Colorado Spartan Sprint: Visitors’s Guide, Burpees & Motivation!

By Leslie St. Louis

Originally published April 2014

4841967This is Part Three of a three-part series, revised and updated from 2013 and a how-to guide for anyone taking part in the Colorado Military Sprint or any Spartan event, really! 

PART ONE: An Overview & The Obstacles

PART TWO: What to Wear, Bring, Drink & Eat, Costs

PART THREE: Burpees, Motivation (and more) & a Visitor’s Guide


There is a 30-burpee penalty for every failed or missed obstacle. My first year in Colorado (and first Spartan), I missed five obstacles and did 150 burpees (the rope, monkey bars, grenade toss, spear and traverse wall). You only have one try on the spear throw, monkey bars, traverse wall and other obstacles. Don’t feel bad if you end up doing burpees! You’re not a Spartan until you’ve done your share of burpees. For burpees, your chest needs to touch the ground and you must hop at the finish. It’s no fun doing burpees when you are tired, but don’t cheat. When you look at your time, you’ll want to know it was honest.

Coordinating your goals with friends:

It’s really important to talk to any friends or your team about your goals honestly BEFORE the race. Do you want to go as fast as you can? Just finish? Race individually? As a team? My first year, as my three friends and I squished into the last two rows of the bus taking us to the event site, one of us finally had the nerve to ask,
“So, do you all want to stick together?”
There was a looooong silence.
Finally, Jayna said, “I just want to do my best and see how fast I can go.”
Huge sighs of relief all around because we had all been thinking the same thing, but didn’t want to seem selfish.
Giving ourselves “permission” to go all out and not wait for each other helped us finish with no regrets. If being on a team is part of your goal, that’s awesome! Just make sure everyone is on the same page. Will you all wait for each other? Talk and be honest. Friendships can be tested if you don’t and everyone will be happier if you do.
If you are on the fence at all about racing alone or with a team, I would honestly say go for it alone. Spartan Races are unique in that they can be completed individually and you will make fast, newfound friends along the way.

KB Wagers

KB Wagers

Finding your motivation and planning to use it:

At some point in the race you will most likely wonder what compelled you to do this. You will be tired. You will want to be done. Beforehand, create a list of motivations and goals and practice using it, just like you practice any of your physical skills. This will strengthen your mental toughness and keep you going. For me, I think about my husband and kids…and the food at the finish! I think about how MAD I will be at myself afterwards if I give up or give less than I could have. I think about what my trainer yells at me those last few minutes of class and those last few reps. I remind myself of my long term aspirations this season. Get those motivations ready for the race. You will need and use them.

The Start Line:

It is totally awesome and slightly overwhelming at the start line. Usually the announcer will send you off with a version of this speech (below), and honestly, it should be considered a drug! It gets you too psyched up! I have actually been listening to it on repeat while working out trying to desensitize myself to it:

Anyways, try to take a minute to quiet your mind, close your eyes, breath and remember your goals. Lately, I have taken the last few minutes before heading to the Start Line to put in my IPOD and listen to a song that makes me feel strong but calm and like myself again. If I get too nervous or too excited, I usually don’t end up with the race I wanted. Here’s what I’ll be listening to:

Final Thoughts:

7670531Spartan Races are very individual because regardless of if you race as a team, you are getting your own finish time.
There is an awesome unity at a Spartan Race because it really IS hard and you really ARE trying to do your best. Everyone is pushing themselves into a vulnerable place.
You’ll have moments of strength and moments of weakness. Know that every single person beside you will have the same.
No one will hesitate to help or cheer you on, but that doesn’t mean they can or will do it for you. Unlike other events, you have to try and complete every obstacle or pay the penalty. Only YOU can finish. When you do, the taste of completion is something so personal it will mean that much more. You’ll understand the frequent tears at the end, and as Spartan says, “You’ll Know at the Finish Line.” Exhausted and exhilarated, at some point — that day, the next day, the next week — you’ll most likely find yourself ready for MORE, so just one more thing: the Spartan Utah Beast is June 28th.
See you there! AROO!



Colorado Spartan Military Sprint Visitor’s Guide! 

The Location:

The Colorado Military Sprint is located at Fort Carson Army Base near Colorado Springs and is at an elevation of over 5800! For out-of-towners, that means you will most likely feel the altitude while you are here, so plan to arrive ahead of time, if you can, and drink lots and lots of water.

While Colorado is home to many 14,ooo-foot peaks, including Pike’s Peak that is visible from Colorado Springs, the race is actually relatively non-mountainous. Keep in mind, residents consider a few hills “flat,” so there will be some ups and downs. There is one larger hill smack-dab in the middle of the venue, so usually the course winds around that hill with various obstacles and paths taking you up and down it at least a few times! Think of it as a mini Colorado Mountain Experience.

For those flying:  

You can actually fly right into the Colorado Springs airport, but will likely find more airline options through Denver International.

