Spartan Race, What Have You Done?

I’m not particularly famous, nor is my opinion highly respected in the OCR community…but if you care what I have to say read on!

Last week social media exploded in an uproar with the announcement of new rules Spartan Race will be implementing this season.

Here are the new rules Spartan Race will be implementing.

At first glance I immediately had an issue with two of these rules. I didn’t agree with having to wear a Spartan Head band, simply because I personally don’t enjoy wearing them (I think the headbands are kind of stupid gimmick). The other rule which I had (and seemingly everyone else) had an issue with is, forcing podium finishers to wear Spartan Branded T-Shirts on the podium.

  • The Headband

Although initially annoyed by this rule, after some thought I think it’s a fair change. Race directors need a way to identify athletes throughout the race, in order to keep track of a racers and penalties (burpees) if any or any other potential misconducts. For example when burpees are missed the race director needs to know which athlete missed the burpees, thereby confirming which athlete needs to be given a time penalty or a DQ. No all podium finishers or top 10 athletes are well known by the community so by wearing headbands race directors can easily identify who’s who. Headbands will make this process much easier, as it can get hard to differentiate between hordes of athletes covered in mud. With easier assessment of penalties and athlete tracking throughout the race, I feel this rule will help legitimize the sport.

  • Spartan T-Shirt on the Podium

This rule I do understand from a business perspective, and as an “idea” it makes total sense. “It’s our race let’s make sure to promote our product on the podium.” Sounds like a valid point, but it comes across incredibly narcissistic. With the simple fact that this rule got approved only further support how Spartan Races views themselves…as the only race that matters.

I find it interesting that the rule specifically states that it must be a “Spartan Branded…shirt”, it’s not like the Spartan Race logo can’t be found anywhere else in the podium photographs. Granted I haven’t seen every Spartan Race podium picture, but I would wager a bet that every podium picture as a Spartan Race logo in clear view. And if the logo isn’t in clear view, it’s on the trophy’s that the podium finishers will be holding.

This is likely one of the main reasons for this new rule. Ryan Atkins (and Lindsay Webster) wore Tough Mudder shirts on the podium at Spartan Race’s World Championships…I count 19 clearly visible Spartan logos, and 1 Tough Mudder shirt. I wonder who’s event this is? Photograph modified from ORM Spartan World Championship Results 2016 (Men)

Now this rule only has an effect on a handful of racers, the Pro’s and best of the Elites who have sponsors. Sponsors pay these athletes to promote the sponsors product, and podium shots of the athlete sporting their sponsors logo keeps these athletes on the sponsor’s payroll. If athletes aren’t able to rep there sponsors on the podium this will likely result in some issues with sponsors outside of Spartan Race.

Even though myself and the vast majority of the OCR community is unaffected by the new “Podium Rule” I find it an incredibly narcissistic business decision. If Spartan truly cared about growing the sport as a whole they’d have no issue with what sponsored athletes wear on the podium.

Anyway that’s my two cents, and don’t get me wrong I still love Spartan. I just think this rule is a little bullshit. Let me know what you guys think in the comments.




  1. This is the first year I’ll be able to live part time off the sport due to my sponsors. Ive worked hard to get where I am today and to me its like Spartan is making a OCR suicide. How can you make the sport grow and have championships when the best atheletes can’t live off there sponsors anymore because Spartan is bloking the view. This just tells me that ill have to be creative if ever I get on a Spartan podium this year.

    1. I haven’t seen the fine print but the rules above say nothing about the shirt being visible…so just wear the Spartan shirt then put your sponsors shirt over top the Spartan shirt :p

  2. Hey brother…great post, much respect to all Obstacle races…i just wanted to put all OCRs on notice though..there’s a new animal on the block #ZuluChallenge …we dare you to survive us!..

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