emPowered OCR – Lancaster’s First Stadium-Style Obstacle Race

emPowered-OCR-at-Clipper-Magazine-Stadium

 

A well-run local obstacle race is a great find. A well-run local obstacle race that’s for a good cause is a gem

 

emPower Training Systems and The Mighty Mehal Foundation teamed up to bring Lancaster, PA its first ever stadium-style obstacle race. The 3.25-mile course took place in and around Clipper Magazine Stadium, home to the Lancaster Barnstormers. 

 

A lot of local “obstacle” races I’ve experienced tend to be more of a glorified mud run than obstacle race. emPowered OCR was a true obstacle race that challenged competitive athletes while ensuring new racers would have a blast. There were even family waves so parents could run the course with their kids instead of watching them run a smaller course from the sidelines.

 

Inside-Clipper-Magazine-Stadium

For A Cause

A lot of people use obstacle racing as an escape from the ordinary day to day. But some people use it to get through their own personal obstacles. emPowered OCR was created to help those people, with all proceeds benefiting The Mighty Mehal Foundation.

 

The foundation was created in honor of Shaun “Mighty” Mehal and provides scholarships to qualified applicants who are entering a recovery house in Lancaster County. 

 

Free Free Free

We all know how most of the larger races go. Need to park? That’ll be $10.00. Might even have to take a shuttle. Want to bring your grandma so she can cheer you on? Open up that wallet. 

 

Pretty much the only thing you needed to pay for at emPowered OCR was your registration and bag check, if you needed it. Parking was provided in the stadium lot and spectators were free of charge. There were even plenty of free samples from local and national vendors. 

 

As with the larger events, each registration included a tech shirt, finisher medal and a free beer for anyone over 21 years old. 

emPowered-OCR-course-map

Course Design

The course was designed by the co-owner of emPower Training Systems and personal trainer, Josh March. The distance came in right around 3.25 miles and featured 23 obstacles. Clipper Magazine isn’t as big as a major league stadium so, unlike those, it wasn’t all stairs. Most of the course took place just outside the stadium, with the last quarter-mile or so being inside. 

 

In the competitive waves, the majority of the obstacles were mandatory completion. Racers were given an extra band at registration and had to take it off if they were unable to complete an obstacle. Two obstacles did have a penalty loop, in addition to mandatory completion and one had a burpee penalty. 

 

For the “Strike Zone Challenge,” If you missed the strike zone net, you were required to do 15 burpees. Unfortunately for competitive racers who missed, the burpee obstacle was shortly after, which added another 15 reps in the hot sun (I speak from experience).

 

There were two carries out on the course, bucket and sandbag, which surprisingly had the same weight for men and women. It felt like the weight would be a little light compared to other men’s carries and a little heavy for women. The bucket carry was about a quarter-mile, while the sandbag weaved up and down the stadium steps. 

 

emPowered-Peak-Obstacle

No Easy Task

For anyone looking to challenge their grip and coordination, that was well taken care of. Several obstacles required bell ringing. “Because I Was Inverted” required traversing upside down across a steel beam from one end to the other. The “Y-Wall” was a fun mix of relatively easy rock holds out to a pair of hanging metal tubes. 

 

“emPowered Peak” almost seemed similar to Spartan’s Olympus due to the requirement to go from side to side on an angle. Unlike Olympus, though, there wasn’t much to grab. The obstacle was made up of vertical 2x4s that required careful transitions and shoes with some grip. 

 

Perhaps the toughest obstacle of the day, though, was the Barnstormers Rig. According to March, it turned out to be a band killer among competitive racers. It required transitioning between rings, baseballs and even a baseball bat in order to ring the bell at the end. And because it was late in the race, many of the athletes already had fatigued grip. 

 

A-look-at-emPowered-OCR-rig

What’s Next?

According to March, the race was a great success and they’re already in the works for a 2020 race and potentially a second event. With around 450 total participants, emPowered OCR definitely has the potential to become an annual event, with some expansion.

