The Spartan Race is far from ordinary.
On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12-13, junior Sahej Claire and about 8,000 other athletes will compete in a race consisting of climbing ropes, jumping through fire, crawling over barbed wire, swinging across monkey bars, moving tires and running through mud. Claire said that she has heard the race will also include push-ups and weightlifting.
For the fifth year in a row, the race will be at sophomore Tori and senior Christian Van Vleck’s ranch, Van Vleck Ranch in Rancho Murieta. The race will be held on the nine square miles of the Van Vlecks’ 73-square mile ranch, according to Tori and Christian’s father, Stan Van Vleck.
“It is a long, hilly race on rugged terrain,” said senior Christian.
There are 40 other races throughout the country on different dates. The Spartan company pays the Van Vlecks a fee to hold it on their ranch.
In the last 15 years Stan said he has focused on organizing more recreational events instead of just using the ranch for cattle raising.
No members of the family have ever participated, but Christian and Tori have both witnessed it.
“It is a grueling race that really tests one’s abilities as a person,” Tori said.
There are three types of Spartan races. The Van Vlecks’ Super Spartan Race on Saturday is an eight-to 10-mile race with 24-29 obstacles and costs $149-169, based on gender, to enter. On Sunday, they will host the Spartan Sprint, a three-to-five-mile race with 20-23 obstacles, which costs $109-129. There is also a Kids Race on both Saturday and Sunday, which can be a half-, one- or two-mile race and costs $28-35. Some courses overlap with each other, but they are run at different times so runners won’t interfere with each other.
The race is a for-profit event, but the company donates some of the profit to the military.
Claire, who is racing for the first time, will be participating in the Spartan Sprint. She will run with her mom, while her dad runs with a team from his work.
Prizes for each race are as large as $500.
There will be a DJ, and five food trucks will serve food all day, Stan said.
Claire said she is not doing any specific training for the event, but she is on a women’s varsity crew team, so she is relying on that to prepare. The team lifts weights and runs often.
Runners can sign up at http://www.spartan.com. The races can be run in teams or as an individual, but runners must be at least 4 years old.
—By Meg Grieve