On September 21st Reebok Spartan Race held their World Championship Spartan Beast in Killington, VT. It was rumored to be the most difficult Spartan Beast in all of Spartan Race history. Having experienced the course 1st hand by running the 12:15 wave on Saturday I can attest to this. It was the most difficult obstacle course race I have ever participated in.
The race will be aired on NBC Sports Network October 19th. This is a first for obstacle course racing. The founders of the series would also like to see OCRs become an Olympic sport.
Today we have 2 of the top competitors in the Spartan Race series, Hobie Call and Alexander Nicholas, to provide their thoughts on the race…
~So guys, what were your thoughts going into this race?
Hobie: Honestly, I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. It was simply too long of a course for how I trained. I even contemplated not showing up.
Alexander: That this race was going to be the most challenging event Spartan had ever hosted… and I was right!
~Do both of you feel you were prepared enough for the race? What would either of you have done differently to be more prepared if anything?
Hobie: I deliberately chose not to change my training for this race, so no I did not feel prepared for it.
Alexander: I did not feel prepared for this race. I live in NYC and there was not any place that could come close to replicating the extreme terrain we had to tackle in Killington, VT. If I could have done it again, I would have hit the treadmill every day with an 80lb sandbag on a 20% incline everyday for at least an hour at various speeds to try and replicate the steepness of the course.
~How do you both feel about the layout of the course? Did you feel the course designers accomplished their goal of designing the most difficult Spartan Beast to date?
Hobie: As an athlete, I liked the layout a lot, especially from the first rope climb through the Tarzan swing. From a spectator point of view, the venues have a long ways to go. Definitely the hardest course to date, with the long steep climbs and brutal sandbag carry early in the race to wear out your legs, and the rope climbs and swims in the middle to wear out your arms.
Alexander: The layout was excellent, very diverse and extremely challenging. Yes, they accomplished their goal of being the most difficult course in the history of Spartan for one simple reason… The 19,000ft+ of elevation changes straight up and down the mountain… no course has ever had this much elevation change.
~What was most challenging about the course? How did you both manage to overcome it?
Hobie: The distance (or time it took to finish). I slept in as late as I could, and skipped my warm-up entirely to reserve every ounce of energy I could for the race. I also started out more conservatively than usual.
Alexander: The mountain itself and I’m not sure anyone overcame it. We all just managed it with various levels of success.
~From an athlete’s perspective what are your feelings about the race being televised by NBC?
Hobie: Well, any publicity is good publicity, right? With that being said though, this was the absolute worst race Spartan could have used to feature to the world. They want to get people off of their couches right? Well, showing the world what is by far their longest, most brutal course is not going to get people off of their couches. It is only going to reinforce the misconception that this is an extreme sport designed only for the most extreme of people, which in reality is not the case for the vast majority of races out there.
Alexander: If this race is produced correctly it will be a hit, if not, it could be a huge flop. Hopefully NBC concentrates not only on the elite racers, it focuses on the “feel-good” stories and inspirational ones as well.
~Is there a chance this sport will make it into the Olympics like Joe DeSena desires?
Hobie: Olympics? Absolutely! But not the way Spartan is going about it. You want to see how it’s going to be in the Olympics, come to my first Extreme Nation race. We’ll show you an Olympic worthy format. 🙂
Alexander: This sport has a chance to make it into the Olympics if the popularity keeps increasing. The sport also needs more officials and better rules and regulations enforced.
~Do either of you have any closing thoughts for the readers?
Hobie: The sport is awesome, and by putting the “fun” back into fitness, it will truly lead to the world’s greatest fitness revolution. Don’t let the “extremeness” of the Vermont Beast scare you away.
Alexander: If you haven’t participated in an OCR event… get off your ass and enter one! They are highly rewarding on so many levels!!!