For the first time in its history the popular obstacle race, Spartan Race, has made a stop in Edmonton.

The event, which began in Vermont in 2010, drew over 4,000 participants to Rabbit Hill Saturday.

Competitors took part in heats of 275 people in the Spartan Sprint event, which features a five kilometer run with several obstacles.

“It’s basically a cross-country run with obstacles spread throughout it. There are over 17 obstacles throughout the course,” Spartan Race Western Canada director, Dean Stanton, explained.

Obstacles include hills, cargo nets, mud, monkey bars, rope climbs and even a fire leap.

Although the race is not timed, most participants complete the race in 30 to 60 minutes.

“It sort of grew out of the military obstacle races,” Stanton said.

“People were kind of looking for a difference in running races and they would get kind of bored. This is basically turning the 5K on its head.”

There are three other levels in the competition including:  Spartan Death Race, Spartan Beast (19 kilometers and 25 obstacles), Super Spartan (13 kilometers and 20 obstacles).

There is also a Spartan Kids event for those five to 10 years old.

Each competitor will be awarded a medal, a Spartan t-shirt and for those of drinking age, a beer.

Second place winner, Beverly Watson, said she started participating in Spartan Races last year.

“It inspires people to get up off the couch and give it a try because it’s such a big unknown. It’s such a big, fun day.”

A triathlete, Watson said her last Spartan Race was just a few weeks ago.

“A month ago in Montana I came first – I won one outright,” she smiled.

There will be another event held on Sunday and a Spartan Super event is scheduled for Red Deer on September 7.

About one million people around the world have been expected to participate in the event this year.  

With files from Nicole Weisberg