One of the main aspects of the Spartan Race that is hammered home time after time is that if you choose to take part, you should expect the unexpected. You can watch past videos, you can check out the dozens of online photo albums and you could even talk to experienced racers. It will give you a vague idea of what to expect. Bring those expectations to the start line and you’ll immediately be on the back foot. If the race isn’t what you were expecting, the terrain wasn’t what you thought it would be or the obstacles are not how you envisioned them, you were not prepared for the unexpected.
Bearing that in mind, the inaugural Connecticut Spartan event, held in the beautiful town of Uncasville, is now in the books, with medals around the necks of thousands of competitors. Hosted at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, the race seemed to stay more true to the resort’s lavish atmosphere, with just a modicum of Spartan torture.
The course started and ended in the resort parking lot, between zig-zagging through the parking garage, along flat stretches of small-town streets and highways, and through picturesque leaf-covered trails. The course was mostly flat and favored speed runners, totally flying in the face of some events where mountains, hills and incline after painful incline tested the Spartans.
However, many staple Spartan obstacles were present, including over & under walls, tire flip, atlas carry, rope climb, slick wall, barbed wire, herculean hoist, and traverse wall. Conspicuously absent was mud! The barbed wire crawl was shorter than what is considered “normal” and was on grass. This surprised many racers who thought they knew what to expect. The water pits under the rope climb and the slick wall were lined with tarps, preventing any grime on the rope or mud in the eyes obstacles.
The course was no cake-walk though. The sand in the buckets/bags at the Herculean Hoist was saturated with water, making the obstacle significantly and surprisingly heavier than usual. Several top racers failed this usually doable obstacle, resulting in unexpected burpees near the end of the race. Complacency and thinking you know what to expect again catching people out.
In the end, racers enjoyed a spectacular scenery in a beautiful place, but were still tested to their limits on a course that was a little different than most Spartan events, but just as grueling. In the men’s elite race, Matthew Kempson ran away with a narrow victory of only 7 seconds over Junyong Pak. Elliott Megquier completed the podium in third place. On the women’s side, Elise Fugowski bested the field by over two minutes, with Karlee Whipple finishing second and Orla Walsh in third.
As with all Spartan races, you never know what you might or might not encounter when you sign up, show up and never give up.
But one thing’s for sure: You’ll know at the finish line!