Photo |  Mobile Sports Authority

The Spartan Race caters to individuals looking to test their physical limits, from everyday people looking to lead a fitter lifestyle, to elite endurance athletes seeking the ultimate physical test.

When the Spartan Race first came to Saraland, it was an immediate success. According to the Mobile Sports Authority (MSA), the obstacle course 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 year and close to 5,000 the next, it was the largest race MSA had ever sponsored.

Unfortunately, the lack of an adequate site for hosting the massive course forced fans to find other locations the past two years. However, that will all change in 2019.

MSA and the city of Saraland have announced the return of the only Spartan Race to take place in the state of Alabama. In addition, the program will be expanded.

The Alabama Spartan will be holding two events over two days instead of a single day. Spartan officials will be running a Super Spartan on Saturday, March 16, while a Sprint Spartan is set for Sunday, March 17.

“Saraland is very excited to welcome back the Spartan Race to our city,” said Saraland Mayor Howard Rubenstein. “We are honored to host this national event and are pleased to be able to provide a quality venue for the many competitors who will be attending.”

The inaugural Spartan Race took place in 2010. The event caters to individuals looking to test their physical limits, from everyday people looking to lead a fitter lifestyle, to elite endurance athletes seeking the ultimate physical test.

The previous Saraland events were among the first Spartan Race locations to host a Friday Night Pre-Race Party. Hosted by the Saraland Area Chamber of Commerce, “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, March 15, 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.

“Since 2014 when the idea of bringing a Spartan Race to Mobile County was originally visited, the Saraland community, led by Mayor Howard Rubenstein, Saraland City Council President Joe McDonald and the entire Saraland Chamber organization to our entire dedicated local committee, as well as several of our local Spartan competitors, have been extremely dedicated to help us bring Spartan to our area,” said MSA Executive Director Danny Corte. “I also want to thank the Hatters Pond, LLC, group for agreeing to host the Spartan Race on their property.”

The Saturday race — “The Alabama Super” — will consist of a 10-plus mile course with more than 24 natural and manmade obstacles. It is expected to test the endurance and determination of more than 4,000 competitors.

On Sunday, the racers can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Sprint Race. “The Alabama Sprint” will consist of a three-plus mile course with as many as 20 obstacles to navigate.

Spartan Races offer three primary formats. The previous races in Saraland were the “Super” class. In addition to the Sprint Race, there is also the Beast Race (13-plus miles, 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. Unlike other obstacle-focused events, Spartan Races are always timed.

“For the upcoming race, Spartan competitors can come to Saraland and earn two of the three legs of their annual Spartan Trifecta Medal in one weekend,” Corte said. “That’s very exciting and we’re all looking forward to seeing what happens as Spartan returns to Saraland in 2019.”

The weekend will also feature the Spartan Kids Race. The new competition site is positioned off Radcliff Road in Saraland.

There are also 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 rwright@ysal.org.

Registration is now open for the Alabama Spartan Race weekend. Visit Spartan.com for more information, race registration and volunteer opportunities.


Sports briefs

• The Southeastern Conference is returning to the Orange Beach Sportsplex for its women’s soccer championship Oct. 28 to Nov. 4. The event has taken place in Baldwin County since 2003, and a recent contract will extend the tournament through 2020.

Tickets will be available at the gate at $5 per game for adults and $2 per day for children (grades K-12). All games will be broadcast live on the SEC Network, including the championship match that Sunday at 2 p.m.

• The Alabama Soccer Association is hosting its 3V3 Soccer Festival Nov. 3-4 in conjunction with the collegiate championship. The cost to register is $30 per player, including admission to the SEC championship match. To register, go to ALSoccerLive.org/Reg.

Visit SECSports.go.com/Clubhouse/Soccer for more on the SEC and ALSoccer.com for more on the state soccer association.

• The sixth annual Generational Resilience Conference will take place at the Via! Center (1717 Dauphin St.) on Friday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The keynote speaker is Shirley Cunningham, Ms. Senior Mobile 2005.

Cunningham currently holds the Alabama State Powerlifting Record for the 74-year-old age bracket. Her remarks, “Stronger for Life,” are based on her childhood growing up in the Deep South and how she discovered the path to mental and physical wellness. The Mobile native has the distinction of serving as the first African-American assistant to the president of Cornell College. In addition to powerlifting, Cunningham is a motivational speaker and an active volunteer in the community, teaching line and swing dancing at several community centers in Mobile.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, call 251-470-5229 or send an email to bestes@viamobile.org.

• The Alabama Marine Resources Division (AMRD) will conduct a community oyster meeting Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1-3 p.m. at the South Bay Coastal Response Center, 7385 Highway 188 in Coden. This meeting is open to the public.

The focus will be to update the community about present AMRD activities related to the management of Alabama’s oyster fisheries and to receive public input. AMRD representatives will discuss 2018 oyster reef survey results and upcoming oyster-related projects.