Guest Blogger: Anne-Marie Berte
I arrived at the Georgia International Horse Park on Saturday, March 10 not knowing exactly what to expect other than what I had seen on the Spartan Race webpage. There was a lot of excitement in the air, as nearly 4,000+ competitors showed up for the event.
I immediately could tell that all of the competitors had a taste for adventure and were ready and willing to get down and dirty in the muddied obstacle course. Hardcore athletes, runners, men, woman, students – all across the board the competitors were a diverse group and ranged in age from 20s to 60s.
The race was a challenging obstacle course through the Olympic mountain bike course totaling approximately four miles. The course was set up with the first 1.5 miles running through the forest with rolling hills, through a 1/4 mile muddy and cold creek bed, all while setting competitors up for the famous mud crawl under the barbed wire fence. As you approached this section of the event, there was someone hosing down the area with water to make sure it was good and muddy.
I met contestant Greg Ford, age 48, who had his technique of getting through the course down pat.
“I was able to immediately go faster without having to worry about getting caught up in the barbed wire when I moved into what I call my “back-stroke,” where I literally laid on my back and pushed with my feet, while utilizing my arms to pull myself along. This turned out to be the best technique of all. I literally “swam” on top of the mud and passed the competition while getting up on a plane atop the mud.”
The next 2.5 miles of the course had more obstacles than the first half such as rolling hills and a lower swamp area where the water was waist deep. Some of the obstacles on the back half of the course included: spear throwing, concrete bucket pull, concrete block pull, varying fences (4-10 feet high) to climb over, 50 lbs. sand bag carry, rope climbing and wall climbing. The final obstacle was to run past several Spartan gladiators wielding large batons whose purpose was to attempt to knock participants down.
I was able to catch up with Ford again at the end of the race. He was covered in mud from head to toe. “I had a blast,” Ford said. “I will definitely do it again next year!” Ford finished 1:26 overall (overall winner was at 0:41 minutes in the Elite category).
For more information about fun upcoming races, make sure to visit Best Self’s event calendar!
Anne-Marie is inspired to help others lead more balanced lives through education and the promotion of wellness based programs. Following her passion for health and wellness, she became a Certified Personal Trainer and has played upon those strengths in her various professional positions of sales/marketing in the fitness and spa industry, fitness based events and corporate wellness programs. She genuinely cares for other people and is the “go-to” girl to friends and clients regarding exercise and diet.
Follow her on Twitter: @am_sunshine