Over the past weekend, we brought our six year old, Phoebie, for her very first Spartan Junior Race. We had wanted to bring her last year but when we realised the race was on, the registration had closed. This year, we signed her up the moment we saw the advertisements.
The days and weeks leading up to the race, Phoebie was very excited and even did some fitness training with me. It was going to be her first time participating in a race full of obstacles.
So the day finally came and we met up with our friends, Adrian and Faezah, who were also bringing their little girls to the race at Yio Chu Kang Stadium.
Each age group was assigned a different time slot, so the children ran the obstacle course with children of the same age. Our friends’ four year old daughter, Sonia, ran in her own age category where parents run with them to assist the children when needed, while Phoebie and our friends’ six year old, Sophie, ran in the mixed age category.
For the four year olds, the obstacle course was 500metres. For the five to 10 year olds, the obstacle course was 1km. For the 11 to 13 year olds, the obstacle course was 2km. Older children could also opt for the competitive round where prizes were awarded to the fastest three boys and three girls.
Here are some pictures of Phoebie’s very first taste of the Spartan Junior Race:
At the adult version of the Spartan Race, the finishing line would be marked with burning charcoal and finishers would jump over the charcoal. For the Junior version of the race, the organisers lined a row of wood partially coloured red in place of burning charcoal. I thought this arrangement was quite cool because it was safer for the children and yet the significance was still there.
HusBenKoh followed Phoebie through her race, as allowed for her category. We had agreed earlier that whoever was accompanying her would let her try all the obstacles on her own and if she needed help, we would let the race facilitators help her.
HusBenKoh did as we had planned and witnessed first hand just how much our six year old could achieve on her own when we let her try everything without assisting her. Using our Sony action camera, he recorded Phoebie’s entire adventure into a video. (The original video was more than 18 minutes but i managed to edit it into a 13.5 minutes video. I also edited a shorter and more concised one minute video clip.)
Things I liked about the race:
It was obvious that the Organisers put safety as their top priority. There were many facilitators all over the obstacle course and at the more challenging obstacles, there were more of them.
Phoebie’s race was on the first day of the two-day event and it was a cloudy (and eventually rainy) day. The race was put on hold multiple times due to weather conditions, and I liked that the organisers didn’t take the weather warnings lightly.
The different age groups ran their races separately at staggered time slots. This helped the younger children have more space and time to try each obstacle while the older children who wanted to run as fast as they could would not be blocked by the younger children or risk knocking them over.
Some of the obstacles are really not easy. I looked at them and wondered if I could do them. I liked that the organisers allowed parents to accompany and assist the younger children in their quest while facilitators were ready all over the obstacle course to assist any child of any age group if needed.
While it was called a race, it was really a race only for those in the competitive categories. For the rest of the children, it was more of a personal race of trying new things and putting in their personal best to overcome the challenges they faced.
The Spartan Junior race was also a good opportunity to get the kids outdoors, running, climbing, crawling and getting dirty. This is not something that a lot of kids do often anymore and is a good way to show kids that being outdoors and getting dirty can be more fun than staying indoors and facing the tv or gadgets.
Watching Phoebie attempt the race was an eye-opener. Because this was her first race, she had never done most of the obstacles before. Yet she tried and completed every single one on her own, without any complain or even asking for help. It showed me how determined and strong she can be when she set her mind to it.
HusBenKoh and I had a little debrief with Phoebie after the race and told her that this race proved to us and herself too, that as long as she is determined and tries her best, there is nothing she cannot accomplish. We will eventually bring Phoebie to other races and obstacle courses in the future, but I pray that this is the one race she will never forget.
Looking forward to the next Spartan Junior Race!