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GNW: Sydney to Newcastle FKT 2021

Spartan Sprint Sydney

The Spartan Sprint started very early for me when I got up at 4am to make the drive to Picton, south of Sydney. It was a non-eventful drive and we made it to the course, with it’s large Spartan logo spray painted on the grass. The setup looked great, I particularly liked the spear targets which were giant wooden Spartan men with straw bale targets sitting at belly height.

I joined the other elite racers at the start line for the 8am elite wave. The MC got the racers all amped up mostly using quotes from 300, everyone was ready to charge and then we were off. I sprinted straight into the first dam and waded through it, then started on the uphill and under the first barbed wire crawl, it was very low… I actually had to army crawl most of it, then back to running up the hill and over a sloped climb (with ropes to help us). Back down the hill and into the muddy pits where there was a mound of mud followed by a water pit. I jumped from the mud pile as far out into the water pit as possible, then climbed up the next mud mound, then repeated the process until I was through the pits.

At this stage there was another woman I was keeping pace with, I’d identified her by the tape on the back of her leg, that and she was a woman and everyone else running around us at that stage were very large blokes. More running, then the balance beams. I’d watched the Spartan Race video on this, so sprinted to each corner, then paused for a second to regain my balance before the next sprint. I left the other woman (Who I later identified as Leah) behind at this stage after the she fell off the balance beams, but she soon caught up to me after I slid off the monkey bars, they were made of scaffolding and I had no hope of gripping them, I tried to use my hands as hooks, but yeah, that lasted exactly 4 bars and then I had 30 burpees… I really hate burpees.

Leah and I were neck and neck as we hit the wall, then the swim across another dam, or for me, it was more of an attempt not to drown (I intend to practice more swimming in shoes). The wall traverse was probably my favourite obstacle as it was just fun as I spidermaned my way across the little pieces of wood stuck to the wall. The trick seemed to be to just switch feet on each piece of wood before stepping to the next piece.

Onto the spear throw, I’d spent a lot of time practicing this in the backyard (much to the horror of the chooks), I picked up the spear, balanced it and threw it into the Spartan target, it stuck and I avoided anymore burpees, the rope climb was up next and that was no worry, It was another obstacle I’d spent a lot of time practicing and I was also wearing gloves (ever since the monkey bar incident) so it made the slide back down into the mud pit easy.

Up a cargo net onto a shipping container, then back down a cargo net on the other side, before jumping some small obstacles and picking up a sandbag for a slow trudge up a very steep hill. I’d lost Leah by this stage, but could see the first place woman Deanna some distance in front of me. Up the hill, then back down the hill and we dropped the sandbags off at the same place we’d picked them up. Next was an annoying run/walk/trudge through what they’d called a creek, I called it a drain. In some places the water was waste deep and in others it was shin or knee deep, however I couldn’t swim at all as there was logs and concrete and a very unstable surface under the water, I smashed my shin and knee on one piece of concrete that I couldn’t see. It hurt, and it bled… I was not happy.

Fortunately the drain section ended, there was a tunnel crawl and short swim across another dam and then a very long barbed wire crawl. The other guys I was running with at this stage all started rolling under the barbed wire, so I followed suite, however I got very very dizzy, and wasn’t sure if I was going to puke or not, also, sorry to the two guys I rolled into. I found out later that what I thought was a straight course under the barbed wire was actually a zig-zag pattern, by the time I’d finished I was incredibly dizzy and fell on my back as soon as I attempted to stand, the spectators started yelling at me to run towards the fire, I was having trouble seeing the fire and wasn’t so sure that I wanted to run towards any fire while I was having trouble standing. After a few seconds I managed to make out the fire and ran towards it, doing a little jump to get over it, then straight to the finish line where I finished in second place behind Deanna Blegg.

I was stoked with the second place finish which also scored me some prize money (it went towards a GoPro). Leah finished a few minutes after me… so we took some photos and I spent the next part of the day watching people fail on the spear throw, which was great breakfast entertainment. I also got to meet Commando. Overall it was a great day and one of my favourite obstacle races to date.


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