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MP Spartan Race Challenge – Our road to Sparta

The Spartan Race is one of the leading obstacle race series in the world. With over 50 races a year in iconic locations worldwide, ranging from 3 km to 50 km distance, the Spartan organisation offers events for every fitness level.

As part of the 2022 MP Team Challenges, the Spartan Race concludes this series of amazing sports events. Our team opted for the “Super” category, which consists of 25 obstacles along a 10 km hilly course. The principle of the Spartan obstacles: You should at least attempt each obstacle. If you fail at one, the “penalty” will be 30 burpees. Attending such an event already fills you with joyful anticipation, but attending such an event in the ancient town of Sparta, where once the bravest warriors settled, shoots up your adrenaline even more.

The preparation phase already started in the first half of 2022. As MP always strives to provide you with all the assistance and equipment necessary to perform at your best, we were invited to regular CrossFit workouts with a professional trainer at a local gym in Vienna’s second district. We all knew from the start that excellent and regular preparation would be the key to conquering the obstacle course. But we were also well advised to accompany the CrossFit workouts with additional strength and endurance training, as most of our team members did.

Fast forward, and November 4th is here. A cloudy and grey afternoon in Vienna as the whole MP Spartan brigade gathers at Terminal 3 at the Vienna International Airport, ready for our flight to Athens. Although we got an extensive briefing, some of us still needed to figure out what kind of clothes and shoes were suitable for a unique competition like that. From old gym shoes to running shoes over to water-proof trekking shoes – the choice of shoes was as diverse as the autumn weather in Austria these days. When we arrived in Greece, we first waited until our team of 18 Spartans was complete, as some of our colleagues from the Istanbul Office were also joining for the race. Following a bumpy bus ride through the suburbs and inner city of Athens, we arrived at our dining location, where we took “carb loading” to the next level. After filling our carbohydrate stores, we got our highly-needed sleep before tomorrow’s race.

Saturday morning has arrived – Race day! The brave Spartans met at the hotel’s breakfast buffet to refuel the energy tanks needed for the endurance race. When hopping on the bus to Sparta, the excitement for the race was tangible. It takes you approximately 2.5 hours to get to Sparta by bus. After arrival, we collected our starting numbers and gathered at the starting line. We were starting off the race through the beautiful Mediterranean scenery in the outback of Sparta. The first obstacle was not far away; we had to get over some triple hurdles, which was just fine for warming up the muscles. The order and type of obstacle was completely mixed over the entire course. We were climbing over monkey bars, crawling under a barbed wire fence, carrying heavy stuff such as sandbags or rocks over rough terrain or wading across the river. I often thought to myself, why am I doing this to my body? But the will to finish the run as a team was stronger. We went from muddy to wet, dusty, earthy, sweaty, and wet again, and to top it off, we had to jump over a fire. After challenging 2 hours and 40 minutes, our group finally reached the finish line.

The race was a real challenge, but no one can take this unique experience away from us. It’s best to grab your partner, some friends or join forces with your colleagues from MP. Being part of this incredible team spirit at such an extraordinary event is everything.
As I said in the beginning, preparation is key for a challenge like this. You must have some level of fitness to complete the obstacles, the running distance and the probably not avoidable burpee penalties. It was certainly a step out of my comfort zone, out of my usual running path or gym hall, a situation you would not deliberately seek in a non-competition setting. But it was definitely worth it and helped us tremendously to grow together as a team. What I experienced was unconditional teamwork throughout the entire race. As you know, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so we always helped each other to overcome the obstacles. Motivational phrases were shouted, arms were held out, and potential falls were caught by our fellow team members. The #MPspirit was omnipresent.

Since all the team members made it safely across the finish line, the MP success story was complete. And with that, not only our weekend in Athens was ending, but also the chapter of the MP 2022 athletic team challenges came to an end with the glorious Spartan Race in Greece.
Stay healthy, stay fit and stay tuned for the competitions coming up in 2023!