Race Review: Calgary Spartan Sprint 2018

4-0-300 Blog 083


Location:  Wildrose MX, Calgary, Alberta


Weather: It was really smoky to start the day, slowly clearing a bit throughout the day but not too much. 20 °C at the start of my heat, went up to about 24 during the day.


Festival Area: Similar to Red Deer with some new vendors from previous years. It was quite spread out with the exception being the start line and the beer gardens being essentially intertwined. Coolest tent was Elite Force Gear with their sandbags, which Spartan Canada are now using for their new “Wrecked” obstacle. If you haven’t seen these bags yet checkout their tent at your next race, not only are they amazing bags but they’ll also give you some technique tips for the obstacle.


Course Conditions: Rock hard, dry dirt motocross track. It makes for fast running as long as you watch out for the ingrained, uncompromising ruts.


Course Layout: The course came in just short of 8K. It mostly followed the structure of longer running sections then gauntlets of 2-3 consecutive obstacles, with a couple of exceptions like the sandbag carry.


Favorite Obstacle: Was the Platinum Rig for the second consecutive race. This round I was finally able to finish it for the first time. Training is paying off. Now that leaves the X Warrior Axe Throw as the only obstacle I’ve yet to finish in a race.


Favorite Aspect: A little off the map this time but it was meeting up with members of the OCR community. Talking to readers, social media friends and some recent guests from work who run OCR was my highlight.


Race Synopsis: I was able to settle into my race pace early which is always a good tone for the day. While I would usually would push harder then I should when I’m getting passed early by other racers with “Runner’s builds” I was able to stick to my plan. I was surprisingly really happy with my running considering the lack of training I’ve done recently. Sticking to one goal I never walked during the race, other than at the sandbag carry but that was due to a giant line up. That queue forced me to take a break in the middle of the race which I think may have been a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to completely recover and then press on. I never really felt “off” running, other than I could feel the smoke making me having to breathe a little harder than usual. On the other hand, I was quite confident for the obstacles after putting in copious amounts of work for those. Turned out to be mostly right, as I was strong through the obstacles finishing them faster than usual and completing more than I typically do as well. Wasn’t perfect but improvement is the focus.


Total Penalties: 60 burpees

First fail was Olympus where I finished about 60% of it before my sore wrist couldn’t handle the angle anymore. Second fail was the rope climb but that was more mental. I made it up two-thirds of the way probably before I got the rope burn from X Warrior in my head. Not wanting to do that again I just blanked and froze for a minute, then climbed down which pissed me off. That means I really need to tackle that during the offseason because I’m very unhappy with that move. Was able to hit the spear throw so that’s a plus.



Access A
Course Layout A-
Incorporation of Site A
Course Marking A-
Location A
Overall A


Docked miniscule marks for layout for the continued use of the same bottleneck spot for heavy carries (sandbag this time) which leads to racer build up. Also lost some points for marking as there was one corner of the course that needed more tape as it was a little unclear where to go. Not only did I see a few racers get lost during my race but I saw it happen frequently again the next day while volunteering. Now it wasn’t a major detour but it was a spot where it didn’t really need to happen.


Biggest Critique: As I just mentioned there is one particular spot at Wildrose MX that course designers seem to want you to struggle to carry something heavy. It’s been the bucket carry twice and the sandbag carry a couple of times as well. It’s a steep downhill with a quick turn around and right back up the same slope. Now for the challenge I understand what they’re trying to accomplish but in reality, after the elites roll through relatively easily, the open class get bogged down in the sheer number of racers. There is little to no room to pass when other racers are inevitably stuck. While you would like to help you are either too far back unable to reach them, they’re determined to finish themselves, may have given up and don’t want to continue, socializing or you’re struggling yourself. I don’t know what the solution is for this one as I heard one Spartan staff member say that they can’t allow you to trample the vegetation on the sides as part of the venue agreement but it happens annually. Perhaps just use that spot as a challenging part running section?

Roughly what the sandbag carry looked like

Lessons Learnt:

  • Need to work on the Rope Climb mental game
  • My strength work is paying big dividends, now to really drop my times I need to do the same in the run game
  • If you’re running the Calgary Race expect a back-up at one of the heavy carries

finish line calgary spartan sprint 2018.png

Scotty Voodoo
I am a proud father & husband. A former semi-pro skier, turned rugby 7’s player, I’ve now worked to become a OCR racer. This race was my first time finishing in the top 10% of the open class
A level 2 NCCP certified coach, I also hold coaching certifications in 3 sports.

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