Goliathon Obstacle Challenge – Evolve With A Cause

Everybody who’s ever ran an obstacle race has gone through a progression. The final phase in each persons cycle will lead them to their end game in OCR. Be it..

  • competitive racing with a goal of a podium
  • reaching out to every brand with a ™ symbol seeking an ambassador deal so you can promote yourself as “sponsored” on your athlete page that’s followed by the same people on your personal page friend list(they accepted the invite because they didn’t want to be rude than immediately “unfollowed” the page hoping you wouldn’t notice.
  • having a bad experience with one brand canceling a race and not offering a refund before you had a chance to experience some of the truly great brands out there(chances are if you’re reading this article, and know what ORM is, you haven’t ended on this path)
  • making an event a family fun time involving your kids whether as spectators or participants in one of the many kids race options

Or…..you’ve been lead to the final path that I have, by testing the waters of many brands, to find the brands that produce a race you truly find to be a blast.
I enjoy doing a Muckfest because the obstacles are just plain old fun.
I enjoy doing a Tough Mudder because the obstacles are fun and physically/mentally challenging
I enjoy Savage Race because the obstacles are fun, physically/mentally challenging and the “Pro Wave” mandatory completion option motivates you to try a little harder, push a little harder.. And in many cases with their obstacles.. Stay dry.

 

Guess what… There’s a race brand that caters to every phase of your OCR life cycle, in one event, not forcing you to engage in the aspects that turn you off on a brand. It’s the equal opportunity OCR life span event that gains popularity by word of mouth and social media with every event they put on…… If you haven’t heard the name(did you just get internet access?) I’ll introduce you to Goliathon Obstacle Challenge.

Recently they sold out an event at 1k racers. They could’ve had many more registered athletes but in the best interest of the overall athlete experience they opted to cap the event to minimize obstacle backups(which is an OCR athletes biggest pet peeve). Some were upset they didn’t get to experience this new form of OCR. So the amazing team at Goliathon revamped some obstacles(as they do every event) but this time added additional lanes to backup prone obstacles. By doing this it allowed everyone’s run to flow smoother from obstacle to obstacle while permitting more registrations….
It worked.

Their most recent event had 1,200 registrations. I was admittedly doubtful of solid numbers being that the always popular Tuxedo Spartan Race was on the same day. Next time I won’t question the ever growing following this brand is gaining with every event they produce.

Sounds like they’re doing pretty well… They are
Sounds like they’re very profitable(I  mean they’re selling out events and not sponsoring college football games)…
They’re not.
Normally that would be cause for concern… Not in this case .. Let me explain.

One of the most amazing things that draws me to this brand is the people behind it. Goliathon Obstacle Challenge is a 100% non-profit event.

OUR CAUSE
Our goal at Goliathon is to bring aid to those in need around the world. All of our proceeds to date have been sent to another non-profit organization called charity: water to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. We have completed one water project in Bangladesh and have six other projects currently underway in Ethiopia, Nepal and Cambodia.

Taken directly from Goliathons website.

Ok, not everybody is moved by such a compassionate gesture in today’s society. I’m sure the growing number of registrations for each event isn’t because people want to do good in this world(im sure many are). So in order to continue on their mission of providing clean drinking water, the team at Goliathon must produce an event that will continue to grow, which brings me back to my original point.

Goliathon produces an event that caters directly to the elite athlete, that trains and honed their obstacle proficiency skills.

Goliathon produces an event that caters to the fun loving athlete that enjoys testing himself on obstacles their confident in completing

Goliathon produces an event for a family(ages 10+) to do together, laugh, have fun and bond.
Goliathon is not for the speed racer as an untimed event(use a local 5k for that) which is great as the sport seems to be veering towards the obstacle side of OCR with more brands adopting mandatory completion.

Goliathon has 3 tiered difficulties for each obstacle. If you pass, you collect a color coordinating wrist band with a point value. If you fail, you continue on to the next obstacle. These are not your standard obstacles. Yes, many brands have a rope traverse, but how many throw in random wooden poles and sliding pvc piping to navigate?

Everyone loves hanging rings… Rugged maniac has those, but Goliathons version leads you to a rope swing over water with a small landing platform required for completion.


Balance beam? Been there, done that.
Balance beam with random objects to navigate over, under without touching to be disqualified.. Followed by an angled leap to an incline board all over water?  Yes please.

Rope climb? Everyone has one.
Rope climb with a 40lbs chain around your neck that must be used to touch the bell for completion at the top?
Only Goliathon has that.

