Test your endurance the Spartan way

December 17, 2018

The XDubai Spartan Race brings the world’s biggest obstacle course race to Muscat with the objective to release the raw energy of participants. 

The race is an extreme sport that needs a participant to run and overcome a series of difficult obstacles. It recreates the BC era of the Greek city of Sparta when men and women took up physical and mental challenges in an attempt to defend their sovereignty from the attacking Persians.

The event was held at Jebel Sifah on Friday and Saturday. This was also the first ever Trifecta Weekend in the Middle East with four race categories being held: Beast (21+ km and 30+ obstacles), Super (13+ km and 25+ obstacles), Sprint (5+ km and 20+ obstacles) as well as the Kids race which has three levels - 4-6 years (800m), 7-9 years (1.6km) and 10-14 (3.2km).

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The Sprint, which is the basic race, has been the most popular among every age group, nationality and gender with over 20 signature Spartan obstacles, including jumping over fire, crawling under barbed wired fences, jumping from extreme high rise walls, carrying almost 10kg of sandbags for over a kilometre, swimming the turbulent cold sea and hurling spears at ‘enemies’.

Speaking about the event, Julie - one of the organisers of the Muscat chapter - while monitoring the registration process at the event, said, “We have almost 4,500 participants that are taking part in the Spartan Race Oman edition from all over the region, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the UAE. There are people, both Omanis and expatriates, who have come from all over Oman to run in the event. Designed for everyone and every level of athletic capability, racers have to surpass a series of adrenaline-pumping obstacles to make it to the finish line.”

The starting point of the Sprint race on Saturday witnessed enthusiasts who had to undertake several Spartan warm up exercises called burpees, a sort of stretching and squatting. Strict instructions, that included helping fellow Spartans, were given by a professional Spartan whose motivational speech resembled that of King Leonidas I from 300. It was enough to push the 'soldiers' to run for their quest of freedom and survival.

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Elizabeth, a participant who works in Muscat,  said, “I am from the Netherlands. I am taking part in the Sprint with my husband and two boys. Our main aim is to have a healthy lifestyle and though we were slow and often walked during the race, we made sure to undertake every challenge successfully. I feared the A-Frame cargo nest most because I am often scared of heights and they were quite high. Often my legs got entangled and it was very scary but I managed to successfully cross it.”

Among the most challenging obstacles, including climbing the Inverted Wall, barbed wires and the Cargo nest, was one where most participants had a difficult time. Screeches, panting and grunts filled the air as participants carried heavy rocks for the Atlas Carry and Sledge Pull obstacles.

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Mohammad al Tamimi, a participant who had come with two of his friends, said, “This is the first time that we are taking part. We are all 27 years old and we hardly play any games; hence this race is a big challenge for us to test our level of endurance. We also want to be inspired to start a good physically active lifestyle by overcoming these obstacles and being motivated both physically and psychologically.”

The race is an attempt to recreate the ancient days and encourage participants to have a healthy physical lifestyle. Though they endured pain, most of the participants managed to cross the finish line with smiles, cheers, bruises, sweat and a Spartan medal.