Obstacle races such as the Spartan Race, the Viper Challenge, Commando Challenge and the Men’s Health Urbanathlon, are fast catching on amongst Singaporeans.
Why could this be so? Said Steffan Fung, 37, Spartan International Race Director & Director of Endurance and Training Asia, “Running based events provide the lowest barrier of entry to participants. With the evolution of running based events, we see themed runs such as Pokemon Run, Hello Kitty Run, Music Run, Zombie Run and so on. Obstacle course events are essentially splicing obstacle stations into running events. We have seen these happening in militaries all over the world.”
Spartan Race came to Singapore in 2015
The Spartan Race series initially came to Singapore in 2015. Said Fung, “I was in Singapore during the first Spartan Race at Nicoll Highway in November 2015 where I met the Founder and CEO, Joe De Sena. We spoke and he had trusted me to work alongside Spartan Race to help spread the good name here in Asia.”
Having a local version of Spartan Race also gave more choice to Singapore’s obstacle race enthusiasts.
Fung, as the International Race Director in the Asian region, organises and sets up Spartan Races in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and so on. He said, “We have the expertise and know-how to conceptualise, design and manage a Spartan Race from start to finish. I’m also the krypteia (instructor) for putting up Hurricane Heat and Agoge; I have been personally involved with the Hurricane Heat in Singapore and Malaysia, and the Winter Agoge in Vermont, United States, the birthplace of Spartan Race.”
Added Fung, “In Singapore, we have strong partners who help to accelerate the growth of Spartan Race locally. The word Spartan has been coined to mean tough, gritty training. However it also means that many uncertified coaches and establishments are leveraging on Spartan Race name to make quick bucks. To the misinformed public, it is important to ensure that the coaches are properly certified and trained so that you would not risk injury during training.”
Fung himself is a certified trainer in Singapore, spreading the Spartan SGX (Spartan Group Exercise) methodology to other racers. This is the official training programme for Spartan Race worldwide. Added Fung, “We are also the only Master Instructors for Spartan Race outside the United States.”
Lack of elevation in Spartan Race Singapore
And while the Spartan Race may be a worldwide series, Fung pointed out that Singapore’s version of the Spartan Race may differ slightly as compared to the races held in other countries.
Said Fung, “Spartan Race is very much terrain dependent. Singapore has little elevation, so we try to come up with creative ways to make the course interesting for our local racers. Over in the United States, in one of the Spartan Races that I did, the start line was at an elevation of almost 10,000 feet (3,000 metres)! You are already breathing hard even before the race starts.”
He added “But the participants in both Singapore and other countries around the world, are just as tough and gritty.”
Photos are all courtesy of Steffan Fung / Spartan Race.