I’m really excited to hear the championship is leaving North America. I’ve raced in the Arab Emirates a couple times, and those events were some of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I’ve had. I’m sure the American racers won’t be happy with the Venue, but such is life. If you’re on the fence I would recommend you suck it up and make the trip out. Remember, the Europeans have been in your position every year since Spartan’s inception 😉 . Furthermore, for those complaining about human rights violations and the practice of ‘sportwashing’ (an especially hot topic in F1 right now); while I do not disagree with you, I promise you the following: You are far less likely to run into problems as a black or gay person in the UAE than you would in the South, or even in your own hometown, for that matter. So that’s something worth thinking about.
The last race I ever competed in was actually the Middle East Championships. During the race (which you can read about below) I felt something tear near my groin. I put off getting a real diagnosis for nearly two years, but eventually was diagnosed with and underwent laparoscopic surgery for an inguinal hernia. Rather than doing it state-side I opted to have it done in Hungary. (Hungary is the medical tourism capital of Europe)
These days I second-guess the soundness of that decision. The ensuing recovery –and the myriad of issues that have lingered– have effectively rendered me immobile. Racing is out of the question these days, let alone sneezing without pain. And then there’s the issue of the missing prize money, which I’ve accepted Spartan will never send me at this point (I’ve been bugging them for three years).
Regardless, I don’t regret anything and remain grateful for the opportunity I had with Spartan Race, It was a good run and a wonderful experience while it lasted.
For those of you wondering what to expect from this race, you can see a few of my previous Middle East racing and travel recaps linked below. Also attached are some FAQs for the championships, courtesy of @AllthingsOCR.
Dubai, 2014, pt 2 I wasn’t a great writer back then, but the second half of this article is still about as good as anything I’ve written in the years since.
Podcast covering the 2014 Dubai race with Matt B. Davis.
My experience prior to and during the 2017 Middle Eastern Championships. This one is probably the most entertaining of the articles linked. Part 2 should be out this week, I actually just realized it’s been sitting as a draft over at Obstacle Racing Media for the last year or two.