This weekend I was able to participate in my first Spartan Urban Sprint. This was the 2nd time they have done an Urban race in the United States. An Urban Sprint is very similar to a Stadion Sprint. Most of the “obstacles” are crossfit type workouts like ball slams, box jumps, and weighted jump ropes. There were only 2 differences I noticed from Stadion races I had done at Citi Field and Washington:
- Terrain. Most of the race was on either the street or the boardwalk. But almost a mile of it was on the sand and that slowed you down real quick!
- The penalty for failure was 30 burpees. not 15 like Stadion races.
The main venue was located in the parking lot at the Inlet. The parking was a 10 minute shuttle ride from the venue. There was also plenty of public parking near the venue, you just had to pay at one of the machines for that. There was street parking also, but that was hard to come by as that area is a heavy tourism location, so those spots filled up quick.
The venue was well marked and it was easy to find everything. Bag check, Results, and Finisher Beers were all very close to each other. Because the race was in a public area, anyone could be a spectator. There was no way to prevent the public from coming into the race and venue area, which presented some issues. But it also created some unique opportunities that you don’t see at most races. The ability to be that close to a lot of spectators for high fives and cheers, was pretty awesome! Plus I can only imagine how many people who came to the boardwalk that morning, had no idea a race was even going on, but found themselves caught up in all the hype and excitement. Everything from registration to the volunteers on the course seemed to run pretty smoothly, despite all the extra guests.
Having easy access to everything in the venue area, made for a great experience. You didn’t have to walk very far to get to anything, and all the tents were clearly marked. This was a very spectator friendly course, which made it exciting because you were constantly being watched by a crowd.
The added difficulty of having to run almost a mile in the sand was an exciting change from all the steps in a Stadion race. Plus it was fun doing obstacles like monkey bars in the sand. The spear throw was even more difficult without having sure footing. Carrying a heavy sandbag on the pier with the waves crashing all around you was a great experience.
The finisher beer was from RavenBeer a local brewery. Much better than the watered down Bud light you get at most races.
The crowd having easy access to the race course also presented some problems. Only 1/3rd of the boardwalk was marked for the race with cones, so that meant the majority of the boardwalk had people walking back and forth on it. This also means people were crossing the course at all times, so you had to dodge pedestrians as well. The volunteers tried to keep it clear at points, but it was not possible to do the whole race. I was in one of the earliest waves to go off and still had to dodge pedestrians during the race. I can only imagine how the foot traffic was in some of the later waves. Hopefully it didn’t affect any of the Elite and Age Group waves.
With any race that has each racer doing a set amount of exercises, it is IMPOSSIBLE to monitor all the Competitive racers. So is every racer doing all 15 of a set workout exercise according to the Spartan standard? No. But going into this kind of race you have to expect that.
An Urban Sprint doesn’t come up on the race calendar very often, so if you get a chance to do one I highly recommend it. It’s a great beginner race to bring new racers to, and its great for a Veteran racer as you will be red-lining it through the whole 3 mile race. Also spectators will enjoy it as there is plenty to see and do. The race views are great, and since you’re in a city, there is no shortage of varieties of food and drink available after the race!
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to shoot me any questions or comments. Always happy to help! 🦁