Savage Race Launches “Savage Blitz”

SAVAGE RACE LAUNCHES NEW “SAVAGE BLITZ” RACE PRODUCT

January 22, 2018 – Florida based company Mad Cap Events, LLC, owners of the popular “Savage Race” obstacle race series opened registration yesterday for a new race product called Savage Blitz. Savage Blitz is a 3-mile obstacle course race to complement Savage Race’s original 5-7 mile format. Savage Blitz features many of the Savage Race signature obstacles participants have come to know and love over a shorter distance.

Initially, Savage Blitz opens in four select markets in 2018, but with plans to expand to more locations in 2019, and possibly late 2018. The first four Blitz events will occur on Sundays at existing Savage Race venues.

“This was something that has been heavily requested by participants. There is a lot of interest from folks who aren’t quite ready for a 5-7 mile Savage Race, so we created a race product that would be better for a beginning OCR athlete. Savage Blitz is also going to be a lot of fun for experienced athletes who want to run a faster course. Fifteen to twenty obstacles is a lot to pack into a 3-mile course, so I think people are going to have a lot of fun with this!” – Sam Abbitt, Savage Race

Savage Blitz registration opened yesterday at 1 pm eastern.

Tickets and information are available here.

Savage Blitz Opening Calendar

Maryland – Sunday, May 6th, 2018
Charlotte – Sunday, May 20th, 2018
Ohio – Sunday, June 10th, 2018
Chicago – Sunday, July 29th, 2018

*More dates TBA

 

Savage Race Dallas

Getting Savage Again

Every Savage is a unique experience.  On a hot day in October at the Beaumont Guest Ranch in Grandview, Savage Race Dallas began in great weather. Everyone was having a great time with a smile on their face.  Savage brings a unique feeling to the OCR community which allows serious athletes to compete and test one another, but to joke and share a hug at the same time.

Savage Race Venue

The Beaumont Ranch is a quintessential Texas venue.  I enjoyed the “Texas” feeling this venue offered more than anything.  Savage did a great job utilizing what little elevation and technical terrain they had access to on the ranch to provide some challenge.  Occasional hills, dried creek beds, and patches of brambly grass provided a technical challenge in a state not known for running elevation.

The scenery in the creek beds and the occasional tight spot through some trees was a sight to behold.  These routes gave me the feeling of fleeing outlaws in the old west. The winding path of the race course was well thought out and utilized every natural obstacle around.  Despite its lack of extreme elevation, the scenic Texas venue made up the difficulty with a good bit of heat.   The lack of any foliage to block the sun can take its toll on runners and hydration was a must.  Savage did a great job providing a total of three water stations spaced out quite well and before key obstacles.

Beaumont Ranch Savage Race Dallas 2017 venue

Beaumont Ranch Facebook

Volunteer Performance

Well-informed volunteers did a great job of being sure the pros were aware of all the rules.  They were also quick to call out any pro who did not follow them.  The volunteers also did a superb job of being sure to repeat safety concerns to competitors at each obstacle such as Davy Jones Locker and Sawtooth.

Obstacles

Designers placed “warm-up” obstacles over the first mile of the course quite well.  A good mix of crawls, under overs, and climbing walls lead you into the second mile which also upped the ante in the terrain.

In the extreme heat Shriveled Richard (Savage’s always super cold ice bath) was almost a welcome sight.  Shriveled Richard immediately led into Squeeze Play which wasn’t under water this time around.  After a bit more running and a water break, we moved through Back Scratcher, Big Cheese, and Big Ass Cargo before hitting the third mile-marker.

Savage did a superb job at keeping rhythm with the obstacles. There were about three obstacles per mile.  All of the difficult obstacles were not placed at the end of the course.  Savages “spectators are allowed anywhere on the course” stance can benefit in the course design in this way.

Savage

Savage Dallas Anthem

Summon your Inner Savage

Next came the upper-body grinder with three obstacles in succession: Tree Hugger, Wheel World, and Kiss My Walls.  These well thought out designs can annoy, challenge, and push competitors to the brink.  We train even harder to be ready for the challenge the next time around.

Each bit of terrain traversal leading to well-placed obstacles felt like a pleasant progression in difficulty to the finish line rather than a slog.  Nearing the end of the 6.5 miles, competitors encountered the new obstacle: Hang-a-rang.  This balance obstacle consisting of two logs suspended from chains is a welcome break up to the usual OCR fare.  Competitors were not allowed to touch the chains but only the tiny rope midway through each log.

Savage Hang-a-rang Savage Facebook

Savage Hang-a-rang

The adventure ended with Davy Jone’s Locker, the time consuming Mad Ladders, the infamous Twirly Bird, and Blazed.  Many competitors speed through until the end: shoulders worn out, forearms burning only to see Twirly Bird standing between them and the finish.  Nothing compares to seeing the smile on racers’ faces as they conquer a well-designed, just difficult enough obstacle like Twirly Bird.  They then jump over the flames with gusto to the cheers of a crowd able to comfortably witness it all from the festival area.

Final Thoughts

Other than one skimmed-over piece of stray barbed wire in a creek bed that could have caused an injury, Savage Race Dallas had no other detriments.  Designers utilized the venue to their utmost and created a hella good experience for racers and spectators alike.  Savage Race Dallas succeeded in cementing my love for the race series and showing me that they continue to improve as a company in providing both challenge and experience for the money.  I would also like to note that upgrading to Pro from Open on-site was quick and simple.  I have never had such an easy time with a company in modifying a registration.

