No horsepower, all heart

Physical challenges create Spartans at Washougal Motocross Park

Thousands of competitors will slip and slide at Washougal Motocross Park Saturday, but only the ones who keep running and climbing cross the finish line and become a Spartan.

The Reebok Pac West Spartan Sprint returns to Washougal for the fourth year in a row. The fun begins with a Hurricane Heat Friday, from 6 to 10 p.m. The elite men’s race starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the elite women at 8:30 a.m.

Every 15 minutes thereafter, waves of 250 participants will tackle the 3 to 5 mile, 20 to 23 obstacle course. The final group leaves at 3 p.m.

“The terrain and scenery are unmatched,” wrote Spartan Race Pro Team member Chad Trammell on “The park has the perfect combination of wooded trails running through the surrounding hills and the rolling, banked motocross track that makes for an incredible obstacle-dense spectator area and allows for endless combinations of course designs to keep things fresh every year.”

Although the obstacles vary each year, there are a few that have become Washougal trademarks. For starters, there’s a barbed wire crawl up the motocross track’s famous Horsepower Hill. By using a rope instead of an engine, it takes brute strength and the help of fellow Spartans to reach the top.

Getting back down is the fun part thanks to a slip-and-slide with a launch into a muddy pool at the bottom. Trammell said this obstacle caused many to do unintentional back flips into the water at high speeds last year. He suggests Spartans sit up to slow themselves down instead of laying flat.

There is another barbed wire crawl through the bunny hops of the motocross track. The rest of the obstacles will be revealed Saturday.

According to Trammell, Rose Wetzel defeated Amelia Boone in an epic showdown a year ago in Washougal. He said at least 17 pros are confirmed for Saturday’s elite races.

Registration is available at The elite men’s race is sold out. Elite women can still sign up for $115 a person. Morning racing times cost $105 and afternoon racing times are $90. All racers should arrive to the park at least an hour and a half before their scheduled start time, pick up their racing packet, check their bags and warm up.

Spectator tickets are available online for $20 until Friday, and $25 at the gate Saturday. Parking is $10 for cars, $20 for vans and $50 per bus or RV.

Friday’s Hurricane Heat gives people an opportunity to compete with staff members and founders of Spartan Race. The entry fee is $100. Participants should bring a head lamp and glow sticks to help see the course after the sunlight disappears.

Boys and girls, ages 4 to 13, can join the Junior Spartan races Saturday. Pre-registration costs $25. Day of registration is $30.