Laura and Matt have an intercontinental connection; Laura being German and Matt, a true english gent. With Spartan again making headway in Munich, Matt saw a perfect opportunity to exploit Laura’s love of her hometown by delicately mashing it with his own love of obstacle racing. Will their relationship survive a Spartan Night Sprint? Read on…

Matt:

Last year I was lucky enough to be in Munich at the same time as Spartan were holding a Sprint in the Olympic park.  You can read my thoughts on last year here.

When I heard that this year they were adding a night Sprint to the weekend’s activities I had to sign up again.  But this time I also managed to talk my girlfriend into signing up - her first proper obstacle race! She was not keen, (I’ll let her fill you in on how she got on), but then it was to be in her home town!

The setup was much the same as last year, staged in the awesome surroundings of Munich’s Olympic park. The weather however was a little different, gone was the lovely 20+ degrees of last year, replaced instead with a rather chilly and dull 8 degrees and dropping. It was 7:30pm and the park had an eerie quietness about it; no one seemed to be around with only odd bits of tape and obstacles giving away that something was about to happen. We arrived to a moderate queue for registration in the race village, with a few more people along with the usual food outlets and Spartan shop.   Unfortunately this time registration wasn’t the fast and efficient machine of a usual Spartan race. Between picking up our race packs, getting our special edition glow in the dark Spartan Sprint T-shirt and a sticker with our number on, (due to compulsory head torches covering the numbered headband no doubt), it took over an hour. Everyone we looked at in the queue was freezing and desperately wanting to get moving! Having just missed our 8:30pm start time due to this, we jumped in the following wave. Luckily once in the start pen with lights flashing, music pumping and an energetic MC warming everyone up spirits soon rose and we were off and straight up the biggest hill in the park.

The race itself consisted of all the usual Spartan obstacles you would expect to find: big walls, little walls, spear throw, hoist, cargo net, numerous carries etc.  I won’t go into detail on them, as it’s a Spartan race and you know what to expect. The thing that sticks with me from this race and really makes it stand out against other Spartan races was the atmosphere and the venue. The Olympic park in the daytime is a fantastic place for a race, but at night with the stadium lights, the towers, the city in the distance, hordes of pumped up obstacle racers all with head torches that could be seen running trails up and down hills in the distance it felt special and far removed from any night race I’ve done before in the middle of the countryside. Course markings and route was good with the added extra of garden flares dotted around the course near marshals and obstacles. 

The night sprint only had ‘Open’ waves, and after a season of running mainly competitive waves, it was nice to see the fun side of it again. The MC had made sure everyone was going out to run for a good time encouraging everyone to help each other, including splitting burpees between your groups if some failed and others didn’t.  I’ve always had mixed feelings about this, being very sold into the Spartan mindset of thinking everyone ‘MUST’ follow the rules and do all their burpees to keep it fair - something I still firmly believe in when it comes to elite and competitive waves. However for the open waves, does it really matter? Running with a complete beginner it was nice to see her having fun attempting every obstacle and getting the help from other friendly obstacle racers that we’ve come to expect in the UK. Life (and obstacle racing) is all about balance.

There were a few highlights that really stood out for me but the Stadium was the big one, we got to run around the very top of the stands on a narrow path with an amazing view (not something for those scared of heights!), had sandbag carry switch backs up and down the steps inside the stadium and a little run along the 100m athletics track after doing the Z walls. This was just before the final 100m back into the race village for the final walls and the fire jump which looked and felt amazing in the dark with all the extra lights.

Despite the small issue of registration, Spartan Germany and Austria had once again pulled a great race out the bag. I can only hope Spartan UK look into putting a night sprint on so the UK runners can get to experience one a little easier.  

Laura:

There was a girl who was in love with an English man, so in love in fact, that one day she decided to accompany him on his hobby... Obstacle Racing. 

Obstacle what? That was my reaction when I first heard about it 1.5 years ago.  

A hobby of the man. Watching him torture himself through cold water, jumping over fire and then splashing mud in front of me.  

I could never understand the happy facial expressions, but I didn't have to; I had a fresh shower in the dry and was only a spectator. I was in a safe position and happy at the same time. 

I gave up this seat for the first time last week. “You can do it, but only once, never again afterwards.”

With this attitude I went to my home country.  

  • Munich. Night sprint.  
  • Temperature: Cold. Cold. Cold.  
  • Thoughts: Hopefully I will survive it! 
  • Training plan: If you practice 30 burpees, you save yourself from the obstacles.

I was really afraid of the run. I don't have the strength to jump from branch to branch like a monkey.  I don't like cold water (fortunately we were informed 2 days before that participants of the night sprint don't have to jump into the water - I still thank the decision maker and sender of this mail). 

The burpees thing didn't quite work out either…

I felt unprepared when I stood in the Olympic Park among all the highly motivated people despite the 3 pieces of cake I had eaten shortly before.  But I pulled in my belly and off we went.  And it didn't start with the sprint, so all my fear disappeared suddenly. 

I could not do most obstacles alone, I was missing the strength to pull myself up a 2 metre wall, but that didn't matter, because there were people who helped and supported me during the whole run. 

We had the opportunity to run in the Olympic Stadium, which was such a great feeling that I had almost forgotten that I held what felt like a 100kg sandbag in my hands as I ran up and down the stairs. There was laughter, running and talking between the obstacles, And again and again the view of Munich. The love of my life, to see it from the Olympic mountain how it shines in front of you, dreamlike and beautiful. 

“Never again” had I proclaimed from the beginning. But would I participate again? 

Yes - definitely.

It has been a bit hard, but to know that you can overcome any obstacle, perhaps not alone, but with help, is a nice feeling and so I stood afterwards in the Olympic Park sweaty and happy. 

[Photos by Sportograf]

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