Since the inception of Spartan races back in 2010, a whole host of famous faces have tested their mettle across the challenging obstacle courses. From Grand Slam champions to Hall of Famers, Grammy winners to a member of the British royal family, the list of those who have successfully negotiated Spartan’s barbed wire crawl or overcome its monkey bars is surprising.
The 2022 Spartan World Championship will take place in Abu Dhabi this December with a range of Open Heats for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.
Since launching in the US in 2007, Spartan races have now expanded to include over 30 countries with thousands taking part in the endurance events every year.
But over the years, stars of sports and entertainment have raised the profile of the event by tackling the obstacle courses that others have mastered.
Appearing on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Prince Harry completed a specially arranged eight-obstacle Spartan race last year in California. As part of the humorous segment, the British Royal successfully nailed his spear throw, impressively commando crawled under barbed wire without getting mud on his shirt and expertly hoisted himself up a five-meter rope to ring the bell. Corden, in contrast, was not quite as impressive, needing a hand here and there and exiting the barbed wire crawl looking like he had been swimming in the mud.
It was not the first time Spartan had created a special course for a celebrity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Spartan featured on an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” with a team building an obstacle course in the backyard of the Malibu beach house where the Kardashians and Jenners were quarantining. Kourtney and Khloé challenged Kendall in a battle to see which family was grittier. Spoiler: Kendall won.
Other showbiz heavyweights who have challenged themselves at Spartan races include “The Vampire Diaries” actress Nina Dobrev, who has three races under her belt, including a Beast race in 103-degree heat in California; Danielle Brooks of “Orange is the New Black” fame; Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber, best pals on the iconic 90s sitcom “Full House”; Emmy Award winner Julianne Hough; and Brooklyn Decker, the former Sports Illustrated model.
And it is not only North American celebs. Valeen Montenegro, the Filipina actress, comedienne and model, took part in her first Spartan race this June, completing her 5km, 21 obstacle Sprint in an impressive 50 minutes and 50 seconds.
“This won’t be my last, that’s for sure,” she wrote on Instagram. And compatriot Glaiza de Castro, superstar of Filipino network Kapuso, took part in a 10km race in Baguio this past March alongside her husband David Rainey.
In the world of sports, former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss is no weekend warrior. One of the most prolific players in NFL history, he earned a trifecta in 2016 and further completed the Beast level at the World Championship at Lake Tahoe. In 2018, Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion, competed in the grueling Spartan Race in SoCal just five months after giving birth, racing alongside her husband, Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit. A month later, Serena got back out again — this time in South Florida — bringing with her sister Venus.
Other athletes to step out of their comfort zones include Tiki Barber, the former New York Giants running back; Monica Puig, Puerto Rico’s first female Olympic gold medal-winning tennis star; and Shawn Johnson, the US Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast who competed in a race in Nashville in October 2021, just three months after giving birth.
Musicians are also not averse to rolling their sleeves up. As well as Grammy Award-winning Alicia Keys and former N’Sync member Joey Fatone, renowned American DJ and music producer Diplo crushed his first Spartan Super in California earlier this year before flying directly to Las Vegas for a show just hours after crossing the finish line. With only one previous Tough Mudder race under his belt and no obstacle course race-specific training, the producer completed the 6.2-mile course in an hour and 21 minutes.
The 2022 Spartan World Championship is set to take place Dec. 2-4 at Al Wathba Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, situated just 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi.
Residents and visitors have the chance to take on the Sprint (5km; 20 obstacles), Super (10km; 25 obstacles), or Beast (21km; 30 obstacles) categories amid pristine desert scenery. A Team Relay Super (10km; 25 obstacles) and a Kids’ Race on a 1-3km course featuring vast sand dune trails, iconic desert terrain, and a level that suits them are also scheduled to take place.