ORM sends one of our favorite obstacle racers from Canada to take on the Toronto Tough Mudder for a review.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Alarm rings. “Ugh. Just die already”, I think to myself. My bed is so warm, and from keeping the patio door open overnight, I feel the chill in the air. I bury my head in the pillow.
An eager waker-upper, and a sunshine in the morning I am not. Especially before coffee… Insert a picture of Grumpy Cat here.
We drop by *Tim Hortons before hitting the road. Large coffee in hand, my functionality goes up a notch. The urge to run up a mountain in this shitty weather is still at its ultimate low. “Why I am doing this again?”, I think gloomily. Finally I nod off in the back, snuggled under my puffy winter jacket.
(*Editor’s note for those that have never visited The Great White North. Tim Hortons is a Canadian national treasure-google it)
I wake up as we line up to park – it’s still chilly, but already light, and excitement is in the air. The energy is contagious. We park, and head over to the shuttle, which will take us to the actual race venue. A long 40-minute bus ride is spent swapping stories about prior Tough Mudders and other races – I like this part! As we arrive, it’s almost quarter to eight. If we are to make the first wave, things will have to happen very quickly. Consent forms signed, racing packet picked up – I peel off the top layers and check my bag. Sprint to the start line and jump over the first wall to join the crowd in the corral – whew, now I can actually tighten my shoelaces and take a breath. Made it.
Startline Sean is already firing up the crowd.
I love Sean. I want to be him when I grow up. I’ve never seen such boundless energy and love concentrated in one person.
After singing the national anthem, reciting the pledge and going over the basic guidelines (hands in shape of cross over head in case of emergency, don’t be stupid, etc.), we are OFF.
I know we are about to hit the first hill, so I’m not really sprinting. However, being the first wave, the course is still empty, there’s only a small group of guys ahead of me. Loving it. For those running later in the day, the start line can become quite crowded, and you have to slowly walk/jog for the first 500m or so, until the path clears up and you can charge ahead.
In my morning grumpiness I forgot the one piece of gear that I would need – my watch. Ugh. Tough Mudder is not timed or chipped, so if I want to know what my time is I have to remember to ask someone at the finish line what time it is as soon as we finish. My quasi-religious energy gel schedule is also going to hell – good thing I’ve practiced random feeding during a recent Goruck challenge.
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Tracy Trombley aka Tracy at MudRunFun reviews her first race for ORM.
Music, lights and high energy; those are the three words I would use to describe the Electric Run that I attended in Atlanta, GA on May 11th. Take two favorite things I enjoy about life, running and a club’s atmosphere (minus all the
drunk idiots), smoosh it together and I got myself a hella’ good time! I originally came up from Florida to Georgia to attend the Savage Race in Dallas but, thanks to the good folks at Obstacle Racing Magazine, I was able to snatch up a registration for the Electric Run for later that night. “Yes! Two events in one day!”
When you first arrive to pick up your packet, it is painless. I’m used to the packet pickup nightmares that you occasionally experience at some of the mud and obstacles events. At Electric Run, you walk up and show your ID, they find your name, hand you a bib (bibs are not assigned to registrants, just handed to you as you check in) and then you get your shirt, blinking bracelet and glow stick glasses. The glasses kept falling off my face so I gave them to Davis being his didn’t even work. After that you mingle around, maybe get yourself a drink and take some pics in front of the photo backdrop.
This year’s Georgia Electric Run was held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where part of the course takes you on the actual speedway itself. It was pretty cool to run on this stretch of track at night, where I have to admit, like a child I made car engine noises as I ran as fast as my legs could take me as I passed up other runners. Throughout the 5k you come across several different “lands”, as they call them, where each one has a different set up and mood to it. We’re talking neon trees that change color, tunnels filled with bubbles, pond with lights floating all over, tunnels with moving lights, (think a cheesy ‘80s vortex in some goofy movie that sucks you into another dimension-pretty awesome) glowing arches, floating umbrellas in the trees and much more. Not a bad way to liven your typical 5k night run.
I think one of my favorite lands is the bubble tunnel. I recall them playing this “mystical wonder-land” type music as all these bubbles floated around. It was pretty neat, although the occasional bubble did find a non-suitable landing place in my eye. I will have to admit though that I was expecting a little more at each land. I was imagining a mini club at each destination, with lights galore and music and strobe lights and dancing people everywhere.
The people too are high energy; if they are not running or walking, then they’re dancing their way through each land.
