Ultra Spartan Trifecta Weekend- Krynica Zdroj, Poland

The only ultra beast for Spartan in Central Europe was held august 24th weekend in Poland at the mountain Jaworzyna Krynicka. This was the Ultra Spartan Trifecta Weekend!
In preparation, you needed to have some source of hydration, a race lamp, and a emergency blanket. They were mandatory and the volunteers checked prior to the race at the transition area.

Spartan Krynica Observation Tower

Course outline

Unlike your original Ultra Spartan Trifecta Weekend where you had to repeat the beast course twice, this ultra in Krynica, Poland had one giant loop. This race was very unique like none other. You encountered different terrain throughout the whole race like open hills, single trails, running upstream in the water, rocky terrain, and maneuvering through trees and shrubs.  The course marking was easy to follow. The trails consisted of one big outer loop followed by 2 smaller loops inside. The course was outlined in such a way that you stopped by the transition area 3 times. The first stop at the transition was at 28km.  Spectators had amazing views of the transition area which was surrounded by obstacles. Competitors were doing these obstacles each time they stop at the transition area. The obstacles included the vertical cargo net, the rope climb, Hercules hoist, and the spear throw.

Spartan Krynica Barbed wire

Also, in this ultra spartan in Krynica, Poland there were 2 heavy sand bag carries. Both uphill. The sand-filled bags and the 1km loop around the lake made it feel heavy! For males it was 40kg, females 30kg.  Soon after you were rewarded with the transition area.  My sunto calculated 51.5km and 3300m of elevation gain of this terrific terrain.

Spartan Krynica Markings

Observation Tower

In addition to this course, a new observation tower has been built this year. It opened to the public just 3 days before the race! I appreciate the amazing opportunity to race this ultra and run through the new observation tower! This was part of the ultra! At first, you had an intense hill to climb which lead towards this observation tower. Next, you climbed multiple floors of stairs that lead to the top of the observation deck. It was truly a great experience and a fantastic view.

Spartan Krynica Ultra Course Outline

 

Burpees

Without a doubt, never have I seen such disciplined and proper burpees. In this Ultra Spartan Trifecta Weekend, there are multiple volunteers at each obstacle and are making sure everyone is doing their burpees. They have cameras as well. The participant calls out every 5th burpee. For each burpee, the chest has to touch the ground, and on the return is jumping with their hands above their head. The volunteers will call you out if you don’t. All these strict rules applied even in the open heat. This was the greatest thing I’ve seen for spartan races. All the open competitors are doing proper burpees and all 30 of them! I didn’t see any squats or sit-ups or any of that joke in the race for the penalties. Spartan in Central Europe really stepped it up when I’m comparing this to Spartan Canada, or even Spartan USA.

Spartan Krynica Burpees

Atmosphere

Definitely the atmosphere was positive here at Krynica, Poland for the Ultra Spartan Trifecta Weekend. The festival area was really big and connected to obstacles near the transition area. They have vendors that sold ice cream, food, coffee, beer, and more! A big tent in the middle with the DJ where the announcements were held. They set up a big projector showing recaps of the race and race highlights. Surrounding this area registration tents, medical, merchandise, physio, and sponsored tents.

Spartan Krynica festival panoramic view

 

Spartan Krynica Start and Vendors

Pre-Race Warm up

Also, for every open heat there is a coach from the Spartan training group. These pre-race warm-ups are quick stretches and exercises to get your blood flowing, heart pumping, and get you ready for the race ahead. Many people take part in this every heat. They even have warm-ups for the kids’ races! Adriana, who also completed the Spartan Ultra on the 24th, was providing these warmup sessions all day on the 25th. She will be heading to Lake Tahoe to compete in the Spartan Worlds Championship!

Spartan Krynica Open heat training

Medals and Podium

Importantly, racers received the classic Spartan belt buckle with this one labeled Krynica-Zdroj, Poland after completing the ultra. With this Spartan Ultra being the only one in Central Europe, many people from different countries came to compete. Top 3 male and top 3 females elite competitors also received an entry to the Spartan Ultra Championships along with a bag with contents from a sponsor Sonrisa, and suitcases. The top male and female in each age category received a free entry as well. Alas, the top 3 in the open category received the free entry as well.  With this all said, Spartan Poland adds in something extra. Each top competitor in each division received a glass Spartan trophy. Overall my years of racing, I only saw this done in Spartan Central Europe.

Spartan Krynica 1st place trophy

Sponsored Challenges

Furthermore, Spartan Poland has many sponsors. These sponsors provided tons of water, snacks and sweets and nuts for all stations, and the Spartan team decided to have a few giveaways. The competition here was a dead hold from standing position which you held the water bottles as long as possible. This hold activates your front shoulder muscles. Winner for male and female gets a prize with all said goodies.

Spartan Krynica Challenges

Volunteers and Finish Line

Along with the well-established event, the volunteers in Krynica at the Ultra Spartan Trifecta Weekend were organized really well. First, they knew their duties. Second, they had a training meeting prior to the race. In fact, for any competitor that didn’t bring their own printed signed waiver had to do 30 burpees to get a waiver. Third, everyone was strict on the burpees which was nice to see. They even put some extra love at the finish line with motivated notes on the bananas haha. Without a doubt, nonalcoholic beer, Lech free (0% alcohol) was also given at the finish line, although you could purchase alcoholic beverages at the vendors.

Spartan Krynica Volunteers

Overview

To summarize, Spartan Poland organized this ultra and it was one of my favorite Ultras. Coordination was amazing, the atmosphere was cheerful, and determination to finish the ultra was there! Out of ~1000 competitors over 900 completed the ultra and received their medal.

