Beware the rant.
Within a week after my first Spartan Race, I was already signed up for another. Then 3 more. By the end of 2012, I was already signed up for the 2013s. By the end of 2013, I hadn’t signed up for single 2014 Spartan Race. I was registered for 7 other races, between road and OCRs, but no Spartan Races. When I received an email from Spartan Race saying that the Tuxedo Sprint price was going to be increasing today, I found myself sitting there thinking about whether or not I really wanted to even bother registering for a Spartan this year. Jay and I spent a long time last night talking about our future with the OCR series that we have been so devoted to for the last 3 years. Here are some of the things that came to mind:
- We didn’t enjoy them nearly as much in 2013 as I did in 2012. The last ones I did seemed to be a whole lot of hauling ass up and down ski slopes and a lot less of good quality obstacles. Carrying a stone a few feet, doing burpees, then carrying the stone back is not an obstacle in my book. And while on the topic of burpees: they are a punishment and should not be used as an obstacle.
- We found the overall quality of my last Tuxedo Sprint and NJ Super to be lacking in respect to the ones of just a year prior. They were a lot easier and were more like long trail hikes then obstacle courses. My first 5 were a blast, but the last 3 really were just blah in comparison.
- On the other hand, Mister Course Designer went in the complete opposite direction with the Vermont Beast, making it a course to ‘punish the elites’. If the elites are being punished, what the hell does that mean for the average Spartan or the person who just tore themselves off the couch to work their way up to a Trifecta?
- If you are going to pride yourself on difficulty and the fact that, unlike other events, there are penalties for failure, how about enforcing it? There should never be participants walking around obstacles and continuing down the course while volunteers just sit there and watch them. If you walk around an obstacle, there should be someone on you making you do burpees. There very rarely is. Without that, the race is no different from a Tough Mudder.
- Oh wait, you know where there are volunteers/staff making you do your burpees? Down where the spectators and film crews can see it. Come to think of it, that’s where all the obstacles were, too. Most of the rest of the course was just steep ascents and crumbling rock faces. Hmmm….
- This may seem trivial or that I’m being a cheap bitch (cuz I am), but the discount codes we were given after completing our races, were a lot crappier than before. You would think that with the growing popularity and tens of thousands of new people registering, they could afford to give the returning finishers a better deal.
- TWO Years in a row of not having enough Trifecta medals in Vermont for the amount of people attempting it. Seriously? For 2012, the rumor was that someone stole a box of the medals off the back of the truck. Sounded fishy, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. For 2013, the guy we spoke to claimed that their computer program only generated one page of the multiple pages of people eligible for the Trifecta for the weekend, so they only ordered for that one page. What? After the drama that ensued in 2012, you would think they’d be extra concerned about getting it right in 2013.
- On the topic of medals, they went and changed the medal design. Each level of the race would be one wedge of a circle that would become the Trifecta medal. (Solves the problem of the missing medals.)
The idea is pretty cool, but only if you intend on doing all 3 levels. If you only do a Sprint, you have a piece of a medal with the tippy top of a helmet on it. Now, instead of representing the huge accomplishment that it is for most people, it is a representation of what you didn’t do. The redesign wouldn’t be such a big deal, after all, it is just a medal, but the way they went about it was not cool. They had asked the Spartan public for approval on the new medal. Every comment I saw indicated that pretty much no one liked the new design, but they changed it anyway. Why the hell did you ask our opinion if you were just going to do what you wanted anyway?
What do all these things mean? To me and Jay, it means that the goal of Spartan Race has changed from ripping people off the couch for a healthier lifestyle to ripping people off the couch because it’s easier to get to their pockets that way. It has become a sufferfest with every ounce of joy and fun taken out of it.
I don’t want to do a Spartan Race this year. If the whole thing reached critical mass and imploded in on itself, I don’t think I’d care (or be surprised, for that matter.) But we signed up last night anyway. We registered for the Tuxedo Sprint again. And since we don’t want a third of a medal hanging our from our medal displays, we’ll do a Super and a Beast, as well. Why? Because I want to prove that I am not just some dumb, weak, whiny bitch that is complaining that it got too hard (because I know that’s what some people reading this might think.) I have to find out if I changed or if the race changed.