Spartan Race obstacle that was used in the 2022 race. Photo courtesy of David Westrick.
Spartan Race obstacle that was used in the 2022 race. Photo courtesy of David Westrick.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Grace Gillio 

While Paicines Ranch is accustomed to hosting sheep, weddings and educational events, it’s now preparing for about 8,000 guests at the end of August.

The Spartan Race, a challenging run with races worldwide, will come to the ranch in four events on the weekend of Aug. 26.

Like the obstacles overcome by runners on their course, just setting up for the Spartan Race poses unique challenges to the venue.  

“Staff begins meeting months in advance to prepare the livestock grazing plan before the finalized race maps are approved,” ranch manager Nancy Sorgatz said. The team from Spartan handles the actual setup of the tracks. 

She said creating the layout begins well before the race. 

“The Spartan team will be on the property setting up the race and obstacle courses 1.5 weeks prior to race day and will break down and be off property within four days after the race,” she said.

In comparison, Sorgatz said weddings and other events that don’t exceed 300 people can be set up in one or two days. 

Since the race is bringing in so many people, services including catering, restrooms and handwashing stations are carefully planned out. 

“The catering team prep begins about the same time the race team arrives, making sure we get all the necessary products ordered, many of which are in larger amounts,” Sorgatz said. “Our biggest task for food and beverage is transporting, setting up and serving in the main race staging area, in the field along our main driveway.”  

Although the Spartan Race poses new challenges for the ranch, it may host more large events like this in the future, Sorgatz said. 

According to the Spartan Race website, the four races are the Sprint 5k with 20 obstacles, the Super 10K with 25 obstacles, the Beast 21K with 30 obstacles, and the Kids Race, a 1K to 3K run. It says that contestants can compete in a “trifecta weekend,” which allows them to complete all three races over two days to qualify for the Trifecta World Championship in Sparta, Greece. 

To get an idea of some of the obstacles in the race, they bear names such as “Ape Hanger,” “Beater” and “Helix.” Spartan describes the Ape Hanger as being a “rope climb over water followed by a tricky transfer to an ascending/descending monkey bar ladder, with a bell at the other end.” 

The Beater, named for its resemblance to the whisks used to beat eggs, “can be comprised of a few spinning bars mixed with some stationary horizontal bars, or entirely made up of tricky rotating bars placed at different heights,” the website states. 

As for the Helix, Spartan says: “Shaped like a twisting metal strand of DNA, you must climb from one side to the other while avoiding touching the top. Just as you get a handhold, you’ll notice the footholds have disappeared, and then vice versa.” 

Founded in 2007 by Joe De Sena, Spartan Race challenges competitors through obstacles such as scaling walls, crawling under barbed wire, and spear throwing to achieve what its creator describes as “turning pain into power.” Spartan says its mission is “helping people live without limits” and encouraging its runners to “develop the physical and mental strength to take on all of life’s challenges with an unbreakable spirit.” 

More information about the Spartan Race is available here

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