Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Shoe Review

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0
4.3 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Features
Durability
Grip
Water Draining
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Reebok has released their latest model in the most popular line of shoes made specific for OCR, the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0. The newest version of the shoe has several major changes that look to improve upon past versions. They have added reinforcement around the areas the shoes commonly rip while also completely changing the uppers material. Another thing worth noting, that I will cover in more detail, is the new lacing system that is unlike any I have seen before.

There is a love/hate relationship within the community based on the people who preach unparalleled drainage, excellent grip and OCR specific features, that stand opposite those who saw it’s a 1-3 race shoe before you’re contacting Reebok customer care for an exchange/refund/discount. The ripping could be explained by the narrow fit of the shoe, past materials used and grueling conditions they’re put through with each race. To view all the comparisons between the 3.0’s and past models read up here. If you have owned past versions, or looked at the comparisons to previous versions, you can tell Reebok is trying to get it right without going to far from the initial vision. To make a lightweight, durable, water draining shoe for obstacle course racing.

 

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Features

Dura-Grip Seal  – On any other shoe I wouldn’t be listing a rubber seal grip as a feature but this is the first and last concern 9/10 people will inquire about. The “Dura-Grip” rubber is reinforcing the toe box where the previous models were widely known for tearing. It looks like Reebok heard the call for correction(or got tired of replacing shoes for this issue).

Rope Pro – The Reebok All-Terrain line has always been praised for their OCR specific features. The “Rope Pro” is an exterior tread that originates on the bottom midsole of the shoe and continues its journey up the side of the shoe all the way to the laces. This sticky tread is found on the interior outsole of both shoes placed to optimize grip for rope climbs whether you lock both feet onto the rope with the base of your midsole or utilize the efficient hook method with your shoe. This tread is also efficient in wall traverse midsole grip and for several other obstacles.

Drainage Holes – Reebok produced the first shoe in the sport to use factory drainage ports. Many remember how these were met with rave reviews, followed by repetitive complaints on debris collection from the ports. This feature has been unchanged from inception through multiple releases of the Reebok All-Terrain line. If you loved the drainage on previous models and felt some debris was a small price to pay, you’ll be happy.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Usage

I was on the side of those that experienced durability issues in the past with this line of shoe and was a skeptic on the Super 3.0 fixing this issue. For that reason I wanted to make sure to run these through the ringer, literally. Getting my hands on these at the back end of race season posed a challenge to find races and truly mimic the wear and (hopefully no) tear that race shoes go through. I found a perfect test at the FIT Challenge located in Rhode Island.

Those familiar with this race, know the technical terrain, natural elements and pressure applied to your shoes from the steep downhill paths used. Two laps (6.8 miles) of hills, rocks, trail, steep uphill and downhill treks. A concern I had was the painful ability to feel every rock, root and uneven terrain under your feet. The grip was as good as expected in comparison to previous models. One aspect I felt the all terrain line were effective in producing was a solid grip on the tread.

A new feature in the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 is the lacing system. The laces do not go through the shoe, rather through a stand alone piece of rubber that is separate from the tongue of the shoe. Personally this was a major drawback for me as the Reebok All-Terrain is already a low cut shoe lacking in ankle stability, this new lacing system does not allow for a lace lock tie method which would normally secure the shoe more firmly to your ankle. On steep downhills you have excess mobility in your ankle providing a less secure, less confident level of support.

Outside that event all usage of the shoe for a thorough test was on flat trail runs totaling around 150 miles. While I didn’t experience any tears similar to previous models I did have cause for concern detailed in the durability section of this review.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Durability

As previously stated they performed without any tears or visible separation in the outsole tread or toe cap. My concern was with the “Dura-Grip” seal that covers the toe box to reinforce the toe box. The seal only extended to the toe cap of the shoe and not the outside of the shoe where the tears have occurred in the past. As you can see from the picture they used a very thin material to cover a mesh webbing in the problem section of previous models. The material over the mesh began to pull away from the mesh. I fear that with regular use of the shoe in OCR settings the mesh and lining material will soften when wet and be a cause for concern.

