The Spartan Race series is one of the world’s best obstacle courses that originated in the United States, with more than 240 races taking place in 25 countries around the globe each year.
And Singaporeans finally got to experience what the Spartan ‘lifestyle’ is all about – with the inaugural Reebok Spartan Race Singapore which took place at Nicoll Highway today.
What the Singapore Spartan Race involved
The Singapore race, which had more than 8,000 participants, consisted of a 6km+ run and 15 obstacles. And failure to complete any obstacle would result in having to do a penalty of 30 burpees.
The local event has the lowest running distance and the number of obstacles as compared to other Spartan Race categories, such as the Spartan Super (13km and 20 obstacles) and the Spartan Beast (20km and 25 obstacles). So the Singapore event was suitable for both seasoned participants and first-timers.
For the kids, there was also a Spartan Junior Race. This had consisted of less than 2km of running with about eight obstacles.
Participants thought the race was physically demanding but they loved it
Many of the participants thought that the event was quite demanding on the body, but they loved it. Said banker Yeo Ai Ping, 37, “It was basically quite challenging but I kind of loved it. The obstacles were fantastic and I strongly recommend people who are into fitness, to join this race because it is so much more than a run. Of course you have to train for it though.”
Agreed personal trainer Muhd. Firdaus bin Mohd Hashim, 28, “I thought that the Spartan Race was very well done. The obstacles were well positioned and it was very demanding, requiring a lot of both upper and lower body strength. I think that it is a lot more fun though, when there are obstacles involved, as compared to pure running races.”
The spear throw was the most difficult for him
To Muhd. Firdaus, the toughest obstacle was the Spear Throw. This had required participants to have a steady hand and throw a spear to stick it into a spearman. They had one chance to do so.
He explained, “I missed the target by a bit and ended up doing 30 burpees. This was the only one where I had needed to do burpees. I thought that the easiest obstacles though were the wall climbing ones.”
Monkey Bars were different to the one she’s used to
Yeo also agreed with the spear throw being a difficult obstacle. She said, “The spear throw isn’t my cup of tea. Also, the monkey bars were quite hard as I had not trained for those – I have only done the static monkey bars before.”
But the Singapore Spartan Race version had hanging monkey bars that swayed according to one’s weight – rather than the usual static version.
In the end, Yeo admitted that she completed so much burpees – that when she crossed the finishing line, she lost count of how many she had done!
Could not climb up the ropes
To 32-year-old PE teacher Jean Chia Gek Lan though, the ropes proved to be the hardest obstacle. She explained, “After the mud crawl obstacle, I was all wet and muddy, but I thought I would be able to clear it (the ropes) easily. I slipped at the last part though and could not climb up at all.”
Added Chia, “The easiest one was the fire jump. It was simply jumping over some fire and it provided good closure to the Spartan Race.”
Memory challenge was his achilles heel
But the memory challenge had proved to be the achilles heel for Fai A Gaffa, 25, an offshore engineer. He said, “The toughest was the memory challenge for me and it caught me by surprise, as I never expected a road running race to be asking you to memorise things!”
For the memory challenge, participants had been required to memorise a fact that corresponded to their bib numbers – and subsequently repeat this at a later stage in the Spartan Race.
Said Gaffa, “I did 30 burpees for the memory challenge. But the rest of the obstacles were not a problem though. Overall it was a very interesting race. It felt more like a road runner’s race to me, with the obstacles adding a nice dimension to the event.”
None of the obstacles had surprised him
Jason Washbourne, 41, Head of Operations at Fitness First, also agreed that the memory challenge was not easy. He said, “The memory challenge was the hardest one – because I did not remember anything! But that aside, none of the obstacles had really surprised me because I had done my homework on them.”
He continued, “Though I trained well for this race, the monkey bars and the sandbag carry were also quite hard, because of their later positions within the race. Of course the first obstacle, the A Frame, was the easiest, because my body had been feeling fresh then.”
A very fast and flat running course
But for photographer Daryl Chan, 38, the inaugural local Spartan Race had provided a very different sort of challenge – as the running route in between obstacles was very fast and flat – this had required the participants to run very fast to clock a good timing.
Chan explained, “I have done the Spartan Race in Australia before and the terrain there was very challenging as you have to keep going uphill and downhill. But the Singapore route is very flat – this is very good for fast runners, but was a challenge for me.”
Would definitely come back to complete a Spartan Race again
Would he come back to complete another Spartan Race? Replied Chan, “Of course! I would definitely take part again,” Chan admitted that he is a sucker for punishment – to the extent that he has already travelled overseas – to complete the more challenging Spartan Super and Spartan Beast categories in the Spartan series.
Also echoing his thoughts was Darren Koh, 25, an office analyst. Said Koh, “Though there was nothing easy about this race, I would take part in this sort of obstacle race again, for sure.”