On Saturday, September 21st is the Spartan Beast. The Beast consists of 13+ miles and 25+ obstacles. Adding to those challenges alone is the fact that the venue is Mount Killington in Vermont. The average finish time is estimated to be around 5 hours for the non-elite athletes - to put that in perspective, I just ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) at a slow pace and finished in 1 hour and 44 minutes. I've completed a couple of Spartan Beasts before, but the fact that this race is also their World Championship race means that the difficulty will be unmatched. For Spartan Race athletes, this race weekend is the one you want to be at. Not only that, add $250,000 worth of cash and prizes, plus NBC Sports Network on site filming the action and you've certainly upped the ante.
The true feelings of anxiety for me is Sunday's event - the Spartan Ultra Beast. The Ultra Beast is a 26.2+ mile course through the mountains with 50+ obstacles. Not only that, but the race is self-supported, meaning we take our own hydration and any other items that will assist us in making through the course (i.e. energy gels, clif bars, whatever it is that you think will help you keep your energy up) - accept any outside assistance, even from the medical team, and you're disqualified. The average finish time is estimated to be between 10-12 hours with a 6am start time and course cutoff of 10pm. I'm sure I've overpacked, but I'd rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. The goal is to cross that line with a finisher's medal...a feat that many did not achieve last year.
There is so much left unknown about this weekend...what will the course be like, what will the race directors have in store, and how many of us will be able to claim the coveted Ultra Beast medal? All of these questions are part of what make me enjoy Spartan Races so much; Not only are they extremely physically challenging, but they pose a significant mental challenge as well.
I may be nervous, but I feel I'm ready. I have a greater purpose to complete these races than just for personal pride and when it gets tough out on the course, I'll remember that fact: "Not for me. For them." For everyone who has suffered through Alzheimer's Disease, are currently suffering, and the families who's emotional pain is far more significant than what I'll feel out on that mountain. Let's bring it! AROO!