They do plan to keep the competitive waves mainly mandatory completion, which personally I love. There were a few hiccups with the registration process, but plans are already underway to improve the process for next year. They’re also looking into a more OCR-equipped timing system as this year’s timing was not set up to show 100% completion and non-completion among competitive racers. Instead bands had to be manually checked among the top finishers. 

emPowered-OCR-top-finishers

emPowered OCR was a fantastic race and the team did a really great job running the event. At no point did I feel like this was a first-year race. It’s definitely one that will be on my calendar for 2020 and beyond!

 

Photo Credit: emPower Training Systems, Jesse Keim, Kevin Peragine Photography, Lindsey Makuvek

Spartan Dallas Stadium Race 2019

Spartan Dallas Stadium Race 2019

A Spectacle of Competition

On June 22, 2019 Spartan held their annual Dallas AT&T Stadium (Stadion) race.  The grand spectacle of the event and the huge turnout left this Spartan with a very different feeling than normal.  This year being my first Stadium Race, I didn’t know what to expect. What I walked away with was a great experience and a newfound love for the short, intense ride that is the Spartan Stadion.

As stated, this was my first Stadium race.   I cannot speak in comparison to previous Stadium races in any state, let alone Texas.  I can say that Spartan did what I feel their goal should be, and that’s created a course full of fun and challenge in order to both attract and bring back new participants who may have never even thought of participating in a Stadium race.

Are You Not Entertained

Much like the Greek namesake (Stadion stems from the Greek Stade) from the point racers walk into the stadium they feel as if they are preparing for a competition of epic proportions.  From the layout of the outside portions of the course, to the set up of vendors, to the display of obstacles on the field, to the imagery on the Jumbotron I felt as if I were in a modern version of some type of Ancient Greek Games.  For the first time in a long time, Spartan made me feel that twinge of excitement that so many feel on their very first race day. The festival area was full of fun both outside and in, and there were plenty of primo areas for spectators to either sit in the stands or walk on the turf to see the competition up close.

3…2….1….GO!

Speaking of the competition, start-up went very well for my age group.  We were carefully broken up into waves of 15 in order to prevent congestion on the short course especially since the assault bike would be our first obstacle.  The one and only Yancy Culp explained the rules of his new Ram Roller Burpee obstacle to us quite fluently. We were allowed to ask any questions, and released on a 3..2…1… GO!  Even without brush and mud, there’s still potential to get lost in a stadium, but Spartan did a great job, of course, marking throughout.

Clear Instruction (every time please)

My only complaint would be some volunteers at some stations assuming we knew what to do at every station,  Many stadium obstacles are quite different, and if you’ve never done them, you need instruction. For example, at the heavy jump rope.  I had to ask how many, to which I was told 15. I commenced jumping, but I wasn’t told until after I had already completed 5 jumps that I had to do them with a red band around my feet (which made no difference in my jumping ability.)

The same applies to the plank/push-up walk. When I saw this small wheeled device, I had no idea how to proceed and I had to ask a volunteer exactly what to do. When elite and age group competitors are in race mode, their minds are on moving forward. I know it may be monotonous, but volunteers need to continually repeat the instruction.

Obstacles

On the note of the obstacles, the course layout and variety of obstacles were extremely pleasing. I summed this race up to many as “lots of great obstacles punctuated by stairs.” From pipe lair to the balance beam, to the jerry can carry all of the obstacles were strategically placed and very well lain out and executed. The course designers did a great job placing obstacles like the jerry can carry, rope climb, box jumps, and the new ram roller burpee pit back to back in order to test participants grip and stamina right to the end.

For All to See

Many of these obstacles sat on the stadium floor and followed by the ring rig and the gauntlet. This made for the most spectator-friendly venue I have personally ever seen at a Spartan Race. Keep in mind this was my first stadium race, but I could see that Spartan put a lot of work into making it an exceptional event.

