As you may know, Spartan as a race is pretty standard, a set number of obstacles from a pick list with say 80% are always the same fixtures and then others being switched in and out depending on build time, terrain etc.
Ape Hanger, one of the newest obstacles was featured on the Super and Beast (not the sprint) whilst the last time I took on Spartan, it only featured on the Beast, so this was a particular highlight. It additionally had the added peril of being over a water pit, so should you fail, you would get wet along with the running penalty loop! Other highlights included Beater, Multi-Rig (damn those ropes!) The longest rolling mud I have ever done (more on this later) a devil of a sandbag carry – up a hill and under a 10m+ long cargo net whilst the penalty for missing the spear was a much longer bucket carry.
A bit of a gaunlet of obstacles included Hercules Hoist, Rope Climb A-Frame and finishing with the Multi-rig (need to work on my grip as I got no where with the ropes)
Old v New
As mentioned, the venue has changed to Belvoir Castle from Marston Trussel. Personally, as much as I like the Belvoir estate, as a course, I think Marston Trusell is much more interesting and varied
Belvoir is pretty flat and has almost zero woodland trails – infact most of the trails are well worn stone/gravel (almost cultivated!). This is in comparison to Marton Trussel where the elevation and trails are much more varied.
Definitely lost on the varied running!
Spartan Super Midlands 2023 YouTube Video
Spartan Super Midlands 2023 image gallery
Spartan Super Midlands final thoughts (elephant in the room)
As a Tough Mudder Legionnaire, I pretty much ran the same route the week before with many of the same “obstacles” with a small variation
- Pitfall became Barbed Wire Crawl
- Devils Beard became Sand Bag Carry
- Stairway to Heaven IS Cargo net Climb
- Cage Crawl became a Wade
- Mud Mile IS Rolling Mud
- BlockNess became Dunkwall
Now, I understand that for pure cost-savings, having Spartan and Tough Mudder at the same venue makes a lot of sense (I bet they’re saving a HUGE amount on build costs)
I also understand the venn diagram of runners running both races will be pretty small, but there really wasnt that much variation between the two – especially if you compared 2021 Midlands races.
However, some of the small variations were quite evil – pitfall (long pit of water with varied depths) turned into barbed wire crawl was pretty awesome – not only was it about crawling through A LOT of mud, but also trying to track a path without a face full of mud. Having to carry a sandbag under what seemed to be 1,000,000 miles of cargo net was pretty evil too.
Rolling Mud / Mud mile was a bit much I think for a Spartan race – especially going straight into slip wall (this is usually the case) but the mud was just too much, where as rolling mud, is usually just a pool of water.
What I think most people didnt quite appreciate was going into DunkWall – in which 10,000 people had gone through the weekend before – it was very, very stinky…..
That being said, looking at Spartan Super Midlands as a stand-alone race and not comparing to anything else, I thought the route was flowing, fast terrain (if you were competitive) with some really awesome views. The venue itself is just off the A1 and so really simple for anyone in the UK to get to.
Scores on the doors
Enjoyable 10km Super Course and the medals are always awesome. Fun and fast course but not sure if it's better than Market Harborough.
- Barbed wire crawl through mud - Evil
- Sandbag carry uphill under cargo net - Evil
- Rolling mud - Evil
- Ape Hanger on the Super course
- Too much mud?
- Smelly Dunk Wall
- Not as "interesting" as the former Midlands course
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