Experience and review on Spartan Race KL Super Malaysia 2016
Held last Sunday (March 20th) at Canary Garden in Klang, the Reebok Spartan Race KL Super was a 13+ KM obstacle race. Dissatisfied with my performance at last year's KL Sprint, I begun training consistently, even after I got the ligaments in both my wrists torn somehow, and managed to finish this KL Super failing only two obstacles (Tylorean Traverse and Monkey Bar-Ring-Rope) out of apparently 20+ of them despite my injury. I'm confident it would've been a stroll in the park if my wrists weren't bad. However, it was still a challenging experience in overall... due to the poor organisation and planning of the race event itself.
There were a couple of improvements from Spartan KL Sprint 2015 — most staffs know what they're talking about, and the participants were able to shower without queuing up long) — but somehow, it still managed to be worse than last year. To begin with, most (if not all) heat times started 45 minutes late. If any participant timed their food, water and caffeine consumption, they were screwed over.
The obstacles were easier than last year's Sprint and it's not because I was fitter than before. The distance of the Sandbag Carry and Bucket Brigade were much shorter and the ground were much flatter. There was an utterly pointless Tire Carry that's probably only as heavy as my pillow. Nobody was there at the Atlas Carry to clarify whether the participants needed to do the five burpees in between. Nobody was at the Spear Throw to at least tell the participants that they only have one attempt (not to mention how we had to collect our own spear from the dangerous target area). No-fucking-body was at any obstacle to monitor or inform anyone to do burpees if they fail an obstacle. I came across many participants simply walking past a few obstacles in a row without even attempting at all. And I bet they still received the finisher medal and t-shirt at the end. Spartan Race should've been sponsored by AirAsia instead of Reebok and use this tagline: "Now everyone can complete the Trifecta." More about the Trifecta in later paragraphs. Anyway, the point is, what's the worth of Spartan Race's finisher medal and t-shirt now knowing that any cheater could've gotten them without even trying?
The true challenge were the heat (apparently it was the hottest day in Malaysian history), the venue (it's a construction site with bumpy terrain, dangerous materials, and dirty rivers, or at least I hope they were rivers), and tolerating the amount of annoying pits and rivers/drains to jump over or slide into. Seriously, why couldn't there be more Walls, Rope Climbs, Tyre Flips, etc. or more variety of obstacles instead of the many pits and river/drains? Even the least favourite and unchallenging Barbed Wire Crawl had an encore. Not sure if the rocks under the barbed wire were intentional, but it sure gave my knees and elbows some bruises. Many participants cramped up during the race, my friend included, and we saw a few injured participants as well along the way, but the medics were difficult to be found.
Oh, also, I ended up with not only bad, but funny sunburn. I shaved my head bald and was wearing the headband that the organisers wanted us to wear throughout the race. So imagine how my head look like now. They said the headband was for them to tag our photos and yet I couldn't find all of my photos searching by my bib number. I'm never gonna wear their headband ever again. Talking about the photos, as you can see, they don't look as great as last year's.
After my race came the most disorganised shit I've ever experienced. Everyone at the finishing line were handed out a red coupon to redeem the finisher t-shirt but the staffs at the redemption booth were simply giving away the t-shirts without even asking for the coupon. No wonder why some of the t-shirt sizes managed to run out. Not to mention about the spelling error on the t-shirt design. As though all that weren't shocking enough, the participants' belongings at the bag check area were left out in the open on the ground for anyone to grab. Why did we even bother to queuing up to check in our bags? To hand in our belongings so that people could either steal them, step on them or cover them in dirt? Unbelievable! For the amount of money paid, I think we deserved far better than how things were.
By now, you've probably saw many similar complaints on Spartan Race Malaysia's Facebook Page. Unlike last year, the admins didn't even try to reply to the comments and posts this time. The participants received a thank you email from the organisers followed by the expected "VIP Price" for the coming Beast and Sprint races, but they've never specifically apologised for anything. Well no surprise there considering how they handled the Trifecta complaints last year.
At first, they were adamant that it's a "global rule" that a Trifecta can only be completed after successfully finishing all three Sprint, Super and Beast races within a calendar year, and they never felt that they needed to clarify on that beforehand. But then later on, probably due to the lack of registrations for this Super, they decided to announce that last year's Sprint will be counted for this year's Trifecta. That's gonna be a problem now for those who didn't take part in last year's Sprint 'cause this year's will be on the same day as Beast.
If the upcoming Spartan KL Beast is going to be as badly organised, I think I'd start looking for other obstacle races instead. As of now, Spartan Race does not deserve their self-proclaimed "best obstacle race in the world" title.
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