Spartan Race San Francisco

When you think of a Spartan Race, you think of fire. You think of blood. You think of spears and barbed wire and mud and water. Oh, sure Spartan has a lot of CrossFit stuff, too, but it’s the mud and blood that make it truly Spartan.

Unfortunately, none of that was present during the 2014 Spartan Race San Francisco at AT&T Field. Kudos to the course designers for working within the limitations of the space and being creative in trying to create a Spartan Experience, but when the start line doesn’t contain smoke, or a dressed-up Spartan, or hoorah, or huzzah’s.. Then something is lacking.

In fact, the 2014 Spartan Sprint in San Francisco wasn’t a Spartan Race at all. Oh, sure, it had all the logos, but it was, instead, an urban race around a pristine ball field where we weren’t even allowed to wear our bibs.

There was no mud, just cement. And the walls were erected not on the field, but in the balconies, where a fall to the ground meant falling on cement and not grass or dirt.

Normally participating in a Spartan Race means a bit of a drive away from urban areas. The drive, in my opinion, is worth it, as this style of urban racing simply isn’t… Spartan. An obstacle of “sit in every chair in this row” isn’t Spartan.

It isn’t even an exercise.

The only redeeming quality of the race was being joined by Goldilocks Training shortly after her debut in the San Francisco Half Marathon. Despite tender knees, her valiant climbs up and down bleachers was extraordinary. Her cursing, of course, muttered within her mind but loud enough for any psychic to hear, was quite creative.

If you want a Spartan Experience, but without mud, or water, or spear throwing, or smoke, or really loud music but lots of cement, silly exercises, and boring bleachers… Then this might be the race for you.

The finish was anti-climatic. No fire, no leaping. Just walking and a medal.

The finish was anti-climatic. No fire, no leaping. Just walking and a medal.