Spartan obstacle course race in Saraland
Photo | Mobile Sports Authority
The internationally recognized Spartan obstacle course race returns to Saraland this weekend following an absence of several years. To celebrate its revival, organizers have expanded the opportunities for participants to test their mettle.
The Alabama Spartan will feature two events over two days instead of the previous one-day event. Officials will be running a Super Spartan on Saturday and a Sprint Spartan on Sunday.
The “Alabama Super” will have a 10-plus mile course with more than 24 natural and manmade obstacles. Competitors can then celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the “Alabama Sprint,” a three-plus mile course with as many as 20 obstacles to navigate.
Danny Corte, executive director of the Mobile Sports Authority (MSA), expects upward of 5,000 competitors over the two days.
Spartan races offer three primary formats. Previous races in Saraland were in the Super class. In addition to the sprint there is also the “Beast Race” (13-plus miles with 30-plus obstacles).
Competitors are encouraged to complete each of the primary race distances to achieve “trifecta” status, earning pieces of a medallion for each finish. The three sections interlock to form the medal.
When the Spartan race first came to Saraland, it was an immediate success. According to MSA, the event had an economic impact of more than $2 million in 2015 and another $1.8 million in 2016. With more than 4,100 competitors the first time and close to 5,000 the second year, it was the largest race MSA had ever sponsored.
The party abruptly ended when the races’ location became unavailable. But once they secured an area large enough to handle the obstacle course, MSA and Saraland city officials got Alabama back on the national schedule.
“Actually, it was a combination of reasons why they didn’t return in 2017, but yes, it sure was a disappointment when Spartan decided not to come back,” Corte told Lagniappe. “But since then, we’ve been staying in front of them as much as possible, and our perseverance paid off when they informed us last year they were coming back in 2019. So we’re very grateful to Spartan for showing the confidence in us to return to our area and we’re excited to have them back.”
Spartan’s mission is to motivate people to get out of their comfort zone and test their physical limits. Race officials promise it will be fun, muddy and challenging. Previous competitors will find all-new terrain, as the venue has moved to 1199 Radcliff Road in Saraland.
“Quite frankly, I wasn’t initially sure where we were going to hold the 2019 event,” Corte said. “But through a series of contacts over the last year or so, we were able to get in touch with the Hatters Pond, LLC, group who owned a large parcel on Radcliff Road in Saraland. Fortunately, they immediately took an interest in what we were doing and eventually agreed to let us host the event on their property. The 2019 Alabama Spartan would not be happening without their approval, and I want to thank the Hatters Pond, LLC, owners for working with us to make this happen.”
The previous Saraland events were one of the first Spartan race locations to offer a Friday night pre-race party. Hosted by the Saraland Area Chamber of Commerce, the “Taste of Saraland” gives participants and visitors a chance to try local food while enjoying live entertainment and a little Southern hospitality. This year’s party will take place Friday beginning at 5 p.m. in front of the chamber offices at 939 Saraland Blvd. Admission to the pre-race party will be free to those involved.
“I believe much of the reason Spartan decided to come back to Mobile County is the incredible local support which they received for both the 2015 and 2016 races held here,” Corte said. “I’ve been told on numerous occasions by Spartan officials how impressed they were with the local support they received through our local Spartan committee.
“In fact, I’m also told we’re the only Spartan destination which holds a Friday evening welcome party to all involved with the event. We did that in both 2015 and 2016, and we plan to host another Friday evening welcome party with the Saraland Chamber of Commerce. So we’re excited about that, too.”
Also on Saturday and Sunday, children aged 4-13 are encouraged to participate in the Spartan Kids races. Spartan officials recognize the benefits of physical activity and are dedicated to encouraging this for the next generation through their children’s obstacle course races.
There are opportunities for people to volunteer and/or participate in the Alabama Spartan Race. Those interested in volunteering or assisting with site buildup and/or race day activities may contact Rita-Nicole Wright of the North Mobile YMCA by email at email@example.com.
Visit spartan.com for more information, race registration and volunteer opportunities.
Charity track meet returns
As many as 92 public and private high schools from Alabama, Florida and Mississippi have been invited to participate in UMS-Wright Preparatory School’s 17th annual Lyon Newell Charity Throws Meet.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Child Advocacy Center and the Lyon Newell Scholarship. Since it began, this event has raised more than $150,000 in Newell’s name, who excelled in both football and track while at UMS-Wright.
The boys and girls competition in the shot put, discus and javelin will take place Wednesday, March 20, at 3:30 p.m., preceding the “Fast Times at UMS-Wright” track meet.
Rams win golf event
The men’s golf team from the University of Mobile took top honors at the Badger Invitational hosted by Spring Hill College at the Robert Trent Jones Magnolia Grove course. Senior Wade Duke of Creola won the individual title, shooting 11-under par. Noah Martino and Noah Whittington also finished among the top 10.
The Rams won the team championship thanks to a 3-under par score of 285. They won by three shots over Trevecca Nazarene University from Nashville.
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