Here at Spartan we get letters and questions all the time from parents who want a break from soccer Saturdays. They’re all looking for an activity that’s not only fun and challenging for their kids, but also instills a sense of grit, determination, and accomplishment that traditional sports just won’t provide. So we’re here to say it loud and clear: Spartan races aren’t just for adults. We’ve been putting on events for kids for years, and we’re thrilled that there’s an army of little Spartans across the globe who took some of their first steps toward realizing their potential on the Spartan course. But it’s crucial to know the Spartan Kids basics — to prepare both you and your young Spartan for race day. So we created the ultimate parents’ guide to Spartan Kids. Read on for answers to our most frequently asked questions, from what kind of obstacles your kids will face, to age-group breakdown, race-day attire and more.
Spartan Kids Basics: The 411 on OCR Races for Kids
How old does my child have to be to compete in a Spartan Kids Race?
We’ll take little Spartans anywhere from 4-13 years old.
Wait, do young kids compete against the older kids?
Our racers get broken down into age groups, so there’s no risk at all of getting smashed by the big kids. Generally speaking, kids from 4-6 race together, 7-10 year-olds race together, and 10-13 year-olds race together.
How long are the courses?
The shortest race is for the youngest kids (4-6), at .5 miles. Kids between 7-10 years old run a course that lasts 1 mile, and the oldest kids run a 2-mile race. Each child must be at least 10 years old to run the 2-mile race, no exceptions.
How long does each race last?
All times depending on the venue and each athlete’s ability. But you can expect races for the youngest group to last 15-25 minutes, the middle group to last 20-35 minutes, and the oldest group to last 45-55 minutes.
The Obstacles at Spartan Kids Races
What kinds of obstacles will my child face?
No matter what the age, your child will face some exciting challenges that you’ll only find on a Spartan course. Here’s the basic rundown:
Spartan Kids Ages 4-6
Walls up to 4 feet, cargo nets, balance beams, “spear” throw, hilly climbs with shallow mud pits, and a variety of open and closed environment under and through crawls.
Spartan Kids Ages 7-10
All of the obstacles mentioned, plus carries up to 20 pounds, inverted walls, slip walls, and traverse walls.
Spartan Kids Ages 10-13
All of the obstacles mentioned, plus carries up to 40 pounds, 6-foot walls, a rope climb and a Hercules hoist.
Whoa, is all of that safe?
Of course! Your kids will compete under the watchful supervision of Spartan’s dedicated professional staff. Safety is critical to us at Spartan, especially for our little competitors. But please consider the obstacles included in the race distance you choose for your racer. Many children can run two miles but may not be physically ready to complete the heavy carries or higher obstacles included in the two-mile event.
What Spartan Parents Should Do on Race Day
Can I run with my child, or do I watch from the side of the course?
Only parents of children in the 4-6 age group can run with their kids. Parents of children in the older age groups may watch their racers and cheer them on from the start/finish line area. Each family receives 2 free spectator passes when they pick up their kids’ bib on race day, and spectators must be physically present and turn in a completed waiver to receive their free pass.
Can I drop my child off for the race and come back later to pick him/her up?
No way. You may not at any time leave your child at the Kids race alone, and you must be present to pick them up following their event.
How do I pick up my child at the end of the race?
When you register your child, you and your racer will be provided with matching orange bracelets. In order for your child to exit the course, an adult wearing this matching bracelet must be paired to your racer. Any adult age 18 years or older may wear this bracelet.
What if I’m competing in the adults’ race at the same time?
Make sure you register your child with someone who will be available to pick him/her up at the conclusion of the race. Unattended children will be secured with a Spartan Staff member and, if you’re competing in the adult race, you will be removed from the course and disqualified, without course re-entry or refund. Don’t do it!
Race-Day Logistics for Spartan Kids
How early should my child show up for the race?
We suggest planning to arrive 90 minutes prior to your child’s start time.
What kind of clothing should my child wear?
Remember what you used to wear to gym class? Your racer will be running, climbing, crawling, etc. and should dress in comfortable clothes for exercise that match the weather of your event. Quick-dry material is best for our outdoor events because your young Spartan will get muddy! Athletic shoes that you are OK getting muddy and athletic wear that wicks moisture (polyester) are best. Cotton will keep your racer wet and is highly discouraged for colder events.
Should my child train for the race beforehand?
Spartan is all about your individual experience, so training is optional ahead of the race. But if your child is interested in a training plan so he/she can feel extra confident on race day, we’ve got you covered.
Can I get photos of my child competing in the race?
A professional photographer will be on the course, but we suggest bringing a camera to take pictures of your racer as well. You can find your photos on spartan.com. Click “Results/Photos” at the top of the website. Then select your race on the right-hand side. Choose the “Kids Race” gallery. Photos are usually uploaded the Thursday after the event.
What will my child receive for competing?
Each child will receive a Spartan finisher’s medal and a t-shirt.
Locate a Spartan Kids Race Near You
How do I find a Kids race near me?
There are multiple Kids races just about every weekend during the summer in the United States. Stay up to date on when there’s a race close to you by checking out our upcoming Kids race schedule.
Okay, I’m in! How do I register my child?
The process of registering your child for a Kids Race is much like the process of registering an adult for a regular Spartan. Just select the Kids Race tab in the middle of your race’s event page and choose the specific distance (1/2 Mile, 1 Mile or 2 Mile). During registration, you will see the option to select a specific start time. After registration, you will find the selected start time in the registration confirmation email. You’re young Spartan is good to go!
You can also register your child on race day at the Kids Race registration tent. Simply pick up a blank waiver, sign it for your child and hand it to one of our staff at the registration tent. Once you have paid for the registration your child will be given their bib packet and t-shirt.