Spartan Race is fast spreading across the world and arrived in Singapore as the second venue for its obstacle course race in Asia. With over 240 races in 25 countries around the world this year, the Singapore race was a Spartan Sprint, consisting of a 6+km run and 22+ obstacles.
Nicknamed ‘One arm runner’, CK Loh is now a Spartan two times over having completed the Spartan Race Malaysia last month as well. Loh was born with only his right hand, but he can do one-armed burpees better than Joe De Sena who admired Loh’s determination and form in a recent video. Loh has improved his fitness through out the years and is now a familiar face in obstacle races like Viper Challenge, Reebok One and other events.
Spartan, where’s the mud?
Spartan Races are synonymous with mud, but the Singapore version was a letdown with measly mud in the mud crawl. Spartans do not wash off mud, and Loh was surprised to plunge into a pool to go under a wall after the mud-less crawl, only to wash off any indications of mud he had painstakingly acquired.
The Spartan course had obstacles similar to the Spartan Race Malaysia with Traverse Walls, Tyre Flips, Spear Throws, Net Crawl, but the course was laid out flat through out Singapore which made it less challenging in terms of terrain. There was a lot of running in between obstacles which ran along the river, the Nicoll highway, across the eye of Singapore while admiring the Marina Bay Sands. But Spartans didn’t come all this way to enjoy the view.
You could however, drink yourself silly at the 5 bountiful water stations loaded with isotonics, mineral water, coconut, plus you could claim your ‘victory drink’ aka beer at the finish line.
He ain’t heavy, but a bucket of stones is
The weather had been kind with an overcast day and a short bout of rain, but Loh found the walk with the bucket of stones tough as the distance was really long. Even strongly-built Spartans were spotted sitting on their buckets for a break. Get up, Spartans!
“The distance was too long and we had to turn 3 times. I carried the red bucket with one hand, but even then I couldn’t finish it quickly and had to rest.”
The walk with the sandbags was easier as it was on flat terrain compared to the Malaysian race which ran through hilly jungle terrain. However, the Monkey Bars shall remain Loh’s achilles unless he can master some super Tarzan swinging action to jump from one ring to another with one hand. Nevertheless, perhaps he can do 30 burpees faster than another Spartan can complete the Monkey Bars.
Paging for the Spartan Spirit
Perhaps this race should be renamed Spartan Walls as there more walls than Loh could count. With a little training and a helping hand literally, Loh cleared all the walls easily, this was feeling more like an urban version, highly unlike the tough standards set by Spartan. This race was too clean, too flat, too easy. Where’s the Spartan Spirit?
Loh had teamed up with Reebok’s Marketing Manager, Moon who didn’t train for the race and found it tough. Loh said, “Moon was weaker in running so I would push him in the run, but then Moon would turn to push me at the obstacles.”
At the final obstacle, they both failed at the Rope Climb and was penalised with 30 burpees each. However, in a true test of teamwork, grit and strength, Loh did extra 25 burpees on his exhausted partner’s behalf, despite having one hand!
“I felt really bad (at pushing him), but we worked as a team. If he really couldn’t do it, then I would do (the burpees) for him,” said Loh.
Loh was happy with his race having only incurred 90 burpees, an improvement from having done 120 burpees in the Spartan Race Malaysia. This Spartan shall return to more training, more Pull Ups to improve upper body strength and to learn to carry heavier weights. Spartan Up!