Spartans sprint to Washougal

Obstacle race returns to motocross park

Sprint through mud, crawl under barbed wire, climb up ropes, jump over fire, and watch out for those gladiators.

These are the trademark obstacles designed to push humans to the limit during the Washington State Spartan Sprints Saturday and Sunday, at the Washougal Motocross Park.

“We want to provide a comprehensive, full-body experience,” said Program Manager Carrie Adams. “We test your speed, agility, endurance, strength, balance and coordination. Pretty much everything an athlete needs to possess in order to be successful.”

A Spartan Sprint is a 5-kilometer race that features 15 or more different obstacles. Elite warriors kick off the event at 8 a.m. More competitors enter the course in waves every 15 minutes. The top three male and female finishers earn prize money — $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $750 for third place.

The event debuted at Washougal Motocross Park in June 2012. Track Manager Ryan Huffman is happy to have it back for another year.

“It’s great to be able to bring something new to the area for all the people in the northwest to enjoy and be a big part of it right here in Washougal,” he said.

Adams said it was an easy decision for Spartan Race to return to the motocross park because of its beautiful and unique surroundings. She guarantees the course will look different and be more difficult the second time around.

“If you’re doing the same thing again, the sense of accomplishment gets diminished,” Adams said. “We want people to experience something different every single time to keep them coming back for more.”

Throwing curves at the competition seems to be working. The first Spartan event took place in Vermont, back in 2010. Adams said it featured less than 1,000 people. Today, there are more than 60 Spartan races held all over the world. Up to 350,000 participants enter these events every year. Adams said the number of races and competitors grows every day.

“Our founder, Joe De Sena, would say ‘these races are growing because, as humans beings, we were born to run, jump, climb and throw. These races give us the opportunity to reconnect to the building blocks of being a human being,’” Adams said. “I think people are looking for those weekend warrior opportunities. They want to have an adventure in their backyard and be able to say, ‘I did that! I accomplished it!’”

Adams said people have come up to her after a Spartan race and said it changed their lives. That’s why she came up with the tag line, “you’ll know at the finish line.”

“Whether they’re running or crawling across the finish line, that painful expression on their face turns into complete joy,” she said. “We’re providing people with the platform to go out there and be awesome. We want this to be an experience they never forget.”