Date and time: Saturday, August 2, 2014. Various start times.
Events and cost: $70
Location: Washougal Motocross Park; Washougal, WA
Events offered: Sprint, Kids' race
Number of runners: 4611
Beneficiary: Challenged Athletes Foundation
Swag: A nice cotton-feel t-shirt, a medal, a beer, and plenty of mud, bruises and scrapes. Core Power protein drink and bananas and Clif protein bars at the finish line. Lots of additional merch was available for purchase--keychains, mugs, hydration packs, sweatshirts, stickers, patches, baby onesies, etc. Additional food was available for purchase as well.
Parking: Parking costs $10 per car (BOOO). There's lots of field parking out at Washougal MX. The system they have for getting everyone to parking spots quickly seems to work well.
Bag check: Bag check costs $5 per bag (BOOO) but when you pick up your bag you do get a $5 credit towards Spartan merch! The lines for drop off and pick up were very short.
Course: This approximately 4 mile course goes up and down very steep inclines on dirt motocross paths and 15+ obstacles involving mud, barbed wire, fire and water.
The race: Due to a police car with a flat tire on the I-5 bridge, we made it to Washougal MX with about 30 minutes to spare before our start time. Fortunately getting through the check in area was super fast, as was bag check. We headed to the Sharpie station to ink our numbers onto our arms and then headed into the start corral. There was some hold up, so our wave started about 15 minutes late. The course starts out with a long uphill climb that just doesn't seem to end. Then there was a series of three walls to scale. Then more running/walking (I walked/slow jogged most of the course, because I was tired and HOT after doing Crawfish Crawl 10k just a few hours prior at 10:30am). Then (in no particular order) over-under-through, muddy hills, sandbag "pancake" carry, transverse wall, wall climb, slide, 1/4 mile uphill barbed wire climb, concrete block drag, tire flip, rope climb, fire jump and lots of mud/hills. No gladiator pit this year. I only failed two obstacles--the rope climb and the spear throw.
Post-race: After the race, we received our medals, t-shirts, and snacks, and got our stuff from bag check. They had lots of hoses and private changing areas (tents). I hosed off well enough to be comfortable and pulled on my new 2014 Spartan Race shirt, donated my old muddy shoes (goodbye! you served me well!), and then we headed to the beer garden for our free beer! There were two kinds of beer, but the free drink voucher was only for one specific beer. We sat in the sun on a haybale rehashing the race before heading to Burgerville for some cheaper but equally satisfying dinner (and a milkshake)!
Photos: I like that the photos are free. I do NOT like the photo gallery/viewer they have--it's somewhat difficult to use. Also, there were four of us in our group, but NO photos at the fire jump or the slide/dunk! :( Kind of bummed.
Results: We finished in 2 hours and 14 minutes! I feel bad for holding up my group because I was tired and just too hot. But we had tons of FUN and are already looking forward to next year!
It's an expensive event, especially once you add on parking and bag check and spectator fees ($25 per guest!!!). Also, Elite start time heats are $30 extra, and confirmed start times are $25 extra. BUT, they do a fantastic job of organizing this event as a whole, and it's definitely a unique challenge. I've also run Rugged Maniac and Warrior Dash, but Spartan Race is definitely my favorite so far.