I was talked into this race by my future sister-in-law about 3 months ago. Having only ever trained for pure road races I was very nervous about what to expect. The registration process was fairly straight forward. Registering as a team was very easy and insured that myself and my teammate could have the same heat time. The cost with a discount code, which Spartan seems to have one floating around fairly frequently, was right around $100. This was on the high end for what I had seen for race registration costs but I was assured that it was well worth it.
Spartan sent emails frequently for the last month and a half leading up to the race with updates on race slot availability, which I thought was unnecessary because I had already registered. However, attached to these emails were beginner's training programs for first-timers and that may have really saved me. Outside of my standard running training program I had no idea what would I really needed to do to prepare myself. A week or so before the race I was able to check my heat times and the website already provided a list of everything I needed to know about race day (when to arrive, what to bring, what to wear, etc.)
Fast forward to race day and I was really anxious. It was very cold and windy, which I was geared for but it made the prospect of grip strength obstacles very daunting. Parking was managed by the Rough Creek Lodge staff and it was apparent that they were very well prepared and experienced in managing this event. We arrived an hour before race time to pick up our bibs, stretch, store our bags, etc. The Spartan community is very friendly and there were smiles everywhere. Striking up a conversation with anyone around you was very easy and made me loosen up a bit.
The first obstacle was actually clearing a 5 foot wall to get to the start line, which I didn't expect but it made things seem very real. The waves were made up of 250 people, which was a good limit based on the total number of runners in the open heats. The start of the race, as expected, was crowded and it took a couple of obstacles for it to open up a bit but wasn't too bad.
Overall the race was 4.5 miles and had 22 obstacles laid out. The course distance wasn't announced until that day and the course was only released a few days before the race. I really enjoyed this aspect of it because the unknown made me prepare for everything I possibly thought they could throw at me. There were 4-5 water stations throughout the course and the volunteers and other racers couldn't have been more supportive. Those who needed help with obstacles always found a helping hand of a passer by and not one person seemed to regret their choice to be running this race. It was a very challenging course but as I was promised, as soon as I finished I wanted to run my next race right away. The post-meal goodies included a banana, a Cliff bar, a recovery drink and yes a beer!
Post-race I received my medal, a finishers shirt, a piece of a trifecta medal and a coupon code (valid for two weeks) for my next race. I will likely not let it go to waste as I have spotted my next race.
If you are up for a challenge outside of your normal race schedule I highly recommend a Spartan Sprint to start.