Everyone is dressed up in their best blinding neon color clothes and accessorized with glow sticks and blinking lights. I do not recall seeing any crazy costumes that I have seen posted from previous events, but then again I wasn’t really looking either. We did see this dude with a unicorn head…that was cool. After you cross the finish line, you are lured over to the main stage where the DJ is playing the latest club hits and you can continue the night’s entertainment. The crowd is pumped up where people are dancing and are doing their best glow stick light show. Every now and then, one of the staff members would throw glow necklaces, foam blinking wands or feather boas with lights in them into the crowd. As usual I didn’t catch anything, but that’s okay because I collected all the glow necklaces that fell off other people and stuck them in my mesh bag during the run. HA!
Overall, the Electric Run is a great way to spend your night. There is an event coming November of 2013 down in Miami which I will be sure not to miss. I know quite a few people that would love to spend their night this way. The combination of the music and the light displays are a creative and fun way to tackle a 5k. And you do not need to be a runner to attend this event. Heck, you will probably see more if you walked anyways. Also, this event does not have an age requirement, so you can bring the kiddies too! So hit up your local party store or go online and purchase yourself a variety of glow necklaces, lights, body paint, etc. and get wild and creative with your dress up.
If you are looking for a quality fun race that will put a few smiles on your face and miles on your running shoes, the R.O.C. is for you! The Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge certainly lived up to its name. Some of the obstacles there were unlike any race I’ve completed.
There were quite a few things I loved about this race. Location, location, location, they R.O.C. was held on the Del Mar Fairgrounds which means 2 things, plenty of party space as well as a lot of ground to cover. Another great aspect of this race is the amount of fun everyone is having. There were so many costumes that I felt as if I were at a Halloween party. I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fairies, Trolls and even the Hamburger Helper Hand.
The obstacles were fun and well constructed to the lay of the land. Some of my favorites were, cool running (an inner tube carry to a water slide), Tarzan Swing which is exactly what it sounds, Aqua drag which is an inflated contraption where the goal is to run as fast as you can and slide all the way to the other side on your stomach. R.O.C advertises a tire mile however it’s not a full mile, not even close however if you know how to maneuver tires it’s certainly a breeze.
The R.O.C. also paired up with Alpha Warrior for an obstacle. R.O.C. called it “40 Bounces to Freedom”. It was a few trampolines broken apart by platforms to jump up on. This was definitely unlike anything I’ve seen and look forward to going to Alpha Warrior’s event June 15th in San Diego.
Near the end of the race the R.O.C. packs their top 3 obstacles. The worlds largest moon bounce. Which is what seems be 50 yards long. The wrecking ball, which is 55 gallon barrels, strung together floating on water to get across. Which seems to be easy right? Run as fast as you can on the middle of the barrels. This would be the case , however, there are 2 wrecking balls swinging around hoping to knock you off. And the world’s largest inflatable water slide, after a climb up is a slide down right across the finish line.
A couple other great things about this race are, the medal that is definitely earned, the after party and the Dr. Bronners
Foam Experience that I will tell you about in a moment. A medal is only given to few, biggest team, best costume and anyone who can make it across the wrecking ball. I would like to say as a seasoned obstacle racer I made it through but I did not. However my best friend who I ran with did. Here he is displaying his medal proud in front of the wrecking ball. It even doubles as a belt buckle.
The after party was awesome as well. Alpha Warrior was there with their salmon ladder offering free entries to anyone who can conquer it. Many attempted but only few conquered. If the 2 set ups I saw from Alpha Warrior have any indication of what their event is going to be like. I’m going to need grip tape and a lot more training.
Perhaps my favorite part of the after party was Dr. Bronners Magic Foam Experience. About 100 at a time we were shuffled into a Plexiglas container of some sort. After we were in club music started to play, a countdown was had and we were all sprayed with foam/soap to get ourselves clean. This was definitely different from the hose and lack of water pressure I have seen at other races. After we were soaped up and clean, we were hosed down with warm water.
Overall, I think this is a great event that I look forward to doing again. There are however a couple improvements I would like to see. One area I would like to see improvements is the wait time at obstacles. I’m sure there weren’t many wait times earlier in the day, but when I ran having a good start in front of the crowd didn’t payoff when arriving at a line to wait for the first obstacle. I certainly can understand each race brings a different demographic and this race certainly brought the party crew. I don’t know what can be done and nor do I claim to, all I know is that those running for time may experience disappointment should they race later than the first heat.
