Saturday morning was very cold and very wet – the perfect morning to stay indoors and whack the heating up, right? Wrong. I was at Pippingford Park in East Sussex battling the elements and ready to support the hordes of runners taking on the Spartan Beast – an epic 25km obstacle race.
As the climactic event on the Spartan Race calendar, this was going to be tough and it seemed as though Mother Nature herself was intent on making it even tougher for the runners. With a muddy and rain-soaked course greeting runners in the very first elite heat at 10 a.m., the non-stop rain made the trails boggy and the mud pits … boggier!
Having completed one of the shorter events, the 5km Spartan Sprint back in September, I couldn’t wait to see what the organisers had in store for the 15+ miles of challenging terrain. Oh, and did I mention that, if you fail ANY of the 25+ obstacles, there is a 30 burpee punishment?!
This race was hardest yet, but don’t just take my word for it, we have a first-hand account from a Spartan survivor, Darrell Skipper, who crossed the finish line after a gruelling four and a half hours.
Here’s what Darrell had to say about the race:
The Spartan Beast was by far the toughest physical and mental challenge of my life. I’d signed up for the 2013 Spartan Race Season Pass this year and had already completed four of the shorter Spartan Sprints (between 5–8km) and one Spartan Super (12km) over the summer, but this was on a different level.
I ran in the 10 a.m. ‘elite’ heat (I didn’t feel too elite by the end!) and we set off just in time for the first of many torrential downpours of the day. It wasn’t long into the race before we realised that this was going to be a lot different to those nice warm race days of the summer … It was raining pretty much the whole time and this resulted in people getting stuck in the mud and the freezing bogs being at chest height at times.
The obstacles ranged from fire jumps, 8ft wall climbs, rope climbs and barbed wire crawls to carrying heavy sandbags up and down steep and slippery slopes. Some very ambitious person also decided to put a 25ft rope climb at the end of the race, which apparently only about 10 per cent of finishers managed; the other 90 per cent accepting the 30 burpee punishment instead, which, for me, seemed to take a lifetime to finish!
The obstacles were actually a sweet relief, a brief respite from the horrors of the trails and the hills, oh god the hills! A lot of people struggled with the naturally formed mudslides, but luckily I had learned from previous races that the quickest way down is on your backside. As soon as the other runners see you doing this they all follow your lead – it was definitely the quickest way downhill.
I completed the race with my brother and father, who have been my Spartan training buddies for a few years now. We first signed up as motivation to lose weight and we ended up losing over 250lbs between us! After that, it just became an addiction. We love the whole ethos of the Spartan Race, the spirit and camaraderie between fellow Spartans is amazing. Lots of helping hands and lots of crazy, delirious laughter from the sheer insanity of it all.
I’d highly recommend obstacle racing for people who are looking to get in shape or to kick-start their fitness regime. Nothing motivates you better than cold, dead-eyed fear! Despite the aches, pains and countless hours of training, I’m definitely doing the whole season again next year – who’s with me?
If you are interested in joining the Spartans next year, or would like to find out more information about their races, you can subscribe here. Who knows, maybe I will see you at the start line next year…
A huge thank you to Darrell for his guest post and to Epic Action Imagery for allowing us to use their brilliant photos.
With just under a month to go before we publish it, I thought I’d let our cycling fans have a sneaky peak at the new photographic book by Rouleur.
For the 100th running of the Tour de France, top cycling magazine Rouleur sent seven writers and photographers on the road at the Tour, each given three stages to record their individual takes on the race. Rouleur Centenary Tour de France captures these stories and provides a fascinating look at the race.
Out 7th November, it’ll make a nifty Christmas present for the lycra lovers among us.
« 3,404 kilometres » « 21 stages » « 21 stories »
Take a sneaky peak at this gripping insider-read into Sports Marketing, written by the former Chief Marketing Officer at FC Barcelona, Esteve Calzada.
Publishing this month, Show Me the Money! is everything you’ll want to know about the big business of football and will give you an insight into why players like Real Madrid’s new signing Gareth Bale can be valued at a staggering £85 million…
EDITOR: SPORT AND NATURAL HISTORY
Bloomsbury Publishing is looking for an experienced Editor to work across two very special lists in our London office.
Our world-leading Natural History list includes the highly regarded Christopher Helm Field Guides, a publishing partnership with the RSPB and titles on mammals, plants and trees. Our fantastic Sports list features high-quality writing on a wide variety of sports – from football and cricket to cycling and horseracing – and includes the famous Wisden imprint.
The role involves managing a number of full-colour and mono books through the editorial process from manuscript delivery and cover design through to publication, and requires working with authors, agents, freelancers, suppliers, illustrators, designers and in-house colleagues.
- Establishing good relationships with authors and agents
- Maintaining schedules for projects and taking titles through to publication
- Briefing and managing freelancers, undertaking copy-editing or proofreading in-house as required
- Liaising with authors, designers and proofreaders, collating comments and ensuring final files are ready for press on budget and on schedule
- Writing Advance Information sheets, briefing jackets and writing copy
- Working with the Rights Department to gather materials for foreign editions
- Preparing sample spreads and blads for use at book fairs, sales conferences
- Attending industry events.
Skills, knowledge, experience
- 18 months’ – 2 years’ editorial experience in illustrated book publishing
- Meticulous attention to detail
- Excellent proofreading and copy-editing skills
- Ability to write strong sales copy and blurbs
- Ability to prioritise and use own initiative, juggling several projects at one time
- Solid time-management skills to cope with competing deadlines as well as working across two departments
- Experience of working on photo-shoots desirable
- Basic knowledge of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator useful.
- Interest in sports and natural history a distinct advantage.
To apply, please send a CV, covering letter, current salary details and notice period to Sally Coleman, Human Resources Manager: email@example.com.
The closing date for this role is Monday 26th August 2013.
It’s been a top sporting couple of months – what with Murray winning Wimbledon, Froome cycling into yellow in the Tour De France and England winning the first two tests of the Ashes – and you’re probably wondering how we’ve managed to fit in any work in during all this sporting excitement?!
Well, we have somehow and you can see some of our top sport publishing spoils in our online Sport catalogue. Click below to see what tickles your fancy…
Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day
The peloton swings into a packed Parc des Princes for the traditional finish of the Tour in 1951. Hugo Koblet, second from the left, made it two Tour victories in a row for Switzerland, following Ferdi Kübler’s win in 1950.