On July 6th, 2013, I participated in The Patriot Challenge at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. I signed up after some facebook prodding by fellow Corn Fed Spartans. The price was reasonable and I really liked the uniqueness of running on a race track.
The course started on the speedway and the first half involved lots of just running, including up and down the bleachers. About half way through we got the mud and some fun obstacles. I really had a good time – the course was pretty average, nothing crazy challenging, but I knew that going in. I ran with some new found Corn Fed friends and spent the morning having good old fashioned fun.
Here is the breakdown of my experience:
Cardio Fitness Required: LOTS of flat out running, especially in the first half.
Brute strength required: Only one or two obstacles required brute strength.
Technical skill required: A few obstacles required OCR skills such as monkey bars and fence climbing. I was uncomfortable with two things. 1) Some of the fences/obstacles were fixtures at the track. They were pointy and rusty and you can’t help but scratch yourself. I am glad my tetanus shot is up to date. 2) The pit at the bottom of the slide was WAY to shallow (barely calve deep). I skipped the slide due to visions of broken ankles and shattered tailbones. Overall, the obstacles were fun but not very challenging.
Mud Factor: The first heat barely got muddy. I was the third heat and looked like I engaged in a full-body make out session with a mud pit. The mud obstacles were my favorite parts of the race.
Course officials: Awesome, but could have used more (the nature of the beast). The kid at the rope swing was the best! I hope they invest in microphones or some system to announce things better. Heat times weren’t announced and instructions at the start were just yelled.
Actual Course: As I said before, the first part was slow but improved dramatically as time went on. You could either run the “elite” race or the normal race. I took the elite (and I kept thinking that if I claimed to be elite on the Spartan course, a podium-placer would eat me alive) and handled it just fine. Direction/marking needs some improvement. There were parts of the course that simply were not marked. My running buddy and I had to back track at least twice because the path was not very well marked. Sections of the course weaved in and out of each other so it was easy to go the wrong way if a fellow racer didn’t warn you. So, we probably added a half mile to our race, but hey, why not! I was participating in the timed concept of the race, but I pretty much chalked that up to a loss when I got, well, lost. At the time I am writing this, official times have not been released.
Parking: No issues at all. Blacktop parking. Plenty of parking and it was free. (I had heard it was ten dollars, but no one I knew saw anyone to pay. Possibly a benefit of getting there VERY early?)
Take Homes: Standard cotton T came with registration. You could upgrade to tech but I’m not sure of the cost. Sam Adams was there with good beer (one free). The medal is not so great. Cheap looking and small. There were several vendors there giving out free stuff and providing entertainment.
Food/Beverage: Bottled water was ready and waiting at the end of the course. The Bakers Knot was on hand at the main area with yummy baked goods and bananas.
Photos: There were people out there taking photos. I look forward to seeing them.
Summary: The course got better (more fun) as the course went on. Most definitely a FUN run. I REALLY enjoyed myself. While the challenge factor wasn’t high, I had some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a race.