2013 Midwest Super Spartan Race Review and Recap

ropeIn an effort to reduce boredom from yet another race review, this one’s going to be short.  Midwest Spartan in July is warmer than the Midwest Spartan in October (good).  There was an overabundance of extremely thick and sticky mud in the ravines (bad and good).  The up and over hills were relentless (good and bad).  The Hobie Hop was up a steep hill instead of through tires (good).  The Herculean Hoist for men was virtually impossible from several of the pulleys (bad).  5 gallon buckets filled with concrete with smaller pulleys turned this relatively easy obstacle into a burpee fest .  Kudos to anyone who successfully completed it.  Barbed wire crawls were mostly crawls, not rolls, up and over mounds into little mud ponds (good).  Picture an alligator sliding into a lagoon and that’s what much of the crawl felt like.  A new obstacle was introduced.  My best description is climbing up the backside of a 60 degree wall, pulling yourself over the top, and down the other side (good).  Lots of technical running through creeks and ravine (good).  The vast majority of running was under tree cover with an obstacle every time you emerged from the woods.  Conversations of the race afterward revolved around the mud, the ravines, and the incessant hills.  Obstacles took a back seat to the terrain, and when that happens, rest assured the race is challenging.  It was certainly worthy of the Championship Super status it was given.

To me, this race was one of improvement.  Finishing 61st in the elites and 6th in age is nothing to brag about, but it is a far cry from placing in the hundreds my last few races.  The Midwest Venue is the site of the apex of my Spartan Racing career thus far.  In 2011, I recorded my best finish of 24th and 1st in age.  That was right before the injuries set in and I have steadily fallen backwards.  I don’t have my speed back yet, but I noticed a difference this time around when after mile 5 or so I was passing people on both the ascents and descents.  I also discovered that my agility is coming back as I ran several of the ravines bounding from side to side to avoid the muddy slope on the flat surface.  I did not, however, avoid one super thick mud pit.  I mistakenly judged a landing surface to be semi-firm and it was anything but.  I planted both of my legs knee deep in something the consistency of partially-solid fudge.  And I do mean KNEE DEEP!  I was stuck!  At least 2 minutes, if not more, was spent wriggling, tugging, grasping at old tree roots, clawing at dirt or anything else to help me pull my my way out.  There was a point in which I thought I literally was not getting out on my own.  I politely refused several offers of help by racers who caught up with and passed me (no assistance from others in the elite heat).  Finally, I worked myself free.  My new rope-climbing technique worked like a charm up the slippery ropes.  It’s amazing what repeated practice will do for you.  I corrected form on my recent nemesis (horizontal traverse wall) and completed it with little difficulty.  Those two tweaks alone have given me hope for brighter finishes ahead when my training can hopefully resume to normal.

The best part of the weekend…my Spartan family!  Hands down.

Excuse the choppy writing style.  I’m tired and just wanted to cross this off the list.  I now consider it finished.  If you want more details, contact me.



  1. Thanks for the recap. That mud was insane! You should have seen it after nearly 4,000 racers had been through it, which is when I was there on Sunday afternoon. The course was thrashed and possibly slicker in many places than it would have been for the first racers. Or maybe not. But it was SLICK!

    Anyway, I’m trying to remember all the obstacles. Here’s what I can recall in rough, though definitely not exact, order:
    1. Slog through three pools of mud, climbing over the slicker than anything mud walls dividing them.
    2. A couple sets of over, under, through walls.
    3. Monkey bars.
    4. Another mud pool to wade through.
    5. 90-lb. weight carry: pick up 90-lb. weight, cary it about 10-15 yards, set it down, do 5 burpees, carry it back.
    6. Tire flip: flip a huge tractor tire four times.
    7. Tire pull: drag a huge tractor tire out about 10-15 yards to the end of its chain, then run back to where it is anchored and pull the tire back to it’s start point with the chain.
    8. Cargo net climb.
    9. Scale 6-7 foot wall.
    10. Drag cement block around a sandy course of hills and drops. If you were super tough you could also carry a log, but that was optional.
    11. Swim through muddy pool about 30 yards.
    12. Immediately after swim, climb a 45-degree wall that is slick with water and mud using ropes for assistance.
    13. Rope climb. Immediately after the last two obstacles.
    14. Spear throw, immediately after the last three obstacles.
    15. Barbed wire crawl. In muddy pools of water.
    16. 7-foot wall.
    17. Herculean Hoist: Raise 130-lb. cement bucket about 20 feet into the air on a pulley.
    18. 8-foot wall.
    19. Sandbag carry: haul a 30-40 (50?) lb. sandbag down a steep hill and back up.
    20. Hobie hop: put elastic band around ankles to keep feet together and hop up a steep hill, then take off the band and run back down.
    21. Climb up the bottom of a 45-degree wall, throw yourself over the top, and let yourself down. (Spider-Man wall)
    22. Wall transverse: walk about 10-15 yards along a wall hanging on to 2×4 blocks nailed to the wall and ring the bell at the end.
    23. More barbed wire over muddy water pits with slimy mud walls in between, capped by a deep pool with a wall over it forcing you to swim under it and submerge yourself completely before slithering out of the pool up the slimy mud slope with barbed wire overhead.
    24. Jump fire.
    25. Run through gladiators with pugil sticks.

    Does that sound about right to you? Am I missing something?

    • You have much better recall of obstacles than me! The only thing I noticed is that you left out the second barbed wire crawl after the 7 foot wall (#16).

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