Spartan Race Beast – Krynica Zdroj, Poland

Spartan Race Poland StartOn July 23 and 24 was the Spartan Race Poland weekend near Krynica Zdroj, Poland  on the ski hill Jaworzyna Krynicka. I raced the Beast on July 23. It was a tough course with many hills and technical terrain. My Suunto watch recorded 22.5km and 1850m in elevation gain. This was comparable to the steep inclines of Montana race (Beast 2015) and Sun Peaks race (Beast 2015).

Spartan Race Poland Hurricane Heat

To begin, the Hurricane Heat started early morning at 5am on Saturday. A group of SGX coaches lead the hurricane heat. It was very early so I can’t recall all the details. There was about 50 participants. It looked really fun! Burpees was an essential part of this.

Obstacles that I believe are different from America and Europe: precision log hopping. There was a total of 8 short vertical logs/stumps in the ground that measured about 4 inches in diameter (~10 centimeters) and about a meter apart from one another.  With a decent pace, you lightly jump from log to log without falling to complete this obstacle.

Poland_bucket_carryThey also had 2 bucket carries. One of the buckets were already pre-filled with a sandbag. The other longer bucket carry was an uphill carry where you had to fill your bucket to the top and start climbing up a hill. If you didn’t think this was enough they also had a sandbag carry right before you cross the finish line!

 

 

The infamous memorization Sandbag carrytest. Each racer received a bib number. Somewhere in the first half of the course there was a board from #00 to #99 with 6 numerical/alphabetical figures that followed. You had to take the last 2 numbers of your bib and memorize the 6 figures that followed your bib number. While climbing the mountain I was repeatedly saying the figures to myself for approximately 1km. Much later in the race (8km later) there was volunteers asking for those 6 figures. If someone forgot their code it resulted in a 30 burpee penalty.

Spartan Race Poland Terrain

Furthermore, the part I enjoyed most about this Beast Race was the technical terrain. There was a long 2km run down the stream with rocks and current. The competitive racers were running through this but it was easy to twist an ankle on the uneven terrain. There was a long tunnel in the water we ran through as well. Let’s just say hydration was not a problem in this race! During the entire race I believe there was 5 hydration stations. Aside from the water trails, there was multiple steep inclines and single track trails. I remember climbing up the hill and every time we reached the top there was another hill to climb, classic!

Other than the terrain, Spartan Races in Europe use the same obstacles from venue to venue. They have a multi-rig but I found it to be the same set-up in comparison from the race in Slovakia and Poland. They have around 30 different obstacles. I found that the volunteers at each obstacle clearly directed you in the correct direction and explained what to do on each obstacle. Can’t thank enough for those volunteers!

Spartan Race Poland Festival

The Festival Area in the venue was in a great open location on the bottom of the ski hill. It had a gondola that went up all the way to the top of the hill for the spectators to watch all the racers as they hike up and down the mountain. It was a great venue. They were selling food, ice cream, and beer. It even had a Garmin tent as its sponsors. In the afternoon, Spartan Race was giving away prizes for top 3 male, top 3 female, and top 3 fastest teams. They were also giving away a couple of Garmin watches, and some goodie bags with protein and shakers.  All in all, it was a great event!


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Spartan Race Europe: Kosice, Slovakia – July 9, 2016

This was my first European spartan race. The Spartan Race Europe in Kosice, Slovakia on July 9, 2016. With about 3500 participants, the race took place inside the old city, with most of the running on cobblestones and pavement. The total distance for this Sprint was 6.5km (that’s just over 4 miles to the Americans) with very little elevation gain. There were no single tracks, so in this race, it was easy to pass people if needed!

Spartan Race - Kosice - MultirigWhen I arrived at the venue, there were already many participants at registration. The lines for registration were very long, but it seemed Spartan had everything under control.

KOSICE OBSTACLES vs. NORTH AMERICAN OBSTACLES
1. Wooden inclined balance beam; I found this easy as there was no mud and the way it was constructed, the balance beam was solid and not wobbly.
2. The bucket carry, which was a pre-filled plastic trash bin with sand inside. The good thing about this was all participants had the same amount to carry. It was really light compared to American Spartan Races, and the travel distance with the bucket was only like 100 meters.
3. Inclined and declined monkey bars. As all these obstacles were made on pavement, I would have expected to see some hay or padding on the ground, because I did see people falling and some even got hurt when landing on the hard surface.
4. Sprint memorization test, which I have only experienced in the longer races. This was where you memorize a variation of numbers and letters according to the last 2 digits of your bib number.
5. Lastly, they had a multi-rig. This was probably the hardest obstacle for most participants, especially in the rain. Since everything was announced in Slovakian, I’m not sure how the rules worked if you are able to kick the bell or not. After watching multiple athletes attempt, I saw one Athlete kick the bell, but he was still required to do burpees.

One thing I did not like was how non-strict the volunteers were at some of the obstacles. I witnessed a participant from the first heat attempt the rig and at the very end he placed his foot on the ground. He then kept doing the obstacle and hit the bell and went to the finish line. That would not pass in an elite race in America.Spartan Race - Kosice - Slovakian medal

Finally, the organization of the venue. The festival area was really good. The medic area, results area, merchandise area, and finish/start line were all close together. The timing chips that were used were bracelets and worked very well.  After the finish line, the gladiator girls gave the sprint medal and sprint pie piece along with the Kosice medal. The volunteers cut the timing chips, and the start time wristbands. Each finisher received a shirt, banana, water, and beer!

The starting line was organized very well. There were two security helpers making sure only the racers with the correct heat times were able to race.

There was also a Charity heat where racers raised money for a cause and were given a yellow charity shirt to race in. This generally only happens at the Spartan World Championships in America.  Once they crossed the finish line, they were given a yellow charity spartan medal. I liked this idea, as I’ve never seen it done this way before.Spartan Race - Kosice - Charity run


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