Sagamihara: The First Reebok Spartan Race in Japan - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sagamihara: The First Reebok Spartan Race in Japan

Last weekend it was time for Japan's first Reebok Spartan Race! The race is known as one of the world’s largest obstacle courses, and this time the event took place in the U.S. Army Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara, approximately 50 minutes by train from Shinjuku.

Sagamihara is a part of Kanagawa prefecture, an area most known for tourist destinations such as Yokohama and Hakone. Along with a group of friends we set out to Sagamihara to find our inner Spartans.

But the first obstacle was... To go through the military checkup. As the event was taking place inside an American military base it was not surprising that the focus on security was high. The arrangers recommended all participants to meet up at least two hours before the actual starting time of the race, and considering there were more than 5000 participants scheduled to take part in the race at the base this day it was not a bad idea to be early.
Going through checkups by military personnel

One of the tents where participants got registered
Once you get into the waiting area you are free to spend some time warming up, hanging out with friends or alternatively to check out some of the stalls. In the waiting area you can find both food and drinks, and there are also some stalls where they are selling Reebok products. If you want to show your Reebok passion you can get a temporary Reebok tattoo at one of the stalls (be aware that with the burning sun your tattoo might turn into a long-term tan tattoo instead). There was also a stall where people who wore a piece of clothing from Reebok got a free towel and 2 discount coupons for Reebok products.
People wearing Reebok can get a free towel and discount coupons
But back to the race.. With a total of 7km and 22 different obstacles to overcome this was set out to be a tough day. The race was divided into an Elite Class and an Open Class, and as we were all amateurs we chose to go for the Open Class. Luckily we were blessed with a cloudy weather, taking away the worst heat.

The race itself included various obstacles such as burning tree branches, high walls that had to be climbed and heavy buckets that had to be carried. As you can see from the photos above you better be prepared to literarily get down and dirty!
All our team members managed to complete the race!
Although it was all based on one's individual ability to get through the course it was without a doubt of great strength to have a partner to run along your side to motivate each other along the way. We somehow got through the whole race alive, and gained new motivation to practice for the next Spartan Race (apparently the next one is scheduled to be held in Japan in October).
For those considering participating in a Spartan Race for the first time, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Wear sunscreen
Can't be stressed enough.. Even though I put on sunscreen right before the race started I still looked like a lobster by the end of the day (although the natural dirt sunscreen we got from crawling though mud probably helped a bit too).

2. Wear something that covers your knees
After the race was done large parts of my body were covered in bruises from all the crawling. I had been wearing shorts, but for next time I'll go for something more suited to prevent some potential damage.

3. Bring clothes that can be thrown away afterwards
Although some people choose to buy new clothes just for this race I would recommend doing the opposite; bring with you clothes that are starting to get worn out so that it doesn't matter if you have to throw them away by the end of the day. I had my shorts ripped up by some wires when I was crawling through the mud, and my sky-blue t-shirt changed colors to the unrecognizable.

4. Go as a team
It is so much more fun when you're running with others and you can cheer each other up before/under/after the race. If there is one thing I might want to do different for next time it might be to make our own team T-shirts with logo and team name on. We saw a team where the members proudly wearing team t-shirts with "running sloths" printed all over them. Awesome.
 Enjoying a beer with team mates after the race

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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