WENTWORTH – In five years, the Spartan Race has spanned countries, skipped across continents and gone from hundreds of competitors to tens of thousands. This Saturday, the grueling obstacle race hits Canada’s East Coast for the first time.
Crews were busy at Wentworth on Thursday afternoon, putting the finishing touches on the course, which includes rope climbs, barbed wire crawls, wall climbs and more.
Selica Sevigny, a co-founder of the event, has watched the race go from humble beginnings to being a worldwide sensation.
“I’m a Canadian myself, and it was always my mission to do Spartan Races across Canada,” she said. “It was a no-brainer to move further and further east as we kept growing.”
The decision to choose Nova Scotia was likely due in part to some sweet-talking from fellow crewmember Crystal Mulack, a Cole Harbour native.
“It feels good to be on my own turf,” Mulack said. “This is new to Nova Scotia and I’d love for some of my homegrown people to come get a feel for what it’s all about.”
To kick things off in a new place, the Spartan crew is bringing the Spartan Sprint – a five-kilometre version of their bigger and longer obstacle courses. The sprint is a great way for people to get involved for the first time, Sevigny said.
“What often happens is people finish the Spartan Sprint and then say, ‘I think I can go even bigger next year.’”
Over the last five years, Sevigny and co. have had the chance to meet thousands of people and see amazing stories come to life. The Spartan Race has been host to bachelor parties, military homecomings, marriage proposals and even a wedding.
“The couple met as they were approaching one of the obstacles,” Sevigny said. “They kind of bumped into each other and said excuse me, then he helped her over the wall, she helps him on his weight drag. Two years later, they got married at our Toronto event.”
It’s the people and their stories that make the Spartan more than just a race for Sevigny. The competitors often come out of the mud and muck with the same feelings, she said.
“We often tell people the person you are at the start line is not the person you are at the finish. There’s a profound change that takes place.”
Along with the 5k adult race, crews were also busy setting up a kids section. A miniature version of the main event, the kids’ race features the same style and obstacles, just in a smaller form and shorter distance. Children 4-13 are able to take part, with distances varying from under one kilometer for the younger kids, to a 2.5k for the older ones.
All competitors will be timed, and anyone choosing to run competitively will take off in the Elite Heat at 9 a.m. The “elite” crew will have the chance to compete for a spot at the world championships in Vermont, which will be broadcast on NBC.
With plans already hatched to return to Nova Scotia with two events next summer, the Reebok Spartan Race is looking to make a big impact this weekend. The race is just the first step, Sevigny said. The Spartan crew aim to set roots in the community and help grow a lifestyle for its participants.
“While some companies are about coming and taking the money and leaving, we’re here to stay.”
Registration is still available for the race, which is expected to bring in more than 2,000 competitors. Visit www.ca.spartanrace.com for more.