Extreme sports: 'Get ready to get muddy' at Reebok Spartan Race
Midway • Some 6,000 people will run through mud, crawl under barbed wire, climb over walls and carry 100-pound sand bags at Solider Hollow on Saturday.
And they'll be doing it willingly, and as fast as they can, as part of the Reebok Spartan Race.
"Get ready to get muddy," said Jim Benson, the second-year race director.
The Spartan Race is considered the world's leading obstacle race series, with more than 130 events in 17 countries planned for 2014. The race features three distances: Obstacle Sprint is 3-5 miles, Obstacle Super is 8-10 miles, and Obstacle Beast is 10-13 miles and designed to test competitors' physical strength and mental resolve. There is also a smaller design for children under 14.
Benson said competitors come from "different walks of life," noting the race will feature wounded war veterans, cancer survivors, and amputees using wheelchairs and crutches.
However, he also said that racers should be in "pretty good shape," and notes that many racers have some experience in marathon, Olympic or cross-fit running.
Spartan Race is one of the fasting growing sports in the world, and its participation in Utah has increased every year.
"It has been great here," said Benson. "One of the most beautiful venues we have raced at â¦ [with the] mountains in the background."
Benson and his course builders have been here for more than a week preparing for the race. It takes about nine days to put the course together and two days to take everything down.
Elite-level racing, in which competitors have a chance to collect points and win cash prizes, will start at 8 a.m. Every 15 minutes afterwards, a new heat will start until 2 p.m. Nearly 300 people will participate in every heat.
Participation and observation
O It's not too late to join in the action. Families and runners can come as spectators and try some of the obstacles courses in the festival area or sign up to run the race. The price for each spectator is $25, and day-of-race sign-ups are $250. If you want to chance to race for free, go to Spartan.com and sign up as a volunteer for future races.