event.

Spartan Agoge Class 000

WHAT MAKES THE AGOGE SPARTAN RACE DIFFERENT FROM A DEATH RACE?

HARDY: It’s more team oriented. Think of it as “Death Race meets Hurricane Heat” It’s the best components of both events put together.

OUELLET: “A Death race is about breaking people. Agoge is about building better people.”

GREGOR: Death race had unknown distance, tasks, and duration. Knowing the duration makes this event more bearable. “Agoge”s tasks have a purpose…the tasks are meant to reinforce the principles outlined in the Spartan X training. Unlike the Death race, staff wants people to finish.”

ON THE REGISTRATION PAGE, IT RECOMMENDS BRINGING 1 WEEK OF FOOD.  WHAT DID YOU BRING?

HARDY: They took all my food away. I had no control over my food.

OUELLET: I didn’t have food because it was taken. But, MRE’s are a good idea.

GREGOR: “Class 000 was a beta test class and slightly different than how future Agoge events will be held.” There was a strict gear list, and food was not on the list, so it was confiscated at the beginning. Food was provided at staff’s discretion.

60 HOURS IS A LONG TIME. DID YOU GET ANY SLEEP DURING THE EVENT?

HARDY: Our Agoge was 48 hours. Not much, random 5-10 minute naps.

OUELLET: “We were able to steal a very minor amount of sleep, maybe an hour total.”

GREGOR: There was a small sleep break towards the end of the event, don’t count on this…you may not get one.

DID YOU CARRY EVERYTHING WITH YOU EVERYWHERE, OR DID YU DROP YOUR RUCKS OFF SOMEWHERE TO DO CHALLENGES?

HARDY: Only bring what you need. You pretty much carry all your stuff, all the time.

OUELLET: Get used to carrying heavy stuff everywhere.

GREGOR: “I can only recall one task where we didn’t have our gear on our backs.” We carried our gear everywhere.

Agoge Log CarryCAN YOU DESCRIBE ANY OF THE TASKS THAT YOU HAD TO DO INDIVIDUALLY OR AS A TEAM?

HARDY: A lot of manual labor, some fun stuff, and some stuff where you had to trust others with your life. But, I can’t really say specific tasks we did.

OUELLET: “Sometimes you were evaluated on your own performance, sometimes it’s a team task and your team is evaluated on your collective performance.”

GREGOR: Almost all the tasks were team oriented; we stayed together most of the time.

HOW WOULD YOU RECOMMEND SOMEONE PREPARE FOR AN AGOGE EVENT?

HARDY: Get used to time on your feet and doing “sucky things.” Train in the dark or at night. Train long and lots of hill training to prepare your legs and ankles.

OUELLET: “Sandbag workouts are your friend.” Work on your strength; then work on speed.

GREGOR: “Mostly just a hike with a heavy pack while getting creative with some extra PT or carrying other heavy stuff during the hike. This training session could be a 12-hour Hurricane Heat.” Being a well-rounded athlete is crucial to the Agoge.

WHEN YOU FINISHED, HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE AGOGE?

HARDY: I was happy, sad, confused…mixed emotions about it. “The experience kept on post-event” because it was life changing.

OUELLET: “I learned a ton and think it’s fully worth doing.” I will be doing Agoge 001 in February and 002 in June as well.

GREGOR: “I was happy to finish since I could now get some food and sleep. I was sad that the event was over since I would soon leave me endurance event friends.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER COMPLETED AN AGOGE OR DEATH RACE BEFORE?

HARDY: Plan for the weekend to suck, it’s not a vacation. Tell yourself, “Monday will come” and “I’m going to get through this weekend.”

OUELLET: Focus on the given task, not what the next task will be. It’s only temporary.

GREGOR: “Live in the moment.” Don’t worry about how hard the next task will be, that will overwhelm you. For equipment, trekking poles are helpful and gloved are great for cold weather events.

GIVEN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?

HARDY: Yes, it was a great experience. There are a lot of races on my 2016 schedule, so maybe in the summer or next year.

OUELLET: Yes. “I’m doing 001 and 002”

GREGOR: “Yes, I would do it again. I don’t feel as if I completed the whole thing since class 000 was 48 hours long and there is a 60-hour option.”

I hope the questions I asked these 3 previous Agoge class 000 finishers help you all. Without knowing what exactly to expect at the event, I do expect the weekend to suck and to come away with life a changing experience. Surviving the suckfest of the Spartan Agoge will probably be my biggest achievement and I can’t wait. I am going to train hard not only physically, but mentally as well in order to prepare for the Spartan Agoge class 002 this summer. I hope to see you there!