by Brakken Kraker, Spartan elite athlete
When I arrived at Haspin Acres a year ago, I truly had no idea what to expect. As Spartan’s first ever “Founder’s Race”, it was being billed as a sort of return to the roots of ancient Sparta: a primal, stripped down race. It sounded intriguing, but it really didn’t paint a clear picture of what we were to expect come race time. No one had any real idea of what we were about to endure.
A little over half an hour later, I crossed the finish line smiling, having enjoyed almost every second of the race (other than the barbed wire crawl). The experience was very different from my previous two Spartan forays. From the start the “primal” theme was set as we were immediately directed into the frigid shallows of the lake before returning to the course. There was no rope climb, no traverse wall, no spear throw, no sandbags, and no balance obstacle; in truth, it was lacking any one of the defining “Spartan Race” obstacles. Despite this, the course had been a blast to race! It wound constantly up and down ATV trails. The trails were coated in an orange mud, soaked by the week’s rainfall, which made any sort of incline nearly impossible to run up.
And then there was the barbed wire crawl. The endless barbed wire crawl. It was littered with hay bales that prevented you from rolling. It forced you crawl its entire length, arm pull after burning arm pull. And just as you finally emerged from that torture, you ran around a corner and found yourself facing another identical stretch of wire. In your final strides you were confronted with a log barrier that loomed over your head. I watched as many a racer accelerated to the finish, only to find they could not make it over the final barrier. One of the top five racers lost his spot, just feet away from a podium finish.
This Indiana race will be wide open on both the men’s and women’s side, with several of the big names in Spartan Race taking the week off in preparation for the mighty Colorado Sprint which looms in the coming week. Spartan Pro Team racer Elliott Megquier will be joining me at the starting line, we will find out if LeEarl will be making his 2013 debut, and my brother McCauley may just make the drive down with me to throw his hat in the ring.
Race Director Todd Sedlak is making his debut in Indiana and has promised a brand new course completely different than last year, less than five miles in distance, but no finish times under an hour. It’s time to head to the Midwest! See you on the course!