Running enthusiasts, adventure seekers and anyone looking to challenge him- or herself mentally and physically should be happy to know that one of the toughest obstacle races out there is coming to town. The Spartan Race, the notorious challenge that pushes athletes to their limit, will be coming to Citi Field on April 13, featuring more feats of strength than May Festivus ever could.
Founded in 2001 by Howard Beach-born entrepreneur Joe DeSena and seven others, the grueling race has become infamous for having athletes traverse through mud, jump over fire, crawl under barbed wire and face other tough hurdles before crossing the finish line.
Even the finish has its own challenge. Right before the end, athletes will have to survive in the gladiator arena, where “gladiators” try to knock down participants with their padded sticks, reminiscent of the hit show “American Gladiators.”
While mud, fire and barbed wire will not be present this time around, Matt Murphy, a representative with Spartan Race, promises even without those staples, it won’t be a cakewalk.
“We’re still going to provide a difficult and challenging course,” he said.
Murphy said the course will be three miles and have over 15 obstacles. Those will include — but are not limited to — climbable eight-foot walls, box jumps, bleachers to run through and cargo nets.
As opposed to other types of venues Spartan Race has used, Citi Field will allow for a “live feed on the scoreboard” as well as “using the stadium sound system for music,” Murphy added.
In case a competitor cannot complete an obstacle, he or she will have to do a set amount of “burpees,” a high-intensity exercise combining a squat jump and pushup.
It might sound intimidating, but that shouldn’t cause people to run the other way.
“Go into it determined,” Murphy said. “When you go into the event, expect you can do everything. It’s about challenging yourself.”
There will also be an aid station to provide water to the athletes on the course.
Clay Darrohn, founder of “Fishbat,” a digital marketing firm that works with Spartan Race, has some practical advice: Run and improve your cardio.
“You have to run. You have to be able to support your own body weight,” he said. “Using a treadmill at an elevated setting or running up hills; any type of endurance training is great.”
Darrohn, who has competed in other obstacle races, believes the Spartan Race is “the toughest race out there,” adding, “You’ve got to be ready to push yourself, test every limit you can imagine.”
For the lackadaisical who need that motivation to get their body in shape, Spartan Race provides a workout of the day on its website and their Facebook page.
DeSena, who spoke at a practice Spartan Race event in Times Square in January, is confident that this will be a difficult, but rewarding, experience for all athletes.
“It’s going to be brutal. It’s going to test your mettle,” he said. “When they cross the finish line, everything that used to bother them in life will seem trivial.”
For more information and registration prices, head to spartanrace.com. There is no spectator fee and all ages are encouraged to compete.
This writer will be in the mix.