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Brave Spartan ‘Warriors’ Set To Invade Historic Scottish Castle

Posted: 5th August 2014

Winton House - Spartan RaceWEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13: Spartan Race training camps staged
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21: Spartan Sprint, cross-country obstacle race

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Spartan ‘warriors’ are set to invade one of Scotland’s most historic castles as a special training session gets underway later this month (August).

Winton House, in pencaitland, East Lothian, well known for its hospitality and events, is the venue for a Spartan Race training camp to be held on the grounds on wednesday, August 13.

Its purpose is to prepare racers for one of the toughest sporting events staged annually in Scotland, the Spartan Sprint, on Sunday, September 21, a challenging 5km cross-country obstacle course race.

Spartan races are designed to bring out the “inner warrior” in racers. Huge crowds will watch competitors of all age groups, from beginners to hardcore warriors and endurance athletes, grapple with fearsome, military-style obstacles that test their physical stamina and mental toughness. Obstacles are kept top secret on purpose to surprise racers, but they may tackle 15-foot rope climbs, slippery 7-foot ramp scaling, spear target-throwing, carrying sandbags up steep hills and barbed-wire mud crawls. Would-be Spartans may also have to scale 25-foot-high cargo nets, leap through fire and endure plunging into sub-zero ice-pits.

Time penalties are common, punishable by a compulsory set of 30 burpees, meted out irrespective of gender. And, contrary to some people’s expectations that Spartan Race events are all just about male testosterone, in fact over 45 per cent of Spartan racers are women.

Winton House is a dramatic, Scottish Renaissance castle in an inspiring setting just outside Edinburgh. It was built by the Setons following a grant of land by David I to Phillip de Sayton in 1150. (Philip de Sayton’s grandfather fought with William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066.) Phillip’s grandson married the sister of King Robert ‘The Bruce’ of Scotland. In the sixteenth century, Henry VIII had Winton burnt in an effort to impress Mary Queen of Scots, and Mary Seton was later her Lady-in-Waiting.

The August 13 training camp offers racers the chance to learn skills they will need on race day, including how to overcome obstacles such as mud, water, steep hills and other hurdles safely while avoiding injury.

The September 21 Spartan Race will involve 15 obstacles, spread across the grounds of Winton House. But their exact location will be kept a secret on purpose until race day.

Dan Tuffnell, Spartan Race UK’s Director and Licensee, said today: “Winton House is a stunningly beautiful location and the perfect place for our training camp this month and race event in September.

“We especially like the home-grown Scottish mud and if we get lucky, it can be quite windy. So there’s a word or warning to anyone planning to take part in a kilt.

“The race is both challenging and also huge fun and we urge anyone taking part to also join our training camp. On race day, there will be some water challenges, crossing ditches, dikes, maybe a lake crossing, plus some thorny undergrowth, tight valleys, and a surprise or two among the natural obstacles, like trees. So training camp and learning the necessary safety skills are important.”

Spartan Race is supported by its title sponsor, the global fitness brand Reebok, and Run For Charity, which helps competitors maximise the money they raise for charity.


Two sessions will be held, each lasting three hours. The morning session starts at 9am and runs until 12 noon. The afternoon session is from 1pm to 4pm. Beginners and more advanced racers are welcome at both sessions. The charge is £10 with free parking. To book, email


The first heat gets underway at 10am. For full details, including how to book, please visit or email

Visit for more information on Winton House and for the team building activities available.

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