The rubber lacing strip that secures the laces stayed secure to the shoe but was an area I kept an eye on, being a new design I haven’t seen in Reeboks or any other brand for that matter. There has been no issues with the new lacing systems durability.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Drainage Ports
  • “Rope Pro” obstacle targeted tread
  • Reinforced toe cap
  • “Rock Guard” located in the midsole

Cons

  • Diameter of drainage ports
  • Stand alone lacing system
  • Minimal ankle support
  • Lack of reinforced materials in previous troubled spots

Similar Products

Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0Reebok All Terrain Super ORVJ Sport Irock 2Merrell All Out Peak
Weight220g219g240g295g
Heel Drop5mm5mm6mm6mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"1/4"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$124.99$90.00$99.00$69.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYes Yes
BuyReebokAmazonPendingAmazon

 

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Conclusion

I went into this review with an open mind giving this model a clean slate from past issues in the Reebok All-Terrain line. I came out of this review optimistic that Reebok is listening to feedback and concerns from previous styles while maintaining the features that everyone loved, be it drainage or tread. I’m very curious to see how receptive others are on the new lacing system as this was a negative change for me. I’ll still be concerned with the material used on the outer toe box where previous models had durability issues. My final thought is that I’m cautiously optimistic that there will be less complaints of tears in the newest Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0.

 

 

For more photos see our preview of the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0

 


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Mike Natale

Mike Natale is an OCR addict who loves life, family & medals!

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The Future Of OCR : Acre Breaker Adventure Race

Now that I have your attention, let me explain. I stumbled across this event on a random email I received from a newsletter that generally lists road and trail races, not OCRs. I usually quickly browse the emails prior to deleting on the off chance an event piques my interest. To my surprise I found an OCR listed in the email. First thing I checked was distance to my house…1 hour 17 minutes. For anyone that does OCRs regularly that’s like a drive to the grocery store for many of us as opposed to the standard 2 hour drive. I got excited and decided to dig deeper into the event.

What I found out was that this was the first event by this brand. It advertised 12 obstacles in a 4K. They offered several varying options such as 4K individual, 4K team of 2, 8k(2 laps of 4K course) and 8k team of 2. Included in the marketing was the fact that you will get muddy – I was sold.

Upon arrival, there was a2-minutee shuttle ride to an open corn field where registration was held. Quick and easy check in and packet pick up, organized, FREE bag check and off to line up for my heat. I was registered in the 9am wave but got there just after my heat went off, giving me a 30 minute stroll around the start area until the next heat(9:30). The event was untimed but had a running clock at the finish line so you could gauge your total time with a little math.

Acre-Breaker-Mud-Pit

After a quick rundown by the emcee, my heat was off and running. First obstacle we came to was a small drop into an ankle deep water/mud pit. If you’ve read my reviews, you know I’m all about getting muddy and wet. Never been a fan of stadium races for this reason but hey.. variety, spice of life and all that. This was a good start for what I hoped for not having any expectations going into it.

Acre-Breaker-Hay-Crawl

Next came the super fun(sarcasm font) sandbag carry. I was pleased to find something like this in a new race, telling me they had a decent idea about what to include in an OCR. This carry was on minimal elevation but involved, what seemed like, unlimited down and back paths with the “back” section going slightly uphill. Later in the course, I also came up on a bucket carry. All racers, male and female, filled the bucket 3/4 full and walked a loop.

The course included some standard crawls, one between hay bails(pictured above) positioned to allow a very narrow space to crawl through. With my slender frame it wasn’t as easy as I’d expected, causing me to wonder how a person with a stature larger than mine would navigate it, along with a barbed wire crawl (which I love seeing a new race use barbed wire). There were also several unique obstacles, which were a very pleasant surprise for a first-time event.

Acre-Breaker-Drumroll

One unique obstacle was a plastic drum filled and sealed with liquid inside. The objective was to roll the drum uphill to a designated row of hay bails. With the shifting liquid and uphill trajectory, this was no easy feat, especially once you got further uphill. The most interesting part was the trek back down with the drum. The weight of the liquid and downhill path provided a challenge in itself to keep the drum under control while not speeding downhill without you. This was definitely fun as it’s a change of pace, but I could certainly see this (or the path at least) being altered for future events to avoid injury risks of speeding barrels.

