We all have different reasons why we race. For some it’s overcoming personal obstacles, getting into a better shape, feeling good, staying healthy, meeting people and the list goes on. For me it’s about pushing my limits, becoming a better athlete, and traveling. Traveling is one of the main reasons why I love this sport. Spartan Race is growing worldwide and racing takes us to the beautiful places with gorgeous views.
Last year I was lucky enough to be a part of the history. I had a chance to compete in the first ever Trifecta World Championships in Sparta, Greece! Competing on the grounds of ancient Sparta, running and swimming in the river Eurotas, was an unforgettable experience. Sparta was unique in Ancient Greece for its social system and constitution focusing on military training and physical development. Citizens underwent rigorous agoge training and education regiment. Spartan women enjoyed considerable more rights and equality than anywhere else, girls were given a good education in both, the arts and athletics. Sparta has always fascinated me. When I found out that the first ever Spartan Trifecta World Championships would be held in Sparta, Greece I knew I would be there.
Greece is often called the cradle of ancient civilization and there is so much culture and history that if I wanted to see everything I would have to travel for months. I spent couple weeks before the World Championships exploring Peloponnese and its historical sites. My journey started in the capital, Athens, visiting many important landmarks, including the 5th century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple. One of my favorite places is Olympia, a small town in Elis, famous for the archaeological site dedicated to Zeus, where the ancient Olympic Games were born 776 B.C. Peloponnese has so much to offer. From Athens, Olympia, Argos, Mycenae, Patra, and Mystras to Sparta. The best way to get around is to rent a car at the airport and drive, stopping wherever and whenever along the way. But if you don’t feel like driving you can always catch a bus. There are bus stations in every town and buses drive several times a day. It’s a perfect opportunity for a vacation. If your family isn’t into the racing, take them on an adventure to Europe. It’s a win win situation.
Trifecta World Championship was an incredible experience. In the evening before the races started there was an opening ceremony and nations parade. Athletes representing 57 nations proudly followed their flag bearers to the statue of Leonidas where they were introduced to the cheering crowd.
The races started with Super on Saturday. The start was different from any other race. All athletes were lead by the staff dressed like Spartans from the start line to the top of the hill where the competition started. The Super was 11.5 miles/ 18.5 kilometers long. The map of the course wasn’t available before the races so we really didn’t know what to expect. They showed us videos of the obstacles at the athletes briefing so there weren’t any surprises on the course, but there were few obstacles that were different: memory test, where we had to memorize a sequence of pictures at the beginning of the race and remember it all the way to the end of the race, slack line, and balance beam. Obstacles that I have only seen in Europe. The Sprint was the same day as The Super. It was 5.5 miles/ 8.6 kilometers long and again started with a walk to the top of the hill. The Trifecta World Championship ended with the Beast on Sunday, and it was a Beast of the Beasts. When I thought the finish was near there was another hill, another obstacle, more running, more climbing. When I looked at my watch at the finish line it was showing 20 miles/ 32 kilometers. It was the longest Beast I have ever run, but the views and the feeling of accomplishment at the finish line were worth it.
I’m not sure when I will be back but I can’t wait to stand on the start line and race before the statue of King Leonidas, past the tomb of Menelaus, through the waters of Eurotas, and find glory in the ancient homeland of the Spartans. Aroo