Lessons Learnt: Montana Spartan Beast 2016

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So I’m writing this one specifically about the Montana Beast but the lessons definitely apply to any longer race, a race you’re travelling to, or OCR races in general.


My four lessons are

  • Plan your trip well
  • Nutrition
  • Not all Spartans are created equal
  • Bring a partner


I came away from my first beast experience having learnt a few big lessons, some of which I laid out in my race review. However, these 4 stood out as different enough to warrant their own blog.


#1) Plan your trip well

If you’re travelling for a race plan ahead really well, then plan it again. I got caught trusting my map app and it messed me up. First it tried to take me down a closed highway so I had to improvise with no cell signal, luckily that kicked in 5 minutes before a vital turn. Lesson being know (not have a technology) for 2 routes. Second problem with the app was it made a gas station and 3 houses look like a 10,000-person town, so all my preplanned stops for food and a stretch disappeared, so quick take away pack a lunch or really research the size of town your stops are going to be.


#2) Nutrition

So flowing out of that one mistake is the next. Bringing food on the road trip is part one, number two is for the race. Be realistic with yourself about how long it will take you and how you will run the course. I was thinking of myself as more elite than I currently am and went with goo packets because I was told they’re “easy to digest under extreme exertion”. While I trained with them I could never get past the texture and awful flavors, to the point I had to fight to keep them down while on the race. While I was thankful to have the calories in my body especially late in the race I wasn’t running hard or fast enough to go this route and could have easily gone with trail mix or fruit like some of the other racers were. Now the part I did get right in terms of being real with myself was the amount of time on the course so I did pack enough nutrition with me. Having not run this course before I planned on it being harder than I thought so I packed extra goo compared to my goal time, now that only ended up being 1 packet but it helped.

#3) Not all races are created equal

Branching out from there, now I’m not just talking distance. Montana’s Beast runs most of the next day’s sprint course and that course was a night & day difference from anything I had run yet in terms of obstacle difficulty. Now I’m not sure if that’s the step up from sprint to beast, Canada to the US, or because it’s part of the NBC US Championship Series. The barbed wire crawl was lower and while I was used to 30 feet this was 100 yards. The sandbag carry was up steep incline for a good distance as oppose to a quick, flat lap. The Herc hoist felt heavier, the monkey bars were saw-toothed, almost every obstacle seemed harder. Makes me look forward to running the courses that I ran last year as my perception of those will be very different.


#4) Bring a partner

Now while it’s great to have someone help you over or through obstacles to me the real reason to do this is to push yourself. When you’re on the middle miles and don’t know anyone around you it’s easy to walk or slow down. I know if I had someone to push me at those points I could’ve take 30-45 minutes off my time. As an added bonus if you use real foods as fuel, you can pass each other the bags while doing obstacles.


So there it is my big take aways from Montana, I can’t wait to throw them into my training for this year. I also look forward to getting back to Bigfork hopefully in 2018.




Scotty Voodoo
Is a proud father & husband. A former semi-pro skier, turned rugby 7’s player, I’ve now worked to become an OCR racer.
A level 2 NCCP certified coach, I also hold coaching certifications in 3 sports.


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