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Spartan Beast Florida 2022

Brian Kondas Spartan Beast Florida 2022 Multi-Rig

On Saturday, December 10, 2022, Brian Kondas races Spartan Beast in Sebring, Florida. I complete 33 out of 35 obstacles on this 13.1-mile course in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 44 seconds. 

7.5 months ago, I finished my first Spart Race, the 10K Super in Conyers, Georgia. For my first Spartan Beast 21K, I stay in Florida.

Early Morning Uber Ride

At 3:45 AM, my wife wakes me up, and I get dressed. Ten minutes later, I turn on my iPhone and open the Uber app. Then, I open the front door and see a car parked outside on the street. I send the driver a message to park in the driveway.

Five minutes later, I carry my bags out and lock the front door. The driver has the truck open and asks if I want help. Walking to the car, I say, “No. I only have a couple of small bags.” I sit down in the back seat with my bags and ride to the Tampa Airport car rental.

During the trip, I drink Liquid IV from my 2-liter hydration bladder. For most of the drive, I close my eyes and rest.

At the Tampa Airport car rental, I head up the elevator to the fourth floor. I walk to the rental counters and see they are all closed at 4:30 AM. So I take the central elevator to the third floor and go down an escalator to Avis.  

I hand my paperwork to an Avis lady; she looks at it and says Alamo is on a different level. At first, I don’t understand what she’s talking about. Then, confused, I ask her where to go. She points back from where I came and says, “Alamo is not on this floor. You need to go back.” 

I thought I was renting from Avis. Instead, I realized Alamo is my car rental company. Going down the elevator to the 1st floor, I walk past National car rental and finally find Alamo. Then, I show the service rep my paperwork, and he gives me a key to the Dodge Challenger I picked out.

Driving to Sebring Florida

Behind the wheel of a 2022 Dodge Challenger GT, I press the start button and check the fuel. With a full tank of gas, I open my iPhone, go to today’s calendar, and tap on the address: 8621 W Josephine Rd, Sebring, FL.

Apple Maps opens and shows me a few route options. I select the fastest route: East on I-4 through Lakeland, US-17 South through Bartow to Wauchula, Route-66 to Payne Rd, and W Josephine Rd to Skipper’s Ranch. The estimated travel time is 1 hour and 58 minutes.

During the drive, I take sips of Liquid IV to hydrate. About 45 minutes later, I need to urinate. I pull into a RaceTrac gas station on US-98 in Lakeland, FL, and park next to a police car. Walking to the store entrance, a guy standing by the door says, “They’re closed.” I look inside and see a woman with a machine cleaning the floor.

I circle the building and try another door. It’s locked. Needing to urinate, I continue walking behind the building. Hiding behind a dumpster structure, I relieve myself. (X marks the spot)

6 AM at twilight, the cloudy sky begins to brighten. Gradually, I can see more of the sky, and a thick fog covers the road ahead. On Route 66, a two-lane highway, vehicles zoom by at high speeds right next to each other.

RaceTrac gas station

Spartan Beast at Skipper’s Ranch

Driving on W Josephine Road, I’m excited to see the Spartan Race sign. The first entrance says volunteers, so I keep driving. Then, I see the Main Entrance and turn left into Skipper’s Ranch.

Around 6:50 AM, I arrive and follow a long line of cars along the fence line. Then, turning right, I see a herd of mooing cattle. Following the volunteers’ directions, we drive into a grassy field and park next to each other.

Dodge Challenger GT Spartan Beast Central Florida 2022

Spartan Beast Starting Corral

I see the Start sign and follow the direction of the arrow. There’s a large open field with a central stage and vendors around the perimeter. Where’s the start?

I walk towards the central stage and don’t see the start. So, I turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Then I see the black and white inflated Spartan start corral – it’s empty.

Drinking water and stretching, I wait for the race heats to start. First, at 7:30 AM, the men and women elites start. Only about ten elite Spartans enter the starting corral.

Next, the young and old age groupers enter the corral. I hear the announcer says teens to some age and fifty and older. I thought he said teens to twenty-nine-year-olds.

