Spartan Philippines Reflections – A Mudbath

“You only live once, that’s the motto baby YOLO”

The famous philosopher and scholar Drake

BOOM. Another Spartan Race in the books. Each race, no matter the anxiousness beforehand, is extremely memorable and positive. This was no exception! Amazing people, nice venue, and fun activities (drinking…?) outside of just the race itself.

As the month of September flew by, I was excited but nervous to travel to Manila for this event. I made a conscious effort to eat healthy (daily smoothies, a lot of home-cooked meals), take regular saunas, and be in bed at least 8-9 hours a night. Not fun, but it is the sacrifice you make for your athletic goals. My training was solid, and I knew I was in great running shape based on the Haier 10k Event where I ran an adult PB for 10k with another fast finishing kick.

Very competitive road race in Bangkok, September 11 2022. I finished 12th overall.

The real drama started on Wednesday afternoon, just one day before I was scheduled to fly. I got an email saying my flight was re-booked….to a time AFTER the Spartan Race! This was not going to work. After an hour of “customer-service-headache” phone calls, I got the last seat available on a flight out of Bangkok on Friday night. Four hours later, I arrived in the Manila airport around 2AM, took a taxi to the guesthouse my friend and fellow competitor Callum booked, and laid in my little bed for a grand total of…..90 minutes.

No excuses. I made it and that was all that mattered.

5AM. Alarm went off, we got up, had coffee and some snacks, talked about the race and some strategy, and took a taxi to the venue. Once there, we registered and got changed in a beautiful little gym across the street from the race that we purchased day passes from. That was our “home base” for the day, which ended up being a great call due to the extreme heat and mud!

After a warm-up and pre-race routine, we lined up, I chatted a bit with some of the Filipino racers, and the gun went off…..

What followed next can only be described as “A Mudbath”. Never in my life have a run in what literally felt like quicksand for the entire 13 miles. Within 2km, I completely wiped out on a patch of mud and hit my low back on some wood laying on the ground. Little did I know this would be only one of several major falls during the race!

Around 5km in, we had a nice pack of about 7 or 8 guys all close to the front. After Callum slipped during the bucket carry, I made a pass and found myself in 1st place approaching the spear throw.

This was short-lived. I threw and missed. 30 muddy burpees, and back into 10th place I went. I was upset with myself knowing I likely blew my chances at winning. But I also knew there were a ton of obstacles and running left…

Slowly, the guys ahead of me started fading back. It was HOT, there was absolutely no shade and not a lot of water on the course. I got a small side stitch and stopped for a short while when I finally reached one of the water stations. Each station I did my best to chug water and pour it all over my head and back to keep my temperature down. I could tell I was overheating and fatigue was rapidly setting in….

The mud was relentless. My shoe came off after I fell into a big mud puddle just over halfway through the race. I stopped to slip it back on, but realized my laces were caked in mud and wouldn’t come un-done! So I made the decision to keep running with my shoe until I could find a good place to stop and put it on again.

Fast-forward through most of the middle obstacles and running. None of them proved to be *too* tough thanks to the hot sun that had dried off all the hanging bars, ropes, and climbs. This was different from Chiang Mai where I found things more slippery and challenging. The sandbag carry, however, made me feel like I was on the verge of passing out due to exhaustion and the heat. I really slowed down here and was in third place, but could still see the guy in second off in the distance.

Luckily for me, he was gassed going into the final five obstacles, all within 400m of the finish line. We both fell off the multi-rig, and I came out of the burpee pit just five or six burpees ahead of him. I took a deep breath and gave it everything I could on the rope and herc hoist. This gave me enough of a lead to look back and know I wrapped up second place. I crossed the line smiling and immediately went to pour more cold water on my body. The winner, Elias, ran away from everyone and paced himself well. Huge congrats to him. I wish I had been closer, but I was thrilled with 2nd place and I know what I need to do to improve. It starts with hitting that dang spear!

The Philippines has an amazing OCR/Spartan crew and I can see why they are the best in Asia. They have great funding, sponsorships, community, events, training facilities, and serve as a model for what I hope Thailand and other Asian countries can replicate. I would like to help move this initiative forward, so if you are reading this and have any ideas I am all ears! Please send me an email at

Thanks for taking the time to read this race report, and feel free to get in touch with me about training, coaching, Spartan, personal training, or online coaching! Cheers.