It's 5am on a Sunday morning and 70 men are dragging 50kg sacks of sand around in circles, crawling aimlessly under barbed wire and dragging their faces across jungle grass. If that sounds like a morning well-spent for you, then the Spartan Race's Hurricane Heat is just the challenge for you.
For the uninitiated, the Hurricane Heat is a pre-Spartan Race session to that gives you a taste of just what to expect for the Spartan Race itself. It's the perfect opportunity to prove you have that all-important gungho attitude.
As nonsensical as it sounds, this is a prime characteristic that employers everywhere look for. These differentiating qualities include the ability to consistently perform meaningless tasks well to finish a job properly, stepping up to provide leadership in times of peril, and making split-second decisions and adjustments under extreme pressure. All of these were lessons learned and craftily taught to me while I was sweating profusely under buckets of sand which I carried all the way to the finish line.
To the casual viewer, Hurricane Heat is no different to a Little Sweatshop of Horrors. Spectators at the event who doubted our limits, watched in ferocious, comical disbelief as a small regimen of us carried bags of sand, crawled back and forth under barbed wire and laughably tried to work as one cohesive unit to anchor what is the world's most rickety photo wall. Now, whoever engineered this deceptively simple amalgamation of wood and nails probably does other things in life better than he does photo walls. Hammering this thing into the ground while trying to keep it from toppling over was no easy feat. A few architectural booboos prevented an otherwise easy installation - but after 20 minutes of yelling, cursing and digging with primitive tools, we succeeded in finally getting it in place.
Spotted amidst the pre-dawn chaos was Spartan Race CEO and co-founder, Joe De Sena. Rather than relishing in his success as an author and creator of a near-religious institution, Joe somehow gained access to a fire hose in the middle of an open field and took a particular sadistic delight in spraying us with a high-pressure water jet while we were attempting to stick square pegs into rocky ground. I'm not exactly sure what lesson that taught us, but it certainly made all 15 of us look more macho in the photos.
To quote the wisdom of Joe De Sena: "The Spartan Race experience is a right of passage. I am pushing anyone who has an easy life, and that is most of us, to experience something hard for an hour, two, or 10. The idea is to strip away all of our expectations, take us to a place where we would be thrilled with (just) water, food and shelter — and then like magic, life becomes great. We stop sweating the small stuff."
Oddly enough, despite all the hardship we endured that morning, I believe all of us knew that we were exactly where we wanted to be that day.
Keen to knuckle down for the challenge as well? The next installment of Spartan Race Singapore will take place on 7 May 2016. Visit their website for more information.