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.


Just about a year ago, I made my snowbird winter OCR trip to Miami for both the Spartan Super and then Tough Mudder a week later.  I couldn't pass up an escape from the endless snowfall in NY to check out this new Tampa Special Ops course, a Spartan Sprint housed in AND out of the Buccaneers' football stadium, surrounded with much hype as their first "hybrid" event of this type and promising a heavy military influence like never before.

1.  COURSE- This would be my fourth stadium series Spartan Race after doing NY's CitiField race in 2013 and Boston's Fenway events in 2012 and 2013, so I had a good idea of what to expect and how they naturally differ from your outdoor OCRs.  This race, however, would now combine the indoor stadium style race with the fun and dirt of the surrounding areas out of the arena, a first of its kind.  So, did this format work?  Well, if anyone was familiar with the previous stadium races, it might have seemed short on the number and types of obstacles from before.  We've gotten to expect a CrossFit influenced circuit included in the stadium obstacles list, but that disappeared in Tampa as there were no rowing erg's, slam balls, box jumps, or jump roping.  Instead, lots more ramps and stairs, and surely the favorite section being a barbed wire crawl the entire length of the Buc's field. Hardest to succeed at?... a Nerf football toss into a garbage pail 15 yards away, which left nearly all of the racers doing 30 burpees. Outside on a field adjacent to the stadium were about 7 or 8 final obstacles before the finish, a fast and relatively easy last half mile to the end which probably could have been ramped up to make the finale more exciting.  Important to note in the course discussion was a major marking error or volunteer misdirection which caused almost the entire elite men's field to skip a section of the race mid way through, a problem that just should not have happened especially with an enclosed course like a stadium race of only several miles.  GRADE = C

2.  FESTIVAL-  This was one of the better afterparties overall for Spartan, but definitely tops for their stadium series.  One simple reason- having the finish outside of the arena.  The previous baseball park races have gone around the warning track of the field to cross the finish near the 3rd base dugouts, which then funnels racers into the hallways and leaves many not knowing where to go, what to do next, and often having trouble finding friends and spectators.  As far as this hybrid style race went, the best aspect was the return of the familiar contests, music, and party tents that we know from the "outdoor" OCRs.  GRADE = A

3.  SWAG-  A bunch of new souvenirs from this race earned Tampa a good mark.  Finishers received not one but two medals- a "special" Special Ops medals unique to this race, and the new 2014 (and mixed reviewed) Trifecta 1/3 pie piece.  I was incredibly relieved to also get a new Spartan shirt for the first time in over a year.  As many of you know, this was a major point of contention with Mudman and SRs, pretty much since Reebok signed on as their partner last January.  This version is charcoal instead of all the prior black ones, and FINALLY has the year printed, on the right sleeve.  Aroo!  GRADE = A