So after Greek Peak, this weekend is the second Spartan race event in our area. This was my fourth year returning to Citi Field. The weather is always unpredicatable for this time of year, but this race is usually wet and cold. This race was no exception, as it poured buckets before the race and didn’t turn to a light mist till around 7 am. Luckily it warmed up quick afterwards, and the later laps had a dry and warm race.
Citi Field is always a nice venue for a race. It’s a newer stadium right off of the highway. Parking is charged by the venue, so you have to have the $15 in cash. No prepaying for parking. This venue almost always sells out and this weekend was no exception. There were signs at the registration table advising people of this. With any stadium race, you have the bag check and metal detectors to go through. So make sure you get to these venues early, as those lines can get very backed up. Stadium races always have plenty of bathrooms as well, which is kindof nice that you don’t have to use a porta potty. There aren’t any changing tents because there’s plenty of bathrooms. Also, stadium races do not have any mud or water, besides the rain, so you shouldn’t be very dirty besides your sweat and maybe a little dirt from the warning track.
Since the race starts inside the stadium, the corrals are very different from normal races. They put 15 people in each corral, and send a wave off every 60 seconds. So even when you race Age Group, the people in your corral are not all of the people in your Age Group. It’s a good way to keep everyone spaced apart and try to prevent bottlenecking.
With a stadium race, you won’t see some of the bigger obstacles like Twister or Bender. Most of the “obstacles” are workouts instead like slam balls and box jumps. So it kind of feels like a Crossfit workout. But you also get the added benefits of being on the field and in the locker rooms of a professional sports team, which can be a huge selling point for some people. The free post-race beer was provided by McFaddens, on the stadium grounds. However they quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of racers who were there, When I got there at 2pm the wait for food was over 2 hours. Not Spartans fault obviously, just kind of surprising a venue that was aware that thousands of people would be visiting, was not properly staffed.
The course was well designed. Felt like we traveled through every part of the stadium and some of the outside. There were multiple paths through the rows to help prevent bottlenecking and to enable racers to pass. The course was well-marked and there seemed to be a ton of volunteers on hand. They had a water station every mile, which seemed like overkill to me, but better that way than the opposite. When I ran through on my Age group lap I saw multiple officials and volunteers at obstacles, which was good to see.
So this year they changed the branding of the Stadium races to Stadion. They changed the medals to a yellow color and advertised a unique experience. So I was hoping to see some changes to the format from previous years. Well nothing changed. It was the exact same race obstacle wise and only the paths were different from previous years. The only change was getting a Stadion medal and Finisher shirt. So it was very disappointing that no changes were made at all, despite the huge name change announcement.
I was racing in one of the first Age Group heats, and when I got to the water jug carry, there were no water jugs. I had to stand there and wait for a minute or so for someone to bring theirs back. This is unacceptable in a competitive race. There needs to be enough of the carry obstacles for the racers to not end up standing around waiting. Otherwise this gives a clear racing advantage to the racers fortunate enough to start in the early Age Group waves.
Lastly, the Finisher shirts. I love that they are made by Craft and have a more athletic fit. However, that huge Rakuten symbol is a big eyesore. When Reebok was a sponsor, their symbol was small but it also fit the shirt since they are a brand known for athletic gear. But these shirts don’t clearly look like Spartan shirts, they look like a Rakuten shirt, and I think that’s a big marketing mistake.
By chance, I happened to run into Joe Desena and gave him a high five. So that was kinda cool.
Thanks again for reading. If you have questions or comments, please let me know. Also if you have ideas for a blog post I should write, let me know!