Spartan Race, 3-mile obstacle course, comes to Nationals Park

WASHINGTON — Close to 6,000 people jumped, climbed and ran at the opportunity to turn Nationals Park into one giant obstacle course.

The Spartan Race came to D.C. and planned out a roughly 3-mile track in, out and through the stadium.

Even without the heat, it was a course designed to test one’s complete fitness. But with the heat, it was grueling.

For many, the hardest part was simply the “stairs, stairs, stairs in the heat,” as Alan Grublauskas of Arlington, Virginia, said.

Runners started near a gate on the third base concourse, running up ramps into the next levels of the stadium. The course had runners carrying heavy objects through the upper deck, up and down steps, coming back down, climbing over military hurdles, doing box jumps and moving heavy stones that weighed, by one man’s estimate, between 75 and 100 pounds. Runners had to do some burpees in between.

“The hardest part (was) probably … oh man,” said Gigi Buckley of Alexandria, Virginia, stumped while trying to figure out exactly what among the long litany of obstacles was the worst, before suggesting a stretch where runners had to carry big buckets of water around a station.

“They were just so heavy and slippery,” Buckley said. “The scariest part was definitely the A-frame (where people climbed a wobbly ladder up and back down) where they had to climb up and down, just because I’m afraid of heights. And the rope climb is always tough.”

While the sun scorched the runners as they struggled through the upper deck and on the field, there were moments of comfort as the course took people inside the stadium.

For Hannah Bettner of New Jersey, the best part was “just being in the stadium and going into one of the team locker rooms,” she said. “It was air-conditioned.”

Grublauskas seemed to share that sentiment. The course ended with runners hitting a series of obstacles along the warning track around the stadium, culminating with a run through some heavy bags used for boxers.

“Being over in right field, where Bryce normally is,” Grublauskas said. “You know, going over the obstacles out there, that was pretty awesome. Amazing. It was absolutely amazing today.”


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