What Will It Take For Our Girls Team To Take on The Spartan?

By Laura Kimberley   Photos: Epic Action Imagery

The Trek and Run team did their first Spartan Obstacle Event last year and loved it. This year we’re back for more, starting on Saturday 30th August at their South London Spartan Sprint event and culminating at the mighty challenge of the Spartan Beast at the same venue on 11th October. In between those dates our ladies team will be taking on the event at Cambridge, whilst our streamlined team will also enjoy the Spartan Super on Sunday 31st August. 

Images from the 2012 UK Spartan Races by Epic Action Imagery

On Sunday 7th September 2014, less than 3 weeks time, our team of 5 girls (well, women) will attempt to conquer the 5K Spartan Sprint in Cambridge.  How do we feel about taking on this challenge which is usually associated with gym bodied, ultra-competitive men?  What preparations and training will we undertake?  And most importantly, are we up to the challenge?

I think we can safely say that the five words which cover our initial reaction were;  fear, panic, terror and most importantly excitement and determination.

Images from the 2012 UK Spartan Races by Epic Action Imagery


Meet the team

We are five friends of varying fitness levels.

Laura – Age 27

Laura is a primary school teacher and was born in Scotland but now lives in Hornchurch, Essex with her boyfriend and his 10 year old daughter.  Laura goes to the gym sporadically, does ‘Pole and Tone Fitness’ for 2 hours each week and has taken part in several 5K and 10K races, one obstacle race and 3 half marathons over the last few years.

Katrina – Age 28

Katrina is an Office Manager in advertising in Central London and the co-founder of a senior cat rescue, and also lives in Hornchurch with her 6 year old son.  Katrina also goes to ‘Pole and Tone Fitness’ every week and has advanced so quickly that she now helps teach in the beginner classes.  She has run one half marathon with Laura and they have another coming up in September!

Tavisha – Age 26

Tavisha is a Team Manager for an insurance company and lives in Seven Kings, Essex.  She has recently started going to a local boot camp in preperation for Spartan Race and has trained at Karate from a very young age and has travelled all over the world to compete alongside her sister.  She is a black belt so be warned finish line Spartans!

Hayley – Age 27

Hayley has recently become a British Transport Police Officer, and a large part of her training involved gruelling health and fitness assessments, despite the fact Hayley is famously quoted among friends as being “allergic to exercise”!  Hayley is excited about her new job and hoping to get a place with her boyfriend very soon.

Christina – Age 28

Christina is a university student studying Multimedia at University of Greenwich and got married this year.  Christina goes to the gym regularly and enjoys snowboarding.  Since agreeing to join our Spartan team Christina has seriously upped her gym attendance and bought herself a pull up bar for at home.

Images from the 2012 UK Spartan Races by Epic Action Imagery

The build up

As you can see we are a pretty mixed bunch when it comes to our fitness levels and the types of activities that we take part in, but because of this we’re hoping everyone will have different skills and techniques so that we can learn from one another and give advice and support when needed.  We were surprised to learn that last year 45% of Spartan participants were women so this has definitely lifted our spirits.

Although this race is out of our comfort zone and not your usual 5K at all, in the spirit of being prepared we watched a video of last years event that a very helpful person had uploaded and we found ourselves watching the women in the video thinking ‘if they can do it so can we’, ‘ok the water level is kind of high but we can swim through it’ and ‘I hope I don’t lose a shoe!’.  Overall the video seemed to spur us on.

Spartan Race

We then had a discussion about what type of kit we were going to need and have basically reached the decision that we’re going for our oldest trainers because this race will probably be their funeral march, leggings to try and minimise the number of cuts and scrapes that we will inevitably get, and grip gloves to help when we need to lift things or pull on ropes.  We’re undecided about whether or not to add silly additions to our outfits or team shirts like many others do in this type of event as basically we’re a bit wary of anything that will draw unwanted attention to our team if we turn out to be a bit rubbish!

As the event draws ever closer, everyone is intending to up our regular fitness regime.  Some of the girls are already attending the gym and have been doing weight training, core exercises and spinning, Kat and Laura are hoping that climbing a pole for a couple of hours each week will help with upper body strength, and Tavisha and Kat have booked some Boot Camp sessions.  We’re hoping to find a Saturday morning where we can all complete a local 5K parkrun followed by some monkey bar practice in a nearby children’s play park, and we are also planning to go to watch the Trek and Run boys run the London Sprint on 30th August.  Hopefully we can get a sneaky peek of some of the obstacles and mentally psych ourselves up a bit.


Images from the 2012 UK Spartan Races by Epic Action Imagery

So… how are we all feeling?

I think ‘terrified’ would be a bit of an under-statement!

Every single one of us is convinced we’re going to slow the others down, fail at each obstacle and basically be an embarrassment to the team, and cuts, scrapes and broken bones are another concern as a few of us have a wedding to go to the following week that we don’t want to be purple and scarred for!

Having watched the clip of last years event, we were slightly concerned about the deep water that is going to come up pretty high on us as we’re not a tall bunch and we’ve heard tales of people losing shoes in the mud so this is bound to happen to one of us, and Monkey Bars are another fear (no one was very good at these as a child) as well as the rope climb (primary PE flashbacks ahhhh!) and not one of us is a fan of burpees so 30 for each obstacle we fail will be a challenge!  Hang on… whose idea was this again?!

BUT this is going to be awesome!  If the boys can do it, so can we.  We are tough, we are determined and we are strong (mentally if not physically).  We will work as a team, cheer each other on, scream encouragement and not let anyone give up.  Just remember girls… THERE’S BOOZE AT THE FINISH LINE!!!!!

Spartan say:  “You’ll know at the finish line”.

Well Spartan:  We’ll see you there…

Images from the 2012 UK Spartan Races by Epic Action Imagery

Many thanks to Epic Action Imagery for the event photographs.

To discover more about the Spartan Race Series, go to http://www.uk.spartanrace.com/events for more details.

Saturday 30 August: South London Spartan Sprint (5+kms, 15 obstacles), at Pippingford Park, Nutley, East Sussex

Sunday 31 August: South London Spartan Super (13+kms, 21 obstacles), also at Pippingford, East Sussex

Sunday 7 September: Cambridge Spartan Sprint (5+kms, 15 obstacles), at Milton Country Park Milton, Cambs

Sunday 21 September: Edinburgh Spartan Sprint (5+kms, 15 obstacles) at Winton House, Pencaitland, East Lothian

Sunday 28 September: Yorkshire Spartan Sprint (5+kms, 15 obstacles) at Ripon, Ellington Banks, Kirby Road, Yorkshire

Saturday 11 October: South London Spartan Beast (20+kms, 26 obstacles), also at Pippingford, East Sussex


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