Acre-Breaker-Cage-Traverse

We’re beginning to see some companies use metal caging or fencing in their obstacle setups now (think Savages “On The Fence”) so it was definitely exciting to see this utilized at a new race. Even more interesting was the type of fencing. This obstacle featured a thin wire fencing and a decent distance required to traverse sideways without touching the top of the fence or feet to the ground. The thickness(or lack thereof) in the fencing definitely could shred some hands up… I loved it.

Acre-Breaker-Ladder

Another interesting obstacle was labeled a “fence climb”, which proved difficult for many new racers (who comprised the majority of the event) as the transition from the second to last to the top board was a distance apart, making the “over the top” transition quite steep… Again.. Loved it. There was a metal, box-shaped frame towards the end which was odd in setup, and seemed like a random add in obstacle as opposed to a planned one. It required a climb to the top and traversing along a thin metal pole to the other side where you drop down…(picture a random enclosed bus stop along the side of the road and climbing on top and across it).

Acre-Breaker-Metal-Climb

My favorite obstacle of all which was towards the beginning of the event was a water crossing. Chest high depending on height, on a morning that I woke to see 37 degrees out. It was mid 40’s by race time but this was COLD…. LOVED IT! I was admittedly a little confused by the direction to cross as I was redirected by the volunteer, causing a much further walk through the water, which I was certainly ok with.

Acre-Breaker-Water-Crossing

The race wrapped up with a fire jump, then being told I came in first overall in my heat and directed to collect my award. A very pleasant surprise as it seemed the first overall male and female of each individual heat and each team wave was awarded a very…. Unique…. Award.

image

Yes, if you can’t tell that’s a raccoon skull mounted to a plaque. Certainly the most interesting award next to the cement brick received from the “Down & Dirty”(RIP) Brick division races. But instantly a favorite to be displayed(my wife told me areas of the house I can NOT display it) 😂. The medal was a standard gold circle with brand logo on a red/white/blue striped ribbon. Early registrations received a T-shirt and beer stein.

Back to my original proclamation that this could be the future of OCR. The event was filled with, what seemed to be, a largely local gathering of participants from the area and community. The Race Director informed me they expected around 100 participants, they closed at around 250.. That’s awesome.. They now plan on future events. One for super bowl Sunday(not sure that’s the best date for optimal attendance) and looking at possibly 4+ in the next year. From a first impression and attendance, they easily could succeed with some adjustments and possible tweaks for future events and here’s my suggestions.

Emcee – as opposed to standard course briefing everyone loves some pre-race hype to head on course all pumped up.

Elite heat- I’m all for the current awards per heat. They may want to look at condensing that to one competitive wave for cost purposes but if they choose to do each heat with awards, that’s an EXCELLENT promotional point to increase attendance of medalwhores(which encompasses 80% of this sport)

Additional obstacles- The RD expressed expanding to additional and more challenging obstacles. The easy recommendations are of course rope climb, rope traverse(over the water crossing maybe?) rig, and of course, monkey bars

All about the volunteers- the volunteers were good, but we all know volunteers are the heart and soul of any event, and equally capable of making or breaking an event.

Possible chip timing?(first heat?)*see elite heat, but again, 110% for keeping awards per each heat

Photos- this is a big one for 98% of participants. I know it may not be cheap but someway of establishing photographers at the most unique obstacles. There were pictures taken by a local photogrpaher(all pics featured in review) but pics were minimal. I didn’t see any from my heat and was in the second wave of the day.

Marketing- I’m not sure what type of local advertising was done, obviously enough to pull 200+ people and myself through a local email blast, but it was clear the normal OCR junkie contingent of racers you’d normally find at an event were not present. Marketing through OCR focused outlets(Obstacle Racing Media….for example 😉) would certainly increase the exposure of the brand to the right demographic.

All in all if a local brand can start up, follow the right path and athlete devoted business practices can succeed. That’s a great sign for the future of our sport. I’ll certainly be rooting for this brand as those behind it truly seemed to want to learn and succeed.

VJ Sport Irock 2 Shoe Review

VJ Sport Irock 2
4.4 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Features
Durability
Grip
Water Draining
Leave your rating

The VJ Sport Irock 2 is a model made popular as the shoe worn and endorsed by the 3x OCR World Champion from the UK, Jon Albon. He originally represented Inov-8 brand shoes and parted with them for VJ Sport. That in itself says something, and I wanted to know what the appeal was. If you’re familiar with UK OCR social media groups, you know the VJ Sport/Icebug debate rivals that of the US OCR group Inov-8/Icebug/Salomon loyalty split. It wasn’t easy to obtain a pair of these as they currently have one U.S. based retailer that has a very limited stock and buying overseas increases cost and delivery time with customs holds. So when I finally received a complimentary pair direct from the Finland home office, I couldn’t wait to lace up.

