Todd from Tampa got in touch with Spartan Race and wanted to share what was on his mind

Well, it’s Sunday, post Spartan Race day, and as a family we have a overwhelming feeling of accomplishment within us. If you have a moment, we would like to share our experience with you. We have shared our start up story with you, but here is our pre-Spartan timeline.

My wife and I have been traveling around Florida bouncing from mud run to OCR events for the past two years because we needed a healthier, more enjoyable lifestyle. This lead us to finding complacency in the lower level or over hyped runs. We quickly found ourselves moving further and further up the leader boards, and in the past 4 months, we decided to step up our game. We decided to move forward with the competitive beast inside us and take on the top tier races.

Basically, we put our foot in the water and it wasn’t too cold. This lead us to Spartan Race Special Ops Tampa. From first hearing about Special Ops we were filled with excitement and anticipation – we now had a game plan and set schedules for excessive training and changing of meal plans.  Oh boy, did we train, along with participating the 30 burpees for 30 days challenge. Then job confusion, illness and a last minute injury hit within the last three weeks of race day. Days before the race we asked each other if we were ready and our response “HELL NO”. So what to do? Wife decided to run with a partner and I decide to JUST FINISH, both for the first time.  Neither of us were happy with this but we STFU and went with it. To be honest, with my injury from the weekend before at The Hobie Call Challenge, I didn’t make the decision to run until right before my 8am start time.

Special Ops Tampa started with a 120ft round about running climb with a cargo net near the top which I dubbed as the ‘time chip snatcher’, I had to pick mine and a few others out of it.  Next, a few short walls continuing on into the stadium stairs and stairs and more stairs. Lets just say lots of up and down stairs with several obstacles in between, which included 7ft wall, 8ft wall, sandbag carry up and down the stadium stairs, transverse wall, another 120ft round about run climb or 15 burpee option (nice touch, for your information and no I didn’t fall for that one), and a rubber band around the ankles hop up and down stairs. During the rubber band obstacle I told the racers around me, “if my mom could only see me now”. WE LOOKED FOOLISH. Oh – did I mention there were stairs?

Then on to the field. First, a Nerf football throw in a 50gal drum (20kt wind),  then a 280ft barbwire crawl though dirt mounds smoke and military debris. I still have dirt falling out of my body from that crawl. Next, we left the stadium to the north parking lot which housed the last quarter of the race. Up next was the concrete pulley pull, which was hard if you didn’t keep your chin behind your torso, a 20yard 100 pound concrete ball carry with 5 burpees, then back 20 yards – the wife hates you for that one – multiple mud hills, weighted ammo boxes, inverted wall , spear throw (20kt wind), rope climb out of water and slippery wall climb. This actually brought a tear to my eye when I watched three racers help another racer try to get over it for 25 minutes. Then there was a fire jump and then the gladiators.  Lastly, I must mention BURPEES. Spartan Races’ golden gem, 30 burpees if you don’t complete an obstacle was just the icing on the Spartan cake.

I may have missed some or some may be out of order but this is what is locked in the old brain.

I could carry on and on about our experience. Thank you from the Anderson family.
We did find out at the finish line.
AROO

Todd from Tampa

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By Christopher Rutz

Palm trees, cool breezes, and sunshine are not what most of the rest of the country are experiencing this time of year. With winter storm after winter storm blasting the Midwest, East, and West coasts most people are bundled up tight trying to stay warm. It was a welcome change this weekend for those that traveled to Florida for the Spartan Tampa SpecOps Sprint, the first ever run in Tampa. While the weather was a little wetter than most were expecting it was still much warmer than the rest of the country, and made even more so by the sweat, mud, obstacles and fire participants would soon be subjected to as they descended on Raymond James Stadium. 

The Tampa Special Ops Stadium Sprint race took place this past Saturday in beautifully tropical Florida. While most of the country was experiencing more snow and cold temperatures Florida’s Spartans, and many snowbird Spartans, were out in force to take on the course. Registration topped 6000 racers and Raymond James Stadium was transformed from a Buccaneer Den to Spartan battle ground. Unique obstacles in this Special Ops race included and ammo can farmers carry, a football toss into a barrel, a sand barbed wire crawl the length of the field, and a cammo net crawl. There was also a “gamble” in this race, which forces the racers to choose harder and shorter or longer and faster course options.  In addition, finishers were awarded a unique Special Ops finishers medal.

The mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn, was in attendance to help kick off the day along with many distinguished military service men from MacDill Air Force Base.  The day started out with the Elite heats under tropical winds and a quick rain shower.  The men’s race included six members of the Spartan Race Pro Team, Hunter McIntyre, Brakken Kraker, Elliott Megquier, Christopher Rutz, David Magida and Alexander Nicholas. Other top competitors included Isaiah Vidal, Brandon Dupont and Dennis Smith. Due to some misdirection on the course the men’s field split with some taking alternate courses to finish the race. Fortunately there was timing mat at the point of the misdirection so mid race results can be used for scoring. At this point in the race Brakken, Hunter and Isaiah were in the top three spots. When the elite men finished up their heat and it was realized that many did different routes it was decided to run again for the prize money. So with that 30 or so of the top Elite racers went back up in the Stadium to complete the course from the misstep. In the end the top placing went to Isaiah, followed by Hunter and then Brakken.

On the women’s side, they were able to stay on course and ran the race as intended. First place went to Cassidy Watton, followed by Spartan Pro Ameila Boone and then Kailee Whipple.  $7,000 in Prize money was awarded to the Top 3 men and women courtesy of Navy Federal Credit Union.

After the elite heats concluded the open waves took to the course. The weather was cool, for Florida, with sunshine and a breeze for most of the day. This was the first Spartan Race in Tampa and first one  ever run in a football stadium. For those thinking they would stay dry, they were wrong.  Spartan took advantage of the outside and created rolling mud. The challenge intensified with the Herculean Hoist, Atlas Carry (a concrete ball – 100lbs for men and 60lbs for women – carried a distance, a required 5 burpees, and then carried back), an inverted wall climb, an ammunition box carry, the ever-daunting spear throw (a challenge that dished out burpee penalties for many throughout the day), and the dreaded rope climb. Finally, with a triumphant leap over fire, racers victoriously crossed the finish line to receive their one-of-a-kind Special Ops medal and Spartan Sprint trifecta piece.

Not only were adults able to claim their Spartan victory, but a ½ and full mile kids race was also available for children aged 4 through 13. Small Spartans were sent out at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm, giving them the opportunity to take on a course designed just for them, and to earn a medal all their own.

While we are sure you are more than a little jealous of your fellow Spartans run in the (kind of) sunny state of Florida don’t worry. To join in on the next race go to spartanrace.com and sign up for a race in your area (or someplace warmer than your area…it’s your choice).

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This weekend sees Spartans from across the country descend on Tampa, excited at the prospect of the first of its kind Special Ops themed race. Raymond James stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will reverberate to the echoes of AROO and almost certainly one or two shrieks and yelps of pain, as those who have spent the last few months training for this event push themselves just that little bit harder. 

Taking in a course of around 4 miles – you know we’re not giving away the exact distance – competitors will experience the gnarly terrain that we all know and love, coupled with the physical beating that the stadium so happily deals out with carefree abandon. Naturally, those taking part can expect their legs to take a little punishment as the steps of the stadium beckon them forward with a malevolent grin. Additionally, upping the ante just a little, some obstacles that await those attacking the course will be designed with maneuvers and strategy by Special Ops forces.

Such is the uniqueness of this event, a special medal will even be on offer for those who successfully reach the finish line.

With the Elite rankings and standing already heating up after only two events – Southern California and Arizona – elbow room will be at a minimum at the start line. With stadium races typically being much faster events for those that run the elite wave, Spartan is hoping that the addition of those obstacles not normally associated with races within the asphalt atmosphere will throw a spanner in the works and interrupt the rhythm of those that take the race for granted.

Teams travelling from across the land will see each other battle through too. Mud Run Fun expected to have the biggest team of the day, with the Cornfed Spartans, AZN and many others jockeying for position.

Those under 14 will still be able to savor the Spartan Race experience too, as the ever popular Kids Race continues to grow and encourage youngsters to get out and get active.

Who will become victorious this weekend in Florida? Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram on Saturday for updates.

Picture credit: Wikipedia.com

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