There are 3 Spartan Races in Singapore this year. The Spartan Stadion in January was the first of its kind in Asia, followed by the second race at Yio Chu Kang in April and finally, this third race in August at Bukit Timah.
I have participated in the Spartan Race for 3 consecutive years. It has sort of becomes an ‘annual ritual’ for me. I will likely sign up as long as I am available for the race schedule and the venue is interesting. It is a good event which encompasses a whole body workout and is especially fun if your friends participate with you.
Held at the Centaurs Sports Park, Turf City, the race has 2 separate routes for the Sprint [5 km] and Super [13 km] categories and bring the spartans into the forested area of Bukit Timah Reserve. This is also the same location for the Columbia Jungle Run organized by the Centaurs.
Today’s race is also the final race in the Southeast Asia Regional Series, whereby regional elites compete for the championship.
My friend Alan joined me for this race. We have been ‘spartan buddies’ for the past races and like me, he was eager to explore this new route in at Bukit Timah and hoped it is similar to the 2017 edition at Tampines.
We reached Turf City at 11.30 am, well ahead of our race time at 12.45 am. It was a hot day and the organizers had reminded us one day before to have plenty of hydration. I have my fair share of local races and believe this is the only race where I got a reminder to ensure I am well hydrated.
The festival opened at 6.00 am, with the elites being flagged off at 7.30 am. Registration was reasonably fast and we collected our race kits and goodies. We did our stretching while waiting for the flag-off. The race site was a hype of activities. Participants from the earlier waves were mingling around and having their well-deserved rest. If I may say so, I always feel the race atmosphere at Spartan Race to be different from those of regular running events. It is more ‘lively’. I wonder if it is due to the collective overcoming of obstacles together and the camaraderie forged?
As usual, during flag-off, we were asked ‘what is our profession’ before we ‘roared’ Aroo! Aroo! Aroo! This question and answer have become synonymous with the Spartan Race! Off we went into the forest trails and emerged to the open field beside Tanglin Rugby Club. We cleared the 1st obstacle Hurdles before being subjected to the Dunkwall. It was still quite early in the race to be subjected to the ‘water treatment’ and I believe it may be because there was no other place that was suitable for the dunk, or simply the organizers want to ensure we are ‘fully hydrated’ to prevent heat exhaustion!
We continued on to clear the 7 Feet Wall and Spear Throw. As in previous races, the spear never found its target and we did burpees as a punishment. The first hydration point was here and there were choices of cold water or herbalife nutrition drink.
After a short rest, we soldiered on to attempt the A-Frame Cargo and the dreaded Bucket Brigade. The Bucket Brigade simply required us to carry a bucket of sand and walk approximately 500 m around the ‘horse ranch’. The bucket of sand must have been at least 40 kg and most of us had to take intermittent rest to complete the circuit, encouraging and motivating each other along the way.
Next, we cleared the O.U.T (Over, Under, Through) and Multi Rig. Somehow I found it harder to clear it this year. I attribute the reasons to ageing and insufficient training!
The remaining obstacles of Rope Climb and Monkey Bar were not easy to clear and inevitably, we had to do burpees as punishment. At long last, we reached the Finisher Point and jumped over the fire after clearing the last of the obstacles, the Slip Wall.
We collected our finisher medal and shirt and enjoyed a few cups of herbalife shake. Thereafter, we did some wash-up and embarked on our journey home, tired but happy.
1) I am glad the organizers had found this venue for the race. It is a good replacement for the Tampines venue, which is no longer available. Spartan Race is supposed to be, in my own definition, dirty, muddy and hot. This is why I did not sign up for the Stadion race.
2) One big improvement is the organizers arranged portable shower facilities and wash up points for the participants to clean up before going home. Kudos to that!