Racers Converge on the Desert for 2021 Spartan World Championships in Abu Dhabi
For the first time in over a decade the Spartan World Championships will venture outside the United States with this year’s annual event taking place in the world-renowned Liwa Desert just outside of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Over 70 of the world’s top Obstacle Race Course athletes will take on the Spartan’s latest challenge for the chance at their share of a prize purse of over $100,000 on December 3.
What’s on the line: The total prize purse is worth $115,000 with payouts going to the top-10 in each of the men’s and women’s elite divisions.
Who to watch: A who’s who of past World Champions and up and coming Obstacle Course Racers (OCR) will be vying for this year’s coveted title and prize purse. Last year the World Championships were cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
- Women’s Elite Division: Canadian Lindsay Webster is the favorite to win her third World Championship after winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. Zuzana Kocumova also has two World titles (2015 and 2016) and both have formed a rivalry over the last five seasons. Annie Dube is one of the young up and comers who will push the two national champions and fight for a podium spot. The American finished behind Webster in the Spartan US National Series, a qualifier for the World Championships. Emma Cook-Clarke is also new to OCR but teh firefighter has impressed in limited action and is among the contenders in Abu Dhabi. CrossFit athletes Lauren Weeks and Emma Chapman have also earned invites and will be in attendance. Weeks is a three-time regional athlete and competed on a team during the Semifinals, placing 8th with C2X CrossFit at the Atlas Games. She also is the 2020 HYROX World Champion and placed third in last year’s inaugural Spartan Games. Chapman, who competed at the 2019 Games with the Central Beasts, also competed at the Spartan Games, placing seventh. Missing from the field is 2019 champion Nicole Mericle who is still recovering from an ACL injury.
- Men’s Elite Division: Ryan Atkins is arguably the greatest Spartan athlete ever and has actually never won a World Championship. The Canadian is a two-time Ultra World Champion though and he’s placed second at the Spartan World Championship five times and is almost automatic when it comes to finishing on a podium. Jonathan Albon is a two-time Spartan World Champion and a three-time Spartan European regional champion has the advantage over Atkins in terms of titles. American Ryan Woods is considered one of the best trail runners in the world and that specialty has made him successful in OCR including Spartan races. Logan Broadbent has made a living off conquering obstacles including a stint on the American Ninja Warrior and that has translated into success in OCR races and on the Spartan Pro Team. Russian Sergei Perelygin leads the group of international athletes that look to challenge the North Americans.
The course and obstacles: The elites will compete in the Spartan Beast race which is a running course that is 13.2 miles long and features 35 obstacles that range from spear throwing stations to climbing walls and obstacles. If an athlete fails an obstacle they are penalized with 30 burpees. This year’s course will for the first time feature a running path that is made up primarily of sand and running up and down the famous sand dunes of Liwa.
- The Morning Chalk Up’s Patrick Clark is onsite in Abu Dhabi and will be recapping the Elite race and providing content throughout the weekend.