12,000 Spartans at Citi Field 

by David Magida

David Magida is a member of the Spartan Race Pro Team. In 2012 he finished 9th in the Spartan Race Points Series and has already recorded five Top 5 finishes in 2013 alone.

I began competing in obstacle racing in 2011 and I immediately knew the sport would grow. But never did I imagine 12,000 people at one race. Yet, April 13, 2012 marked an historic milestone for the sport as 12,000 eager athletes toed the line at the Reebok Spartan Race Citi Field event.  The stands began to fill up. The concourses were overflowing with people. And the crowds began to work their way toward the start line.

This was my first stadium event and my first in a time trial format as well. Generally I’m happy on the trails, tearing through mountains, crossing streams and gliding along on courses designed to suit the runners. This course, on the other hand, was short and highly intense, with a great deal of strength required. The terrain was perfect. The hard concrete allowed me to run fast while conserving energy for the obstacles. The running felt comfortable and it was exciting to fly up and down the concourses, ramps and stairwells.

I’m not sure how many flights of stairs we climbed, but it was enough to leave my legs sore for the next 48 hours. Unique obstacles such as heavy ball slams, heavy jump rope, water jug carries, rowing machines and a peg wall added a unique challenge and helped level the playing field for non-runners. As did the Hobie Hop up four flights of stairs.

Around every corner were new challenges. Monkey bars with smaller grips. Four consecutive 6-foot walls with room enough only to land and jump again. As is their usual fashion, Reebok Spartan Race thought up a number of sick and twisted ways to inflict delicious pain upon the competitors, yet left them proud of themselves and eager to race again once they finished.

Because when you come out of that tunnel and begin your final sprint around the warning track, all you can think of is how incredible it is that you just ran such a grueling race in a professional sports stadium. And you wish it wasn’t over.

I left New York City with a souvenir: Some dirt from Citi Field ground into my shoes and a little blood on my shin. That’s what Spartan Race is all about. Job well done to the Spartan staff and volunteers on an incredible race. I’m looking forward to the next one at Citizen’s Park.

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