Don’t be scared… These are G2 and G3 variations.. There’s the fun for all warrior dash level variations of all obstacles for G1 difficulty.
As more athletes catch wind of this amazing, one of a kind event, the team registrations grow, the training specific for this event increases, and the team at Goliathon is continually evolving with the athletes, adding new tweaks and preparing new surprises for every event.

This event draws out the top Ninjas, Parkour athletes, and families looking to have fun. If you like obstacles, hate running, want to have fun, and support a good cause.. You need to try a Goliathon today.

Photo Credit: Goliathon

Toughest Mudder Northeast – Pain Is In The Mind/Pee Is In The Wetsuit

This is a story about a guy, who doesn’t like to run, had neglected his training for months but loves obstacles of all kinds, especially obstacles involving lots of mud, water, and adrenaline filled challenges…not heavy shit…nor spear…

One day this guy. we’ll call him LB, saw a post on fFacebookfor the new Toughest Mudder 8-hour event presented by Tough Mudder. They advertised 6 events in the Toughest series, with locations to be announced at a later date. When this later date came around and Philly was announced as a venue for this event, LB became very excited. This venue was a mere 45 min. from LB’s house. LB had to run this event.

LB had never done an endurance event before. He had always wanted to do the World’s Toughest Mudder, but used the venue change from New Jersey(1hr30min away) to Vegas as his out as to why he couldn’t do that event. Even though he knew he couldn’t last 24hours. LB’s longest event was a BFX(Battlefrog Extreme) where he completed 3 laps, and a FIT Challenge where he also completed 3 laps. So, he convinced himself that, with enough time before race day, he could increase his endurance level and be ready. Then, life and reality hit LB.

LB had a plan to increase his running distance every day for 2 months leading up to the event, but then LB had some medical issues that landed him in the hospital. By the time LB had clearance to resume training, the event was only a few weeks away. LB was f’ked.

LB set a realistic goal of 3 laps(15 miles) with the hopes of hitting 4 laps. The previous Toughest event was in Atlanta where the cold temps were in the mid 60’s. Two weeks prior to race day the forecast showed a low of 62. By the time the event rolled around the low was showing 51… Awesome. Thankfully LB consulted #TrollTough Pro Team member, Keith(The Kilt) B. Allen, several months prior for gear advice.

Knowing LB wouldn’t need a wetsuit in the future after this event, he found a used one on eBay for $37.. A headlamp for $20.. The rest of the gear he would need he had already owned from running previous OCRs. The days leading up to race day LB.. Or little bitch… Began asking his confidants what they referred to as the newbie questions … Repeatedly. For anyone seeking advice on events, training, gear, or the meaning of life .. Matt B. Davis and Garfield Griffiths are always happy and willing to help so don’t be shy, send them a PM and ask away.. They happily answered all of LB’s questions, eased his concerns, and put his mind at ease (they’re good like that).
The day of the event LB had a plan all laid out…

The day of the event LB had a plan all laid out…
-wake up at 5am
-consume no caffeine
-nap at 1pm to 5pm
-leave home at 8pm
-arrive at venue 9:30pm
-set up in the pit and be ready for 11:30pm start corral ………….

Well that went to shit real quick!
Wake up 5am …..✔️
Consume no caffeine ..✔️
Nap at 1pm ✖️
That’s where it all went wrong. If you have kids you know there’s zero chance of a nap during the day… As I closed my eyes the kids are fighting .. The dogs are fighting ….. A thousand thoughts going through my head … I never fell asleep but still able to leave for the venue at 8pm. Before he left home he took two Imodium(debated both ways on social media) in an attempt to avoid portashitters that were no doubt destroyed during the event held at the venue in the earlier hours and would be frequented by the 700+ participants that night.

 

Upon arriving at the venue LB headed up a large hill(that many referred to as the first obstacle) to a clusterf’k of athletes trying to decipher which line to be in for packet pick up. Pretty sure it was around 10pm that they started checking people in. At that point the line moved quickly. A short walk followed into a large tent area with many connected tables to serve as the athlete PIT area to store your supplies and accessible after each lap for gear change or to fuel up. At 11:30pm everyone was directed to the start corral for one of Sean Corvelles epic start line speeches. After the National Anthem and rule review the runners were off.

