Last weekend thousands of athletes flew in to the beautiful tourist island of Phuket, Thailand to go for glory at the Spartan Asia Pacific Championships. Held at the amazing Blue Tree Phuket water park, this new venue was flat and fast, making obstacle completion absolutely critical to getting close to a podium. It was fantastic to see so many Aussies make the pilgrimage to Asia to represent their country and many of them brought some podium triangles back with them, with our very own superstar Liam Mckenzie taking out the top event, the elite race.
This was the start of what I believe to be a three year partnership between Blue Tree and Spartan and this makes me happy for the future of Spartan Thailand. From a festival and amenities standpoint, it's the best venue I've ever raced at. The Thai people are friendly and welcoming and they don't miss any details in setting up their events. It really was a world class production and it's this level of event that I've come to expect after 3 trips to race in Asia. Speaking to everyone onsite it seemed as if all were aligned in their thoughts that the Thai's put on a rager of an event weekend. About the only point I heard any negatives was the actual courses themselves, course layout is a divisive subject to begin with but I'll break down what the setup was and you can form your own opinions
So as you can see in the above image, racers were sent through lots of switchbacks, zigzagging their way around the venues limited space. There was no elevation at all and no real technical terrain to speak of.
This meant what decided the podium positions was obstacle completion and athletes being able to keep their foot on the gas in 29 degree heat (84F) and near 100% humidity. I'm a bigger guy and I'm pretty good on obstacles so a lack of elevation suits me and with the wet obstacles first thing in the morning I was able to overtake many racers serving their penance in burpee zones. I found the switch backs frustrating but heard that other racers enjoyed them as they could keep eyes on the progress of other athletes. I know people who didn't go to the event because it was flat and people who said it was their favourite race yet because it was flat, so yeah it's a divisive topic 😂 One of the things that makes Spartan so great is that variability, you don't really know a lot of the time what you are walking in to until you start running.
My personal opinion that I also heard a few people mirror is this, if the venue could find a way to run into a neighbouring property to find some varied terrain and a hill or two, this would have been a perfect event for me. I let the Spartan Thailand team know this and I really hope they make it happen if it's possible. I know there are some athletes who won't return if we get much of the same next year. What really sealed the deal for me for this being a fantastic venue was taking my whole crew into the waterpark on Sunday. It was an absolutely fantastic way to unwind after a weekend of racing and Hurricane Heating. There's also nothing quite like drinking an ice cold coconut straight after crossing the finish line!
The Elite Report
The Asia Pacific Championships attracted some superstar talent to Phuket and racing was fierce across all divisions. One of our own Liam Mckenzie managed to comfortably take out the win in the mens elite event and while I ran in the elite wave myself in my armour, I crossed the line quite a bit after Liam and the front runners so I grabbed a quick summary from the man himself to share with you all.
The Aussies had some strong talent over in Thailand, taking out a heap of podium spots. OCR is really taking off in the Philippines too and the Filipino team took a huge share of the competitive podiums as well. Some talented female athletes from Japan took out the first and second spot overall with a dominating performance. There was either a mistake with the timing or they crossed the line at the same time which I imagine would have been a damn good finish. Phuket was the first event that I've been exposed to using the new run loop penalties. There were run loops for both the spear throw and one other obstacle that I can't remember (Someone let me know please 😎) All the rest had burpees as usual. Liam told me that he sprayed the spear and was still able to hold the win fairly easily so he must have had a tidy lead, I imagine the run loop wasn't nearly as damaging to his speed as a set of burpees.
Male Elite Super Results 1st - Liam Mckenzie - 50:58 (Australia)
2nd - Hallvard Borsheim - 52:26 (United Arab Emirates) 3rd - Sanjay Negi - 55:06 (India)
Female Elite Super Results 1st - Reika Kijima - 1:08:42 (Japan)
2nd - Honoka Jinzai - 1:08:42 (Japan) 3rd - Marites Nocyao - 1:12:02 (Philippines)
Australia brought home quite a few APAC championship medals over the weekend, with two of One Moore Rep's clients taking out their divisions. Matty Day ran a blazing fast time of 1:01:31 to win his 30-34 division, his time would have put him in 8th elite. OMR's very own coach Monique McCreanor won her 18 - 24 division too and I couldn't be happier for both of them. Both Matty and Mon had joined the OMR crew on our first OMR Adventure Experience, so I got to spend over a week with them on the holiday island.
I'll try my best not to miss any of the other Aussies who took out podiums below!
Daniel Ciccocioppo (50) - 2nd Lisa Purcell (45) - 1st
Carlee Raabe (34) - 3rd Christine De Vries (59) - 1st
I had a bit of fun ripping up the course in my Spartan get up
I was lucky enough to be a part of Class HHTHA-001, Thailand's very first Hurricane Heat! I'm a huge fan of these events personally, we encouraged all of the people on our OMR Adventure Experience in Phuket to participate in this event so there were a few Aussies hitting it, along with fellow Aussie lunatic and HH enthusiast Samantha Rawson who also trekked to Phuket for APAC.
If you're interested in the Hurricane Heat, send me a message. I will happily guide you on how to participate in these events locally and internationally. I'll be hitting the next 4hr in Spartan Vic in February. My own resilience building team style event Taipan Team Endurance will also be launching in 2023 after a few false starts during Covid and I can confirm an event in the first few months of next year! Taipan will deviate from the HH model in all sorts of ways, focusing on more puzzle elements and survival skills. You can join the early info list for Taipan HERE, we will be updating the event details very shortly.
Are you interested in travelling the world with a group of like minded athletes and hitting events like Spartan APAC? After our very first OMR Adventure Experience was such a huge success, we will be aiming to hit 3 x trips next year, including returning to Spartan APAC at Phuket (I'm crossing my fingers they renounce APAC in Phuket for 2023!) Below are some of my favourite photos from our trip and we have Reels going up every day! Message me direct if you're keen and I'll put you on the EOI list!