VJ Sport Irock 2 Features

Fitlock  – In my opinion, it should be used by every brand possible. This lacing system is flat out amazing. Most shoes tighten straight down the middle when laced up. With this particular system you can feel as though the entire shoe is conforming to your foot for a personal fit, exact to your foot shape.   According to VJ Sport ” It is important the shoe feels snug and fits your foot so that you can safely move and turn where ever and whenever you want with a stable feeling”.  Someone recently said they looked narrow when seen on a racers foot. That tells me that user has a narrow foot. I couldn’t wear the Reebok All-Terrains because of the narrow fit. I couldn’t wear the Icebug Acceleritas4 for more than a 5k because of the narrow fit and reduced comfort. To me the most comfortable shoe brand is Altra with the wide toe box, though I don’t consider myself to have a wide foot. But regardless of foot width, this lacing system will allow a near universal perfect fit.
IRock2-Feature-Photo
Great Grip – The VJ Sport Irock 2 employs a “Superior Contact” tread technology that, according to VJ Sport “guarantees you the best grip imagined”. I prefer the RB9X tread(outsole) of the Icebug Zeal2 to be honest. The Irock tread provided a very secure feel, void of any slippage, on multiple terrains including technical trail, steep inclines and sharp turns on both terrains. The preference on the RB9X stems from obstacle grip. I always felt a very high level of confidence on incline walls and other shoe grip related obstacles in the icebugs as opposed to IRock 2’s. I felt more slipping and less security on this tread than the Zeal tread.

 

IRock-Heel-TreadVery Durable Material – Much like all 2016 model OCR shoes utilizing Kevlar in their shoe fabric, VJ Sport Irock 2’s use “Schoeller-Keprotec”. “Schoeller-Keprotec contains Kevlar, an armide fiber which is five times stronger than steel, is tear and temperature resistant. Schoeller-Keprotec is waterproof “.  As far as drainage goes, the statement above makes the same claim as 2016 Icebug Models which are not the most popular for drainage qualities. Which stake claim to expelling water through the seams after several foot strides. Of course not as efficient as the Reebok drainage system but they don’t become bricks, similar to Salomons, if wet. I also noticed, despite the aggressive tread pattern, mud/dirt does not accumulate within the tread throughout a race.

IRock-Logo-Side

VJ Sport Irock 2 Usage

To provide the most accurate information on these shoes I tested them in multiple OCR events, with varying terrain/weather/obstacles.  Savage Race MD was a 5.9 mile course ran 2x.  Through those 12 miles in the rain the grip to ground was fantastic.  I encountered zero slipping on wet grass, mud, and dirt trails which you’d normally expect some grip issues.

Savage Race Maryland featured a flat course that sent you through cornfields, wooded technical trails with sharp turns and the 25 world class obstacles featured in a Savage Race including warped walls, mud, ice water, swim sections various hanging rig grips in which your shoes were fully engaged, on a day that it rained providing ample opportunity to test in varying terrain.

While running on technical trails I experienced minimal awareness of rocks or roots under my feet.  Able to change direction on a dime with optimal ankle support thanks to the Fitlock lacing providing a secure fit and support.

Also used during Goliathon Obstacle Challenge that also featured warped walls, balance obstacles, dirt, sand and trails.  The outsole material didn’t give way to allow sand in the shoe, experiencing minimal accumulation.  The removable insole stayed in place on downhill running and the lug spacing wicked away any dirt/mud accumulation allowing the tread to do its job.

VJ Sport Irock 2 Durability

As previously mentioned the VJ Sport Irock 2’s are made of a waterproof, Kevlar material(Schoeller-Keprotec).  Kevlar materials are used in many popular OCR shoes released in 2016.  Reebok All-Terrain Super OR, Icebug Acceleritas4 and Icebug Zeal models utilize a Kevlar blended material.  The VJ Sport Irock 2’s are not narrow like the reebok models so durability/tearing is a non issue and the material provides an adequate amount of ankle support to reduce any buckling on downhills and rough terrain.

