Yesterday a big news came to shake things up in the Canadian market of obstacle course racing. Indeed, the Canadian Spartans received a message from the franchise that it would not return in 2020. The panic immediately seized social media and many took the news as the end of Spartan races in Canada. With the announcement of the closure of Warrior Dash in the United States earlier, the possibility of seeing another big piece of the OCR planet disappearing left nothing very encouraging for the future. Fortunately, Joe De Sena quickly came to enlighten the Internet users by sending an email confirming that Spartan would be present in Canada for the 2020 season since Spartan HQ will now take care of the Canadian division. After two attempts to have a third company to deal with the Canadian license, HQ surely had enough to see this division have different standards than the events south of the border. The first iteration that started in 2010 and was led by two of Spartan's co-founders (Sélica Sévigny and Richard Lee) performed quite well and seemed to follow the American model apart from a few differences. However, since the change of hands three years ago, the company no longer seemed to follow Spartan HQ's steps in terms of innovation and event quality. The comments collected from the participants of the current season were quite negative for the most part and were pointing obvious problems among others in terms of course marking, animation and the festival in general. Many said they were disappointed and did not expect to come back next year. But this is not the first time we have seen this comment about Spartan to whom we always seem to be coming back anyway. The announcement of De Sena will surely revive the Spartan fervor among some of them!
What to expect from Spartan HQ?
Joe promises a big season and big changes from what we are used to. For those who have already participated in American races, the expectations can only be big. Based on Spartan HQ, the Whistler weekend will kick off activities and continue for the next several years. Expected upgrade:
- An improved festival area and experience
- Better elaborate courses as it can be seen in the United States (yes in the mountains, but with sections of trails where you can actually run).
- New obstacles (Twister, Helix, etc.)
- Better quality animation (We hope in French for races in Quebec)
In short, there are many expectations, but the announcement made yesterday can only be beneficial for the biggest obstacle course banner. It remains to be seen whether the promises made will become a reality. Only time can tell and you will have to look in one of the events of the 2020 calendar to find out. The only thing I am sure everyone wants to keep in Canada is the use of the Platinum Rig as an obstacle. The famous orange rig made only one appearance on the American circuit (Killington Spartan Championship 2014) and was hidden far up the mountain. The Spartan multi rig had made its appearance thereafter. Let's hope that the multi rig will be an addition and not a replacement of one of our favorite structures. Welcome to Canada HQ!