Published June 30, 2021
Maybe you haven’t done a Spartan Stadion race before, or maybe you’re just curious specifically about the Spartan State Farm stadion race. Well, in a nutshell, it’s fun, and you should expect a ton of stairs.
Oh, and a little bit of heat.
We’ve run this venue every year since it’s inception minus last year when COVID cancelled everything, and most years we attempt to do two laps at the venue.
THE AVERAGE DISTANCE:
- In 2018, my Garmin tracked 2.33 miles.
- In 2019, I tracked 2.6 miles on both laps one and two.
- No race in 2020.
- This year, I tracked 2.1 miles on my competitive lap and 2.7 on my second, fun lap. Hmm.
I think so many people in a stadium running smart watches that are pinging different satellites probably throws off accurate tracking, but I think we can conclude it’s likely somewhere between 2 and 3 miles on average. It is supposed to be a 5k, after all.
Well, there’s no dunk wall since they can’t dig up a stadium, and I haven’t seen a bucket carry either. The stadion races tend to be a mix between an outdoor Spartan course and a HIIT-style workout. Some of the obstacles are box jumps, heavy weighted jumprope, hand release push-ups, etc, and then there’s always a good mix of normal obstacles such as herc hoist, spear throw, and multi-rig, etc.
The stairs also provide a continuing obstacle throughout the entire course. I think there were more stairs this year than ever before. Perhaps I just forgot what running up and down a million stairs feels like since I hadn’t done it since 2019. My calves were actually a little sore the next day. My Garmin tracked between 600- 700 feet of overall elevation gain for each lap this year.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A TYPICAL SPARTAN?
Instead of the typical 30 burpees, everything is 15. 15 reps to pass an exercise-type obstacle and 15 burpees for a failed obstacle. This allows the race traffic to flow at a much quicker pace.
Racers are also released on to the course in batches of 15 every minute. You DO NOT go as an entire wave if you are standing in the corral. This was an issue at the Spartan State Farm stadion race. I saw several people just take off, even though they kept announcing that only the first 15 on the circles on the ground should go.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER STADION RACES?
Well, while I haven’t done other stadion races to know for sure, I do know from observation that most other stadion races have the capability to put part of the race outside. This isn’t really the case at State Farm Stadium because well, it’s in freaking Phoenix in June. In 2018 it was in July. Yikes.
I don’t recall which year it was (though I’m thinking 2019)– the high was something like 118. This year, it was about 110. While most of the race is held inside in a nice, cool 74-degree air conditioned-building, you do run outside in the very beginning. You’ll take a nice jaunt around the entire field, which gets rolled outside to obtain all the Vitamin D it needs to thrive. Then it’s back inside the cold AC until you get to the Jerry Can Carry obstacle. This obstacle has been on the concrete ramps outside (though shaded) every year.
If you’re not familiar with the shade in Phoenix, this does provide a cooler atmosphere than direct sun, but you’re still smacked in the face as if you’ve just walked into an oven.
Bonus points if the monsoon season has begun and it’s also humid outside, causing your hands to sweat as you carry water jugs that are spilling water, and they put a hanging grip obstacle next. Spartan up!
I’m guessing the necessity of having to hold 99% of the race inside also contributes to a shorter, faster race than the other stadion races.
I love, love, love the Spartan State Farm stadion race. I love that it is fast and in the AC! As long as I’m able I will never hesitate to do this venue, especially since it’s in my hometown.
What do you love about this venue?
If you want to elevate your stadion or other race day performance, we’ve got custom running programs and OCR Strength Training programs that will help you crush the course. Let us know if you have any questions or how we can help you reach your goals!