The Spartan Beast 2016

The backstory – Alan (Gilly’s better half :-)) had a back operation and his place for the Spartan was up for grabs. After an online gurning contest between me and Yan, I won – obviously the ugliest – me that is!

It was only afterwards that I asked what the Spartan was. Apparently – a trail race obstacle race –  there is the Spartan Sprint (3-5 miles), Super (~8 miles) and the Beast at 12-14 miles. We were doing the Beast! Ugh!

Luckily, I was running with Gilly and Sadie, so when I would undoubtedly become undone, I knew I had some strong alpha females to drag me across the line!

This Spartan Beast was a ~20 km “fun” run hill/trail race through the southern Pentland Hills (starting/finishing at Spittal Farm). Oh – and there are some obstacles! I have no idea how many there were (30+?) – the semi-tortures of the day have muffled my mind into a muddy hazy mess.

Here is a rather schematic map of the route (I am sure Gilly can produce a better one from her fancy Garmin). Truth be told, it is not the route itself that adds on the miles, it all the switchpacks and running/stumbling/staggering in circles that pile up the distance.

The Spartan Beast Route - sort of!

The Spartan Beast Route – sort of!

Here is an idea of the types of obstacles we had to go through – there were probably more, but I am sure you get the gist:

Wading through muddy pools, carrying sandbags (2 for guys and 1 for women – where’s that equality?), climbing walls (which got higher as the race went along), carrying logs ridiculous distances up and down steep muddy terrain (nightmare), crawling under barbed wire (never-ending – some electrified), carrying more logs up and down hills, climbing hoops and monkey bars, swimming and wading through parts of the North Esk Reservoir, throwing javelins at bales of hay, carrying buckets full of gravel (this was a xxxxxxx nightmare), breeze block dragging, tipping a caber (up and down slope!), horizontal wall traverse, more bloody logs, rope climb, and carrying a 50kg metal ball for 10 meters (epic fail for me – I had to go for the lighter girlie ball).

And if you do FAIL (or refuse to do) any of these, you have to do 30 burpees – basically a combo press-up and star jump.

And then between all of these obstacles – blissful running – I mean – blissful – one fully appreciates what a joy running is when your arms have popped out of their sockets a few times. I honestly think I might become a hill runner now :-).

What a day! Not sure at this moment if I’ll do it again, but a small little devil is already eating at my “competition brain cells” and asking “how quick do you think you could run it if you had not stayed with the girls?” However, it was great fun going round as a threesome and certainly much more relaxing than it would have been if I had gone for it. Maybe if Mike Brooks is fit next year…………?

A final thanks to both Gilly and Sadie for not getting too grumpy when I nearly broke their ankles. Moments of madness and puppy-like excitement – or it could have been the many many gels I consumed. I am still buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzing!!!!



We came in 286th from 687 finishers in 5:10:13

Sadie:  34th F from 155; 6th F40-44 from 16.

Gilly: 34th F from 155; 4th F45-49 from 10. You look so good for your age. 🙂

Moi: 253rd M from 532; 16th M45-49 from 29.

James Bell was also running and came in 1st in the Open Category in 2:59:18. EXCELLENT!!!

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8 comments on The Spartan Beast 2016

  1. Susie says:

    I tried to see you all but totally underestimated the length and terrain of the race. Did manage to see a few obstacles though and wild horses couldn’t make me do any of them, maybe Rob and James giving me a lift over might though but it would take both of them!
    Total and huge respect to you muddy buddies, you are awesome!

  2. Dave says:

    Maybe some options here to consider for training, maybe with a rack as well to encourage stretching?

  3. gilly says:

    Had such a good day, so glad you enjoyed the OCR world Rob and I don’t think it will be your last. I loved seeing people’s faces as you were bounding up all the hills most people were struggling to walk. It made me laugh at one point when you got fed up following the line of people up a track and pulled onto the rough grass and disappeared up the hill and the bloke behind me tried to copy you, did not even last three paces and then collapsed on the path beside me. I think you might be good at that hill running lark. Sadie is still the no1 muddy buddy though especially since she does not try to wipe you out with breeze blocks and logs 😉

    • Rob Wilson says:

      ha – that’s hysterical – was not aware at all – I was just on a gel high – gonna try sucking on more gels for the longer races later in the year

  4. Andrea Wilson says:

    This sounds like a grown up version of the “fun” races i hated in primary school. Not for the clumsy. But if you enjoy these sort of things our garden redesign project sounds like the ideal training ground for you. The run may be a bit compromised but we can compensate with 30 burpies

  5. Sadie Kemp says:

    It was so much fun, glad you gave it a go Rob and you fully embraced the event, I was grateful to you for helping me over some of the higher walls. James also helped me a bit with my breezeblock, what a fantastic time and placing he got! It was great to run another race with Gilly my first and closest muddy buddy. Out of the OCR I have done this was the toughest physically, as usual I was cursing my upper body strength and vowing to up my training in this respect. We’ll see…..

  6. Rob Wilson says:

    hmmm – not 100% sure – there are several aches today – none in my legs!!!!

  7. Gillian Cairns says:

    Sounds very painful!! Well done to all three of you, good placing too! I’m sure you’ll be entering it again, Rob :-).

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