After each mud run or obstacle race I compete in, you'll get my review and grades for each event to help you decide which ones you might want to sign up for. The following categories will be discussed:

1. COURSE- the design, venue, and setup of the race itself- how creative/ adventurous/ difficult the obstacles were, and obviously... how was the MUD?!?

2. FESTIVAL- all the fun beyond the actual race- the social atmosphere which usually includes food, beer garden, dj/ music/ concert, contests, vendors, and more during the after-party

3. SWAG- the included goodie bag and prizes up for grabs- all the "free" stuff that comes with price of entry and the quality of awards, shirts, and other giveaways

Feel free to use the search box to read up on any past topics you might be looking for.

SPARTAN SPRINT, Palmerton PA, 7/14/12

This installment of Spartan Race "guest bloggers" comes from one of the small handful of consistent top female Spartan Elite Chicks, and my favourite Canadienne, Leyla Di Cori of Ottawa. Going for at least a double Trifecta (Spartan Sprint/Super/Beast combo) this year, she might only be topped in admiration by her own mother Johanne, who last month became the oldest Spartan Racer ever at 72 years young! I thank Leyla for the great writeup and hope this very thorough review comes in handy...

1. COURSE- To begin with, lots of hype had been made about PA being the toughest Spartan Sprint of the year. Indeed, it did not disappoint as the course was longer than the average S.R. Sprint (3+miles) by being a good 5 miles. Add to that the very hot a humid weather. It was the perfect combination for a tough race! Blue Mountain did deliver with its grueling hills. The very beginning of the course was a difficult uphill ascent, that seemed never endless and took the wind out of you from the get go. Having done the Tuxedo Sprint, in comparison, the first portion of the PA race really took the wind out of your sails. The obstacles were plentiful: wall jumps, net crawls, scaling wall, spear throw, rope climb, tire flip, monkey bars, cargo net, etc. We had two carries that included uphill and downhill portions; one being with a bucket filled with rocks and gravel, and the other one, by far the toughest obstacle; the sandbag carry. This obstacle left many people taking multiple breaks trying to make it back to the top of the mountain. One of the most fun obstacles remains the slip and slide, which connected to another water obstacle that was about 200 yards long. The idea was to make your way through shoulder high water and go under the multiple floating barrels. With the weather we were having, this was a blessing to cool down in the water for a bit! The famous barbed wire crawl was as long as the Tuxedo Sprint but on a flat surface so not as difficult. Still it was fun that they incorporated a fence to get over mid-way through the obstacle and piled up dirt very high so you had no idea how long of a crawl was left ahead. The course in its entirety was certainly challenging. Furthermore, it also allowed spectators to watch the racers more closely, as the added bonus of the ski lifts also permitted spectators to watch racers from above. GRADE = A+

2. FESTIVAL- The festival area was cool. You could either hang around or watch the race or you could go and try out different challenges: slosh tube lift, pull-up challenge, scaling wall, etc. There was a special section for the kids’ race, which was pretty neat. The DJ/MC did a good job entertaining the crowd. There were regular food vendors and of course you could get your free beer with your bib coupon. Other merchant tents included temporary tattoos and custom wristbands. GRADE = A

3. SWAG- The swag is ok. Everyone gets a t-shirt and a swag bag with some Gaspari nutrition samples. The finisher medals are good albeit these ones did not have the i-Tab section for the time on the back face. The top 3 male/female Elite Heat winners were awarded cash prizes from the Naval Federal Credit Union (1st place: $1500; 2nd place: $750; 3rd place: $250). GRADE = B+