During my very first Spartan Race back in June 2013, I was perfectly aware that my lack of training will cost me a lot of penalities such as burpees in the last 3 obstacles. In fact, I spent more than 10 minutes to complete the best I could my 90 burpees. In the meantime, other contestants who were following me, managed a few burpees (a lot less than the 30 required per missed obstacle), then simply got up and continued the race. At first, those acts did not bother me at all, because for me, finishing the Spartan Race was already an achievement and I thought they were only cheating with themselves.
A few days later, the results were announced: 2082th, I was ranked in the middle of the pack. Not so bad for a guy my age who hardly trained. However, for the first time, I wondered in which rank I could have finished if all the contestants followed the rules? 2072th? 2060th? In the end, it did not really matter since it would not have changed my results much.
Summer went by. With a lot of practice, sacrifices, 26 lb lighter and 3 obstacle races under my belt, I was ready for a new challenge! At the beginning of September, I signed up for an obstacle race gathering about a thousand runners. I started the race in the performance wave aiming to finish in the top 300.
The race began. I was in great shape and everything was going well. I was running among the leaders. Just as we reached the 3rd obstacle, I came accross a kind of runner I never encountered before : the amateur cheater. He would never hesitate to go under the fence of an obstacle in order to skip it. Consequently, he cut precious minutes to his time. Thereafter, he dropped half a bucket of sand too heavy on the ground and in a traffic jam, he did not hesitate to sneak towards the exit of an obstacle without completing it. During my race, I even had the chance to meet the ultra cheater: number 240 who went straight through an event without carrying weight, right under the nose of the person in charge of the obstacle! What a champion with a good 3 minutes gained.
I have to confess that I was fuming between the obstacles. Here I was, on the track, giving everything I had to perform well and cheaters with no scruples were overpassing me. In the end I was ranked 168th. Wow within the 1st fifth of the contestants! But what would have actually happened if noboby cheated? 158th? 140th? And this is when I realised : those proud amateur cheaters cast a shadow over our sport, even though we all run for ourselves and to exceed our own goals.
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