Carolina Beast 2017-SPARTAnburg STRIKES BACK

South Carolina- Spartan Beast November 2017



You mud lovers asked for it, and Spartan Race delivered. A brand new venue for your dirty adventures in South Carolina. Spartanburg hosted their first Beast and Sprint for those last minute trifecta chasers. The new venue had every racing fanatic wondering what Spartan Race was going to bring. Spartanburg held the races at the University of South Carolina campus. The Beast tapped out around 13 miles and the sprint boasted 5 miles.


Spartan Race Beast/Sprint Course Map
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Photo Credit: Spartan Race

Obstacle Changes

Although the OCR season is still active until the end of the year, Spartan is using this time to try out new changes that may be implemented next season. One of the changes that was noted in Atlanta at the Lake Lanier Super was a penalty loop added next to twister and the rope climb. Instead of the traditional 30 burpee penalty for obstacle failure, the athlete is required to crawl under an additional barbed wire, or go for a small jog around a loop. Spartanburg did not have any penalty loops and just required the 30 burpees for obstacle failure.


A well known obstacle for failures, Twister, earned more failures in Spartanburg than ever before. Spartan added velcro grips to the handles for extra hold on the difficult obstacle. Whether or not Spartan did this in preparation for rain, or to make it easier is unknown. However what is known, is that 90% of the athletes did NOT like the changes implemented to twister. Team Southern Spartans athletes joined in to say that the grips made it very difficult to grab the bars because they were slipping and moving. Perhaps Spartan Race could modify this change and put the grips on half of the bars instead of all of them.


Unfavorable Grips Added To Twister


Elites and Scratchy Terrain

Tiffany Palmer won first place for the elite woman with a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 34 seconds for the beast ! Tiffany recaps her experience at South Carolina on her Instagram by saying “(the) Beast was definitely a race to remember. As in…it will most likely leave scars on me from all the briars! Beautiful clean race besides gashing my knee open at mile 1!! The terrain was the worst obstacle, and there was a LOT of screaming every time a Briar wrapped itself around me.” Although it took me double time to run the beast, I did experience the same terrain issues as Tiffany. The terrain reminded me of a post Hurricane Irma scene with all of the knocked over trees, branches and pinecones. There were thorns that would come out of NO WHERE and literally reach out and wrap around your legs causing nasty scratches. Racer, Troy King states “The course was hell! 13 miles of thick woods – running through miles of briars and hurdling waist high thorns. I was constantly watching the ground for hidden holes. It was literally miles of uncomfortable aggressive terrain.”


Top Three Elite Women (Beast)
Photo Credit: Tiffany Palmer

Troy King Scratches

Troy King- Scratches from Spartanburg
Photo Credit: Troy King


       I spotted this CUTE handmade tank top made from a finisher t-shirt and two spartan headbands !! 


“Blondie” and her handmade Spartan Tank



Overall, for my first Beast, I found Spartanburg to be a challenge and a great time. I certainly recommend this course for those seeking to test their limits and get that green beast medal to complete their trifectas. Spartan is scheduled to bring this venue back next season, but will hopefully take into consideration some mild parking lot issues and the scratchy terrain. Can’t wait for next year!



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Photo Credit: Jessika Poppe, unless otherwise stated.


Beasts ELITE – Sara Knight

Chances are that if you have had something delivered to you by UPS from the North West, Sara Knight touched it. Sara Knight is one of obstacle course racing’s up and coming elites out of the Pacific Northwest (PNW). By day, Sara works at UPS unloading semi-trucks, but she also works as a personal trainer and is the owner of Obstacle Elite (a permanent obstacle course in Washington). What I learned about Sara when I met with her is that she is a Determined, Versatile, and Easy Going athlete. What I also learned is that she is a loving wife and an incredible mother of 3 beautiful kids ages 11, 5, and 3.

Sara Knight Spartan Race

One of the things that amazed me about Sara was how long she has been involved in OCR. “I first tried it out in 2014, did Warrior Dash with a bunch of friends,” Sara says with a smile and excitement. “That’s when I fell in love with it (OCR) and when I started training.” It wasn’t much longer before Sara moved from Lake Stevens, WA and purchased her house on 23-acres in Mount Vernon, WA which is also the home to her permanent obstacle course, Obstacle Elite.

Sara Knight on the Beach

I was curious what motivated Sara to move and open Obstacle Elite, and when I asked about it, I thought her answer showed just how determined she really is, “I was training for obstacle racing. I had fallen in love with it. I decided that a gym and going out and running wasn’t cutting it. I couldn’t climb a wall or rope or anything and there wasn’t anything in the area that had anything like that. So I was like, well… I’ll just have to create it.” And create it she did, and the new training regimen started to pay off.

Sara Knight Warrior Dash

In 2015, Sara had some outstanding accomplishments considering it was only the second year of her OCR career. She placed 1st at Warrior Dash Washington, 2nd at the Spartan Sun Peaks Beast, 16th at Spartan World Championship, 2nd at the Spartan Seattle Super, and an amazing 2nd place finish at World’s Toughest Mudder.

Sara Knight Worlds Toughest Mudder Jump

Even though Sara is new to OCR, she has always been a versatile athlete. “I enjoyed soccer, swim team, volleyball, softball, dive team, and track & field in high school. In college, I was a walk-on to the University of Washington crew team, and also was a snowboard and downhill mountain biking instructor.”

Sara Knight Spartan Race Coin

Today though, life is much different than in high school and college. Sara currently works 4 jobs, is a mom, a wife and an Elite athlete. When asked what a normal day looks like; Sara smiled and said, “I wake up at 2AM to get some weight training in. Then I head to UPS to load and unload heavy boxes. Next, I head home to get my kids breakfast and load them in the car as we drive around taking pictures of houses for my appraisal job. At nap-time I run or row. Then lunch, followed by kid sports. Then dinner and on Fridays, setting up signs around the local neighborhood for open houses. Finally, I get my kids to bed and I have another small workout session with body weight exercises or stretching. On the weekends I focus on obstacles, rock climbing, long distance trail runs, and my fourth job: training others at Obstacle Elite.”

Sara Knight Tire Pull

Sara is also excited about her newest venture in OCR. She was recently selected as one of 6 Elite Obstacle Course Racers in the North West for an OCR team called Beasts ELITE that is sponsored by GHUnders. As a member of Beasts ELITE, she will be racing competitively at many of the largest races in the North West Region.

Sara Knight Beasts Elite

Sara Knight Bench PressIf anyone can learn something from Sara, it is that you need to maximize the hours you have in a day. We all start the day with 24 hours, but it is how we fill the time that makes the difference. With a strong determination to succeed and a willingness to be versatile in your training time, perhaps you too can become an easy going elite like Sara Knight.