Glen Rose, TX – December 2, 2011
I was a very last minute replacement for this event (Super Spartan), as I originally thought I was going to have to eat my entrance fee due to a business trip which took priority (sucks owning your own company!) I have a group of friends who call ourselves the DFW Mudcrew, our group has evolved this year into a group of people who travel from mudrun to mudrun in an attempt to find the perfect one! So one of our members was getting a group together to participate in the Hurricane Heat and had an opening, of course I would do it, I love this stuff. So I start out looking up the information online and here is the official paragraph:
The Hurricane Heat (a.k.a. HH) is a special Spartan Fun Run opportunity with Spartan Founders that we offer at some of our events throughout the season. The Hurricane Heat gives runners the chance to meet and run with the Founders and staff of Spartan Race in a unique and memorable way. Held sometimes early Saturday morning or Friday night (Head lamps and glow sticks required!) it will take you through the course in groups with the goal of just finishing the course. No chips, no clock, just a fun run Spartan-style that represents what our company and our athletes are about… getting up when you’re knocked down and finishing what you start.
Imagine my excitement to know I am going to be running with the founders and staff of Spartan! Well, this event fell short, actually way short of all expectations from the moment I arrived until after midnight when I left. Here are my thoughts on the 2011 Texas HH.
FAIL #1 – No founders or staff of Spartan to be found other than those yelling at us. I didn’t meet any founders and no one introduced themselves except for one or two who were talking on the mega phone.
With an odd list of required items to bring including, glow sticks, a bandana, a brick, lighter, green apple, banana, and an 8” piece of rope (what can you do with only 8”?) I was really looking forward to this event. I really didn’t mind that I had to drive almost 2-hours from Dallas to get to the event, no worries I like driving, but I also like events to start on time. (We used none of these items and I later asked the Goruck guy why we needed them, and his response was, “I have no idea, we never asked you to bring those items”)
FAIL #2 – Failure to start on time. With an expected time of 5:15pm to start our adventure, and being that it was 50* and raining, starting over an hour later was not my idea of fun. I also get the whole Spartan philosophy of the “Burpee” but making us to them just because you are waiting for an organizer to get there is just ridiculous.
FAIL #3 – Failure of defined leadership and direction. While standing in the rain waiting to find out what the heck is going on, the so called leaders huddle up to discuss a plan. Then after 15 minutes ten people stand up and start yelling email addresses at the same time. Really? Do you really think 120 people can hear ten people all yelling at the same time? I think the worst part was they didn’t have names, they were yelling off email addresses! Then the Goruck yells as us and says we are wasting time by not getting in our groups fast enough. So the second part of this failure is our so called “Team Leader” who was basically an empty shirt, had no clue what he was doing and didn’t know how to operate the GPS, handed it off to another person. So off we went with no idea what we were doing just following the GPS.
I was determined to not let this cluster beginning ruin my time, I was ready to see what this was all about. I wondered in the beginning why everyone else was walking down the road and we decided to walk in the field, the wet field. I still can’t figure out why 12 people also cannot walk together. This is a mystery to me, we are a team, a group but yet we can’t walk at the same pace? Yes I said walking, not jogging, running or skipping, we were walking and could not stay together and had to continuously stop and wait.
Fast forward two-hours. We walked in circles up hills, down hills, over three barbed wire fences and faithfully followed our GPS reader for two wet hours. We were completely lost and ready to give up. Now we had two other teams not only following us because they claimed their GPS was not working, but our fearless leader thought it would be a good idea to merge the three teams into one team and then he conceited his leadership role. This soon became a session of who is Alpha.
I will be honest; I couldn’t take the incompetence any longer. I tried to be a follower, but that is just not my nature I can’t watch inferior people attempt to lead and not do it correctly. As a former law enforcement officer, I could never be second fiddle, I was always the leader. So I took over, I taught myself to read the GPS (which at this point was deemed broken) and started following the path it set. With the 40 people just standing around and complaining on what to do next, I attempted to tell them my GPS was in fact working and I found the trail and in the end, I led them to the fire (yes the GPS worked fine). But I was met with resistance, which I thought was funny, the guys drinking beer the whole time and who wanted to take us all back to the beginning (claiming to want to start over) so he could quit. I couldn’t quit.
We reached the check point, the bon fire and right there we had several quit. No worries for me I was all ready for my first mission. It was funny that one of the teams who claimed the GPS was not working, had it looked at and it worked fine…again I think operator error.
We get our first mission and I was asked to lead us, so I took the GPS and led us straight to the point, found our object and back again. Our group had turned into 21 people at this point since we merged groups and once again I am amazed at the lack of enthusiasm by the participants. It is cold and rainy, no one wants to jog to get the blood pumping, no one wants to do anything other than bitch about how cold and wet they are. Did we carry the big rock we were asked to get? No, no we broke it into a very small rock which had enough red paint on it to verify it was once the correct rock.
After completing the first mission, we were asked to wait, which we did for 45 minutes, they say so that the other teams could come back, well they never did, they quit and went to the lodge. The event was then cancelled and we were given our medals and t-shirts. They then had the gall to ask us to carry wood for them, break down the tent, pick up trash and take it all back to the lodge. So I rounded up my faithful mud crew members that stayed with me and we headed back, so much for a three hour tour (where have I heard that before?)
I got to my car after midnight, by the time I got to my hotel, showered and got in bed it was after 1:00am. I was tired, hungry and exhausted; I imagine we walked for a good 8 miles or so. All I had to eat was subway at 2:00pm, I went to bed hungry. I set my wake up call for 5:30am; I have the Super Spartan the 8am wave by the way.