Spartan Race at Winton House
Spartan tough warriors head into the unknown

Thousands of Spartans and spectators descended on hospitality venue Winton House yesterday for an extreme 5km Reebok Spartan Race obstacle course round Winton House, taking in the Loch, woods and rivers. The Spartan Sprint course was littered with obstacles for climbing and jumping over, crawling up or under: river wading, monkey bars, wire, logs, weights, slippery mud slopes and rope climbs, Spartan attacks and even a massive bonfire to leap over.

The Spartan participants and spectators had a lot of fun.

As the Spartan Race website states:

“Spartan Race™, the global leader in Obstacle Racing since 2005, was designed by seven insane ultra athletes and a Royal Marine. If you have tried trail races, mud runs, tough mudder runs, or a warrior dash, it’s time to step up to a brutal Spartan Race obstacle course.”

Their motto sums it up: “You’ll know at the end!”

Reflections of a Scottish Spartan

Francis Ogilvy jumping over Spartan bonfire.
“Balls of fire” (quote – Scottish Sun)

This is a blog by Francis Ogilvy, owner of Winton House, and Spartan leader of the Winton Warriors.

“‘I am a Spartan’ – this was our motivational chant at the start of the three mile obstacle race – not really knowing what we really meant by this. At the end of the race, I was asked for immediate thoughts on the race and I was effusive in my praise for the day – exhilarated at the thrill of the experience.  Spartan Races is, I think however, much more than just a thrill for the moment.  I cannot pretend to have sussed it –the essence of being a Spartan, but I am pleased to share something of what I have gleaned.

“Spartan Races has deserved its huge success.  It was a priviledge to be associated with the Scottish race in the form of offering the venue on one hand and as a participant on the other.  The motives which drive the organisation forward appear to have the benefits of being a Spartan to the fore.  Those who benefitted at Winton House – my house – were men and women of all ages and from all over the country. Many had clearly been in training for this so Spartan Races must take credit for having acted as a strong motivational force.

“There were challenges – but isn’t that what happens generally in life anyway?  Spartan is a race where you don’t know what will happen next.  Again – nothing new on that one! Everyone finished the race – part of the ethos.  This is where the difference lies to the real life analogy. Yet arguably it need not! Spartan takes you to the fringes of your comfort zone and says – “go on – have a try!”  Once done – there is a genuine sense of achievement having had fun running round an ancient garden and grounds, but not in a way that any would describe normal.

Winton Warriors Spartan team.
Most of the Winton Warriors after the experience, plus some junior Spartans.

“What would happen if this sense of achievement around the fringes of our comfort zones were to be a regular offering for school leavers, students and those just starting their career? What about those who have worked for years, perhaps in the same job, doing much the same things, or those who have been out of work for a long time.

“The resulting sense of wellbeing moves from just the physical to the mental and can then be applied in the workplace and the home alike.  It says: “yes – you can do it!”  What it does not say, however, is that you need to be anything other than normal – but you must be open to discovering self belief (as well as open to a lot of fun in the process!).”

Not surprisingly, there’s some press coverage – none of it accurate, of course:

Edinburgh Evening News


Winton House. Putting the fun back into hospitality.