Last month, my boyfriend and I woke up before the sun and drove the sleepy, slow road up to Oahu’s North Shore for our first ever race together – the Spartan Beast, to be exact. We were beyond stoked to be conquering 13-15 miles of obstactles, rivers and jungle enclosed within Kualoa Ranch. Nestled between the rolling shoreline and the majestic Koolau Mountain Range, Kualoa Ranch is better known for its role in Jurassic Park than the fully functioning ranch/tourist haven it is today.
Before I go into my review, I’d like to on that I’ve done a Spartan Sprint before and loved every second of it. I’m also an avid fan of the badass, ambitious, live-your-truth movement that the Spartan races have spurred. We could all use a little mud, sweat and grit every now and then. Unfortunately, though, the Spartan Beast we championed this August was not the experience we were hoping for.
The “race” was more of a few obstacles at the beginning and end with a long, boring, muddy, crowded hike with now view awkwardly tucked in between. Objectively, that’s exactly what it was. We started off strong and were initially running for time, and conquered a few fun obstacles for the first mile or two. After that, though – and I’m not exaggerating – we spent the next two hours stuck in a single-file line cutting through spiked branches and impossibly steep, muddy terrain you couldn’t possibly run through. The jungle was so thick and the path so shitty that people were backed up. For hours. Within the first half of the race, we completely gave up any chance of having a good time. We were hungry, thirsty, and BORED. Not exactly what you’d expect from a normally kickass event.
Also, we were so muddy that we couldn’t complete most of the obstacles near the end. We slipped off the rings and ropes, could barely hold onto our buckets of rocks or pick up any logs. And by the time we got to the end, we were mixed in with the Spartan Super and Sprint racers and were stuck in MORE lines of up to fifteen people waiting to climb over a wall or throw a spear.
At the end, it was fun jumping over the fire. And, looking back, we did generally enjoy ourselves and it was a decent experience. I just hope that next year, they make the longer distances more exciting and thrilling, as they should be. In Hawaii, we could go on a muddy hike any day with a better view or even a waterfall at the end. We want out of the ordinary obstacles and adventure – after all, that’s what we signed up for 🙂