At the back of the corral, I ask, “What age group is this?” A couple of racers say, “All age groups.” So I jump into the starting corral. Then I ask a lady who might be forty-something, “What age group are you?”

She says, “40s. I didn’t want to hop out.”
I ask, “Where are you from?”
She says, “Colorado.” Then asks, “What about you?”
“I’m from Palm Harbor, Florida, near Clearwater.”

The racers head out of the start corral. She says, “I’m staying for the next heat.” I also stay. Then the announcer says, “Forty age-group can enter the start corral.” Spartan men and women in their forties hop over a wall and enter the starting corral.

We start walking forward. We stop a few feet from the start and form a group of 127 forty-year-old Spartans. (102 males and 25 females) The announcer shares some words of inspiration. Then we’re off!

Running on an Empty Stomach 

I eat no solid food before or during Florida’s 2022 Spartan Beast. Besides drinking about a liter of Liquid IV, I drink two cups of water from the Spartan race. Twenty minutes before 8 AM, I use the porta-potty to empty my bladder. Then, fifteen minutes before 8 AM, I consume my first Cliff energy gel with 25 mg of caffeine.

My nutrition and hydration plan during the race is to consume Cliff energy gels every 30 minutes and drink water at every aid station.

35 Spartan Beast Florida Obstacles

When I registered for the Spartan Beast in Central Florida, the race was 30 obstacles and 21 km distance. However, the race announcer said there would be 35 obstacles.

At 8 AM on a 63-degree foggy Florida morning, we Spartans begin our 13.1-mile obstacle course race.

First Four Obstacles

  • Four-foot overwall – easy way to start the race.
  • Six-foot overwall – a slightly more difficult wall to climb
  • Seven-foot overwall – I pull myself up and over.
  • Eight-foot overwall – I fail on my first attempt. So, I step back and rest. Then, I jump, pulling myself up as I kick my foot on top. I can now leverage my body over the wall.

Next Ten Obstacles

  • Pipe liar – the easiest obstacle on the course
  • Hurdles – I swing my body over the first hurdle. Then I scrape the top of my left thumb going over the second hurdle.
  • Inverted wall – I use the same technique on the 7ft wall.
  • Sandbag carry – I jog while carrying a 60-pound sandbag. I pass Spartans who were walking along the way.
  • Hercules hoist – I circle the apparatus looking for an open spot. All the red bags are available, and I almost select one. Then, I remember red is for females. Finding a black bag, I pull it up and lower it back down. 
  • Rope climb  having attended CrossFit Westchase class, I learned how to wrap the rope around my foot and use my legs to climb. Three easy pulls up the rope, and I ring the bell. Down the rope and running to the next obstacle, I say, “A piece of cake.” (32% of Spartans fail. Thus, only 68% complete the rope climb.)
  • Armer – heavy ball connected to a chain and handle 
  • Monkey bars – the first obstacle I fail. I lose my grip on the wet, wide bars. 20% of Spartans also fail the monkey bars. We do 30 penalty burpees. 
  • Bucket carry – a 5-gallon plastic bucket filled with rocks. I shoulder the bucket and jog with it, alternating from one shoulder to the other. I pass Spartans who are walking. 
  • Spear throw – 42% fail to complete this obstacle. However, I am among 58% who hit the mark. As I do, I yell out, “Yes!”
Brian Kondas Spartan Beast Florida 2022 Bucket Carry
Brian Kondas at the Bucket Carry obstacle

