Miami – Spartan Sprint – December 6, 2015
By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)
This was a last minute addition to my race schedule, I had traveled to Florida for Green Beret Challenge the day before and decided why not travel to Miami on Sunday and run a few laps at the Miami Spartan Sprint.
I had no idea (as did anyone else) how much rain would fall on the Miami/Davie Florida area and make this more a swamp run than the typical mud run.
• Registration and Festival:
At least on Sunday, the registration lines moved fast early in the morning. Both the registration area and festival area was basically under at least a foot of water and although this made for fun times for little kids, the festival area was a swamp area all day Sunday, but to be fair, I am not sure Spartan could have done much to make it any better than it was.
• The Course:
The course was just under five miles total and started out with a short sprint that went up a hill and back down and then into a short section of muddy/sandy water to cross. The course continued on and the first obstacle up was over-walls and then after a long sprint up next where two high hurdles to climb/hurdle over. The course continued on for another brief sprint and up next was 6′ wall and then the 7′ wall and a short sprint later the cargo net climb. It was now time for another sprint and then came the bucket brigade carry which wasn’t one of the harder carries at a Spartan race this year but still was a challenge. After the bucket carry, the course turned and went up hill and made its way to the memorization board, which I looked at fast but figured was not going to be even asked later on in the race and I kept on my way.
At this point after another brief sprint the course came to the rope climb, which because of this venue being at a park was not placed over waste deep water. I enjoyed this climb and was able to do it on all three of my laps, but I will point out that the bells had gotten wrapped around the poles they hung from which placed them somewhat higher up. The course looped around and came to the Atlas Ball Carry, which on such a wet course was not that easy and one of the harder Atlas Ball carries I have done at a Spartan Race this year. A brief distance ahead came the inverted wall, which I always look forward to and then just after that was the sandbag carry, which much like the bucket brigade wasn’t as tough as I was expecting.
The course continued a brief distance and made its way back not far from the festival area and also a section of the course that was completely swamped lands and up next was the plate drag, which was almost completely under water. I found that once I was able to get the plate moving and gliding above the water, it moved pretty easy as long as it didn’t sink into a deep section. Not far ahead was the Z-Walls, which were covered really bad with a lot of mud. Just after the Z-Walls was an 8′ wall to climb up and over that was also covered in mud. The course was at least one foot deep swamps and up next not far ahead was the spear toss, which I was able to do on all three laps and also two additional attempts showing others the best technique to use. The course continued on for a short distance and up next was the A-Frame Cargo net climb, which on all three laps seem to be an obstacle that was busy each time I got to it. The course continued the late in the course theme of obstacles not far apart from each other and a short distance ahead was the Herc hoist, which was not easy for most racers as the bags were completely submerged under water and this made them pretty heavy. I have to point out, this has happened a few times at other Spartan races this year and these bags were not as heavy as the ones at those other Spartan races, I was able to lift the hoist on all three laps without much extra effort.
The course now came to the final straightaway and remained a gauntlet type finish with the last few obstacles all pretty close together. Up next was the Clif Multi-Bar Rig and then a short distance ahead was the barbed wire crawl, and just after the crawl was the “Slip Wall”, which with my Icebug Zeals (sneakers) on was nice and easy on all three laps. The next two obstacles felt more like one as they were linked together and they were Rolling Mud, which was a series of in waste deep water and then climbing up a dirt mound and then the last section of this was the dunk wall, which is one of my favorite challenges and not something I actually personally consider and obstacle. Last but not least was the fire jump and completion of the course.
• Overall Feelings and Event Rating:
Much like my last previous Spartan race (the Dallas Texas Beast), weather played a major role and Spartan HQ had to scramble and make last minute changes with things like parking and sections of the festival area and it appeared to me they did a pretty good job. As you may have noticed from my course section, a lot of the obstacles were bunched up together, but that is an unfortunate part of doing OCR races at park venues as they race director is very limited to where they can place obstacles and also when it comes to some of the obstacles they can bring. I enjoyed the course and I personally thing the swamp sections made it even better and more challenging for the most part.
I ran three laps on Sunday all be it, but I didn’t experience many obstacle delays all day. The volunteers and staff were awesome all day and did a great job. I parked just next to the venue and had to walk from the parking area which kind of blew chunks at the end of the day, but such is life. I am rating the event a 5 out of 5 stars.