IRock-Lace

VJ Sport Irock 2 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fitlock lacing provides superior fit
  • Flexible material
  • 8.4 oz that stays light when wet
  • ample ankle support

Cons

  • Tread slips on wet walls
  • water drainage lacking
  • Better in dry conditions

Similar Products

VJ Sport Irock 2Salomon SpeedtrakReebok All Terrain Super ORMerrell All Out Crush
Weight240g245g219g227g
Heel Drop6mm6mm5mm6mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"3/16"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$99.00$99.00$90.00$100
ORM ReviewYesYesYesYes
BuyPendingAmazonAmazonAmazon

VJ Sport Irock 2 Conclusion

The VJ Sport Irock 2 is a great shoe, and you guessed it, not perfect. I will certainly be using these for future events because of the amazing fit from the lacing system. I requested 1/2 size up from what I normally wear but you should be safe with true fit sizing. Speculation has these becoming available in the U.S. from a preferred OCR retailer, but nothing is set in stone at the time of this review. We will update this review with a link to a US retailer when available.

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Mike Natale

Mike Natale is an OCR addict who loves life, family & medals!

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Savage Race Maryland- Got Grip?

Anytime you go to a race you leave thinking one of two things. Either how great of a time you had and how much you enjoyed the race. Or something turned you off, be it a bad showing on your part….bad weather .. lines at obstacles ..your favorite pants ripped… forgot where you parked leaving you to walk for 20 minutes with your hand above your head, holding your keys trying to decipher if that’s your car horn or someone else’s. Rarely does someone walk away from a race, driving home and think to themselves… “Wow, that course layout and obstacle placement really elevated that race to another level”. Well today was that day…getting savage at Savage Race.

Savage-MD-Finish-Line

We all know by now what to expect from a Savage Race. They’ve set themselves to a high standard that’s known by many from experiencing an event first hand, hearing someone rave in a social media setting, or reading a previous review. They’ve accepted the challenge of doing what needs to be done to exceed the standard they’ve set for themselves by adding fresh, innovative obstacles each year. They’ve also instituted an award program(Syndicate) to incentivize repeat registrations with a medal that appeals to the medal whore in all of us and providing world class customer service with a personable feel.

So going into this event, I knew what obstacles to expect. I was aware of the medal I was receiving. I wanted more, as we all, of course, want more than expected to be satisfied. To accomplish that, I opted for the Savage Pro wave. I didn’t care about my time. To be honest, I wanted the cool blue Savage Race wristband that was given to Pro Wave participants to determine 100% obstacle completion. Complete all the obstacles and keep the band. Fail an obstacle after unlimited attempts and surrender the band.

Savage-MD-Sawtooth

The course map was released a week prior to the event, so on this rare occasion I took a look at it. Immediately I noticed the obstacle placement was arranged to raise the level of difficulty. I also noticed a 30% chance of rain at the time of Pro Wave, with the likelihood of rain increasing throughout the day. Savage loves grip strength based obstacles.. Which I’m all about, you can keep your heavy shit, that doesn’t appeal to me. But with their array of grip based challenges(ascending/descending monkey bars over water, hanging horizontal cage traverse over water, rotating wheel traverse over water, rig) any additional moisture would certainly increase the level of difficulty.

Fortunately the weather held off for the first wave but as I previously mentioned, obstacle placement would play a huge factor in the outcome of this race(and ultimately if I kept my cool blue wristband…because that’s what’s truly matters). For example Davey Jones Locker(15ft. Jump into 15ft. deep water) was located just before Sawtooth(hardest monkey bars in OCR IMO). So, jump in water.. Soaking wet.. Now climb monkey bars=increased difficulty.
Savage-MD-Richard
Shriveled Richard,(ice bath) my personal favorite, is usually found at the very beginning of the course as the first obstacle. Some have complained that this setup causes backups as you sprint off the start line, only to come to an obstacle with very limited flow through that only 4 competitors can attempt at a time. Not to mention hesitation by many from nerves of jumping into a dumpster of ice water causes longer wait times and ultimately wait lines. I have only ever seen this obstacle located anywhere other than the beginning on a Garfield Griffiths course design in Pennsylvania the previous year. This was a welcomed alteration but again, interesting placement. Shortly after exiting the ice bath, when your grip is compromised from the cold, you come upon Wheel World(series of 5 consecutive rotating wheels positioned over water). Another new obstacle that isn’t overly difficult but the placement ups the ante.

