Spartan Race London Sprint Review – Thomas Blanc Winner

Spartan Race London Sprint Review review

28 August 2013

Despite now being quite a seasoned OCR runner I had never completed a Spartan event before so I was both excited and maybe a little bit of nervous for the London Spartan Race Sprint 2013! After getting to Pippingford Park the general feeling amongst everyone was one of pure excitement and adrenaline as we just couldn’t wait to hit the course after so much hype this year about the event.

After recreating a scene from the film 300 (watch it if you’re a Spartan fan) and with motivating Spartan speeches follow by the shouts of ‘I AM A SPARTAN!’ we were off for some serious 5km mud action!

The Spartan Obstacles

The terrain at Pippingford Park is hilly with lots of varying terrain so I was able to pace myself up the first long hill climb (and what turned out to be the longest straight running section of the course) before we were off the main track and into the first water obstacle – a nice muddy pond.

Then we came to one of the first obstacles that make Spartan different, a kettlebell tied on a piece of rope which was attached to a piece of wood. The aim was to hold the piece of wood at arm’s length with elbows locked and twist the wood to wind the kettlebell up and then reverse to lower it down again. Sometimes the simplest things can be a challenge.

This is the point where I started thinking that maybe this 5km race wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought – the unexpected difficulty of the course took me by surprise but I took it head on as did my fellow Spartans (of course later on I found out that the course was actually 7.5km!).
From then on it was taking on obstacles some of which were familiar, such as:

  • A-frame cargo net
  • Barbed wire crawls in water
  • 9ft walls
  • Sandbag carries (I decided to try & carry two… my ego kicked in here – this won’t be repeated)
  • Ammo boxes carry
  • Tyre carries
  • Tyre pull – drag a tyre with a chain around a short pre-designated track
  • Hoist a bucket sized lump of concrete into the air using a rope and pulley
  • Javelin throw
  • Rope Climb
  • Monkey Bars

Head Cam Video

Here’s a video of some of the race – enjoy!

One I didn’t expect was a set of parallel bars which you have to get across without touching the ground, sounds easy? I noticed there were a few burpees being completed as I approached, as I started this obstacle I could feel myself starting to swing so I changed my technique into more of a bounce and this did me well as I got to the end ok. I was really pleased overall to only end up with only one 30 burpee penalty, this was received for failing to hit the target with the javelin, it hit just below the target.

I was really pleased that I managed to nail the rope climb, I struggled to get my feet to lock off the rope so had to rely on upper body strength, and it was touch & go at one point but I managed to ring that bell!

The final stretch saw the monkey bars, fire jump and a climb up a slippery slope before we faced the final obstacle, the Spartan Gladiators!

Thomas Blanc the reigning 2012 London Sprint champion from last year was once again successful and won the 2013 London Sprint in a respectable time of 45mins, I came in at 1hr 29mins so he was pretty much twice as fast as me but I was happy with my time (always areas for improvement!).

Having now completed the Spartan Sprint and seeing how different Spartan Races are to a normal OCR race, I now know what additional preparation I need to complete both the Spartan Super & Spartan Beast & claim my Trifecta Medal later this year.

Well done to the race organisers on a great event to kick off the UK Spartan season, see you at the finish line! #AROO!

Photos courtesy of Epic Action Imagery

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