Spartan Race – Malibu – 2013

The Malibu spartan sprint was quite an adventure on all fronts.  The spartan race proved to be a challenging course with a stretch of bad weather which made for a very muddy course. There was also the delays having to do with the logistics of getting 6000 racers from a ranch 25 minutes away to the race location at another ranch.  One of my main reasons for coming to Malibu for the sprint from the east coast was to get a nice warmish weather run.  But it appears NYC weather followed me and it was raining while being 40-45 degrees.

Race Photos:



The course was in the same location as the year before which is convenient for planning ahead.  It also rained so the course was good and muddy like last year which makes for more of that adventure race vibe that many people seem enjoy. From my GPS reading below it appears the course was either 2.8 miles, if you went to the right at the split for the less technical section that was longer, or 2.6 miles if you went the narrow technical route at the split.  There was a total of 18 obstacles that didn’t account for the 3 water crossings which definitely made the race more challenging. The water was like ice and when you came out there was no sun to give you any warmth.

The split in the course was a new thing for me at spartan races. I like the concept of letting you pick your poison and thinning the crowd out a little bit.  I’ll look into which way the top 3 finishers went in the near future and update this post.  The best way for speed seemed to me like it would be the less technical section with a wider path even though it was double the distance.  The single lane path with people slowly crawling over boulders sounded like bottle neck/back up central.  I hope they keep the choose your own adventure style of racing in the future races.

One of the more brutal obstacles I found was the long uphill barbed wire crawl.  It wasn’t low barbed wire but it was surely long, it left many people sitting in the way out of exhaustion.  On the plus side to the obstacles is that the hercules hoist was at obstacle 11 instead of being early on and exhausting your arms before you get through some tough obstacles.

Thoughts from a pro:

Brakken Kraker:
“Malibu was an interesting race. The terrain was extremely rough and steep. There was not a whole lot a space to really open up and run. I was feeling pretty good through 2 ¼ miles. I was in range of Hobie and feeling good about my positioning. Then, we hit the ponds. My hands froze, and that was the beginning of the end for me. I could barely grip the rope and then almost could not get the Hercules Hoist. I eventually made it, but lost so much time trying to get my numb hands to cooperate.  The race was over at that point, making for a frustrating finish. Hunter ran a great last half mile and really deserved the win.”


2.8 miles, 18 Obstacles, Elevation Gain – 1060 ft, Loss – 1092ft

Race map:



GPS data from the race, taken with the forerunner 10:

Elevation Chart:

Malibu Elevation Chart

Obstacle list:

Cargo Net Hercules Hoist
Over Under Through Inverted Wall
Sand Bag Carry Barbed Wire Crawl
Monkey Bars Spear Throw
7 foot wall Rolling Mud
8 foot wall Underwater Wall
Wall Traverse Slippery Wall
Hobie Hop Fire Jump
Rope Climb Gladiator Pit

Race Results:


If you live in CA or nearby definitely do this course because you will have a good time. Personally I’m not sure if I’ll run this again next year unless I find a very cheap flight and arrange to stay at a friends house.  The reason being is that the weather in Malibu this time of year is very unpredictable.  It’s not like Texas or Florida where you can be guaranteed to get a 60* plus day this time of year.  Otherwise the Spartan Race folks put on a good show as usual.  The spartan race series of sprints is always the top of the line and perfect distance for people of all physical fitness.  It may take you a while but if you do the course without skipping obstacles or burpees you will leave feeling accomplished.

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Dario is an obstacle course racer and lover of great coffee. When he isn't writing on this blog he can be found working as a photographer for NYSE, AP, and occasionally Getty Images.
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