I would like to take a moment to discuss the Stadium exclusive obstacles. The assault bike station was first and is something that could EASILY cause a huge cluster. Spartan did a great job with each bike preset to a 15 calorie countdown and ready to go. Breaking up the waves into 15 at a time allowed everyone to easily find a bike. I also think it was wise to make this the first obstacle. It went much smoother than I anticipated.

How Strict are We Talking?

The next exclusive was the heavy rope which I enjoyed, but simply wish for better volunteer participation. Next came the jerry can carry up the parking ramp and back which I found to tax a quite different type of grip given the small handle holes. I enjoyed this one. The next exclusive was box jumps. My only qualm here is that I feel it needs to be made clear if full extension (i.e. standing up completely erect) is necessary as it is in a CrossFit competition. I saw many age group competitors performing without this full extension which allows for a much quicker jump. 

A Great Ending

Yancy’s Ram Roller burpee pit seemed to go off without a hitch and I found it a welcome addition. The men had to perform a burpee with the 55-pound roller and extend it fully overhead. The women used a 35. The reps were 15 for elites and age group and 10 for open racers. The roller offers a slightly different movement than a sandbag burpee because of how rigid it is. I found this to do a great job of sapping any leftover oxygen or energy. I believe it is a great challenge and should stay in the repertoire for future races.

After the race was over, there was quite a bit to do in the festival area both inside and outside. Spartan organized the kid’s races well. Booths had plenty to do even if they were just being sneaky about getting your email. The Spartan merchandise tent ran very well and transactions flowed professionally and expediently.

Excellent Use of a Great Venue

These Stadium races are something that Spartan has exclusivity with. They have the wallet and pull to rent out these stadiums.  It is wise of them to use that to their advantage by creating an excellent event. They pull in racers who want to try something new, or who just don’t like mud. They can also bring in sports fans who just want to run in the stadium. This event was a prime example of Spartan doing what they do best.

The elite waves went without a hitch from what I could tell. Ryan Kent and others seemed quite pleased with the level of difficulty brought on by this race. At the end of the day, if the elites are happy and the gen pop are it has been quite a successful event.

http://www.spartanrace.com

 

2019 Spartan Stadion Series Announcement

The 2019 Spartan Stadion Series has been announced and it may bring us some top 10 shake-ups ib both the Stadion and US National Series.  More on that in a bit, let’s give you an overview first.

Back in the fall of 2012, doing an obstacle race at Fenway Park was just a cool idea/bucket list item for a lot of racers. However, we quickly found out that there was more to it than just running around a famous stadium. In this early podcast, we learned all of the built-in infrastructure benefits for the race directors such as parking, concessions, and registration. Soon thereafter, the idea of running in stadiums became popular with a ton of races and not just OCR. “Finishing on the 50” is a concept that has been taken on by 5ks all over the country.

Back to our history lesson. After that initial Fenway weekend being such a huge success, it was no surprise that Citi Field in New York and Miller Park in Milwaukee were added as race venues in 2013. Pretty soon, ole Spartan had themselves a series. They even began “crowning” a series champion, but with little marketing or fanfare. Previous “Stadium Series Champions” are tough to find. We did an extensive search on the internet and only turned up this January 16 article, that we compiled for the 2015 Spartan Stadium Series.

Last April, Spartan announced the 2018 series would have 10 races, bigger payouts, and a reduced penalty of 15 burpees. However, only 3 of the stadium races counted towards the point series championship so racers needed to show up and perform at their best at Citi Field, AT&T Stadium, and Fenway Park.

This year, there will be 4 races that count towards the series championship.

April 13 – Citi Field – NY, NY

May 11 – Nationals Park – Washington, D.C.

June 22 – AT&T Stadium – Dallas, TX

Nov 29 – Fenway – Boston, MA

Plus, stadium lovers can also get their “no mud” fix at the following:

June 15 – State Farm Stadium – Phoenix, AZ

Aug 3 – Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles, CA

Sept 21 – Citizen’s Bank Park – Philadelphia, PA

The increased payouts of $800/$600/$400 for all spartan stadium podiums versus the $500/$250/$100 at “regular” Spartan races will continue in 2019. Plus the $3,000 series top payout will also stay the same.

