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Sports

August 12, 2013

Through mud, through fire, through barbed wire

Spartan Race draws 18,000 in Amesbury

Recent Newburyport High School graduate Jordy Steelman has spent his summer running races on a whim. The incoming Gettysburg College freshman completed the Yankee Homecoming 10-mile race two weeks ago at the urging of a friend and did a similar thing at the Amesbury Sports Park Saturday, joining an estimated 18,000 fellow athletes who put themselves through 3 miles of mud, fire and barbed wire for the Reebok Spartan Race.

“It was a blast, it was an absolute blast,” Steelman said of the Spartan. “To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. But once you’re out there, it’s just crazy.”

Currently preparing for his first collegiate soccer season at Gettysburg, Steelman found out there was nothing to prepare him for his first Spartan.

“When I read about this, I thought, ‘Oh, 5Ks, I’ve done those before,’” said Steelman, who finished the ordeal in just under an hour. “But what I didn’t realize was that you pretty much have to watch every step you take, because it’s so slippery. You’re just sliding everywhere. Even if there were no obstacles, it would be a tough 5K.”

The obstacles are what set the Spartan apart from most other mud races.

“We’ve got our standard appointment,” said race director Mike Morris. “We’ve got the barbed wire crawl with the head submerging. We’ve got a double rope climb up there. There is the inverted wall, the monkey bars, the tire drag off and the sandbag carry of 45 pounds for the men and 25 pounds for the women. We’ve got the walls, and we’ve also got the Choose Your Own Adventure thing where you’ve got to choose where you want to go. One way is shorter but more technical. The other way is longer but faster.”

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