MANILA, Philippines — Spartan Race is making its return to Philippine soil for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Catering to fitness buffs eager to hit the course in nearly two years, Spartan has four events lined up starting at the end of this month.
A Spartan Race Sprint — a 5-kilometer route with 20 obstacles — will usher in the events for the year as part of the Spartan Philippines National Series and will be held through four weekends at the Batangas Lakelands in Balete beginning September 25 and 26.
The Spartan Race Beast, and the Spartan Race Ultra, which is 21 kilometers with 30 obstacles, and 50 kilometers with 60 obstacles, respectively, are penciled in on December 18 and 19 at the Lima Technology Park Batangas.
Meanwhile, a 12-hour Spartan Extreme Endurance race is tentatively set for November in San Antonio, Zambales.
Also in the fold is a Virtual Spartan Trail that is set to run from October to December.
According to Spartan Philippines Race Director Mike Reyes, they definitely struggled during the pandemic with events pushed back due to its nature.
But with the help of their personnel and respective partners, like AIA Vitality and Batangas Lakelands, they were able to get back on their feet sooner rather than later.
"Like a lot of industries, the pandemic has really hurt us. We're a massive participatory events company, and obviously we're at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to priority to get back to work because, lots of people coming together doesn't really fit well with the pandemic. So it's been very very challenging for us," said Reyes during a press conference on Friday.
"And I've got to say, I wanna give a round of applause to (General Manager) Marc [Celis], Micca [de Joya], and our other partners that joined us over this pandemic for helping us bring Spartan Philippines back," he continued. "If it wasn't for them, I'm not sure if we would've been able to come back this fast,"
Spartan's 'Now Normal'
However, due to the current pandemic, the Spartan Philippines events will have a little tweaking to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all participants.
In the National Series, only two categories will be available for participants -- the Elite and Open, with Spartan doing away with the age groups for now due to logistical concerns.
Runners also face stringent protocols like being subject to an RT-PCR test or Laboratory Generated Antigen Test not more than 72 hours before they compete.
While a vaccine will not be mandatory, runners will be grouped together in heats during the races based on their vaccination status.
Masks will also be mandatory during the event's registration, in the festival and awarding venues, and as in the start and finish lines to ensure the safety of runners.
New races await
Apart from getting back into the fold in 2021, Spartan Philippines will also be introducing new races next year.
New races to be launched in 2022 include the first-ever Asian-based qualifying race for La Ruta -- the hardest mountain bike race in the world.
Also in the plans is the first Spartan Stadion in the country, a 5-kilometer, 20 obstacle race through a landmark stadium in the Philippines.
Wrapping up the list of slated launches is the DEKA, a decathlon of functional fitness designed for all levels of physical fitness.
For more information on the return of Spartan Philippines, visit the website.