A Spartan with a difference…. having only taken part in a few Spartan races over in the uk, I thought I would venture out and take part in a European Spartan event.
As my birthday was in March, I asked as my present an entry to the Spartan Mallorca in Palma. I was lucky enough that my brother lived in Palma so it worked perfectly. I have visited Palma a few times, but have never managed to visit the hills and explore that much.
I was entered into the elite super event. For some reason I thought it was a 10km race and it wouldn’t be hilly…. how I was wrong in many ways. So being March the weather was perfect, we flew out Friday and raced on Saturday. Knowing I hadn’t trained enough leading up to the event I wasn’t expecting great things. But it would give me a chance to see what I needed to work on.
A day before I flew out, I did my research and realised it was 10 miles and not 10km. On the drive up to the registration point I also realised this was not going to be flat. Surrounded by hills that looked like mountains. It was going to be a leg burner.
Registration complete and ready to go we took off to the start line. You could see their were some very strong athletes around and with this being the first event in the Spanish nationals you knew it was going to be good field.
The elite wave set off and it started off as a slight incline and a few walls appeared and some water ditches. So far so good. Having not done a European Spartan I wasn’t sure on what obstacles to expect and there was no map available before the race. A few of the usual obstacles popped up and a few obstacles which made it much more interesting. The aim was to do the minimum burpee penalties as possible. (30 burpees for failure of an obstacle).
You could feel the incline getting a lot steeper, one moment I do remember very well was the sound of chains. Then once round the bend you could see what the noise was about. Heavy chains around the neck while going up a steep steep hill and back down again. But as you came down you could see ahead of you another hill to go up which looked like it had zombies walking up it. Calf muscles now pumping and hard.
Along the way there were slack lines and carries while balancing and the usual barbed wire and walls. The terrain and hills were an obstacle on their own and even having to scramble up rocks. The challenging thing I found was coming down the hills as they were covered in loose rocks and stones and knowing just one wrong footing you could easily hurt yourself.
You know when you are near the end of a Spartan race when you get to the spear throw. I could hear the music to the event village and their were crowds of people around the last few obstacles. A rope climb and a multi rig were the last main obstacles, followed by a cargo net and another wall. With the fire jump in sight it was a pretty sight to see. My legs were ready to finish.
Going to another country to compete has definitely given me the bug to see what else is out there. The difference in obstacles and even the attitude of the races is refreshing.
It’s about who you race with, if go on your own or as a team it’s about who you meet and who you share your stories with. There are always people you know who don’t wish you well done or good luck and don’t want to know what you went through. Then there are people who love hearing about it and are always there to wish you well. I don’t always understand why people act the way they do and why people get jealous over other people’s successes. It’s just important to remember who is always there for you no matter what, and what ever you do it makes them proud.