spartan race

Scaling a wall was one of the 20 obstacle courses offered during the inaugural Ocean City Spartan Race in the inlet parking lot in 2019.

The Spartan race’s return to the resort is slated for Saturday, with an estimated 2,400 to 2,800 participants expected for the 3.17-mile course.

This is the second time the nationally touring race has stopped in Ocean City, with the first in 2019. The covid-19 pandemic wiped out the possibility of a 2020 race.

The event, which attracts competitors from all over the country, typically offers several distances for competitors, though the Ocean City stop won’t be as large or diverse as some of the other races around the country, owed mainly to the urban landscape the route will be set up in.

Still, as it did in 2019, event planners are expecting a large talent pool representing various levels of expertise to show up, starting at 7:30 a.m.

The entire event has something of a festival feel to it, with food and merchandise vendors and a DJ on a main stage where awards will be presented. Smaller side competitions are held, too.

“Generally we see a lot of people out there who have a desire to look out for their fitness,” said race director Lauren Taylor. “Even if it’s new to them we see a lot of people that want to get out there and make that positive impact on their health and lifestyle.”

The course incorporates a lengthy list of obstacles along the way, including climb-over walls of various heights, jumping rope, weighted burpees, monkey bars and even a spear-throwing station.

Over the summer, Tom Perlozzo, director of tourism and business development, gave the Ocean City Town Council various estimations for the turnout, anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 people, which includes participants and spectators.

After a successful weekend the first time around, Ocean City Special Events Director Frank Miller said that the town would love to see the race turn into an Ocean City mainstay.

“Turning this event into something that brings a whole other demographic into town that’s never been to Ocean City before has always been our goal,” Miller said.

Perlozzo told the mayor and city council in August that in 2019, Spartan organizers conducted a recap of the event that consisted of a questionnaire. The result was that 70 percent of the 3,000 or so people who attended the event stayed overnight.

“There are only a few reasons that we do events in this town,” Miller said. “Provide opportunities for our local tourists — value-added events — and to drive attendance to local businesses. And we want to bring new people to town that wouldn’t choose to see Ocean City otherwise.

“Being able to bring this group of Spartan-goers — and they have a huge following — starts to show another side of Ocean City, and living that healthy lifestyle is a good value for us to push,” he added.

So far, the relationship between the town and Spartan representatives appears to be strong.

“We’re really grateful for the opportunity to work with Ocean City,” Taylor said. “They’ve been supportive throughout the process, even with the event in 2019. It’s great to have the opportunity to work with Frank and his team. We hope to get some locals out here to get an understanding of what Spartan is.”

The Spartan Race Village will also share the inlet parking lot with the Freestate Corvette Club Weekend. Miller said the events shouldn’t interfere with each other.

One-third of the lot will be reserved for the Spartan event, while the other two-thirds will be used as part of Corvette Weekend.

The race, Miller said, will be over before 4 p.m., at which point a parade of nearly 700 Corvettes will drive on the Boardwalk.

Participants can register for the Spartan race same-day or online. Registration is $135.99 for the early morning (7:30-7:45 a.m.) time slot; $120.99 for 8-11 a.m. session, and $108.99 for the 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. block.

Race officials will send 50 competitors out every five minutes, from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Two kids races, for children ages 4-14, are available — $30.99 for the 1.5-mile open and $25.99 for the 3/4-mile open.

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This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on Oct. 15, 2021.

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