Be Spartan Ready

Marie Choo learns from Natalie Dau and David Devito to prepare for her first Spartan Race.


I finally mustered up enough courage and ditched all my excuses this year to sign up for the Spartan Race. I used to hate getting muddy and dirty, but trail running has changed me. As a Spartan rookie, I opted for the Sprint category, the shortest course with 5km+ run and about 20+ obstacles.

Thankfully, for what I lack in athletic talent, I make up with having some kickass athletes as my friends. I asked my fit pal Natalie Dau for help, for there’s no better person than her because she is one of Asia’s top elite Spartan racers, and the only female to represent Singapore in the Spartan Elite World Championship in Tahoe. Not only did she offered me some invaluable advice, she also pulled some strings for me to have private access to Fitness Protocol and meet David Devito, Founder of Singapore’s first obstacle course gym and Undisputed Fat Loss Guru.


Here are some key tips I picked up from both of them:

  • It’s about technique, not just brute strength.

    A good way to start is to read about the obstacles on the Spartan website and then watch some tutorial videos on YouTube to get some idea on how to do rope climb, throw the spear, and scale the wall.
  • Practice makes perfect.

    I think that a good place to practice is at the Fitness Protocol, the undisputed best obstacle course gym in Singapore. If you want to be Spartan ready, you could sign up for the Obstacle Technique Training Fundamentals course to learn how to tackle the obstacles.
  • Having the right gear makes a difference.

    Natalie advised me to wear long tights (protect the legs while crawling and climbing), tank top (weather’s hot so try to keep cool, especially if you are a non-elite starting at mid day!), gloves (to protect the hands and to get a bit of extra grip), and good trail shoes (the traction on the soles do make a difference).
  • Don’t forget sun protection and hydration.

    Most of us will start in the late morning or during midday when the sun is blazing hot, so do remember to slap on the sunscreen and hydrate yourself at all the water points.
  • Pace yourself and have fun.

    Even though it is only about 5km of running, there are still over 20 obstacles to conquer under the unforgiving temperature and humidity. Approach it as an endurance athlete running a marathon and pace yourself. Pause for a moment before starting each obstacle, strategise the best way to approach it, and then tackle it mindfully.

The Spartan Race will take place on 6th May and I will be back with the race review. Wish me luck. Aroo!


Once known for her work and style as a marketing and public relations professional, Marie Choo (@mariechoo) is known to many as The Dog Alchemist these days, after giving up her career in the corporate world to become a dog behaviourist and trainer. She has also transformed herself into an ultra-trail runner who runs distances of 100km and more to raise funds and awareness for animal shelters in Singapore through her charity outreach, I RUN FOR RESCUE DOGS. As an avid photographer using her phone cam, she loves taking pics of nature when she is out hiking on trails and urban landscapes. When time permits, this multi-hyphenate also goes on adventure holidays to explore mountains and caves.



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