After taking on your first or fifth race, full of endorphins many of us have the same question. How can I become an elite Spartan Racer? While many people will jump right to what it takes to qualify, for most of us that’s putting the cart before the horse. Instead I’ve decided to break it down a little more in depth answering questions like: What are the standards for top elite Spartans, what is the cost (time and money), what is the training like, and then what does it take to qualify, and more. Let’s get Started!
How to Become an Elite Spartan Racer
Spartan Elite Standards:
While there is no standard set of rules for what it takes to be a podium level elite racer, here are a couple of “standards” that will help you determine if you have what it takes to even begin to compete.
- Beast and shorter, run a sub 18 minute 5k. Preferable at higher elevations.
- Ultra Beast and longer, run a sub 3:40 Marathon.
- 25+ Strict Pull- Ups with a 1 second dead hang pause between each rep
- Dead Hang: 10+ Minutes
- Access to Vert: All of the top racers run up and down hills. Atkins and Webster run in Canada, Kent Moved to Colorado, Woods has the highest mountains on the east in NC, and Albon runs the greatest Skyrunner courses on earth.
The gold standard. Looking to be the best in the world, 5 time OCR World Champion John Albon runs a sub 2:30 marathon on a hilly course. That’s under an 18 minute 5k, for 2.5 hours and an Olympic Trials qualifying time.
The Cost of Being an Elite Spartan Athlete
$1,199 – Spartan Race Elite Season Pass. The cheapest way to buy your race entries.
$750 – Shoes. This takes into account 2 pairs for “racing” and 4 pairs for training through out the year. Your going to be putting in some miles.
$2,500 – Travel & Lodging. Let’s assume 5 races per year, this includes $200 per race for lodging and $300 for flights, gas, food, ect.
$800 – Yearly Gym Memberships. This is assuming you have a home gym/place to train but will be doing monthly climbing gym membership. If you are into Crossfit, this will be much more.
$1,800 – Food & Supplements. This is not your total food bill, rather we’re assuming $100 a month extra to eat healthier and another $600 for supplements.
I know I’m missing a few things and underestimating some costs. Even doing so, that will put you at over $7,000 just to play ball. It’s expensive to OCR race.
How to Train Like an Elite Spartan Racer
You could write a book on OCR training and people have. So what I like to do is look at what the best in the world are doing for training to understand what it takes to compete on their level. And rather than re-writing the book, what I’ve done is put together some great link to check out in regards to training:
John Albon – 5x OCR World Champion
Lindsey Webster – 3x OCR World Champion
Ryan Atkins – Spartan Race World Champion, Worlds Toughest Mudder Champion
Nicole Mericle – Spartan Race World Champion
Robert Killian – Spartan Race World Champion, Worlds Toughest Mudder Champion
How to Qualify for a Spartan Elite Heat:
2023 Update – Spartan Race has officially removed all qualification standards for Elite Waves. Anyone can now sign up for this heat.
Starting in 2020 you now need to qualify to enter a Spartan Race Elite Heat Wave. There are several way to do so, this is from the Spartan race website…
To earn an Elite Qualification Code (EQC), a competitor must be 14 years of age or older as of Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- One or more top 3 finishes at Spartan OCR events in the Elite and/or Age Group category within the previous 24 months
- One or more top 10 finishes within the Elite category at any regular season Spartan OCR event within the previous 12 months
- One or more top 5 finishes within any Age Group category at any regular season Spartan OCR event within the previous 12 months
- US$2000 or more of lifetime prize money earned to date in the Spartan Elite category. (International Prize money will be converted from local currency to USD based on current exchange rates)
- Please note: Age Group category refers to the designated “Age Group” Heat. It does not apply to results in the Open category.
The eligible events for automatic EQC qualification are:
- All 2019 National & Regional Series, final leaderboards
- All 2019 championships, final leaderboards
- The 2019 World Championship, 2019 Trifecta World Championship, and 2019 Ultra World Championship, final leaderboards.
Link to Spartan Race Elite Qualification System Guidelines
As the official equipment of the Para-Spartan Elite, GRIT is committed to helping adaptive athletes conquer Spartan Races. Both GRIT and Spartan are fueled by the rigor, determination, and no-excuse drive of riders and competitors.
Informative article, exactly what I was looking for.
I’m doing a volunteer heat next weekend and was wondering if I place top 3, would that be the same as age group?
I don’t believe that the volunteer hear is eligible for Age Group awards. Good luck at the race!