Savage-MD-WW

In previous years, Savage Race would close out your day with Colossus(warped wall followed by 24ft of a near vertical drop on a water slide). They felt compelled to mix it up this year placing a rig with varying holds and grips, just after colossus… But wait … There’s more … they added another challenge to go along with the rig. Savages newest obstacle “Tree Hugger”. A rotating series of wooden and metal poles that you’re required to traverse through without letting your feet touch the ground or the plastic bases of the wooden poles. The word I got from previous events was that this obstacle had 12 lanes, that followed a sequence of metal/wood/metal/wood/metal/wood poles to traverse. It seems they switched it up this event by making it 6 total lanes with 12 poles to traverse(6 wood/6 metal).

Savage-MD-Tree-Hugger

So now, in order to cross that finish line, you must make your way through a rig that consisted of, in order, 2 ropes, 2 close handed grips, one horizontal straight bar and bell for completion. Followed by a long lane of metal and wooden pole traverses. While still dripping wet from the water slide. Stand alone, these obstacles are doable, yet challenging for many. Add in the placement factor and decreased grip strength from water obstacles and you’re in store for a challenge.

Savage-MD-Rig

More so than anything this was just the tweak I was hoping for, but not expecting when I had originally registered. A great course design is just another way Savage can keep you on your toes and not grow complacent with the high standard of execution we’ve all come to expect from the brand.

P.S. It began to rain shortly after the first couple waves making some obstacles near impossible.

P.S.S. Matty T killed it at the start line as usual.

Savage-MD-Startline

P.S.S.S…. Excellent Portashitter to registrant ratio. Clean, well maintained, and solid TP supply.
4💩💩💩💩 out of 5💩💩💩💩💩 rating

P.S.S.S….S? ….. Mission accomplished … See… Cool blue

Savage-Bracelet

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Z Mud Run NJ-Bagels, Yogurt, Chocolate Milk… And Mud

I went into the Z Mud Run with minimal background on the event itself. Turns out minimal background translates to minimal expectations. Whatever expectations I had pulling up to the event were blown away and then some. Here’s what I knew about the event based off a friend’s experience during last years Zmudrun and a brief glance at their website prior to race day.

  • All net proceeds go to a charity called “The Happy Home”. As per the website here’s the info on the cause…“The Happy Home” is  a growing orphanage that was started in southern India to care for children with HIV/AIDS  who have lost their parents and been abandoned by their extended families and in some cases left on the hospital’s doorstep.
  • Free onsite parking
  • Free bag check
  • Mud
  • Water

As for my experience itself, if you’ve glanced at my previous reviews, you know I’m a major advocate for having fun while competing. To me, fun is mud; fun is water; fun is all the things this sport allows us to do that we did as kids without a care in the world. I don’t need technical terrain. I don’t need intense, challenging obstacles(though that doesn’t hurt). I don’t need to feel I’m better than anyone based on placement. I need fun and fun was certainly provided on this day.

Zmudrun-Mud-Crawl Photo Credit:  Mathew Renk Photography

The first wave was filled with participants of all ages, from teens to middle aged. There were no egos, no brand promoting temp tats or supplement logoed headbands. There was laughing, smiling and the expectation of fun on every face in the wave. The race started after the national anthem. We headed off onto a straightaway stretch of grass that moments later lead you to a creek with water that came just above my knees. That was just the beginning of the days fun.

The obstacles were basic, but the course was loyal to the term “Mud Run”. There was multiple water crossings, one which required traversing over floating boards. Followed by a trek through waist deep water that had an unassuming amount of mud beneath the surface. So much so that you literally had to use your hands to lift each leg, step by step, if you didn’t move along at a brisk pace. The level of fun during this section was infectious. People falling into the mud left and right, causing laughter from those around, with a helping hand always stretched out.

Zmudrun-Mud-Pit Photo Credit: Mathew Renk Photography

After you made your way out of the water and back onto dry land you were led around the outside of a corn field. The transition of terrain was very much welcomed compared to an open view of a course that I often experience at events. A little side note, there was roughly 7 water stations throughout the 5k course that offered Gatorade or water. It was unheard of to be approaching a water station around nearly every turn, but awesome nonetheless.

