More than 20,000 spectators and racers from nearly 40 countries will converge on Bagshot near Windsor this weekend as one of the world’s most famous sporting series arrives in Berkshire.
Spartan Race, which hosts obstacle course racing events in 30 countries, is ending its 2018 UK season with a grand finale this Saturday and Sunday.
The record numbers of those attending make this the biggest event Spartan have held here during its seven-year record of staging races in Britain.
There are three main types of Spartan races, a Sprint (5km+), a Super (12km+) and a Beast (22km+). Competitors have to wade through muddy bogs, scale slippery, 7-foot ramps, clamber up 25-foot-high cargo nets, lug 10kg sandbags up steep hills, climb 15-foot ropes, crawl under barbed wire on their tummies, then leap a ‘fire jump’ over blazing logs at the end.
Most Spartan fans complete the Sprint, Super and Beast across a year-long season, gaining the coveted Spartan ‘Trifecta’ medal covering all three races. But this weekend, some hardy enthusiasts are completing the trio in just two days.
The ‘Spartan Sprint’ this Sunday is an ‘entry-level’ race suitable for beginners and is suitable for all levels of fitness. It is also a firm favourite with both new and experienced competitors.
Sam Lansdale, General Manager of Spartan Race UK & Ireland, (available for interview), said: “Our Berkshire race weekend completes a very successful year for us and it’ll be a lot of fun.
“The popularity of Spartan Race events is growing internationally as well as in the UK. We began in Britain in 2012 and this weekend, our season finale at Windsor, is going to be the biggest race weekend in our seven-year history here.”
He added: “A big part of our race is about community and pushing yourself to achieve something more than you think you can, It’s about re-setting your frame of reference, from wanting to sit on the couch all day long eating junk food to going outdoors for a 10-minute jog. That’s your initial step on the ladder to completing your first Spartan Sprint.
“We have mums, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and many others taking part, who are maybe just looking for a new fitness challenge. The Spartan Sprint is an accessible challenge. Even if you are overweight or if you have never run before, it’s something that anyone can do.”
Racers from across the UK have been joined by others from 37 countries who have flown in to take part, from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
The youngest participant is aged 14, the eldest is 71. Runners also include Andy Wallbank, from Hastings, who is raising funds for the RNLI after lifeboatmen rescued his partner’s father when his vessel sank.
Spartan Race, partnered by Blaze Wear, always keep details of their obstacles top secret on race day to surprise racers. Failure to complete an obstacle incurs a compulsory set of 30 ‘burpees’, or squat-thrusts, meted out irrespective of gender.
Spartan hosts 250 races worldwide and has attracted more than 5 million runners in under 10 years. Latest statistics show that 40 per cent of Spartan racers are now women.
Picture: Epic Action Imagery