Many wore the required headlamps with a strobe attached to the back of your headlamp strap. With the open rolling hills of this venue and 700+ participants once the field opened up a bit the view of all the colored strobes from behind was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. This venue is very open with little to no true trails or trees. Lots of hills and lots of grass…. I’m LB btw .. There’s your M. Night Shyamalan cliffhanger ….

The first lap was a “Sprint Lap” meaning no obstacles were open, but each had set times to open and the volunteers were nice enough to yell as you were going by “we open at 1:30am!!” The volunteers were awesome by the way. Knowing the open times of the obstacles you could easily get through two laps without doing some of the more physically or mentally challenging obstacles. I actually got through two laps without doing “Hang Man” a variation known as King Of Swingers, during the day time event. But more on that later …

After my first lap(Sprint Lap) I started to notice the cold set in …I started the race in compression pants and a long sleeve thermal compression top. I originally thought my biggest challenge with cold would be my hands locking up but I began to feel my entire body succumb to the cold.. I made sure to keep moving as much as possible. When I heard the announcer in the distance state “all obstacles are now open” I knew the fun was just beginning. The obstacle placemat was brutal, for example Arctic Enema(ice bath) followed by Funky Monkey(modified monkey bars) making what are usually difficult obstacles near impossible. To my and others delight, the water under the monkey bars felt very warm, making it enjoyable to wade through after failing the obstacle.

Many obstacles had fail penalties that were required after failing an obstacle but all obstacles had to be attempted. The penalties were a separate path from the path you’d take if you had successfully navigated the obstacle. It was usually uphill and some involved a sandbag carry. After completing my second lap, I checked the temp on my phone and it showed 47 degrees. It was time to get the wetsuit out. To be honest, I wouldn’t have made it through my 3rd lap and would’ve gone the way of a medical DQ that many did after succumbing to the cold, had it not been for the wetsuit advised by Keith and the neoprene gloves he loaned me just before the event started.

Being a wetsuit noob, I managed to get my wetsuit on, after much struggle and the assistance of a fellow runner. After doing so I was prepared to go back out for my third, and ultimately final lap, as I realized I had to stop at the shitters to relieve myself (#1…… Not #2 …The Imodium was holding strong) … I got into the shitter before realizing, I had JUST put my wetsuit on.. There was no way I was getting that off to pee and getting it back on. So I stood there and relieved myself in my suit(which was a nice fix for the cold) before heading out for lap 3.


The wetsuit made a world of difference. I had minimal mobility(what do you expect from a wetsuit under $40) but was able to deal with the low temps in the mid to low 40’s and the water of “Augustus Gloop”, Funky Monkey, Arctic Enema and Hang Time. I failed many obstacles on that last lap between the mobility issue, gloves and obstacle conditions at that point. Which certainly extended my total lap time but I said from the start I didn’t care how fast I ran, as long as I lasted the entire 8 hours. At some point on lap 2 I jacked my foot up and could barely apply pressure but once I got into the icebath it numbed enough to get me through the final lap.(the next day I couldn’t get a shoe on it, but so worth it).

After completing my 3rd lap, seeing the sun rising halfway through the lap, I knew I had completed what I set out to do, and learned a lot for the future along the way. The obstacles were world class, high quality and innovative. The setup and execution couldn’t have been more organized or laid out. You can tell TM is learning and adapting as they go with the format of this event. First, several events had two separate 5-mile loops, one opened at 12am with limited obstacles. That loop would close at 4am leading to the opening of the 2nd loop and remaining obstacles. This event was one 5 mile loop with 17 obstacles with staggered openings but by 2am all 17 obstacles were fully operational. Between the weather conditions, rolling hills and high obstacle density this was pegged as the hardest toughest event to date. And many if not nearly all in attendance would agree.

If you’ve never ran one of these events. Do it.
If you’re of the mindset that you can’t, you can.
Learn from my mistakes
Take what you will from my successes
And above all else, don’t be too proud or ego-driven to ask advice of others. Some may get tired of answering the same questions repeatedly… F them. Ask somebody else.
You’ll find somebody happy to lend a hand or some words of wisdom, and it may ultimately make a world of difference in the end. I know it did for me. #FMBDIHA

P.S… For my short visit in the PortaPotties, they were impressively clean for that amount of traffic. Do what Phoebe Brimer suggested and use the one furthest from the shitter entrance.
💩💩💩/💩💩💩💩💩

Photo Credit: Tough Mudder and the author

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Shoe Review

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0
4.3 Overall
0.5 Users (1 vote)
Features
Durability
Grip
Water Draining
Leave your rating

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$99.99$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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