Race preview: Spartan Race – Pac West Sprint in Washougal WA [8/8/2015]

2013 Spartan Sprint with my best friend Cari

Every time I think of obstacle course racing, I remember the very first time I ran Spartan Race. “It’ll be FUNNNNN! There’s mud and maybe a little fire and some obstacle thingies! It’ll be really cool!” I told my best friend Cari two years ago. I didn’t really know much about obstacle course racing at the time, other than it involved dirt. But I had persuaded her to be a little crazy with me, and volunteer at packet stuffing so we could both run Spartan Race’s Pac West Sprint for free. I hadn’t really looked into it a whole lot, other than there was mud and tough stuff and it seemed kind of badass. The night before the race, as I started to REALLY look into what the obstacles were like, I started to get a little nervous. I texted Cari and asked if she’d looked at the obstacles. She said no. I told her it might be best if she didn’t… no need to get unnecessarily nervous.

The morning of the race, as we were walking to pick up our bibs and Spartan Race headbands, I told Cari, “I hope you’ll still be my friend after this. Don’t kill me, okay?” Cari just laughed. She wasn’t laughing for long. Things got weird as we got into the starting corral (which involved climbing over a low wood wall), where there was fire, and people yelling AROO! After a few hours, roughly four miles of mountain bike baths, about 20 obstacles, and some sweat and probably a little blood, I wasn’t really sure if Cari still wanted to be my friend. She kind of probably wanted to kill me, and she was pretty sure that she never wanted to do it again. But the good news is that we’re still friends.

I’ve run Rugged Maniac and Warrior Dash, and I would definitely say that Spartan Race has been the most difficult of the three by far. The specific obstacles for each course are a surprise and can vary from year to year, although certain types of Spartan obstacles are fairly common, such as the rope climb, spear throw, barbed wire crawl, and various types of walls. Failure to complete an obstacle will cost you about 30 burpees. The terrain itself at Washougal MX Park is also an obstacle–the hills are really steep, and it’s more like hiking at times. And it’s hot. And there are tons of shirtless crossfitters who resemble Greek gods and goddesses, and who make it all look easy. But one of the things I love most about this event is that total strangers will offer you help. Even if you’re on a team, sometimes you need a little boost to get over that particularly high wall, or someone will offer some advice as how to best approach an obstacle. There are definitely some elite Spartan runners out there, but most of us just try to channel our inner badass (and keep the burpees to a minimum!). The feeling you get when you finish is incredible–I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to have EARNED my race shirt and medal. A free beer is also included in your registration, and free post-race bananas and protein bars. There’s also other food available for sale.

In addition to the Sprint, there’s 1/2 and 1 mile kids races, and a Hurricane Heat–“Usually held early Saturday morning or Friday night (Head lamps and glow sticks required!), you’ll be put on a team, and you’ll finish as a team. No timing chips, no clock, no bells and whistles. Successful finishers earn Hurricane Heat dog tags, a finisher shirt, a Hurricane Heat badge, entry into a closed networking group, and the chance to build relationships that will last well beyond the finish line.”

Spartan Race – Pac West Sprint
Washougal MX Park; 40205 NE Borin Rd, Washougal, WA 98671
Saturday, August 8th, 2015 – Starting at 7:30am, with waves every 15 min
$90-$135 plus $15 fee

Parking: $10 per car, cash only. Please feel free to use our Facebook wall to set up carpooling!
Spectators: $20 online. $25 onsite (CASH ONLY).
Hurricane Heat: Available. Arrive Saturday morning at 5:30am, be ready to go at 6:00am SHARP. Don’t be late!
Kids Race: Available. Heats starting at 10am. $25 online. $30 onsite (CASH ONLY).

Elite Start Time Heats are an additional $30
Confirmed Start Time Heats are an additional $25

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