Spartan Races are notorious for their difficulty, testing competitors’ skills, endurance, and grit, no matter the length of the race. And whether you run a Spartan Sprint, spanning three to five miles, or take on a 30-mile Spartan Ultra, you’re guaranteed to encounter tough terrain and whatever weather Mother Nature decides to dish out on race day. That’s all going to change in 2020 with the introduction of Spartan’s first-ever course in a controlled environment: DEKAFIT.

Spartan recently announced DEKAFIT to its family of races, describing the concept as “a fitness benchmark that could be tested in a controlled environment so that any person—or any team—could walk away knowing exactly where they stood in reference to others.” The event will include 5,000 meters of running and 10 stations that test racers’ strength, endurance, and mobility. Spartan founder Joe De Sena shared a video announcing the event, adding that it’s meant for people at all fitness levels who want to add purpose to their training.




Here’s what DEKAFIT will entail, straight from Spartan:

  • The venue will be enclosed (the DEKA Arena), where competitors and spectators alike will not be bothered by terrain or natural interference. Everything will be standardized indoors and climate controlled. 
  • A running track will form the perimeter of the DEKA Gym. Runners will run intervals of 1.5 laps, for the start of their entry and in between each zone.
  • Ten fitness stations, known as DEKA Zones, will test all manner of strength, endurance, balance, coordination, and mobility inside the DEKA Gym.
  • Five DEKA Zones will use exercises that would give a level of resistance for participants (scored by completion time), and the other five zones will use weighted implements and a prescribed number of reps. 
  • Overall time will be measured as a DEKA Mark (creating the DEKA Score), which will encompass 21 individual splits: 10 laps of 500 meters, the 10 individual zones, and a zone transition time.
  • Competitors will enter the competition in tiered waves of 20 individuals at a time.

One of the main goals in creating DEKAFIT was making the challenge straightforward and accessible to athletes of all backgrounds. Participants won’t need any specialized equipment or training to get competition-ready.

“We wanted something that any gym or any group could show up and do, from mom and pop local gyms to the armed forces and first responders,” Yancy Culp, DEKAFIT’s Sport Development Program Manager, said in a release. And while most Spartan races don’t give competitors much detail, the DEKAFIT Instagram account ( has already shared the course layout and descriptions of each station.




The 10 exercise stations are as follows (click each to see the descriptions on DEKAFIT’s Instagram):

At the end, competitors will earn a DEKA Score based on their performance in the event. The stations definitely sound grueling, but the availability of the list and the nature of the exercises definitely gives competitors of all fitness levels a better chance at training for success at DEKAFIT. After all, it’s much easier to work on squats than, say, carrying a sandbag up a mountain when you live in the city.

“You and I could train for this in our backyard, our living room, or any gym in the world. You don’t need anything fancy to get better,” Culp explained. “This is the most basic form of work, and you can train for this year-round, without a budget. It’s for any group in business or in sport; schools, armed forces. Literally ANYONE. There’s no limit for growth.”

The inaugural DEKAFIT arena event will be held in Denver, CO on March 21, 2020 at the Colorado Convention Center. If you’re interested in signing up, head to