First weekend at Spartan Trifecta
by Radka Raniaková • Jun 3rd, 2024

First SPARTAN and immediately TRIFECTA: It was the best weekend, Radka recalls

Radka Raniaková is a new member of the Spartan Training Group (STG) Zvolen, and she took her first Spartan race in style. She decided to complete the entire Honor Trifecta Weekend in Záhorí. You can read about how she coped with the preparation for the difficult challenge and what made her manage it in an interview with the young competitor.

Please try to briefly introduce yourself to the readers... I am 27 years old and I am from Sliač (Zvolen district), from where I moved to Banská Bystrica for work years ago. I work as a PPC specialist, that is, I manage advertising campaigns for clients. I don't like stereotype and monotonous work, I like to learn new things. I used to work as a visual artist for well-known brands, but I had to leave because of the principles in which I do not support "fast fashion". In addition to work, I was also a member of an animal protection organization for a long time. I have also been a vegetarian for eight years. I stopped eating meat overnight because I like a challenge and I got to know a lot of new tastes. I learned to prepare a lot of healthy meals, for which I am grateful.

When did you get the idea that you would like to try the Spartan obstacle course? This idea was basically born at the moment when I started spending weekends together with the STG Zvolen team. They were role models for me, because at that time I was not a member and I started running more intensively. It's a group of great fun people, among whom I had a great time. I remember it took me a few months to decide to go on my first run with them because I've been a "slut" all my life. On the other hand, I like to overcome myself. Well, I wasn't sure at that time if I would be able to match their condition and chase after them. Although I was never "wooden".

How did you get to STG and how did the new "Spartan family" accept you? My long-time friend Tomáš, who has been at the club for some time, is basically responsible for this. He probably knew I was just as crazy and motivated me to join a run or workout together, even though I wasn't a member at the time. The whole team received me wonderfully, we laughed together at every moment together. I already knew that even if I won't be able to go to Zvolen all the time due to work, I can join as an external member and fulfill the monthly challenges that we receive from our "El presidente" - the captain and founder of the team. I only became a member in February 2024.

Have you had any similar experiences before or have you been involved in other sports? I would say a little bit of each roll, but I've never done anything properly. Since I was little, I went to hiking clubs, and since I come from a family of railway workers, for which I thank my parents, I have a good run around Slovakia. I swam for a while, danced in an ensemble and later hip-hop, went to gymnastics as a child. After that, I devoted myself to everything only within the framework of healthy movement, which was never in short supply. However, I also had an exuberant period when I was frolicking and the only movement was running after parties, festivals, and you know it. Eventually, however, my body and brain sent a warning signal and I began to miss exercise and a healthy lifestyle. So, after puberty, I could boldly return to movement and nature, which I have always been close to. At the same time, I run so that I don't "snap" while working, because it's really important to clear my head. It helps me a lot and I fell in love with it.

How was your preparation, or how has your training so far changed because of this? Since I completed my first running race less than a year ago, which was just "for fun", my preparation was mainly about running. I have been actively working on it for a year. In my training plan, I had approx. 50+ km per week in running and free days or running at a slow pace. Gradually, I started supplementing it with strength training and swimming. The biggest challenge for me was to start doing more strength training. I hung myself from all the bars I saw. I always stopped by the workout field on the way from the swimming pool and running. I have been doing all this for the last three months. Of course, I also watched a lot of videos, asked about all the obstacles of every person I knew who had already completed their first Spartan. And finally, two days before the Spartan Trifecta Weekend, I visited our STG's gym in Zvolen for the first time to try out some of the obstacles and give me advice on how to do it.

The competitors had to reach the bottom of their strength during three runs in one weekend. What made you do it?

I am 158 cm tall and my advantage will probably never be fast road runs. On the contrary, I have always been attracted to long trail runs, bypassing boulders, rocks and various obstacles and gaining height meters, which are rewarded with beautiful views. It's more varied and fun, then I keep my head busy and don't notice my surroundings. However, I managed it mainly thanks to people. I really can't imagine better "support" on the track than from my friends and colleagues from STG. If you have the opportunity to join a Spartan group, definitely do it. As I was one of the last to register, I only made it to the STG wave with ours for Sunday's Beast.

Which obstacles caused you problems and which, on the contrary, pleased you that you overcame them? The biggest problem for me was Olympus. I firmly believe that I will beat him at the next race. Sometimes it's also about chance. I didn't have a problem with the javelin during training with our STG, but this obstacle didn't work for me on the track. Well, in the end I was troubled by the rope climb, but I will train and I firmly believe that I will succeed in the future. As I didn't know where my strength limits were, I was happy to get through handles like Beater, Monkey bar and others. I was happy on the track and thought to myself that I was also grateful for the fact that we never had a car and that it paid off for me to carry shopping from supermarkets when I carried Atlas for the third time.

And is there anything that surprised or surprised you? I was surprised by some of the participants on the track who did not stubbornly go after a great time and performance, even though it was noticeable that they had it. But they willingly helped others with obstacles. It was very nice. If there is something that surprised me and gave me "drive" for future races, it was the overall placing on the Beast (23rd place overall in the Open wave). I wanted to enjoy the race and didn't think about the best time because I knew that Sunday's Beast would be the third and hardest race of the weekend. After all, I loaded up a lot, since this was my first Spartan race overall.

Did you feel support from STG Zvolen during the race? I was very pleased with the "support" of our team on the track. I remember having a tear in my eye while supporting as I hung onto the Twistri with my arms in terrible shape. I also liked the atmosphere in the joint tent with STG Prievidza, where we all indulged and supported each other before the race. We also laughed at how I found out on the spot which things I must not forget for future races.

In hindsight, do you not regret your decision to complete all the runs at once? Absolutely not. It was the best weekend with great people that I have experienced so far. Since I am always online in addition to work and sometimes deal with e-mail communication and clients even during the weekend, having a mobile phone in the dressing room and not knowing about it was the best gift for me. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I had the opportunity to test where my limits are.

Did this race motivate you to take on other similar challenges? Where are you going to race next? Certainly yes, right after the race I paid for the Sprint in Šamorín, where I will go in the women's group, which I am very much looking forward to. At the same time, I have the opportunity to practice obstacles that were more difficult for me. With STG, we are also preparing for further runs or marathons. Apart from that, I will train strength exercises and improve my running. And I won't lie, I will slowly start preparing for the "violet" (Spartan Ultra).

When you're not preparing for a race, how do you like to spend your free time? My hobbies include basically everything creative. In my free time, I take photos, make digital illustrations, tattoo, paint pictures, although lately sports and work activities have been more prevalent, which I have exchanged for almost everything else.

What would you say or recommend to people who are just thinking about participating in the Spartan Race? Don't hesitate and go! Do not underestimate your strengths, find time for training, get advice from friends, because that is also important and will help you a lot on the track. And of course, enjoy it as much as possible!

Trifecta Weekend

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