Ten More Obstacles

  • Rolling mud – I climb a pile of mud, then descend into a cold pit of muddy water. Repeat the mud piles and pits two more times. 
  • Dunk wall – I submerge my entire body under the water at the end of the rolling mud obstacle. When I reach the other side of the dunk wall, my head comes out of the water, and I feel freezing cold! 
  • Slip Wall – After climbing out of the cold water of the dunk wall, I grab a rope and pull myself up the slip wall.
  • Barbed wire crawl – the wire is about three feet off the ground. I crawl on the soft grass for 50 feet. 
  • A-Frame cargo – I climb up the cargo net on a steep ascent and descent.
  • Helix – I climb a structure where you can only grab hold of the sides (not the top) as you traverse across it. 
  • Bender – I jump up and swing my leg onto a horizontal bar. Then I climb up the horizontal bars sloping towards me. Finally, I go over the top. Dismounting Bender, I roll on my ass – “nailed it!” 
  • Tyrolean traverse – Spanning a distance of 30 feet, I suspend myself by hands and ankles as I traverse the rope to the far side and ring a bell. Surprisingly only 78% (less than monkey bars) complete this obstacle. 
  • 2nd sandbag carry – I complete it the same as before.
  • Plate drag – I pull a weighted sled across uneven and high grass. The sled gets stuck several times, and I have to pull hard. Then I attempt to drag it back, and it doesn’t move. The chain had wrapped around a ground stake. Once it’s free, I drag it back for the next Spartan.

Last Eleven Obstacles

  • 2nd barbed wire crawl – I complete the obstacle the same as before.
  • Twister – the handles spiral as I move through the obstacle. They are much easier to grip than monkey bars. So, I’m surprised that only 52% of Spartans completed it. 
  • Stairway to Sparta – In my opinion, the very challenging obstacle. I jump up to climb a vertical wall using only mountain climbing wall grips. After multiple fails, I run the penalty loop – 66% complete this obstacle. 
  • Beater – (easier to grip than monkey bars) I take my time swinging from one beater to the next. The obstacle requires a degree of timing and hand-eye coordination. Surprisingly, 64% (less than Stairway to Sparta) complete this obstacle. 
  • The Box – an obstacle that rewards a long reach; I climb my feet up on the bottom knot of the rope. Then I reach up, grab a horizontal pole on top (not visible from below) and pull myself up and over. The obstacle has the same completion percentage as the Tyrolean traverse at 78%.
  • Olympus – I use the cut-out holes to traverse across Olympus. The end is a little tricky. I pull myself up using the climbing grips and hit the bell. This obstacle has the lowest completion at 41%.
  • Altas carry – I pick up a heavy black stone ball and move it 20 feet, turn around and carry it back another 20 feet. 
  • Z wall – carefully, I balance across the wall, reaching out with my feet and hands. At the end of the wall, I ring the bell. 
  • Multi-Rig – I swing from ring to ring. Then I shuffle my hands along the metal pipe. Finally, I get back on the rings and hit the bell. More than half fail, and only 49% complete it. 
  • Vertical cargo – I climb up and over a vertical cargo net.
  • Fire jump – a final jump, and I finish the race!

Florida Swamp

The hardest obstacle of the 2022 Spartan Beast is the Florida swamp. First, I step into the waist-deep muddy water and slip in the mud. Maintaining my balance, I wade through the dark waters. Then, unexpectedly, I walk into a deep hole and sink chest-high in cold water.

The Florida swap seems to go on forever! Soon I’m in a long line of Spartans walking through a narrow pathway. After taking a walking break, I run into the tall grasses, blazing a trail. Splashing through the swamp, I run past several Spartans and take the lead.

Finally, I exit the never-ending Florida swamp and run on solid ground with its own obstacles. As I run, my eyes track the grassland as I evade large piles of cow feces, tall ant hills, and deep holes in the ground.

A Wild Beast

Just before 10 miles, I hear a person shouting in the distance. As I run closer, the person yells, “Go around.” A Spartan volunteer stands only a few feet away from a huge horned bull lying down between the white lines of the race course.

I follow the group of runners as we cut across a field – only a hundred feet away from this massive beast. Once we safely pass, I joke with a fellow Spartan, “Running with the bulls!”

“The wild beast,” she replies, “is dangerous.”

“Yes,” I say, “A real Spartan beast!”

Spartan Beast Florida 2022 Results

I’m happy to achieve my goal of a sub-three-hour Spartan Beast. My finish time was 2:51:44, and I placed 154 out of 451 Spartans (top 34%). Out of all male Spartans, I finished 154 out of 451. In my 45-49 age group, I was 18 out of 42. 

You can view my official results.

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