For Love of the Race or Points?
As it is no surprise to anyone I have loved Spartan Race now Reebok Spartan Race since I did my first race in 2010. It was what sparked my life and ignited me to make sweeping changes that have led me here to Utah and ultimately to be typing this post up on a sunny afternoon. I have worked closely with Spartan Race consulting on many projects and been in many meetings. In the last year I have taken a step back and focused on my own business and own endeavors and declined the offer to become a Spartan Sponsored athlete in order to give me for time to explore other races, and be able to write and critique things happening in the sport.
Today while in the Spartan 300 Facebook Group – a group for past winner and top ranked athletes – the question of this years points were brought up. Amongst a lot of conversations about how the points were working this year or were proposed to work this year. We are already seven-months into the season and it seems again like last year rules are changing, and clarity in the system is amiss. Last year I went along with it being it was a new system and work in progress, this year the old system was scrapped and a new system implemented, which is still evolving. This years points ranking system is outlined in the Reebok Spartan Race Blog Post. The main difference in the system is now your points earned are weighted on your time against the winner, no longer is it based on your placing.
There are three “championship” races at particular distances that we win extra points for earning a podium at them (points bonus still not announced). Also this year the points system on the main website it only the US Races. Each country will now have it’s own points rankings and then there will be a Worldwide ranking (this all in development). So sorry to my Australian, Canadian, and Mexican Friends your races will not currently show up on the elite rankings on the main website (www.spartanrace.com). No word when this eventual World Ranking will come out. Finally the World Championship is Vermont as it was last year another race that many have grown to love or want to revenge is also run that weekend and the same day as the Championship race namely, The Ultra Beast. This brings me to the point of this article.
As well as learning about the individual countries having their own rankings, I also learned that the Ultra Beast will not be awarded any points in the ranking system, At least the elite one. So it seems my friends, you have two choices, chase the points or chase the race. It was announced months ago that you would only be able to do one race or the other this year and many applauded this as it forced you to choose your race. Now however, you are not only choosing your race but also points v. no points. Open points might still be given for the Ultra Beast but nothing has been announced. Prizes will still be handed out for the Ultra Beast but have yet to be announced. We will keep an eye out for any changes that may come and update as well.
All I know is I choose the Ultra Beast (even through acceptances have not gone out yet) and in doing so I have officially taken a step back from the whole points game. Currently, I am ranked 13th overall in the points system and 7th for women. Who knows where I will end up at the end of the year, but this is my year, my life and time to race on my terms. Ultimately, you have to race because you love it not because you are chasing a developing points system for an unknown reward. To me the Ultra Beast is too important of a race to give up. It is one of the most meaningful races from last year and one I am looking forward to already. Last year as I came down the last mountain I had tears in my eyes not from pain but from the overwhelming emotion of finishing the race on “my mountain” and connecting with the mountain on a deep level after years of working, playing and training together. It was the only race that I have cried upon completion overwhelmed with emotion of the whole thing. It challenged me in ways other races hadn’t to that point and overall was just a great time! So for me I chose to race for the love of the race, not a points system that seems to be ever changing and evolving with many questions unanswered.
See you at the Ultra Beast!
My eye is on a podium this year in that race. Fourth last year was great but I know this year I will go into it with more elevation training, more miles on my feet, and a greater understanding for what needs to happen in the race for success. Yes, I have my eye on you Killington, until we dance again.