Lipno Night Sprint
by Jiří Novák • May 4th, 2023

After less than two years, the racing series returned to the already traditional location in the south of Bohemia. There was a lot on offer, we could choose the Sprint, which was part of the CEU regional series, the Charity, the evening Sprint, then the Super and 12-hour Hurricane Heat on Sunday, and of course races for children throughout the weekend. So let's reminisce a bit about what it looked like on the last weekend in April in Lipno.

The weather forecast promised absolutely everything possible, so again a surprise until the last minute, which resulted in a slightly larger volume of my luggage. Better prepared than surprised, we know that. From the varied offer, I chose the night Sprint (after last year's experience in Litovla I couldn't resist) and the Sunday Super. So let's turn on the time machine and transport ourselves back to Saturday night.

As it is the eve of the witch burning, the organizers took advantage of this and encouraged the contestants to come in masks and costumes. Many of them took up the gauntlet and there were quite a few disguises to be seen - some really amazing. I didn't keep the bass in this direction, because (as is my good habit) I was packing for the weekend at the last minute and completely forgot about this. But at that moment, I didn't know that the race itself would take care of a smaller disguise for me.

It's 8:20 p.m. and we're starting! It's still dusk. An uphill start, as is the custom here, and then into the forest for the first set of obstacles. The monkey bar got us pretty wet during the afternoon, so a lot more people than usual end up in the burpee zone. Except me. It looks similar on the beam, which is a little further away. It's off to a great start! However, we have one specialty on the balance beam - a burpee zone up a steep incline. I've never seen anything like it at a race. To my surprise, it wasn't as simple as I thought. And there are also a lot of sharp stones, which took care of the mentioned mini-mask - today I will be for Bloody Knee!

The balance beam is followed by a series of Z-wall obstacles, sandbags, atlas and climbing. We're barely into the second kilometer and already such a load? Especially the moment at the atlas, which was immediately after the bags, was interesting. I explained for a while to the ball, which was totally buried in the ground, that it had to wait for me to breathe a little. I still don't know if it was harder to get the ball out of the hole or to carry it back and forth. Another interesting moment occurred after the climb. After overcoming the obstacle, I continued on the track. After a while, it was strange to me that I was somehow alone there, and the passing boys explained to me that I was on a penalty wheel. So I involuntarily tried this novelty sooner than I expected. And thanks to the guys for turning me around.

After this obstacle course came the running section. I also can't forget the fairly decent climb that awaited us here. A lot of people here were complaining that it was too demanding. Do you think? So I'm curious about you in Kouty, there you will remember Lipno with a tear in your eye. I had thoughts somewhere else - to jump into the snow, which is still here, and cool off a bit. Okay, no bullshit, let's move on.

After the climb, I really found myself alone, which is at night (it was already dark, like in a sack) and with the headlamp, which does shine, but nothing can be seen with it, a bit of a problem. I'm sending thanks to the builders who added reflective elements to the tapes - it really helped a lot to find my way around the track!

The running section ended with the pearl of this evening - a path illuminated by the crowns of trees. At that moment I really appreciated that I was still alone and could enjoy a few intimate moments in private with my beloved giddy. Sink your eyes into the stairs and pedal! On the way down, her body was running and her head was partly dizzy and partly enjoying this absolutely unique moment. Just a full body workout! But now seriously: this was, at least for me, a brilliant experience. It is normally impossible to get to the lighted trail at night, let alone run here.

There was a photographer behind the paddock between the treetops and he was encouraging some poses. I understood this in my own way and demonstratively smashed my mouth right in front of him. Somehow I didn't register that the lower part of the trail was wet and quite slippery. Never mind, the battered knees took another hit. We're back on solid ground, so this has been a ride! I would love to have it again! ….did I really say that???

This was followed by another larger set of obstacles, where the Plate drag, which was probably poured with concrete, stuck in my head. I didn't even know there were so many ways to pull a load. Not one worked. I don't know how I managed to do it in the end, but the idea that it was waiting for me again tomorrow gave me goosebumps.

Then just a few obstacles, a run down to the festival, complete blindness from the glow of the LED panels and the finish line. Vichy just released my beloved Born Slippy by Underworld, which for me, as a lover of electronic music, made the end of the race about the best I could have wished for. All in all, a great experience! After a successful Litovla, the bar of the Night Sprint race has been raised a little higher! The only flaw was: are we supposed to fall asleep after this?

It's Sunday and the continuation of the Super race. I do not want to. But I really don't want to. This is a sign that it will be worth it. On the contrary, if I can't wait to be on the track, it stinks of trouble, so I take it easy. Since I have already commented on most of the track, I will only briefly comment on the Super race - first of all, a big thanks to the organizers for how they thought about it and that they managed to build a very original track, which was in no way just an extended version of the Sprint track. The weather worked incredibly well and it really was another great experience. I didn't break my mouth on the trail anymore, I enjoyed a moment of glory at the javelin, where it worked out for once, and when I add up the number of walls I climbed over the weekend, my stomach is pounded like a steak.

The last meters of the race were in a completely high mood, which was in direct proportion to the morning gloom before the race. That's what Lipno 2023 was like! Although the location has been tested several times, it again brought completely new experiences, which is something that has made me enjoy Spartan for almost 10 years. On the other hand, in two months we will meet at a completely new location - at the Masaryk circuit (and its surroundings) in Brno. I'm really looking forward to that!

I'll be there!

Night Sprint

Jiří Novák - race reporter

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