What is the Spartan Race?
An assault course or "obstacle race", from 4km to 42km. It started 10 years ago in the US and is now franchised to 14 countries. France and the UK have half a dozen races each a year. But of course across Europe the number of accessible races is huge, there is one or two running every weekend throughout the spring and summer. In the US there is even a spin-off TV show!
In Morzine this year around 8000 are taking part, on the Spartan Sprint, Super Spartan, Spartan Beast and Ultra Beast. The 42km Ultra has 60 obstacles and the winners will cover this in 7 hrs, I guess the last people to cross the line will take 12hrs or so!
The obstacles seem to involve plenty of rivers, slippery walls, steep slopes, spear throws, monkey bars, ropes, more ropes and if you fail any obstacles the penalty is 30 burpees. From what I saw some of the harder obstacles are almost impossible to complete when tired so that will mean a lot of burpees! The last obstacle to cross is a fire jump!
Running each event is a huge undertaking, permanent staff and volunteers have to muck it to build the 60 obstacles and manage the event across the weekend. Entry fees for the competitors range from 40€ to 240€ depending on the length of course.