The Low Down From the First UAE Spartan Race

The Low Down From the First UAE Spartan Race
Posted on Saturday, 21st Feb, 2015


Photo credit: Xtreme Dubai

Article: Fitness link
Thousands of Spartans gathered at Jebal Ali Race Course in Dubai on Friday morning to do battle against wind, sand, water and fire in the UAE’s first Sprint distance Spartan Race! With a lot of hype leading up to the race and preceded by its already established reputation in the US, participants were keen to see what the region’s first Spartan experience had to offer at a time when obstacle races are more popular than ever in the UAE!

After a lengthy registration process which saw the heat times delayed by around an hour, participants put on their do or die attitude as each Spartan wannabe (including our very own FitnessLink team) took to the fields and ran five kilometers through the desert while overcoming the 15 obstacles that stood in our path.

But this was to be no ordinary 5k run. In case anyone had forgotten, we were quickly reminded how grueling running on sand is – not least when faced with a number of uphills and a quickly building sand storm on top of that.


Fifteen obstacles lined the course, each requiring their own technique and each requiring 30 burpees if you didn’t complete them successfully. Walls of various heights and angles had participants using different strategies in order to summit each barrier. Other obstacles included a 50m bucket carry, 20m tire pull, tire flip, 15m rope climb, 100m sandbag carry (20kg/10kg), traverse wall, mud pools, a 30m barbed wire crawl and the audience-entertaining spectacle of the Spear Throw (let’s just say there was a lot of burpees!), before running over one last mud wall and line of fire to make your way to the finish line.


Photo credit: Xtreme Dubai
Participants were spread out across a number of heats throughout the morning, with the first heat catering to the elite competitors who were ‘in it to win it’. Others completed the course either as individuals or as part of a team, which bred a whole lot of support, camaraderie and team spirit. Even the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, got in on the Spartan action as a competitor, much to everyone’s excitement.

The overall male and female race winners were obstacle race regular Hallvard Borsheim and Eva Clarke who have both been unstoppable in recent months. Eva, who recently set a new Guinness World Record for most burpees in 24 hours, led the ladies’ Elite heat from start to finish, while Hallvard was made to work hard and eventually grabbed the lead in the final kilometer. Hallvard cemented his first place finish by being the first contestant to successfully get the spear throw to stick and avoid the 30 burpees that the other top 10 athletes had to complete. Each winner collected a cheque for 3000USD and the title of SPARTAN UAE!

Photo credit: Xtreme Dubai


Photo credit: Xtreme Dubai
More importantly, the event brought a strong sense of community and achievement, especially to the many whose first attempt is was at such a race. Overall, thanks to the energy-stealing sand running, the Spartan Race was one of the tougher obstacle races so far, and it’s great to see the many different events now available for UAE residents to take part in to stay active.

Next up, obstacle race enthusiasts can gear up for The Sand Pit run on 17th April at Al Barari in Dubai!
To check out more photos from the event, check out Xtreme Dubai's photo album.