Here is an interesting wrinkle. The series opens at Citi Field on April 13th, which the same date as the Seattle Super. That Seattle event is the 3rd of 5 events in the US Championship Series. This means certain athletes on the men’s side who could be top 10 athletes in both series such as Robert Killian, Ryan Kent, or The Kempson Brothers (Ryan and Matt) will be forced to go all in on series or the other.

Additional reporting and fact-checking for this article by Jack Bauer. Be sure to check out Jack and Yancy’s amazing Spartan Rankings and Stats Website.

Tough Mudder Stadium Race

Tough Mudder announced they are putting on a stadium race in the spring of 2019. The first event, affectionately titled “Tough Mudder’s Cousin In A Stadium” will take place an hour and a half northwest of London, in Northhampton, England. The event will be located at Franklin’s Gardens, home of The Northhampton Saints Rugby Club.

The original “Tough Mudder 5K” hoped to get new participants by removing fire, ice, and electricity from the “Classic” course. “5K Urban” takes it one step further by stating “The Tough Mudder 5K Urban series has no water or mud due to its city-based locations”. They do promise 5k (3.1 miles), 13 obstacles, and a brand new green headband.

Unlike a typical Tough Mudder weekend,  the “Stadium Urban 5K” will begin on Friday, and end on Saturday. The “Up Late” Friday evening waves will run from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, and Saturday heats will go from 8:30 am to 1:45 pm

Costs: Entrance – £42 ($52), Bag Drog – £3 ($3.78) which goes to charity, Spectators – Free

The Spartan Stadium series has been immensely successful over the last several years. Will we see similar success with Tough Mudder? Will the Tough Mudder Urban 5k make it’s way to the USA? Stay tuned, true believers.

Fun Fact: Once upon a time, Tough Mudder announced the first ever Urban Mudder. It was a 5-mile “no mud” event they called Tough Mudder’s Cousin in the City. We had a great time as you can see in the video below. 

X-Warrior Challenge Stadium Sprint 2018

X-Warrior Challenge

I’ve got to fess up here, and say that I didn’t even run X-Warrior Challenge properly. Here’s my excuse – I was sick. In this picture you can see that I’m smiling, but on the inside I was losing a battle with winter’s last gift – the final supercharged cold of the season. I’m the one without the heavy bag with the shirt on #stuffedcrust. It’s a tough deal for me because I was really looking forward to running this one properly, but it wasn’t to be. Instead I walked the course with these guys and I’ve reached out to the Ocrguychallenge community for thoughts on the event! 

X-Glenn

About X-Warrior Challenge

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

X-Warrior represents the start of the OCR calendar in Western Canada, and after a really long hard winter in Alberta Canada, everyone is excited to get started. 

X-Warrior Challenge began as a fully independent stadium race in 2016 (which I missed), but I reviewed the excellent 2017 race myself here. X-Warrior challenge has now grown to become a stadium event, with the increasingly popular titan multi lap event taking place on the same day, and a Wilderness OCR later in June held at the ‘Boneyard’ OCR compound North of Edmonton. For this year X-Warrior has added a new 12 hour overnight Black Ops multi lap event at the Boneyard event. There are usually kids races available too at X.

One great thing I didn’t realize at first is that there is a free lap included in each race entry! It’s amazing to get out and see the course twice, especially if you failed an obstacle the first time around.

All runners get a t-shirt, medal, and snacks for finishing. Outside of races, X-Warrior also offers virtual runs and races throughout the year, and a weekend long training boot-camp.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Stampede park

The venue has access to the facilities of the Calgary Stampede ground grandstand (read: no mud and soggy waiting for spectators). Parking is convenient, and access to the race ground is simple. There is no need to shuttle, and downtown Calgary is pretty quiet this early in the morning. The course itself isn’t all stadium stairs and suffering. The actual stadium/grandstand stairs are just a small part of the race. The course winds its way through the sprawling stampede grounds, across the river via a bridge, through the stables and outbuildings, and over the race track itself. It’s a fast running course as a result, with only a small amount of elevation change. Not that I ran it fast!