The other is water stations. I don’t recall seeing many, 2 if I am remembering correctly. Not that I need water quickly but there are folks out there who are just getting active, out there to have a good time and who may not be the experienced racer or runner that I am. My best friend had never run more than 1 mile before this race and could have used some hydration early. There may have been others in the same boat, perhaps one at each mile? Maybe, I’m a firm believer that hydration is a top priority for any race, and extra precaution should be used for new racers at fun events.
We believe there are two very distinct types of runners in the obstacle racing and mud running world. The every day OCracer and the very competitive OCRelite, we like to give perspectives from both sides whenever possible.
Earlier today, we gave you a recap of the Georgia Savage Race from an OCRacer. Here is a recap from the same race from one of our OCRelite contributors, Alec Blenis.
This weekend I had the opportunity to run an obstacle race that was new to me: Savage Race. While new to Savage, I’ve run plenty of obstacle courses and knew what to expect. Except this time, I wouldn’t be running in the competitive wave*; something quite unusual for me. As some might say, I ran as part of the “90%”, getting to experience Savage Race the way most racers do, in an open heat.
First Impression: getting to the race was pretty easy. Surprisingly, the venue wasn’t in the “middle of nowhere” as so many are, and its location was very convenient for those driving from nearby Atlanta. Parking cost was a standard $10 and close by to the festival entrance. I arrived near the end of the day, but the check-in process seemed to be running smoothly. Much of the course was visible from the start/finish area, so the race was more spectator friendly than many others. One problem I could see already was a huge line at one of their obstacles; I’m not sure what they call it, but Tough Mudder’s version is Everest. I was bummed that I registered too late to receive a timing chip, but there’s no point in having one when you spend half the race in a line.
Running: my GPS measured the course around 4.6 miles, while my calibrated foot-pod** measured 4.8. I thought it was a great entry-level course, but I expected more since the website implied 6 miles. “The course designed to kick your ass” is a bit dramatic. The terrain was far from easy though, with 915 feet of elevation gain according to my watch’s altimeter – an average grade of 3.6%. Compare this to 4.5% for Superhero Scramble Dalton, and 2.8% for the Conyers Spartan Sprint, Georgia’s other short distance obstacle races. Elevation gain doesn’t tell the full story though… Savage Race had more mud than the hillier Superhero Scramble, but the Spartan obstacles were by far the most challenging and time consuming. The Savage Race terrain was not technical at all, but mud did add to the challenge; Superhero Scramble was very hilly and moderately technical; Spartan Race was the least hilly but most technical.
Obstacles: the obstacles at Savage Race were all very well built and some quite theatrical. Names like “I’m so thorny” and “kiss my walls” are hard to take seriously, and most were not too difficult. Their version of a traverse wall was probably the most difficult I’ve done, but most others were simple. The monkey bars were my favorite – even with the incline, they felt easy (I think it was a narrower bar than I’m used to). Savage Race did a great job at having very wide obstacles to avoid lines, with the exception of two obstacles, the balance beam and quarter-pipe. One of my favorite sections was a series of 5’ walls with barbed wire – not an uncommon obstacle, but here there were at least eight in succession instead of the usual two or three; they actually started to get tiring! Near the end of the race, we faced a series of two electroshock obstacles, something I despise. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I like physical challenges that test my athleticism, not stuff like that. It’d be like having an “obstacle” where you just get slapped in the face. No thanks.
Finishing: after the electric shocks and final barbed wire crawl, it was over. Their wash station was broken, but there was a lake to rinse off in and changing tents were available if needed. The shirts and medals are pretty cool, so overall I’d say Savage Race did a great job. Had I run in the competitive wave, I’m sure I would complain about the lack of obstacle penalties, but it didn’t affect me in the open heat. If they want to have prizes and real results, they absolutely must enforce obstacle rules and assign penalties for those unable to complete them. They should also make the balance beam and quarter pipe obstacles even wider to prevent long lines.
Thoughts: Will I race it again? For sure. Overall, as an open heat runner, I give Savage Race Georgia an 8 out of 10. I didn’t run competitive so I can’t say for sure, but as a competitive runner I would probably give Savage Race a 6 out of 10. I’m a tough critic, so a combined total of a 7 is pretty good. There’s always room for improvement though.
(*earlier in the day, I had put on a weight vest, ran to a local 5k, won the race, then ran home to prepare for Savage Race)