Cambridge News – Thomas Blanc wins Spartan Race Cambridge Sprint

Spears, fire and ice pits – but thousands overcome almighty challenge at Cambridge Spartan Race

Written byELEANOR BUSBY at Cambridge News

  • 01/09/13 . Cambridge Spartan Sprint . Pictured is winner and Spartun Uk champion Thomas Blanc .Picture By Duncan Lamont
01/09/13 . Cambridge Spartan Sprint . Pictured is winner and Spartun Uk champion Thomas Blanc .Picture By Duncan Lamont

Throwing spears, leaping through fire and plunging into ice pits isn’t your average Sunday morning.

But 5,000 sports enthusiasts and cross-country runners decided to do something more challenging at the Cambridge Spartan Race.

The gruelling 5km (3-mile) assault course designed to test the world’s toughest obstacle racers was held at the Carver Barracks in Debden.

The obstacle race tested racers’ physical stamina and mental toughness to the limit, forcing them to grapple with fearsome, military-style obstacles including barbed-wire mud crawls, ice-pit plunges and 25ft cargo-net climbs.

Thomas Blanc monkey BarBefore the finish, a phalanx of muscle-bound Spartan warriors armed with pugil sticks tried to sweep runners to their feet.

There were around 10,000 people from all over the world – including participants and spectators – at the army base near Saffron Walden from 10am on Sunday.

The race was organised in heats of 500 people which took off every half and hour.

Thomas Blanc was the overall winner of the day after completing the challenge in just over 43 minutes.

Spartan Races, the obstacle race series, now hold 100 events worldwide in 22 countries.

Their first event in Britain was held in Cambridgeshire at the British Army training facility at Bassingbourn Barracks three years ago.

Richard Lee, 31, the director of Spartan Race UK and designer of all the courses UK, said the event was “fantastic”.

Richard, a former Royal Marine Commando who lives just outside Ely, said: “We had a really good turnout and it has been a very successful day.

Thomas Blanc Fire obstacle“We have had fantastic feedback from participants. They loved the course.”

Richard spent years undergoing gruelling exercises at the Commando Training Centre for the Royal Marines before winning the Death Race in America.

Richard, who grew up in Stretham, added: “I wanted to take the unpredictability and obstacles from the death race and create a new race that was more accessible to people.

“I would love to find a site closer to Cambridge centre but there isn’t as much space to play with.”

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