Check out the course here

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Obstacles:

  1. Wall – 6’ and a 3’ wall
  2. Stairs on the interior of the stadium.
  3. Spider net climb up the stairs
  4. Stairs crossing the grandstand of the stadium
  5. Spider net climbs again.
  6. Wall – 6’ and a 3’ wall
  7. Monkey bars
  8. Bucket Brigade
  9. Tarzan ropes (swinging across a gap with 3-4 ropes)
  10. Wall – 8’
  11. Under a hurdle
  12. Tire Town (heavy tire flip
  13. Timber (log carry)
  14. Under a hurdle
  15. Wall – 8’
  16. Sandblast – A heavy sandbag carry that turned into a double sandbag carry (thanks Austin Azar)
  17. Rope a Dope (rope climb)
  18. Climb (Z wall)
  19. Inverted wall
  20. Tip of the Spear ( Pyramidal traverse)
  21. Ax throw (one shot only)
  22. Dragon (Dragon’s back obstacle)

The race features a mixture of concrete, asphalt and hard packed horse racing track. I suppose it could get muddy in the rain, but it’s usually fairly dry and well kept.

Regular running shoes would be fine for this event. There is no need to be obstacle race specific with your gear.


2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

From my pitiful lap, the Tarzan ropes stood out as something new, allowing participants to swing across a big gap between two scaffolding platforms. I haven’t done that at an OCR before and it seems like such an obviously fun and challenging thing to include.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Safety was great in this race too. The Axe throw had been moved into three or four protective cages, almost like a firing range. Participants had one chance to throw an ax into a log from a distance. Failure rates are higher than the Spartan spear throw, but it’s a really rewarding sound when it sticks.

There were also crash mats below each obstacle where there was a falling hazard. It was really one of the safest races I’ve been to. That’s a great thing, but it won’t suit those who want that danger and need the most adrenaline possible. Stadium races are a little safer and a little more sterile than some would prefer, but for those wanting to dip their feet without getting head-to-toe in mud, this is a great place to start. For those seeking muddier thrills, X-Warrior does offer wilderness events too, as mentioned above.

X-Warrior is generally for everyone

I feel like one of the strengths of X-Warrior challenge is that it caters for the full spectrum of abilities, from the endurance athlete to the trained elite competitor, to the strength based athlete, to the casual participant. There was nothing extremely difficult at X-Warrior challenge, but for the Titan race, those obstacles get tough pretty quickly (or so I am told). You can run your own race. Oh, and I should mention that X-Warrior also offers an opportunity to run a ‘Heavybag Strong Lap’, with sandbag drop zones near each obstacle.

Development and improvements

There were only a few minor complaints about the layout of the course this year. There were occasional moments where it wasn’t immediately clear where the course was going, especially for faster runners in the competitive heats. A couple of well-placed arrows or extra course tape could have helped at times, but otherwise, it was very well laid out.

Value

Race entry includes a second free lap for fun, and spectators are FREE! Prices are here in USD.

  • $70 for competitive
  • $60 for open
  • $103.91 for the titan event
  • $23 for little warriors
  • $30 for the junior race

You’ll find that compares very favorably to other races of this type. Parking was $15 Canadian per vehicle, or you can park elsewhere and use the C-Train. X-Warrior is pretty good value.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

So anyway, that’s my take. To round out the recap I thought I’d gather some more from the participants themselves.


Christine Dumont Barr This event is pretty unique for Canada, at least in the West as its the only stadium race (No mud 😊). I feel I get great value for what I pay, because you can run a second lap for free when you sign up for a sprint. The organizers and volunteers set the stage for an amazing day because of they’re energy. Each year they tweak the obstacles a little and try to scare everyone with a challenging new one (or two). This race is built so that people of all fitness levels can partake and enjoy! All in all, xwarrior is a stellar event to take part in. One that I come back to every year. And the new battle ax series this year is going to be epic!

