Spartan Super Brisbane

By  Melissa Robertson

Dad and I flew up to Brisbane the day before Spartan, we were on the same flight as some of the top Central Coast Obstacle Course Racers; Matt, Ryan, Matt & Jarrad. Once we got to Brisbane we picked up our hire car and headed out to Ipswich. The weather was terrible; it was cold and raining. I have NEVER been to QLD when it was cold I actually thought that it never got cold there.

Dad had a sleep that afternoon while I went off and did some exploring around Ipswich. I found Queen’s park and wandered around the very impressive Japanese Gardens. That evening we met up with the other OC racers for dinner. Everyone, especially me was very nervous about tomorrows race.


The next morning was foggy and cold, but at least it wasn’t raining. We headed out to the course early, parked and I picked up my race pack. I met up with everyone else at the OCRL tent as they were all trying to stay warm and prepare themselves for todays race. After a bit of a warm up, I got geared up in my Bounce race gear with gloves and my new race Inov8’s (My last pair got destroyed) and made my way with everyone else to the start line. I felt very small surrounded by all the tall muscly guys who were getting ready to set off in the Elite wave. At that point I just didn’t want to get trampled, and then we were off, I was running fast, and followed the group down the track and around a dam for about 500m and then we were back where we started and the race creator was there pointing the correct direction. The correct path was in no way obvious, so I’m pretty sure this was all deliberate to make us go a bit further and psych the lead guys out that they just went in a circle and met up with the tail racers. Now we were on the right track everyone was powering along. We hit the first creek to wade through and it was freezing! I instantly lost feeling in my legs as I waded as quickly as possible down the creek.

Out of the water we hit the first barbed wire crawl. It was muddy and slippery. I always wonder if they deliberately put gravel under the mud just to make it more painful. I was going well and then I put my head up just that bit too high and managed to get snagged by my hair in the barbed wire. I was struggling to get it out when another racer came up and gave me a hand, I finally just ripped it and learnt my lesson to keep my head down lower.

Some more running over a paddock and into the mud pits. There were about 6 mud pits and they were slippery and well packed indeed. We’d had these in Sydney so I knew to jump out as far as possible then use a bit of leverage on the side walls to get up and out of the mud before I climb over the dirt mound and into the next pit.


Through these the running turned rougher as we went up some hills, down some hills, and across rough ground. I had to slow my pace a little as I kept jarring my not completely healed right ankle. I’d sprained it running three weeks before this event and it was really only back to about 85%, I also did not want to completely write it off, or at least not until I was within limping distance of the finish line.

Out of the rocky hill country and back down near the spectator area we got to the balance beams. My new shoes didn’t have as bigger spikes as the last ones so the balance beams were much easier this time. Still I didn’t rush it and took it steady, regaining my balance on each corner.


Next was the cinder block drag were everyone had to collect a cinder block attached to a rope and drag it up a hill, then down and around and back to the beginning. I collected my block and set off. I felt like a bullock, then I felt sorry for bullocks. The cinder block was awkward and I wasn’t allowed to pick it up (of course), I adjusted my hold on the rope a few times as it became more awkward on the way up and down the hill. After the race I was trying to figure out where the bruise on my shoulder came from…. It was the cinder block rope.

Dropping off the cinder block we hit the next barbed wire crawl, this one was longer and on grass instead of mud. I took off rolling every so often I’d sit up and face the other way so I wouldn’t get too dizzy, It took a good kilometre of running after the barbed wire crawl for the pukey feeling to completely go away.

Some more running through a mix of terrain, and wading through more creeks where you’re slipping and sliding on rocks and invisible objects under the water, then onto a 50m swim. All my swim training totally paid off and I felt much more comfortable doing the swim in Brisbane then I did in Sydney. Although whoever told me the story about the brown snake in Sydney… That was all I could think about while I was swimming across.

We hit the kettle bell pull next. A kettle bell was at the end of a rope, which was looped up through a suspended carabineer. You had to pull the rope to get the kettle bell up to the carabineer. I tried my best with the 20kg kettle bell and just couldn’t get it too budge. Very frustrated I admitted defeat and did my 30 burpees. But they weren’t happy burpees, they were the disgruntled sort of burpees where I glare at everyone around me and mutter “stupid burpees” the whole time. Clearly I need to work on this sort of obstacle as no one else I spoke to had any issues with it.


Off and running again I was still upset about the stupid burpees and it took until the next obstacle for me to get over it. This was the sloping wall with a rope on it. No biggee. Then onto the Spartan tunnel crawl and spear throw. I had spent an awful lot of time practicing with my spears at home. The amount of straw splattered around my backyard from destroyed targets can attest to that. I paused, took a breath, lined up my target and balanced the spear.  Then I threw it straight and it stuck. I got so excited I tried to run in the wrong direction. Luckily the volunteers directed me where to go.

Back over the Spartan Tunnel crawls and to the monkey bars. I was determined to make it this time, after having failed in Sydney. I had a new technique and all. I made it about 4 bars before slipping off and landing awkwardly on the ground. I crawled out the side of the bars and joined the others doing their burpees. I was less disgruntled about these ones. Plus the volunteer at the monkey bars must have been a PT because he was all about technique, shouting out orders to get all the way to the ground and make sure you jump and clap. If anyone did one wrong he was calling them out.

Some more running and down to the big walls with their delightful bright pink step. I was the first to use that wall to the delight of the volunteers. Past the walls it was back in the creek for the last creek wade. I was getting tired by now and lost my balance smashing my shin into a rock and falling over. Getting up I continued on muttering about “stupid rocks”. At the end of the creek there was the most scenic obstacle, a vertical cargo net up out of the creek. I really liked this obstacle, I’m not sure why, I just thought it was great, it was big and a bit dangerous but mostly it was just fun. Plus the net went up over a large stump or root, which made it conform into a weird shape.


Out of the creek the finish line was in sight and I climbed up onto the shipping container with the cargo net, rolled across the top cargo net, down off the shipping containers and ran around the front to the rope climb. There was no way I was going to fail this and I quickly climbed to the top and rang the bell. Thanks to wearing gloves I could slide straight down, jumped the fire then ran into the Gladiators. I was screaming at the time and just hoped they wouldn’t send me flying. But they were being nice and I only got a few taps. I also had learnt my lesson about not attacking the gladiators.


Then it was across the finish line and into first place. I was delighted, not my best race ever because I had to back off a few times on the rough terrain. But, I was still stoked. I can’t wait to take Deanna on at the next race once we are both fully healed.

I recovered with a Bounce Ball and some lunch, then took dad on a tour of the obstacles that he’d missed seeing. Commando Steve and Michelle Bridges showed up a bit before the presentations which was great and I got to get my photo taken with both of them. Commando was particularly amusing as everywhere he went there was a gaggle of girls following a couple of metres behind him. Matt Murphy took out first place in the men’s with Ryan managing to come in fourth after a very strong effort (he is now more determined then ever to win). A local lady Laurie took out second in the women’s with Jen in third.

Overall a great event, well organised (even with the early running in a circle bit) and with some fun obstacles. I’m now 2 for 2 in the spear throw so that means I’ll just have to train even harder for Melbourne so I don’t ruin my record.

Disclaimer: A couple of things in this may be out of order, it got a bit blurry as I got further into the course. Also, there was way more creek wading then I mentioned, but I have tried to block that from my memory.


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