As far as obstacles go, it was mostly terrain related with water and mud, short of a cement block drag through sand. One massive mud hill had a rope to assist in the climb but not before, you guessed it, a water/mud pit at the base of the hill. Several hay bale climbs, wall climb that provided three options for completion(tall wall-no assist, medium wall with foot supports and medium inclined wall with rope assist) and one of my event favorites, a water slide.

Zmudrun-Final-Obstacle-Part-1

One of the most welcoming aspects was the energetic, enthusiastic environment of the festival area where the finish line was located. After navigating the walls and water slide you come around a corner to see the final, fun-filled obstacle. You climb a small hill that leads you into water. Navigate through a tube crawl that allows just enough space for your neck up to be above water. After exiting the tube you crawl under a net, still submerged in water on your knees to another small mud mound to the finish.

Zmudrun-Final-Obstacle-Part-2

The event is untimed and not competitive, but the crowd an event like this attracted was so excited, they cheered me on and let me know I was the 2nd finisher to come through. The emcee was feeding off the crowds energy,so much so, he gathered the top three finishers to pose for pics at the top of the final mud mound. An energy level for self accomplishment I don’t often experience at non-competitive events.

After finishing and composing myself while standing with a friend, another racer approached us with a huge smile on his face. He wanted to congratulate us on our race and proceeded to inform us, this was his first race and he had so much fun, he “couldn’t wait to do another one”. That moment right there is what I hope for at every event and gives me hope for the future of the sport. But wait, there’s more!

Zmudrun-Refreshments

As I approached the post race refreshment table for my water and banana, something caught my eye. Something…. Amazing… Something … Rare… Something unheard of…. It… Was…. Beautiful….. Bags and bags of bagels, pastries, gummy fruit snacks, varying flavors and brands of yogurts of the regular and Greek options. I was beside myself with joy. Not expecting anything to top this moment ….something marvelous happened… an angelic looking woman sought my attention… and she said to me… “We have chocolate milk over here… Follow me” …. And I did . Fast forward three cups of glorious chocolate milk later, I made my way to the stand up showers that actually had water pressure.

Zmudrun-Kids-Race

The kids race was well organized with fun obstacles for varying ages and enjoyed by all, evidenced by the sheer joy on the faces of the miniature athletes. The course was filled with families and large groups of friends. An event capable of catering to a broad range of athletes. Serving as a good reminder to the experienced athlete why we love the sport that affords us the opportunity to be a kid again

Z Mud Run had everything I look for in an event, and some things I never thought to look for.
Let us recap….

  • Free Parking
  • Free Bag Check
  • Great volunteers
  • Abundance of water stations
  • Mud
  • Family friendly
  • Water
  • Chocolate milk
  • Bagels
  • Above average medal
  • Chocolate milk
  • Mud
  • Chocolate milk

I certainly will be adding this to my 2017 race schedule when they announce next year’s event………………

Zmudrun-Potty
Last but not least…. They had some high quality crappers. Adequate amount for total participants and excellent level of cleanliness
💩💩💩💩 out 5…….Battlefrog would be proud (R.I.P.)

Terrain Race New Jersey – Crash and Burn At Raceway Park

Terrain Race, a west coast based race was to be held to high standards with equally high expectations. That comes with the territory when you host an event at a venue previously used by the top brands in the sport such as Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac and Battlefrog to name a few. Regardless of how hard you attempt to look at each as a separate entity, you always compare. I’m probably one of the easiest in the sport to please as I race to have fun, and I usually find a way to do so with every event. So, when I say this event was a letdown, the optimist in me wants to reference “you get what you pay for”.

The standard open wave registration cost for the race was $25 for the 5K and $30 for the 10k. Currently, their upcoming New York event (it’s at Aviator, worst venue in OCR…you’ve been warned) is priced at $20/$25 for 5k/10k. That’s cheap…. I mean… dirt cheap… You can’t get a Groupon or Living Social Warrior Dash for that price. With that price point, I truly emphasize, “you get what you pay for”.

