Spartan Race World Championships making Lake Tahoe debut Saturday | SierraSun.com

Spartan Race World Championships making Lake Tahoe debut Saturday

The Spartan Race courses include myriad obstacles, from scaling climbing walls to swinging over mud pits.
Courtesy Spartan Race Inc. |

If you go

What: 2015 Spartan Race World Championships

When: Saturday (7:30 a.m. start) and Sunday (6 a.m.).

Where: Squaw Valley Resort, Olympic Valley

Tickets: $20 online (until Friday); $25 on site

Parking (available, but limited): $10 per car; $20 per van; $50 per RV (cash only)

More information: www.spartan.com

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — It only made sense that the world’s leading obstacle race company, Spartan Race, would eventually stake its flag on one of the top outdoor destinations in the world: North Lake Tahoe.

On Saturday and Sunday, Spartan Race, voted as Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race, will bring the 2015 Reebok Spartan Race World Championship to the internationally renowned Squaw Valley ski area.

“It was definitely one of the top places on our radar,” said Mike Morris, vice president of Spartan Race, when asked about Lake Tahoe as a race destination. “If you think about what the Tahoe area has to offer, the terrain, the scenery — it’s one of the top markets.”

This weekend, more than 10,000 athletes from across the globe will descend onto the same legendary terrain the 1960 Winter Olympic Games were held (sans snow, of course), attempting to scale the Sierra Nevada mountains — and not just for the stunning scenery and invigorating exercise. More than $100,000 cash and prizes will be up for grabs, as well as the glory of being named a Spartan Race world champion.

Liesl Kenney, public relations manager of Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, said the resort is excited and honored to play host to such a popular and prestigious event.

“The Spartan Race,” Kenney said, “embodies everything we love here at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows: human-powered adventure in the great outdoors, and an opportunity for families and friends to share an incredible experience together.

“We are thrilled to welcome and thank the athletes, volunteers, staff, spectators, local community and the groups that make this event a reality.”

The two-day event will include three different levels of men and women events: The Reebok Spartan Race World Championship Beast (14 miles) starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, along with the Spartan Sprint (5 miles), Spartan Beast and Ultra Beast (28 miles) on Sunday. Spartan Kids races will also take place on both days.

Rope-swinging over mud pits. Army Crawling beneath barbed wire. Hurdling over fiery logs. These are just a few of the eye-widening obstacles entailed in the Spartan Race.

“Continuing to challenge our athletes is part of the Spartan DNA,” Joe DeSena, Spartan Race CEO and Founder, said in a statement. “Bringing our World Championship to one of the nation’s most spectacular and rugged backdrops will make for the most challenging event the obstacle racing community has ever experienced, and an unforgettable test of mental and physical strength.”

And the event isn’t just for the competitors — those who come as spectators can witness more than just world-class athleticism and endurance.

Each spectator will get $5 in Spartan bucks, which are redeemable at the merchandise tent, and access to view multiple key obstacles on the course, including the finish line. There will also beverages and hot food for sale on the grounds.

“This type of event is perfect for Squaw Valley to host during what is traditionally a ‘shoulder season,’” Kenney said, “as it will bring in business to our local economy and allow guests to experience the incredible conditions we typically enjoy this time of the year in Squaw Valley.”

The Spartan Race — which ESPN describes as “a true test of will” — joins Tough Mudder as the newer trend of obstacle-laden endurance competition spectacles to hit the Lake Tahoe region.

Tough Mudder, which is less competitive in nature and more about allowing people to accomplish goals and promoting team building, occurs twice each year at Northstar California.