Stronger Together – Building Better Humans

We’re on the Highway to Hell: Welcome to #Montcramps

From Trailfecta to Trifecta

After the much-heated race from Bacnotan, and two months of recovery and even more training later, the Spartans then add a little more *spice* to their training, not just doing and covering their trail runs, but finally, adding obstacle course workouts and strength training to the test. Spartans will now have to go to Pampanga and face the heat (hopefully with the help of the Amihan breeze) as they go through the trifecta weekend.

The coveted trifecta

In the Spartan Race, there are three popular courses, namely called the Spartan Sprint, Super, and Beast. Each race covers different distances, with each distance being longer and adding more obstacles to cover as well.

The Spartan Sprint is a perfect race for beginners. This is especially true for people wanting to dip their toes in the sport, and a good baseline and starting point in the OCR journey. Experienced athletes take advantage of this course as well and join the Spartan Sprint either to push themselves, or as simply as just wanting to have fun, and even shoot some content while they’re there. It is also the perfect race for Spartans to join and race with their friends, especially since the race is only an open competition (no age group competitions). With only five kilometers to run and twenty obstacles to overcome, others can and will push themselves to finish the race in an hour (or less!) while others will enjoy the day helping their fellow athletes.

The Spartan Super is a race both beginners and experienced athletes enjoy. With ten kilometers in and 25 obstacles, the race is a perfect balance of testing your strength, and endurance. Some notable obstacles that are not in the Spartan Sprint are the Bender, the dreaded Olympus Wall, the infamous Twister, the Stairway to Sparta, and the 7-Foot Wall.

The Spartan Beast is a race distance runners truly enjoy. A half-marathon trail run with thirty obstacles, the beast is not for the faint of heart. The race will test mostly your mental wits rather than the physical, and add obstacles that are not in the previous races, such as the 8-Foot Wall, the Jerry Can Carry, the Beater, and the infamous cramp-giving Tyrolean Traverse.

Trifecta vs. Trifecta (IYKYK)

What makes the trifecta weekend so special? The trifecta weekend covers all three races in the span of two days (or one weekend). While most Spartans will attempt to race one or maybe two races, competing and finishing all three races will have the Spartans receive the much-coveted trifecta medal. This medal, compared to three different wedges completed in three different events, will be received in one whole medal, showing they completed the Trifecta weekend in the Philippines.

Montclair: the Highway to Hell

The much-awaited race of the year took place in Montclair at Porac, Pampanga last weekend (November 18-19). The course, though relatively flat and easier compared to last year’s Timberland Trifecta, has a twist: a chill race course, but with the heat standing in the way to make it anything look but easy. The course was mostly flat with minimal elevation. This should be an advantage to all racers who experienced the previous races, however, the trail provided little shade against the blazing heat.  While the air begins to cool as Christmas nears, Montclair seems to defy this transition, keeping the Amihan Breeze far and away, and continuing to stay ablaze during the weekend. The hellish hot weekend was what also caused Montclair to be called Montcramps. A witty yet brilliant nickname coined by fellow Spartan and Kalabaw Niel Magbitang. Montcramps stands true to its name, with a majority of the racers getting cramps because of the heat and exhaustion altogether. Because of the weather conditions, racers were mandated beforehand to bring a hydration system with them: be it a flask, a water bottle, or a vest, to prevent themselves from dehydrating and risking heat exhaustion or worse.

Competition and Camaraderie

The anticipated weekend gathered around 4000 Spartans, all with different levels of experience, backgrounds, and beliefs. Despite the different “groups” that were present during the race, the community was still the highlight for many: helping each other during the race, handing out salt sticks and electrolytes when cramping, and stopping and making sure our fellow racers were alright before continuing on with the course. The competitive spirits of the Spartans will surely be there, but so will be the camaraderie. The flawless yet intricate balance of both qualities of the Spartan community is what makes the community unique and worth going back to.

Aroo, Aroo, Aray Ang Init!

When asked “How was the race?” The first thing any Spartan, either chugging down a bottle of Sip Purified Water, refreshing themselves with an XS energy drink, or probably cooling themselves off with an ice cream from Gains By Dessert, would probably say,

“Damn, it was hot.”

One Spartan, Sandra Bernal, said although the race was hot, it was her best race yet. Finishing with a time of 2:01:35 and her first Super Race in the AG Category, she was satisfied with her race and had only to fail two obstacles.

Another racer, Jara Pallana, started strong in the Beast AG Race but suffered from cramps during the second half of the race, similar to what a lot of racers have experienced. 

Giap Lo has had one hell of a weekend as well. After six months of training, he entered the Trifecta weekend and earned a lot of personal achievements worth sharing: His first Spartan race, joining the Age Group Category, and ending the weekend with a Trifecta Medal in his hand.

One enthusiastic group of Spartans, the Screaming Nachos, decided to run the 5km course with a twist: weighted vests. Although competitive, their enthusiasm to push themselves to greater heights is inspiring. Their friendship also shows a brilliant parallelism to the Spartan community: pushing each other while celebrating each other’s wins.

Post-Race Reflections

From the beginning of the 2023 Spartan Race Season, taking place in not-so-muddy Vermudsa, Cavite, and ending the year at Montcramps, Pampanga. New lessons, friendships, and communities were formed. Racers reflected how they have done the past year, and celebrated how much they have improved. While first-time racers also deserve to congratulate themselves for finishing a Spartan race, a not-so-easy feat that anyone can just join.

Spartans are now left with the remainder of the year to recuperate, to recover and to get stronger as well. New goals are being set, with a Spartan aiming for a podium finish for next year’s races. Another Spartan aims to get his hands on a multi-trifecta award in the Philippines, while another Spartan, Jian David aims to get his hands on as many trifectas as he can, with his eyes set on traveling to other countries as well.

Another Spartan aims to set her eyes on getting a Trailfecta medal, yet the daunting location of next year’s Trailfecta weekend (in a rainy August in San Mateo) is a challenge she has to overcome.

Ending the 2023 Season with a Bang

Ending the 2023 season, we congratulate all the Spartans who have raced the finish line, and even more so the people who have deservedly stood on the podium after the blood, sweat, and tears they have gone through. One of these is Krizia Bondad. Although she only started her Spartan journey last year during the Timberland Sprint, she rose to the challenge and bagged the bronze medal at the Philippine National Series. Not only did she get bronze for the Philippine National Series, she also won second place during the first and second leg of the Trifecta Weekend (Spartan Beast and Super). Another Kalabaw worth mentioning is Royneil Dela Fuente. Being a consistent and constant podium finisher, it was no surprise hearing his name being called out, as he bagged first place during the Spartan Beast, and silver in the Spartan Super. Right now, we offer our support to him as he continues to compete next week in the APAC Championships.

What Off-Season?

Now that the season has come to an end, Spartans take their time to relax for the rest of the year as they recharge for next year. 71 days left ’til Batangas for next year! We hope to see all of you at the race course. Aroo!

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Fayth Ong

Teach. Write. Move. Expore.

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