Staying nearby: 

945134_10100837238379699_1084056890_nThe Official Spartan hotel is the Hotel Eleganté Conference and Event Center at:

2886 South Circle Drive 
Colorado Springs, Co 80906
Phone: (719) 576-5900

Reservations Department
Phone: 719-576-5900 x 1777

April 30 – May 5, 2014

The rooms are available 3 days prior/post to the actual date. 

Also, Colorado Obstacle Racer and Colorado Springs resident Marlene Bowden suggested, “for those…that need a cheap room to stay during the race, Crossland Economy Studios is close to Fort Carson and airport.”

Phone# 1-800-295-3339,

Where to Play Outside Before and After:

Colorado is a state of athletes, peruse any list of the “fittest” cities in the nation and about half will be from our active state! So if you are visiting Colorado for the Spartan Military Sprint, know that you will perhaps be surprised at how many athletes you will find, no matter the weather or location. Not to mention, Colorado Springs is the location of The US Olympic Complex.

Us active and crazy Coloradoans have also reclaimed most tourist attractions as workout locales. Two of the most popular are Red Rocks in Morrison and the Incline in Manitou Springs —  and for good reason! Both of these are beautiful, easily accessible and offer a great workout and views!

If you have time, these are definitely worth checking out:

Red Rocks Amphitheatre:




from Anthony Matesi

Located in Morrison, about an hour from the Spartan venue, this concert location has become a popular site for runners and those looking for a challenging workout at 6,400 feet and amid man-made stairs and wall, as well the nature-made challenges.

“Individuals and groups are welcome to take advantage of the venue’s natural beauty and unique physical challenges whenever the amphitheater is open to the public,” the info site welcomes.

Read a COR article about training there (with kids, too)! 




Pikes Peak Incline:

10253966_887872714572235_1723737715778582042_nTHE PIKES PEAK INCLINE is nearly as popular as Red Rocks, and proves once again that Coloradoans LOVE giving tourist attractions the dual purpose of being a workout location. Just 15 minutes away from Colorado Springs, this one-mile long beast was originally built in 1907 and gains nearly 2000 feet of elevation. Plus, it’s often the training ground for Olympians and LOTS and lots and lots of Colorado Obstacle Racers. Check out the pics below for more pics and Incline Inspiration!

6 Hydro St, Manitou Springs, CO 80829

Tips on Parking and getting there (from Manitou Incline site):

The easiest way to reach the trailhead is to take highway 24 West to the last Exit for Manitou Springs on Serpentine Drive. This is also the stoplight for the Cave of the Winds. Turn left (away from Cave of the Winds) onto Serpintine Drive which will descend quickly and end at Manitou Avenue. Veer left onto Manitou Aveneue and follow it to a roundabout(rotary). Exit the roundabout on Ruxton Ave heading southwest towards the Cog Railway. The trailhead is located just west of the Iron Springs Theater. Parking is usually difficult to find. Trying to find a close spot usually just results in a lot of wasted time. Just think of your walk to the trailhead as your warm up. 
The standard route no longer begins in the Barr Trail parking lot. This parking lot is to be used for the Barr trail alone, access to the trail is now to be from near the old Manitoul Incline Base Station and incline hikers should park on Ruxton Ave. 

Do NOT park in the parking spots for the Cog Railway. They will tow you. If you really want a close spot you can pay to park in the Iron Springs Theater parking spots. Last I saw it was $5 to park there.  

COR article about The Incline, including videos, articles, the history and getting there.

10155701_887872717905568_5097434442090649357_n Mandatory burpees at the top with David, Jim and Rene Jennifer Roberts Philip Glorioso1 Philip Glorioso Marlene Villoga Bowden Lucas Lucas Rivera

Photos from, starting at top, 1. Jim Driscoll, the Inline at night 2. Doing burpees at the top of the Incline with Marlene Bowden, Jim & Rene Driscoll and David Tatham 3. Jennifer Roberts at the top of The Incline 4. & 5. From Philip Glorioso 6. Marlene Bowden going up the stairs 7. & 8. GORUCK and others like to carry heavy things up The Incline, including Lucas Rivera (left).




Where to Eat:

Coloradoans work and play hard and our cities not only end up on “fittest” lists but best breweries too! Some of the suggestions for best post-race easts and drinks in Colorado Springs includes:

Trinity Brewery, recommended by COR Philip Glorioso



1466 Garden of the Gods Rd W #184, Colorado Springs, CO 80907
(719) 634-0029




Colorado Mountain Brewery, recommended by COR Casey Jindra

unnamed-300x951110 Interquest Pkwy
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921(719) 434-5750





If you check out Red Rocks in Morrison, try any of these on the Main Street Strip:

The Holiday Bar (fun and eclectic locals spot), 403 Bear Creek Ave, Morrison, CO 80465, (303) 697-5658

Red Rocks Grill, for breakfast, 415 Bear Creek Ave, Morrison, CO 80465, (303) 697-9290






Check out the Spartan Blog with different info and suggestions!  

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