One word can describe the mighty Spartan Beast of Ohio...mud.
From start to finish thats what you saw. Thats what you stepped in, walked in and ran in. To the point where the sight of grass or even just a brief moment where you got to run on dry dirt was a relief. Every step had the potential for a fall. Climbing up steep mud filled hills I found myself grasping for a random tree limb, a divot in the ground or rock sticking out of the ground just hoping to get something sturdy to stand on. I went down a few times. My friend and training partner, Gibby went down a few times. People all around us were slipping and falling. I'm not sure of the exact number but I know there were at least a few broken ankles that day. Running wasn't really an option. Short, deliberate steps were needed to handle this terrain.
It's called The Wilds. A 10,000 acre property that is mostly uninhabited except for the two plots of land, approximately 600 acres each, that were carved out for two specific, wild purposes.
The first is for exotic, endangered animals. These animals are brought in from all of the world; places like China, Africa and Mongolia to name a few. They come to the countryside of Ohio as a way to save the species at a non-profit safari park and conservation center that combines cutting edge science with one of a kind animal adventures. The day before Spartan, my fiancée and I, chose the open air safari ride where we first encountered grazing rhinos and quickly found our selves surrounded by wild horses. An inexperienced tour guide was afraid to inch forward until the mentor, a more experienced tour guide, emerged from the back of the bus to take control. The supervising tour guide, who reminded us of Dina from Superstore, helped make for an interesting side plot to our tour. We saw a pair of cheetahs, who were one of the the few animals that were actually fenced in, a handful of camels, some bactrian deer, a few ostriches and a handful of other beautiful animals.
I would have liked to try the zipline tour but after a night visiting the Weasel Boy Brewing Company it was easy to just enjoy the leisure of being carted around the bus knowing the Beast was coming the next day
The second plot of land was carved out for humans. Humans who choose to push themselves to their limits. This is nothing new for Spartan racers but for me, this was my first Beast and longest run of my life. I've experienced spartan sprints, warrior dashes and savage races but nothing even half the distance of the a Beast. Even in training I only ever hit 6 miles on foot. My longest training day was a 25 mile bike ride with one half mile trail hill climb I had to do on foot.
I failed three obstacles. The first was the rope climb, which came right after Rope Crawl Ohio Beast. At that point the rope was so muddy I took one half-hearted attempt and I just jumped right into burpees. I slipped on the Spartan rig, which on most days I would conquer with ease and lastly, the ninja wall which was the last 'real' obstacle because I dont really count jumping over the fire as an obstacle. I'm not good at the ninja wall to begin with but after 13 miles and roughly 5 1/2 hours, I stood no chance.
But alas, I jumped the fire, I received my medal, the first wedge of the 2017 Trifecta, and I drank my beer. Unfortunately, Budweiser and Michelob Ultra, we're my only choices. I chose the Bud. We took our pictures and soaked our wounds.
Next up PA Super... #SpartanTrifecta
See Below for short video of all the obstacles.