THE SPARTAN RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, 2018
08. 10. 2018
This great competition took place, as in every year, in the hilly, Olympic Valley in the Tahoe Lake area, USA.
I signed up for the BEAST trail (22 km with a 1 300 m elevation grip and 34 obstacles). In reality, the main obstacle for many was the location of the championship itself, since the starting point was already 2 000 metres above sea level and the race then led the racers up to an altitude of 2 500 m. The weather here is very different from that which I am used to in the Czech Republic, being dry and sunny, accompanied, along the way up, by a windy dance spiced up with local, dusty soil.
So there I was, waiting for my first world championship, so excited and looking forward to experiencing something new, such as this marvellous run, in summer, at the European championship in France, something I will recall with joy. The trail did appear to be rather running-oriented. However, it was not!
After running up the first hill, I had already begun to feel that my lungs weren't breathing as they should. I, however, ignored this and got to the first obstacle, Hercules (pulling a load on a pulley). I chose a pretty heavy one! Allegedly, not all of them were the same weight… Well yes, I believe it! I was jumping all over the place, telling myself “What the heck is this? Let’s get outta here real fast!”
So I moved on, trotting towards the heights, to a cold pond, which we had to swim in for about 30 metres. Immediately, my lungs clenched even tighter as a small wave splashed into my face, caused by another racer, nearly costing me my life. Once out of the pond, I warmed myself up by running to the next obstacle, where we were supposed to carry buckets. My back started to ache at this point, forcing me to stop several times. Dammit, again, another thing that I did not know? I put down the bucket with great relief and carried on towards the top, where the real show had begun. A windy one with a number of obstacles awaiting me. It all started with an easy crawl under wiring, then, however, it soon began to get harder and harder to breathe. The next obstacle was the Rolling Mud (running through muddy holes, filled with water) which led to the Dunky Wall (swimming under an inflatable wall). OK, 3-2-1, I dove and swam under the thing. I started to shiver and wish for only one thing – just to run! Away from this windy, freezing place. The winds had grown stronger and wearing wet clothes had started to become really unpleasant. My lungs had almost quit their job. I had thought that insufficient acclimatization could only make me tired, but I could barely breathe by now. Several times, I felt like I was being hysterical and I wanted to calm myself down. The javelin throw was just ahead of me. It flew strongly, bravely and accurately… My heart was just about to feel joy when I realized that I was standing on the string, which the javelin was attached to. Only five centimetres before sticking into the ground, where it stopped and fell to the ground. This meant 30 burpees for me, which, at least, would warm me up a little.
The Twister followed (to move,hand over hand, along a bar that spins), then the Atlas (carrying a concrete ball doing five burpees), a Double Sand Bag (carrying two bags up a hillside) and finally, a straight run down to the valley. I was shivering with cold, teeth chattering, but with the vision of warmer weather, I managed to overtake several girls. But then I tripped and fell. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but, eventually, I reached the valley. More obstacle awaited us there – Olympus (an inclined wall with holes, holds and chains), rope-climbing, a rope-traverse and then the Apehanger (putting hand over hand along a ladder). Here, a friend of mine supported me with these words: “The girls ahead of you are exhausted already!” I told myself that I am actually not sure if I have enough energy either, but because I didn't much register the other opponents, at least I knew that I was not alone in this suffering. Tire flipping followed, then carrying the two bags again – they were so annoying because they kept unsticking all the time, so I deferred to actually grabbing them than leaning them on my body. Then the Monkey-twist-monkey (bars-twister-bars) where my tired arms just refused to hold on anymore, about 2/3 of the way through the obstacle, which meant another 30 burpees for me. I noticed here, peripherally, that quite a lot of the girls had overtaken me. “Well, If I am not able to save energy, I will just have to do these burpees.” I told myself.
Finally, just another hill “decorated” with two obstacles at the top, and the final run towards the finish where I was able to overtake one girl. Right before the finish, two last obstacles – the Bender (a climbing frame) and the Multi-rig spiced up with a cross bar, and then the finish. I did not care about the result at all, because I felt like I had raced just HORRIBLY! This race was not a piece of cake, in fact it was a piece of hell. And yes, I admit – appropriate acclimatization is crucial!
Two hours later, I found out that I came in 19th, which was shocking and pleasing at the same time. Now, with hindsight, I dared to look at the result list and I thought about the number of What ifs… Well, I will have to take part in another race like this soon enough then.
And what about the first three girls? They are just amazing, their running is simply on a different level to mine. I would just like to mention here that the Czech stars can also glow in the world’s night sky of obstacle racing, since another Czech, Zuzka Kocumová, gained the bronze medal here.
Now to just discover the States (California). The nature here is just magical with all its dry areas of land, altering between vast woods as far as the eye can see. I am starting to realize what the “American dream” actually means. But still, my heart can’t wait until it returns home, to Beskydy, a beautiful piece of mountainous land in the Czech Republic. Many thanks to my friends for their incredible support, and I would also like to thank KILPI, who provided me with the sports clothes and equipment, and, foremost, I wish to thank my general partner, AGEL, for making this trip across the pond come true