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A Swampy Spartan Race at Port Stephens Nationals

This weekend saw the travelling spartan army descend on Port Stephens, a beautiful coastal area near Nelsons Bay, about an hour north of Newcastle in NSW. This was the first full Spartan event for 2021 and Spartan Aus offered multiple races with the two highlights being the Spartan National Championship Super event and the very first Spartan Trail event in Australia, also a 10km event, taking place at night. I arrived at the venue about an hour before the 10km Trail event kicked off on Friday evening and the air was already electric with familiar pre race tension. It was amazing to watch the Spartan family together again, some people having not raced over 18 months with the nightmare that has been 2020.


The 10km Night Trail event kicked off around 5:15pm with the setting of the sun and the athletes surged forwards as a unit before disappearing into the Port Stephens terrain. I had heard from the Spartan staff that race director Michelle Podnecky had made great use of the sand dunes and marshes and racers were in for a fun time. After 46 minutes and 43 seconds, Michael Adkin came flying over the finish line, followed very closely by Stefan Suitor and Cristian Alex, only 7 seconds between first to third place. Gabbi Day came in shortly afterwards at 50:08, taking out the win for the females and was followed by Grace Davies and Anna Sewell in third. You can check out my finish line interviews with Michael and Gabbi at my IG by scrolling across below.



The next morning we were back onsite bright and early for the main event, the Aussie Spartan National Championship 10km Super. With such a long time between events, athletes have had a large training block and it was hard to predict who was going to take this event out with any certainty. While I had strongly expected the mens podium would consist of Quinton Gill, Adrian Jannenga and Liam McKenzie, it was beyond me as to the order they would finish.

The elite females would be even harder to guess, though I knew that Joanna Hills was hitting the course. A phenomenal runner, I had recently seen Joanna and her two sisters take out the three top spots at Raw Challenge Gold Coast. I was unsure how Joanna would hold up under the tougher Spartan obstacles like heavy carries and rope climbs and I was excited to see more seasoned OCR racers Bec Curtis, Monika Holmwood and Tania Drahonchuk keep her on her toes. I decided after more than a few athletes requested me to live stream the event to chase the elite pack and miss my own planned age cat super event. I filmed the forward pack of athletes coming through the twister around the halfway point on my stories as it was close to the festival area and I knew it was going to be burpee central in the damp morning conditions.

The Twister had it's fair share of victims in the dewy morning conditions

After I saw Josh Perizzolo come off the twister losing his spot in 5th I knew just how tough it was that morning, Josh is an absolute weapon of a racer and is strong AF. Joanna Hills had built a dominating lead in the first 5km of the event, after dropping off the twister she had fully completed her 30 burpees before Bec Curtis in second had even made it to the obstacle. Bec and Monika both took a burpee penalty here and I left them both hitting the floor while I went hunting for the front of the mens pack. What I would learn later when running my own event was that the athletes had run through kilometres of swamp and marsh to get to the twister. This varied between ankle and waist deep and was full of unseen hazards, creating some technically demanding running that returned no energy back to the runners. After the twister everyone ran straight back into the swamp. Athletes fought hard for every step taken. The final 1500m of the race was packed with obstacles, racers coming in from a km of sand running to hit the monkey bars. This was followed by a rope climb which went directly into a spear throw, a small run to the sled pull, herc hoist then the Olympus. This gauntlet of grip demanding obstacles felt more like a ninja event that an OCR race and many runners paid in burpees for their lack of preparation. After completing the Olympus, racers hit a sandbag carry snaking through some hilly sand dunes, then took a little run to the bucket carry. The Rings proved one last test of the grip after which Spartans jumped over a modest line of fire then scrambled over the cargo nets to complete their race. Quinton Gill looked calm and confident as he came into this obstacle complex and completed everything in clinical precision. Adrian Jannenga followed a little behind in second with Liam Mckenzie working frantically to run them both down from third. While Liam looked to be making a bit of ground up through the obstacles, the distances between places was too defined for any changes to occur and that’s how the boys came over the line, Quinton breaking the tape at 52:26, Liam just over a minute later. Shortly after Liam came Joanna Hills, having opened up a massive lead again on the women who had caught her at the twister. While it was clear that she isn’t quite as proficient on the obstacles as some of the other racers, Joanna had it where it counted most and took out first place after 1:01:15 of race time. Nearly 10 minutes later Bec Curtis came over the line in second and Monika Holmwood took out the bronze, all the top female athletes looking very weary after way more burpees than they are used to. If you want to catch the final 1500m of elite racing, check out my LIVE coverage at my FB page below, including a chat with a few athletes post race.


The Australian Spartan National Championship Elite Podiums Men 🥇 Quinton Gill - 52:26 🥈 Adrian Jannenga - 53:11 🥉 Liam McKenzie - 53:35 Women 🥇 Joanna Hills - 1:01:15 🥈 Bec Curtis - 1:09:59 🥉 Monika Holmwood - 1:10:57 Want the full race results including all the Age Cat podiums? Head over to Multisport Australia HERE


Massive shoutout to every single member of the OMR Crew at Port Stephens this weekend!

You all killed it and I'm proud to have every single one of you in the pink jersey!

This was a tough event and one of the most competitive fields I've ever seen at an event in Aus, and there were a few OMR members who really killed it, including a few national champions!

Congratulations to Matt Day, Monique Mccreanor and Cam Crouch for all not only winning their categories in the National series Super event but also picking up the double win in the Sprint!

Special shoutout to Matt Day who would have finished 8th in the Elite sprint. Matty and Cam joined me for our sweep party lap at the end of the day and they both hit the Hurricane Heat the next day too!

Dominika and OMR Coach Funda Sezgin both took out Silver in their Super, with Dom backing up for a 3rd in the Sprint, David Duddy also grabbed a Silver in the sprint.

A total of 11 podium medals for the weekend for the team!!

Special mention to Corey who knew he could have taken out the double win in his age cat so stepped up to elites, taking 11th in the Super and 9th in the Sprint. We wanted to crack him into the top ten and he made it happen!

The performance of the day goes to Sam Isley who after taking a nasty fall of the twister injured her ankle badly. I was just passing her at the time and she was in the pain cave in a bad way.

She told me she wasn't quitting and limped out the last 5km of the race on what the medics suspect is a broken ankle.

While I couldn't condone her pushing through at the time and told her to stop if she needed to, I'm so proud that she pushed and truly found out what she can push through when she wants to.

Every single athlete who took to that course is champion in my eyes, but If you want to take your performance to the next level, send me a message and I will let you know what that involves!

Want to run with my merry band of lunatics at Spartan Sunny Coast? Send me a message and join the OMR Obstacle Racing Fit Fam HERE


Want to work on obstacle skills while meeting other members of the Gold Coast OCR community? Come and check out the OMR Raw Challenge Bootcamp. You get to play on a live obstacle course and learn techniques direct from Matt. The next event is locked in for the 16th May at Raw Challenge Gold Coast, get your tickets HERE


Thats all from me, as usual please give me your feedback below or send me a message 🤙🏼 Matt Moore

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