Taking on The Spartan Beast with MTN Racer

Jonathan Guffain is a Topo Athletic Ambassador, who we love having as part of our Topo Tribe! He put the MTN Racer to the test during the 2019 Spartan Beast race and shares his review with us below!

The end of my 2019 OCR race season brought me to beautiful North Lake Tahoe for The Spartan Beast race, consisting of 13.7 miles and 35 obstacles. Mother Nature brought me temperatures in the 40’s, 15mph wind gusts, a water temperature in the 30’s and 9,000 ft. of elevation.

The trails and OCR are my happy place! Obstacle Course Racing has been hard to come by for me this year, so I was so excited to race and run in Topo’s new MTN Racer at the Spartan North Lake Tahoe World Championships. The World Championship had it all: water, steep inclines, fast gravel filled downhills, very rocky terrain and at times, smooth narrow twisting trails.

As a note, I’ve been blessed to be a Topo Athletic ambassador these past few years. Prior to the MTN Racer’s arrival, my favorite trail and OCR shoe was the Terraventure 2. Now, I’m not a shoe expert by any means but I’m writing my MTN Racer review based on how I felt in the shoes and how they dealt with Tahoe’s conditions.

The MTN Racer features a 30 x 25 mm platform with a 5 mm drop, the Vibram® Megagrip outsole, a lightweight ripstop upper, drainage ports and a light perforated tongue. I was a bit hesitant, but given those features was excited about giving the MTN Racer a try. I’m used to running in the Terraventure 2, which has a 3 mm drop and a rock plate.

Out of the box the MTN Racer feels very comfortable, yet light. I did have to go a half size up from what I usually wear. They handled Tahoe like a CHAMP! The new upper, perforated tongue and drainage ports didn’t hold water long, even when submerged in 30-degree water.

The beefy outsole and lugs handled the rocky terrain great! Even though they don’t have a rock plate, I didn’t feel any of the jagged rocks while running. The shoes felt smooth, cushioned and light on such diverse terrain. On the downhills when terrain was dusty and rocky, I did slip but never lost my footing! I attribute this to the Vibram® Megagrip outsole.

I had an amazing time in Tahoe and can’t wait for the 2020 OCR race season to begin.

If you’re looking for a grippy and stable shoe with a light upper to hit the trails in, think about trying out the MTN Racer! Happy feet indeed! The MTN Racer is definitely part of my shoe rotation while I’m out exploring Mother Nature in all of her grandness. ❤️

Happy Trails!


To stay up to date with Jonathan and all of his endeavors, be sure to follow @jgreds07 on Instagram!

One thought on “Taking on The Spartan Beast with MTN Racer

  1. Congrats on completing Spartan Tahoe! I qualified for AG but was unable to participate this year. I heard the conditions were brutal.

    I’m new to the Mtn Racers but love em so far and was wondering how they’d hold up for OCR.

    I’d love to see an obstacle course specific shoe from Topo based on this model. … really maybe just a slightly more aggressive tread. … still love mine though.

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