Monday, 10 August 2015

Spartan Race Manchester Review 2015- Sponsors, bottlenecks and a Lack of Burpees

Spartan Race Manchester – Heaton Park 2015

This race I originally signed up just to do the super on the Sunday and so my niece now four and a half was able to see what this racing malarkey is all about.  With Spartan Race changing the date and giving me a free entry to the sprint race I decided to do what I have never done before a back to back race.  Manchester thankfully wasn’t too far from home though was an early start for all three of us.  This was a challenge for us all the first time while I raced. Liam wasn’t marshaling and was looking after an overly active Shanai after her power nap in the journey up.

Tackling the up and over cargo netting
Thankfully for the 1st time ever for Spartan there was no issues getting both me and Shanai registered and headbands on.  Though a quick warm up was time for me to get my 1st race of the day out the way with Shanai racing at 10.30 I would miss her but hoped she would like the run.

All the hills in Heaton Park I think Spartan Race found them and we ran them through the course of the race.  Though I went off in the Elite wave I found there was bottlenecks early on two lots of walls of after another but only two wide and here was waiting at least 5 mins.  This wasn’t the only bottle neck of the day.  At the beginning of the race Rich Pringle was saying having Commanders counting those Burpees if you couldn’t do the task but was found that people still not doing the full amount and personally didn't see many of these said commanders.
No burpees at the Hercules Hoist
My first lot of Burpees was the traverse wall this is one of my nemesis as failed attempts been my grip strength or the sheer amount of mud of the bricks giving grip issues.  You was told not to use the top of the board to hold on yet so many people was and no punishment and I didn’t realise at this time Liam and Shanai was watching and cheering.  The 2015 version of the wall was a Z shape and failed to get to the first corner so Burpees here I come.  I duly counted through my 30 to find out many didn’t do the full  Z  shape or did few burpees and went is  saddening how can you claim your medal when didn’t do it correctly?

Mastering the high walls
With more running through the fields we got to the 2015 Hercules hoist edition this was a flat plate different to last year’s Calor gas canisters.  I opted to try the Men’s weight and the guy allowed me the weigh did feel heavier and harder and such a challenge I got it up to the top…………. Just but no burpees there.  After this I was to find that the Altas stones now been replaced with concrete discs which in weight was between the weights of 15kg and 20kg and if anyone dropped it automatic burpees.  I had no issue with this got my Crossfit training to thank for that.

We began running through Heaton Parks woodland areas and some areas going from part to another didn’t have the best marking and also had a new obstacle dodge the general public, dogs and kids. And a few times there wasn’t a Marshal present to ensure was going the right way.  For me thankfully we wasn’t swimming in lake major relief as me and swimming just don’t mix well.  But we had a stream crawl under barb wire.  Normally these crawls no problem but many people was founding bottles glass and other sharp objects which is a major faux pas on Spartan.  As people was taking great care doing this there was at least 10 mins wait here.

Other obstacles encountered was a Scaffold step A frame with cargo net side, Sandbag pancake carry, Rope climb, two five foot walls and 7 foot ish wall of course the spear throw which sadly that and the rope climb cost me burpees.  Was disappointed there wasn’t more walls to do or the little jump overs.  I did this race in little over an hour but if wasn’t for the bottle necks I think would have achieved a slightly quicker time.

The customary Fire Jump is a Spartan Race classic
With two races in mind have to pace yourself after finishing able to go and have a good picnic of food before was due to set off at 13:00.  I found that Shanai didn’t like me muddy and wasn’t fussed on mud and scared of the height of the kids cargo net.  But non the less she looked to be having a great time.  Especially when we met up with the rest of the Muddy Race gang and having a quick chat on how thought race went and what to expect from the super.

The super was an almost replica of the sprint with more running in an area which basically had rabbit hole which was covered over from the long grass.  When I almost fell into one said hole I walked through this area as didn’t want a repeat of last year’s ankle spraining and The Fan dance race in mind in a few weeks’ time.burpees there.  The super had a tire carry to do instead of the sandbag pancake followed by monkey bars which I can’t do at all.  The woods had a slightly different path and a good slippy bank walk up which was the only time I was thankful for my x talons.  Bottle necks again was flagged up in the same areas and the barb wire crawl was much shorter as finally decided to close off as found out later on a few injuries sustained by some racers.
Jemma and Shanai pre-races

 My best achievement from the super I managed to do the traverse wall right to the end which shows I'm improving.

In short I enjoyed the races. It was nice to soak up the atmosphere but the lack of the sponsors and free stuff which we should have was disappointing.  It seems that 2015 are dry races no beer at the end.  The new team in place have a lot to get right I do hope so with new events popping up wanting your hard earned money they will need to Spartan Up

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