Deka Denver was able to return to the Broncos’ training facility after being canceled in 2020 and assembled a collection of athletes from across the front. Deka is a new Spartan event that combines functional exercise with a racing mentality. With just over 3 miles of total running and 10 different stations to test your strength, endurance and overall fitness, Deka is a fun way to prepare for your next Spartan race and hang out with the OCR community.
Nestled in the Denver Broncos training facility in Englewood Colorado, this event gave athletes the chance to race on the same field as professional football players. The indoor grass pitch was air-conditioned, had a built-in sound system that played music throughout the event, and had ample space for the event as well as runners and spectators. The turf was soft and spongy and gave each runner a bounce in their step as they rounded the field. The indoor event eliminated the unpredictable weather conditions that occur in the spring in Colorado and made it a very comfortable event. With all the championship banners hanging around the facility, it was easy to get motivated and push hard for the finish.
Deka events are different from normal Spartan races. There are 10 fitness stations set up around the grass pitch and each competitor must complete a full lap around the pitch and then the additional distance between the stations. At the end of the run, most fitness watches measured just over 3.3 miles in total. Stations included 30 weighted alternating lunges, 500m row, 20 jump/box step, 25 medicine ball sit-ups and throws, 500m ski gear, 100m farmer carry, 25 calories burned on an air bike, 25 dead ball wall overs, 100m tank push/pull and 20 weighted burpees. Each station pushed the athletes to their limits before sending them out on the course to do it all over again. Race volunteers were at each station to ensure that all rehearsals were completed and the first waves of competition were limited to 12 runners at a time to ensure that there were no reinforcements in the areas in waiting for equipment.
Having raced every type of Spartan race, from sprint all the way up to the 24 HR Ultra championship, this race was unlike anything else. There was no mud to wade through, no spears to throw, and it felt like it lacked that “Spartan” element. The event was more like a very structured class practice. The overall training benefits would be great for prep for other events, but without the hills and elements, it’s hard to call this true prep for a Spartan race. Most riders showed up just before their wave time and left soon after. There wasn’t the big party in the festival area and many runners felt they were “checking the Spartan box” by completing another event. During the event, there was little chat or interaction between riders, but the proximity of spectators allowed one person to cheer on their rider throughout the event and not just in designated areas of a outdoor route. The general vibe felt more like work than a fun race.
At the end of this race, you walk away with a t-shirt, medal, and new protein-infused water. The typical finisher beer was absent from this event and would have been difficult to do with the lack of space to hang out after the race. The design of the shirt is slightly different than their traditional sprint design, super and dumb, but has a similar weight and feel. The medal is also a nice change of pace from their traditional design and adds a new element to your medal hangers. The loot wasn’t much different from their normal runs, but felt less like a selling point than your normal Spartan finishing gear.
Deka is a unique experience that every seasoned Spartan should try. With zones being standard for all races, you can test your time and compare it to any venue without having to wait for it to come back next year or worry about it being different. This event is really just you against the clock and your own physical condition. With the fastest runners finishing in just over 30 minutes and the average being between 45 and 55 minutes, this is a race that can be done by anyone willing to push. Overall I would rate this event 5 out of 5. It was very well organized and something I would like to do again in the future to try and beat my own time.
Did you do a Spartan Race?
Leave your own opinion and comments on Spartan Race…
This author is part of the Mud Run Crew and received a free run entry in exchange for an independent review. All opinions are those of the author and have not been influenced by the race sponsor or Mud Run Guide.