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What it takes to finish the Las Vegas Spartan Race

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A competitor falls off a climbing rope during the Spartan Race Saturday, April 6, 2013 near Lake Las Vegas.
Photo: Sam Morris

Spartan Race | Lake Las Vegas | April 6, 2013

Generally at the end of a race, you’re greeted with some liquid refreshment, maybe even a banana. At the finish line of the Vegas Spartan Race last Saturday, they indeed had bananas and water for competitors; it was what happened before the finish line that surprised me.

After eight and a half grueling miles of hilly desert punctuated with obstacles and strength tests (described by a race organizer as one of the more difficult courses they have designed), participants were faced with four back-to-back obstacles and a final challenge: To reach that cup of water and banana, the modern-day Spartans had to leap over a fire pit, then run through a gauntlet of people swinging pugil sticks like Ted Williams (those swinging like they were Barry Bonds were told to dial it back a little).

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