Experience & review on Spartan Beast KL Malaysia 2016
After having done Sprint and Super, it was time for me to conquer the Beast to complete my Spartan Race Trifecta and I have to say it was truly, truly challenging. Held at Nexus International School and Taman Rimba in Putrajaya, Spartan Beast KL 2016's course was apparently 19KM with just over 30 obstacles. To prepare for it, I joined a half marathon and added Monkey Bars into my weight training routine which I thought was enough to ease through the course but oh, how wrong was I.
The course was quite well planned out and the venue was fantastic compared to Spartan Super KL 2016 although it was a little too crowded due to the narrow paths in most parts of the race. There were long frustrating queues for the Tyrolean Traverse and highly congested traffic at the most-hated Barbwire Crawl but other than that it was mostly fine. At least it wasn't unnecessarily dangerous or injury-inviting like in Spartan Super KL. The weather was nice as well despite the little rain in between.
There were some new twists to existing obstacles but what really made it difficult was the arrangement of the obstacles. Placing the wet and muddy obstacles in the first third of the course made things way more difficult. The Rope Climb and Traverse Z Wall were easy in the past two courses but not this time due to the level of creamy slipperiness. There was also no rope with knots at the Rope Climb this time. Obstacles such as the Tyrolean Traverse and Barbwire Crawl were longer than before. The Uneven Monkey Bars was a new addition. The distance of the high elevation hill trails were a killer as well but the natural environment there was beautiful. If I wasn't at least averagely fit, I would've probably failed to complete the course without help. In overall, my friends and I really enjoyed the journey and struggles. It felt much more satisfying and gave more sense of achievement compared to Spartan Super KL.
Our finishing time was 7 hours and 50 minutes which was poor but there were several factors to that — muscle cramps, footwear malfunction and unwillingness to fail an obstacle or to complete one with help. At least we behave like many of the participants there who'd just run past an obstacle without much of an attempt. We aimed to complete all obstacles without caring much about achieving a glorious time of completion. When it's allowed, we kept trying an obstacle till we succeed or our muscles burnt out. Did we honour the burpee punishment when we failed an obstacle? Yes, but to be frank, not 30 reps. Disappointingly, I failed a total of three obstacles this time — Tyrolean Traverse, Traverse Z Wall and Uneven Monkey Bars. What I've learnt is that I have utterly weak grip, poor composure and zero technique for these obstacles and I now have a clear understanding of what I need to improve on and it's not general strength.
Although this time's event was a huge improvement from the horribly organised Spartan Super KL 2016, it wasn't perfect. There was this "Memory Test obstacle" where participants had to remember specific codes based on their bib no., which I felt wasn't relevant for such obstacle courses. I believe we were supposed to summit the codes at the end of the race but there was no where to do so. It was utterly stupid and a complete waste of effort. I'm also a bit disappointed with the lack of photos. The distance is the longest with more obstacles and yet it has the least photos. I remember posing with my friends for a photo at the Sandbag Carry but no photo from that obstacle were made available to date.
Now that my trifecta is complete, would I join any Spartan Race again? I was planning to but the price for the next Sprint has increased enough to turn off my team and interested friends. There used to be early bird sale and VIP discounts but not this time. When I questioned Spartan Race Malaysia about the mentioned issues via message on their Facebook Page, they chose to ignore again just like the previous time they know they screwed up. Oh well, now that my trifecta is complete, perhaps it's time for a new experience and challenge in other obstacle races.
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