BIGFORK, Mont. - Brace yourself - the Spartans have descended upon the Flathead Valley to compete in what's considered an extreme obstacle course on Saturday. The Spartan Race is known for its grueling course and tricky obstacles, but it's also a household name. Folks at the Kalispell Convention and Visitors Bureau wanted to find a spring "destination event" to match the wildly popular Dragon Boat Races in September. The Spartan Race fit the bill.
"For people to be able to participate in The Spartan Race at a destination such as this... that's why they're excited to make the trip," explained Kalispell CVB's Diane Medler.
They'll also be spending money. Medler expects the valley to see over $1 million in revenue from the 4,500 Spartan racers and 2,000-plus spectators. It's just one more way Kalispell hopes to market the valley as a year-round destination for tourists.
"This event has a larger out of market draw," said Medler. "Out of that number, 64 percent are from out of market, meaning 100 miles or more away from Kalispell. So that's going to be a significant economic impact for our valley."
The Spartan Race kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, with 200 athletes released every 15 minutes on the nearly 5-mile course. Parking is available at the corner of Highway 35 and Highway 82 with free shuttle buses to and from the event.