Thousands Expected For First Spartan Race In OC

OCEAN CITY — Resort residents and visitors will see a takeover of a different sort in the downtown area this weekend with thousands expected to compete in the inaugural Spartan obstacle course race.

Spartan, a national sports event company based in Boston, produces high-intensity obstacle course races all over the country. For the first time ever, Spartan is bringing its obstacle course race to Ocean City on Saturday.

The Spartan obstacle course event will include a festival village at the Inlet parking lot featuring tents with food, music and vendors. The obstacle course itself will take place largely on the Boardwalk in the downtown area including some obstacles at street ends.

Thousands of competitors are expected to compete in the race, which includes obstacles such as cargo nets, walls to traverse, rope climbs, monkey bars, water hazards, atlas carries, box jumps, spear throws, sandbag carries and others. Spartan produces similar events all over the country with different courses and degrees of difficulty. During a presentation to the Mayor and Council last month, Tourism Director Donna Abbott said roughly 3,300 racers had already registered.

Spartan’s Ocean City race is its shortest distance, but it will include 20 obstacles in the three-mile race area on the Boardwalk and streets.

“The sprint may be our shortest distance, but it’s still a favorite among both new and returning racers,” the company’s description of the Ocean City race reads. “It’s the perfect distance for those looking to start their Spartan journey. The spring also allows returning racers a manageable distance to see how far they can push themselves.”

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with the elite men hitting the course. The elite women hit the course beginning at 7:45 a.m. After that, waves of 15 racers will be released every minute. At 1 p.m., the afternoon heats will begin following the same format. The race is expected to wrap up around 3 p.m. although the Inlet festival and post-celebration will continue.

The event’s footprint will require some traffic modifications in the downtown area on Saturday. For example, North Division Street between Baltimore Avenue and the Boardwalk will be closed entirely from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, single lanes of Baltimore Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on race day between Caroline and North Division streets and between 7th Street and Surf Avenue. The race will cause the closure of the Inlet lot, which will also be shared with the Corvette event.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.