Countdown to the Beast!

So, in a feat of really bad planning the week after the 50 mile Longmynd Hike, I’m going to be taking part in the Spartan Beast; 22 kilometres of mud, obstacles and fire.

Yes, I know I’m mad. Yes, it’s going to hurt. Yes, I am seriously looking forward to it – assuming I have any legs left after the hike!

A while ago I had a chat to Dan Tuffnell, UK Director of Spartan Races and a seriously hardcore obstacle racer. You can read the interview here. I had another catch up with Dan; with the Beast in less than two weeks I was hoping to pick up some last minute tips!

So Dan, tell me what to expect from the Beast:

The team are really excited! We’ve put together a special, brutally hard course.

Er…

Nothing to be scared about. It’s a tough one, but just keep taking one step after another and you’ll there.

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Can you give me any hints on what to expect from the obstacles?

Well, some hill training would be useful and work on your upper body strength. There may be one or two carries…

Oh wow. Think I’d better get in the gym. How many people are expected to be taking part?

Although it’s a tough one, it’s well balanced. We want people to have fun and complete the course. We’ve got around 3,000 people entered. The numbers have been fantastic and it’s going to be an amazing event.

A lot of these people are completing the Trifecta (completing all three Spartan races, the 5km Sprint, 13km Super and 22km Beast) and building to the Beast from the Sprint is brilliant training.

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So where should I focus my training?

Burpees. No question. Burpees are fantastic, they use all the body parts, don’t require much room and they get you very fit very quickly.

Looks like I’d better get doing some burpees then! Any other tips on what to expect on the day?

Well, the weather isn’t looking great! It’s going to be cold and wet. Wear compression tights, make sure you stay warm.

That’s great for me, I love running in the rain but I imagine it’s a bit less fun for the team building the course. Are there going to be any famous faces along I should be looking out for?

There may be one or two, but I’m afraid that’s all I can tell you! However, we have got the Spartan World Champion Jonathan Albon there!

Oh my gosh! For those who don’t know, Jonathan Albon is pretty much the best OCR runner in the UK. He’s based in Norway and travels all round the world racing, and winning! He’s pretty damn cool!

So, the Beast is the last race of the season. What have you taken from this year to make Spartan even better next year?

We’re planning around 10 or 11 events next year around the country. We’ve fixed a couple of glitches we’ve had with registrations. We’re working hard to promote Spartan, introduce more people to OCR and even include the youngsters. We’re planning Juniors Only race days, using all the obstacles, bar maybe the fire pit! We want to continue to grow and encourage more people to join in.

We’re also planning the first ever stadium obstacle race in the UK!

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Wow, it sounds like next year is going to be pretty exciting.

It is, I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got some top secret stuff going on with Reebok too, but I can’t divulge any more…

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Ooh, intriguing! So, what are you planning for yourself over the winter?

Well, I got married a couple of months ago in Las Vegas and since then I haven’t actually seen my wife, so that’s first on my list! Then we’ve got lots of planning to do, looking at new venues, improving efficiency, there’ll be a lot going on in the quiet season.

That does sound busy. Congratulations on getting married, and I can’t wait to see what next year brings for Spartan!

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