Parking for all races at the Raceway Park venue is the same: a short walk to registration and the start line. 95% of the time for Raceway Park you don’t need bag check, but if you felt compelled, it was free with registration. Walking up to registration you expect the usual corral of bib number or last name lines along with a paper waiver table. The table with waivers was there, but on this day, I missed the standard registration lines. Terrain’s setup was one line, which led you to 4 tables set up to check-in one person at a time (totaling 4 racers checking in at one time).  Needless to say, the line got backed up.

After checking in, you work your way to the festival area, which was in the same vicinity of the venue for all races held in this location. For previous events the festival area has had bull riding, sand bag toss, rock wall, inflated slides for kids, even inflatable sumo body suits. On this day it was open grass with participants wandering throughout.  Their one engaging attraction was a small rig that was used for spectator area photo ops.  The one event I opt to have my 4 and 6 year old kids run and they’d be stuck waiting for me to complete a quick lap after they ran the kids race, with nothing to do. I never concern myself with festival areas as I normally run, and start my long trek home. On this day I took notice, and it was sorely lacking from what you become accustomed to, not just at this venue but most.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Festival-Area

As I previously stated, I’m very easy to please on overall event satisfaction. I don’t need intense terrain, challenging obstacles,perfect weather, water stations, rule enforcement…. None of that appeals to my interest in the sport. I’m all about fun and that’s fairly easy to provide. Give me mud, water and decent obstacle selection. I don’t differentiate between good and bad, because ultimately most races offer you something unique. Give me something different, that I don’t experience every week, and I’m happy. The race started off with just that.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Start-Line

You enter the start area and immediately choose between two, 4-ft deep pools of water to jump into. Hop out the other side and you’re ready to get started. This was awesome, as it was different. Then came the disappointment, the race itself. The word I got was that the 10k course had an additional 10+ obstacles over what the 5k course contained. Afterwards, I really wished I had run the 10k option. It felt like a race that would’ve been better served placing all obstacles in a 5k course and utilizing 2-5k laps to encompass their 10k option as many races do.

The 5k course followed the path of all other events held at this venue. Off the pavement and onto the motocross dirt path we went. I won’t elaborate on detailed obstacle placement as it would bore you as it did me. To sum it up, you run, crawl a little, climb a wall, crawl again, run, climb a cargo net, run more, find a random set of straight horizontal monkey bars off in a field, run some more, climb another wall, then came what was deemed the best(and only real 5k) obstacle on the course.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Rig

Climb up to the top of the first of two pools of water. Select a lane which each contained a wooden beam that travels the distance of the first tub. The beam had alternating rock climbing grips evenly spaced on each side. After traversing the distance of the first pool, you had to reach for hanging grips of different shapes and sizes. With no foot platforms to assist in transitioning from stationary rock grips to hanging grips, this obstacle proved too much for many including a large percentage of the elite heat. It was odd going from extremely basic obstacles to one as challenging as this, but, it was different nonetheless and a change that I welcomed.

After the rig setup over water, you made your way to the finish line to collect, what is easily one of the top medals in OCR. A large monkey face that spins within a circle, with varying medals signifying 5k and 10k. For a small fee, there was a multi-lap option that provided racers with a pin for each lap completed that could be placed on their medal ribbon. Compared to unfair expectations set by previous brands, this was a major letdown in living up to my generally easily attainable standards.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Medal

Speaking to participants in the festival area many were pleased with the event as a result of running the 10k course and encountering the obstacles that were sorely missed in the 5k portion or didn’t believe they had room to complain because of the small financial cost to them compared to all other race brands. Based solely on the obstacle variety, difficulty, and terrain utilization it was closely equivalent to a Warrior Dash but not nearly as fun. For many, the medal alone was worth the $25/$30 registration fee. If I raced the brand again, I would certainly opt to try the 10k course as the 5k was sorely lacking.

P.S. The kids race was great for $20 and parents run free with paid kids registration.

Terrain-Race-New-Jersey-Kids-Race

P.S.S. The shitter rating came in at 💩💩 out of a possible 💩💩💩💩💩.
Quantity was the issue with very few shitters for having most waves sold out prior to race day.

P.S.S.S. At the time this was written it’s been 9 days(6 business days) after the event and race photos have yet to be posted.  Most races have photos up around day 4.

*Update- pics were posted today(8/17) same day as their Minnesota event pics were posted for an event that took place 7 days after this one