08 December 2019

Challenge five completed! Seven to go…

October 21, 2011

Last weekend,  Sportsister’s editor Louise Hudson, joined me and some friends to take part in my fifth challenge – the London Spartan Sprint. This was a challenge I was both very excited and nervous about. This was because precise course details were being held in the utmost secrecy until participants met them face to face. However, after watching the promotional video from my last blog post, I had a fair idea of what might be expected.

We were warmed up by the BMF (British Military Fitness), which not only involved warming up our muscles, but also our voices with Spartan warrior cries – AROO! The course was 5km long, and included 20 unique obstacles that tested our strength, ingenuity and animal instinct along the way. The obstacles were all quite demanding but exhilarating and fun to tackle, giving us all a great sense of achievement overcoming them, with a little help from our adrenaline.

The first obstacle involved ducking under some horizontal pillars and then a series of vertical walls to jump and climb over. The last of these was extremely high and encouraged Spartans to stick together and work as teams to help each other over. This was then quickly followed by embracing the warrior within, and diving into cold mud pools and scrambling along the floor under a ceiling of barbed wire.

Climbing the slippery wall         Crossing the lake

Climbing the slippery wall ǀ Crossing the lake

After being caked head to toe in mud, our group proceeded to scramble up several steep climbs, perform countless amounts of burpees directed by BMF Spartans (the scariest of all instructors), lift logs with rope pulleys, clamber over slippery muddied cargo net walls to eventually reach the tyre hurling station. We had to attempt to hurl a heavy tyre over a wooden pole, failing miserably resulting in more burpees.

The next set of obstacles included going through a second mud and barbed wire tunnel scramble, this time a lot further, and then take part in a spear throwing contest. After which, followed two climbs up another two steep hills; the first one carrying a sandbag, the second a tyre. This all may sound hideous, but looking around you would be pushed to find any participant without a huge grin or look of enthusiastic determination across their muddied (and sometimes bloodied) face.

Taking on the Gladiators        The mighty Spartan team - Aroo!

Taking on the Gladiators ǀ The mighty Spartan team - Aroo!

Feeling quite pleased with ourselves, we then realised we were coming close to the finishing section, and then remembered what we had in store. In the final set of obstacles we had to scramble through a dark tunnel, followed by a scramble over ice cubes under a ceiling of barbed wire and then balance our way across some buoyant barrels, tied together with rope before jumping into a freezing cold lake and swimming under some more barrels.

After emerging wet (but a lot cleaner) the next obstacle involved jumping over fire, climbing over a slippery wall using ropes, and some tyre hopping. Then taking a minute to compose ourselves we braced ourselves for the one obstacle we had heard of – the Gladiators. Two giant muscle-clad Spartans armed with gladiator batons attempted to stop you passing by using their (padded) batons to knock you off your feet. Then last but not least, the final obstacle involved you using your hands to form a circular ring to follow some wire to the end. However, the small problem was that it was electrical wire and if you touched it you were in for a nasty shock!

This was definitely the best event for me so far, as I felt I overcame a lot, pushed myself out of my comfort zone and embraced my inner warrior within. It was also a hell of a lot of fun! The group I did it with made it the fantastic experience it was.  I would certainly advise everyone and anyone to register in one of the Spartan Races across the UK in 2012. It is a great one to do as a group as experiencing it with friends makes it that little bit more fun.

Me and Louise finished the race in one piece

Louise and I finished the race in one piece

To find out more about my experience of the London Spartan Sprint, check out Sportsister’s features section for the event review coming soon!



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  1. Pingback: Event review: London Spartan Sprint | Sportsister

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About Clarissa’s blog

Follow me as I attempt to take on a different challenge every month for the next year from cycling, running, swimming to dancing, abseiling challenges….with as much variety as possible! I’m taking part in these challenges in the memory of my father who inspired and made me the sport fanatic I am; and raising money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in his honour. Follow my journey through the highs and lows of my training, reviews of the events I partake in, and be part of what I am sure will prove to be a tough, yet exciting and fulfilling year!


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