by Tom McCormack

2012 has been an amazing year for the staff of SpartanRace.  Spanning 11 months and 23 events, and traveling from California to Vermont to Mississippi to Texas and everywhere in between, I know I speak for all of us when I say, “that was one hell of a season!  I need a nap!”

But as most of you already know, Spartan staffers don’t sleep.  Joe D won’t let us!

With that in mind, we’re all back in the office and focused taking the 2013 SR season up a notch, or more realistically, 3 or 4 notches.

We’ve got a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline and we wanted to take the time to touch base on one of them here.  “Project Shoehorn”, as it has been affectionately dubbed by our new President Lee Goss, was developed out of necessity in order to accommodate the overwhelming demand from some of the larger teams that are building for 2013.  With HUGE teams like the Weeple Army and Azn Armour rolling into our events with over 150-200 team members, we’ve been forced to re-think the way we handle the team registration process.

 *Sidenote:  Shout-out to Dave Huckle and the Weeple Army for accomplishing the Biggest Team Trifecta by showing up in SoCal, Sacramento, and Malibu with the biggest team at all three events!  More news on the Biggest Team Contest to come shortly, stay tuned!

Recently, you may have noticed that our first 6-10 events in 2013 are either Sold Out or very close to being Sold Out on Saturday.  Once those events began reaching capacity, we started to receive hundreds of emails from team captains demanding that we find a way to ensure that all team members can run together.  Trust me when I say, “we heard you loud and clear.”  You can stop emailing us.  No seriously, please stop, we’re begging you.  We need sleep!

Obviously, this is a pretty good problem to have, so after a number of lengthy conference calls, Project Shoehorn was born.  Starting this week, we’re going to put Project Shoehorn into motion, and you’ll immediately start to see some changes in our registration system.

What the heck is Project Shoehorn, you ask?

It’s simple.  We’re getting as creative as possible in an effort to “shoehorn” more racers, specifically, more of your procrastinating teammates, into our already SOLD OUT events.  Got that?  Google “shoehorn” if you need to.

So here’s how we’re going to do it:

1.  Adding more Capacity to our Events – For 2013, we’ll be focused on building bigger and better courses that can handle more racers at the same time.  That’s not to say we’re just going to put more racers on course by increasing the size of heats.  Quite the contrary. We’re going add more race capacity by building bigger, wider obstacles that will allow racers to flow through the course as quickly as possible, and minimize the chances for bottlenecks.  We’ll also be developing fast and slow lanes, which will allow faster racers to pass on the left, while still allowing plenty of room for others to move at their own pace on the right.  Fast Lane, Slow Lane.  Sound familiar?  This new flexibility will ensure that we can get your teammates out on course with you.

2.  Staggered Heats – We’ll be staggering our heats for Sold Out events, so we can send smaller waves off at more frequent intervals.  For those of you that were at our Fenway event, you know this works like a charm when you need to get a lot people onto a tight course.  Smaller groups tend to move faster than bigger groups, so this common sense solution will still allow us to get the bigger teams out on course, while minimizing the chances of being stuck waiting at an obstacle.  We want you to see you hustling, not standing around twiddling your thumbs.

3.  “Day Parts” Registration Format – In order to streamline our team registration process and cut down on some of the confusion that comes with trying to organize your friends and team members so they can all run together, we’re rolling out our new “Day Parts” Registration format.

Effective immediately, you’ll have 5 options when registering for a Spartan Race event.

1.  You can choose “Elite”, which will cost you an extra $30, but will provide you with an opportunity to run against the best of the best and compete for prize money.

2.  You can register for a “Confirmed Start Time” heat, which will cost you an extra $25, but will ensure that you can run at a specified time.  If you absolutely must run first thing in the morning because the kids are waiting at home, this one is for you.

3. Morning Start Times – These heats will range from 9am-12pm.  Once you choose a morning heat, tell your team members to get signed up, and make sure they’ve selected your team.

4.  Afternoon Start Times – These will typically be from 12-2:30pm.  If you can’t get out of bed, this start time is for you.

5.  Late Afternoon Start Times – Got a long drive?  No problem.  Sign up for a late afternoon heat.  Nothing compares to finishing a Spartan Race event while the sun is setting behind the hills.  In 2013, we’ll be ramping up our post-race parties, so you’ll be finishing just in time for the festivities.

So what does this mean to you?

If you’re already registered for a preferred start time like 10am, you’ll still be able to race at or near the start time you selected.  Now you’ll be able to get more of your friends signed up to run with you.  Have no fear, we might adjust your start time slightly to get you out together, but you won’t be moved by much.  Make sense?

As long as your friends have selected your team during the registration process, our Registration Team will find a way to make sure all of your teammates are set to run as a team.

That means no more worrying about friends that signed up too late.  No more emailing Customer Service like some crazed lunatic.  No more showing up on Race Day only to find out that two of your friends signed up for the 4pm heat instead of the 10am.  Trust us, we got your back.  Your team will be able to run together.

What should you do now?

Keep an eye on our registration pages!  We’ll be adding more spots to our sold out events very soon.  Tell your friends to get their act together and be ready.  If they want to be able to race with you in 2013, they better pay attention and get signed up as soon as possible.

With this new registration format, we will no longer be able to squeeze more friends into your heat at the last minute.  Once our event is SOLD OUT, that’s it.  No exceptions.

So if you’re coming to SoCal, Miami, North Carolina, or any of our events in the Northeast, now is the time to get signed up.  Quit procrastinating.

We hope you understand why we’re making these changes.  It’s all in an effort to make sure Spartan Race continues to offer the best team racing experience in the obstacle racing biz!  We look forward to seeing you in 2013.

And while we’re at it, get yourself signed up for a Hurricane Heat!  You won’t regret it!

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