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Lisa Langlois My very favourite was being able to run my last Titan lap with my 12 year old kiddo. He was in the junior race. What an unexpected treat for him and I. I have a passion for OCR and have had him participate in kids races… which are always on the sidelines and never part of the adult course. This was truly the best race I have ever done based on that experience alone. I was so proud of him. 2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Brandy Conlin I was so surprised to see the junior heat being the same as the adult course minus 6 obstacles. I loved that the kids even did a bucket carry and tire flip too. My 10 yr old was very much challenged but felt so accomplished to find out she just did the same course as I did. The volunteers helping the kids were awesome (okay all the volunteers were awesome). The whole event was very well run.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

James McLean I’m excited that Sandbag ‘Heavy Lap’ so quickly gained legitimacy in one weekend through the help of X Warrior – after a year of people looking at me like I had 3 heads. It was amazing seeing so many people try out the concept and genuinely really enjoy the experience. Before the weekend, most people brushed it off as crazy, now it’s truly legit. It’s the genesis of a new type of challenge, something us non-runner, strong, types can thrive at!

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Karen Bailey I loved the fun lap. Being able to run with friends who you competed against in competitive and cheer on new comers at the same time was a blast. This was my first x-warrior and it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. The OCR community is awesome and this event really show-cased that.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Scott Ceminchuk 1st and foremost what an amazing event to kick off the Canadian season off with. X-Warrior stadium was my 1st OCR race. I decided to try OCR last fall. After 10 months of training from scratch, I felt the course had the perfect amount of challenge for a newcomer but I didn’t feel overwhelmed at any point either. I only failed the 2 rope obstacles. The community is amazing such amazing people willing to help you at any point in the course. I will definitely do it again and will be trying out a few of the other races along the way.Scott X-Warrior

Ally Ash  (TITAN)I totally agree with “the community” 😍🙌 Such a great group, everyone willing to help out! Well organized event, even if you are confused or have any questions about anything you are 99.9 percent going to get a response and not wait days or weeks for one. I also love that it’s not in the grass or trees as I have bad allergies this time of year. I completed 4 laps and came out in perfect condition sinus wise 😉 That is a huge win for me! Can’t wait to purchase next year’s ticket!

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Jaclyn Pruett Ung  (TITAN) This was my first Titan and it was amazing! The people, community and cheers were the best. I am glad I started working on my cardio endurance a month or two before, definitely need to keep working on that. I loved the rope a dope climb, the first lap I was nervous to try it (heights and my injured torn shoulder/rotator cuff) but I did it on lap 2 and it was so fun! I ended up doing 240 penalty Burpees and I was grateful that some obstacles had mountain climbers instead because by lap 4 I was running out of steam 😂 I ran 4 laps and will be back next year to take on more! I love the grass roots community feel of x Warrior, much more welcoming than how I feel at Spartan.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

 

Patrick Wilson (TITAN) highlight for me was getting my Glenn hug

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Colleen Ludwig This was my second year attending X-Warrior, I absolutely love this race, the obstacles are great, there’s always at least a couple of them that humble me again and make me realize I have to train harder and or smarter. The camaraderie is by far the best in OCR races. There’s the competitiveness in all of us but there’s always cheers and encouragement from so many racers during the event. Often I pick someone in my heat to challenge myself to keep up too, this year this person noticed, she encouraged my to push harder, and was literally waiting for me at the finish line with a cup of water to congratulate me. I didn’t know her from Adam but we made the finish line knowing we did our best and said cheers to that. That’s cool. One thing during the last 2 years is that there is always a part of the race where I feel lost, did I go the right way? Maybe better markers in some areas. And maybe I missed something but where do you get your race times?

 

Darcy Barrett – X-Warrior was the best ever, with some great new obstacles. Just wish he (Darcy Chalifoux) would make it mandatory obstacle completion for elite and Titan elite. But it was a great fast course.

