Spartan Death Race Rises From The Dead


Let’s get the facts out of the way.

1 I make this axe look GOOOOD.
2 There is a rumour the Spartan Death Race is back.

MRG and ORM have been strangely silent on both of these issues, so I am forced to hypothesize, speculate and guess wildly. All my favorite things.

Everything else is up for discussion, but it seems that the Spartan Death Race has joined the proud ranks of Tough Guy, Hobie Call and Barbra Streisand – retiring, and unretiring.

Let’s see. Tough Guy UK – THE original obstacle race – spent ONE year in retirement. There is now a Tough Guy scheduled for January 2019. Because “we listened! And you want Tough Guy back!”.

Barbra Streisand announced that THIS concert was going to be her last. Four times.

KISS went on to have almost a dozen tours AFTER their farewell tour in 2001.

There is also Elton John, who announced his retirement few weeks ago. Again. He first announced his retirement in 1977, but that one did not stick. He is on farewell tour now. Of course, the tour is going to last three years. And THEN he is done for good.

See? It’s a thing.

Yes, yes! The most popular trick in the book of every single ageing rock band. Retire! Then un-retire – cash in on the world tour. Rinse! Repeat!

This is it!
No, really, this is it!
Ok, I REALLY mean it this time!!!

Retirement is an option with much better optics than the alternative “this-event-is-no-longer-financially-feasible-so-we-are-gonna-kill-it”. And, as our favorite rockstars have shown us, retirement is not forever. You can come back with fanfare and balloons!

“I’m baaack!”.
Insert reference to The Shining here. I don’t know about you, but I will be keeping my eye on BattleFrog.

The reactions of every single Death Racer (and want-to-be Death Racer) right now.

  1. W….. T…… F……?
  2. I do not believe you.
  3. Omg, omg, omg, OMG!

“W… T… F….?” is an understandable reaction here. “I do not believe you” just demonstrates clinical paranoia that racers have developed based on experience. As for “omg, omg, omg”, I know that there are plenty of racers who got into all things insane since DR’s timely demise, and would love nothing more than an opportunity to walk barefoot on Bloodroot in the middle of the night.

Let’s examine the evidence.

The event is currently branded as PEAK DEATH RACE with a catchy slogan “You may die”.The usual suspects include Peter Borden, Don Devaney (hi, Don!), and, of course, Joe DeSena. The logo still says Spartan Death Race, which either means  continuity, OR that the new logo is not ready yet.

PEAK DEATH RACE is an unknown entity, while Spartan Death Race brings memories, associations and flashbacks. And plenty of blog posts if you search for race reports.

“The race will start July 11th at 7am. There is a small chance that the date could be changed to Wednesday, August 22nd”.

They are about two weeks early for an April Fool’s joke.

“We are going to announce a multi-day event that is scheduled to take place in July (and according to the FB event last until mid-August) late enough in the calendar year. We’ll provide a date, but we may change that date.”

Most experienced racers would have their race calendar in place by late fall / early winter, and in the middle of March most would be thinking about tapering for their first event sometime in late spring.

Funny that when PEAK 2018 schedule was announced at the end of October 2017, the Death Race was nowhere to be found. But… SURPRISE!

It’s not like anyone is training for this thing, amirite?

Limited to 100 racers. It’s now “full”, but don’t let that stop you. The website warns that most of those who registered will not qualify. More on that below. You can go ahead and get on the waiting list, aka “give-us-your-email-because-we-will-keep-changing-the-details”.

While the registration cost varied from two to five hundred dollars in the past, you can now register for $4.31. That’s like more than twice the registration cost for Barkley, which is still at $1.60.

They say imitation is greatest form of flattery. Maybe, we will see one of the race directors lighting up a cigarette.

The qualification promotes OTHER Spartan and Peak events – AGOGE and Peak Bloodroot Ultra, which makes sense. All the previous Death Racers who walked away with a skull are in – obviously.

Some other crazy event will possibly qualify you at the race organizers’ discretion (you may want to start getting used to this, as everything will be at the race organizers’ discretion). I predict this will include Survival Run, Leadville, Georgia Death Race and similar.

I also predict that this will not be a very difficult hurdle to overcome. If in doubt, just register as Petr Semenov, the famous Russian extreme endurance athlete, who completed a 300-mile race in Siberia, while carrying three sled dogs on his back. See? Convincing, right? Besides, I hear they don’t have internet in Siberia anyway, so it’s not like there are going to be electronic chip race results.

“Beg to be let in by emailing Joe” – well, of course. “I have something you want, and you MUST BEG”, and “POWEEERRR!” are underlying themes of the entire event. If you opt for this, I suggest including photos of yourself kneeling, and crying.

Some mathematically inclined folks have already done the math. There is no way this is a financially profitable event with 100 racers who paid just over four bucks each in registration. What about the cost of staff, overhead?

On one hand… not every event has to be profitable. With enough cash flow, whimsy is reason enough. Aka “I am not doing this for the money, I just like torturing people”. Also, see to the point above on begging.

On the other hand, I approximate the likelihood of this prize actually being paid out in a way where this money can be efficiently exchanged for goods and services… as close to zero.

The instructions specify to bring a truck, as it will be paid out in 5,000 pounds of quarters (that’s 400,000 quarters, by the way. I just want to accompany a guy who has to pick those up from the bank). And, if this event is anything like the events in prior years… the quarters will also probably be thrown in a pond with leeches, and the Death Race will consist of racers having to fish it out. Whoever finds the ONE rare quarter from 1921 is the winner.

Yep. “At the la “. Good luck finding it.

Sounds like Death Race already started. You know… as usual. You are already late, you are already behind, do not believe anyone, do not trust anyone.

But the event IS going down. For realz. In all seriousness, right now I give about 80% likelihood that this event will indeed take place. Because, hey, so far everything is “on brand”. Last minute scheduling, half-assed website, random instructions, arbitrary rules. Like the good old times.

Except… it does not have to be that way.

This event is off the wall.

This is the blessing, and the curse of the Death Race. And I am truly hoping for something great here.

This is an opportunity for rebirth, for reincarnation. Group challenges morphing into an individual race, as the hours tick away; mind games, intentional misinformation, puzzles, and hallucinations, pushing through the suck – together this can add up to a mind blowing event.

Yet… as long as it remains a test of patience, and boredom tolerance, more so than one’s athleticism; as long as the basic respect towards racers is absent from the race’s culture, as long as racers are instructed to wear diapers, or ride each other like ponies, or do garden chores, no athlete will take this event seriously. [Although I do have a friend who will call you names and spit in your face for about three hundred bucks an hour. She’s quite popular.]

The one thing I do know is that if this event IS going down, there will be a large number of very awesome people congregating in Vermont this July. The list of registered racers is public, and currently reads like creme de la creme of extreme endurance circa 2012. 

Anything worth doing is usually worth doing for the people. And reunions are the bomb!


Posted March 12, 2018

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