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

 

 

2018 X-Warrior Challenge Calgary

Conclusion 

If you’re in or near Alberta in early May and you love obstacle course racing or fitness in general, you should definitely attend X-Warrior Challenge. It’s a great version of the obstacle race format that covers everyone from beginners to experienced athletes. You can visit X-Warrior Challenge to see the schedule of races and events for this year.

Photo Credit: xwarrior challenge and Shotsee.com

Spartan Citi Field Stadium Sprint 2018

Citi-Field-Home-Plate-View

Citi Field is no Killington. But this concrete mountain provides plenty of challenges of its own for Spartans looking to push their bodies to the limit. Though this year’s race didn’t have the torrential rain like last year, the early morning racers faced chilly April temperatures and a brisk bay breeze.

 

Getting In

One thing to keep in mind when selecting your heat is travel time. Usually, Spartan recommends arriving 60-90 minutes before your start time. If you’re in a later heat, traveling into Queens, NY, you’ll hit traffic. Also, the registration line may be a bit longer. The benefit of running in the earlier heats means less traffic and less wait time on-site. Parking was run by Citi Field, which meant $12, instead of the usual $10. The benefit, though, was that credit cards were accepted for us non-cash carriers.

Outside-Citi-Field-Spartan

Stadium vs. Trail

This was only the second stadium race I’ve ever done. To me, a normal Spartan is a trail run with obstacles spread throughout. A stadium race, however, is more like a 40-plus minute circuit workout. It completely challenges you in ways that a normal Spartan doesn’t. Sure, it’s shorter. There’s no Twister. There’s no “Death March.” There’s no Bucket Carry. But it still requires very specific training. Completely different from your average race.

Spartan-Citi-Field-Assault-Bike

Obstacles

Perhaps the toughest obstacle for most, is the one that isn’t on the course map list: the stairs. I’m not sure the exact number of flights climbed and descended, but if you weren’t tackling an obstacle or exercise, you were most likely going up or down steps. Some obstacles, like the Jerry Can Carry and Sandbag Carry, wouldn’t even give you a break from those climbs.

 

Some obstacles you’ll see out on the mountains and trails, you’ll also run into at a stadium race. Included at Citi Field were the rope climb, Z-Walls, and Hercules Hoist, to name a few. There are a few that are the same as trail races, with a minor twist. The Spear Throw target is a bit different. Rather than a bail of hay, it’s a foam block. It seems a bit smaller than the usual target. Citi Field also included the Atlas Carry, however, the stone at a stadium race is considerably smaller than the other races. The rings are almost identical, with one small difference: two hanging baseballs at the end before the bell.

One new obstacle to the stadium series this year is the Assault Bike, where racers need to burn 15 calories as quickly as possible. For reference, this took me about 90 seconds.

Spartan-Citi-Field-Awards

Less Is More?

In October 2017, I competed at the Citizens Bank Park Stadium Sprint. That was my first and only previous stadium race before Citi Field. One thing that changed between then and now is the number of reps Spartan enforces. Last year, exercises/obstacles such as Hand-Release Pushups and Slam Balls, required 25 reps. At Citi Field, those and others like the Box Jumps and Jump Rope only required 15 reps.

 

Perhaps the biggest surprise to Spartans was the burpees for this race. Spartan decided to try reducing the number of penalty burpees. That’s right, reducing! Instead of 30 burpees for a failed obstacle, the penalty was down to 15. This was definitely a help for anyone who may have failed an obstacle or two, though perhaps seemed like a punishment for competitors who ran clean races. These rep reductions seem to be Spartans way of keeping stadium races challenging, but quick.

Citi-Field-Spartan-Race

Stadium races are a great way to try something new, especially if you enjoy obstacle races but want to try something a bit faster paced. Citi Field is an excellent venue and it’s easy to see why Spartan comes back each year.

Photo Credit: Spartan Race, The Author