Bling

I will say the new syndicate medals and state pins are a welcome adage to my collection.  These medals are high quality.  You don’t have to buy something extra to put them on OR pay extra money to get one.  Savage seems to have continued to grow and excel while still maintaining that care for their customers and appreciating what they do. Just like the words from amazingly talented Emcee Matty T, “Savages are a family.”  We are all there for one another, and that sense of family is something that is truly felt from the festival area to the course, to the finish.

 

Savage Race Syndicate Medal

My second Savage Race Syndicate Medal

Savage Race FINALLY Arrives in New England

After many years of begging, bribing, kidnapping, and other forms of threat and intimidation, Savage Race finally agreed to invade New England with a pretty fantastic course on the “venue of all companies” in Barre, MA. Here’s the course map:

Savage New England Map_BOS17

If you’ve never raced in Mass, and aren’t familiar with Carter and Steven’s Farm in Barre, let me tell you it’s an ankle breaking, thick mudded cow farm, and steaming cow patties are an unofficial obstacle at every event. It is a swampy, stinky course and cows gather in groups and moo in protest as you run along. They do have an onsite brewery and ice cream stand though, and it really is a great place to put on tough events.

And this Savage Rage was tough. Savage Race follows the gold standard of mandatory obstacle completion for the competitive wave, called “Pro” at Savage. Pro racers received a nice wrist band.  We had to surrender the band if we couldn’t complete an obstacle, multiple attempts allowed. I can’t say enough about how great this is. More and more events with prize money have adopted it, with one notable exception, our favorite burpeepalooza.

Savage Obstacles

This course was crammed with familiar obstacles, many had a unique twist. There were a crapload of rigs. These guys love rigs, and it’s hard to argue with them. Rigs can be arranged in so many crazy ways and Savage Race definitely put some insane stuff out there.

Below is a pic of Tree Hugger. This was a wooden rig that required traversing square poles and logs with foothold cutouts. The early morning rain made the poles slippery. It was a challenging upper body exercise. Very creative and fun.

After a short run, we came upon Wheel World. I’ve wanted to try this for a long time. It’s a momentum riding obstacle, as long as you don’t fight the spins at all, getting to the last wheel isn’t so bad. However, scores of folks couldn’t quite make the dismount. Savage Race very cleverly arranged the solid ground to be just out of reach unless one let go of the last wheel at the height of the centrifugal pull. Lots of racers were left hanging desperately for a while before trying again. Wheel World was a blast!

Savages Overcome Fear

I like that Savage Race combines challenging obstacles with ones that require you to overcome fears. It’s really a great combination. This is an undervalued asset of our sport. The next article I am writing for ORM talks about this in specific, through the eyes of a man trying to conquer his phobia. Savage Race has Shriveled Richard (think TM Arctic Enema) and Davy Jones’ Locker, which is reminiscent of the high jumps into water that other races USED to offer. Kudos to Savage for keeping it!!  Thor’s Grundle, pictured below, had a high freak-out potential.

Savage Race really cranked it up in the last couple of miles, this awesome slide below, Colossus, was HUGE and epic fun. I wanted to do it 13 times. Rumor has it that Savage Race installed several permanent obstacles, including Colossus, at the farm. Pre-registration is open for 2018 already, in the cow patties.

Savage Grip Obstacles

The last mile-and-a-half had three very tough grip obstacles. It was a straight up gauntlet. Grip strength is my thing, but by the end of the third rig, I was running on fumes. Sawtooth came first.  The rungs were all wet. It is long. Not easy. I’m filthy in this pic thanks to a face first swamp pit fall. You shoulda been there.

Next up was the Savage Rig. This obstacle was a series of rings and thick ropes. It was easy to get tangled in this rig. This one was tricky.

 

The last obstacle was a brute named Twirly Bird, and it was one of the hardest obstacles I have personally attempted. Basically it is an alternating field of single flat handles, and loose clumps of thin ropes that they describe as a mop. Accurate. I watched a video on this one where folks wisely just used the handles by swinging big. Well, they adjusted the distance on this one forcing you to grab the mops too, as a result it was far more difficult. I would have fallen off if this obstacle was any longer. This was an impressive obstacle. It wouldn’t surprise me if Twirly Bird had a 90% failure rate.

I was very impressed with this event. Good medals, nice shirt, and very involved owner as well. I have only two complaints: the first one is that there are really too many events at this venue, but I get that it is hard to find space near Boston, so this one is forgiven. Secondly, handing out full size bottles of water at aid stations is wasteful. Buy some Dixie cups. Everything else was righteous!

Savage Race, I’m glad you’re coming back next year, cows and all. I highly recommend this event. See you then!

Savage Race Chicago 2015

The 2015 Chicago Savage Race was held on the weekend of August 22 at Richardson Family Adventure Farms in Spring Grove, Illinois. This was an ideal location for race director Garfield Griffiths and his team to install all of the quality obstacles Savage Race is known for. Obstacles were evenly spaced over the mostly flat, 6.96 mile course. While turnout was lower than I expected, the atmosphere was great, and the comradery was instant the second I stepped out of my car. Mr. Griffiths and men’s Spartan Pro, Brakken Kraker, were greeting people and taking pictures.

Savage Race obstacles

Parking was in a grassy field and very close to the entrance. There were several volunteers directing drivers, making the $10 parking fee well worth it. There were restrooms near the registration tables, which were clearly marked. Several volunteers and staff members were stationed at each table to make the lines move quickly and smoothly.
Savage Race has two basic formats. Savage Open is just that. It’s open to run with friends, with no penalties for missed obstacles. Savage Pro is the competitive format where each racer wears a blue wristband. Instead of a physical penalty, Savage implements a mandatory obstacle completion requirement. If you don’t complete the obstacle, they take your blue wristband and you are disqualified from winning any age group awards.

The obstacles were quite demanding and left me feeling thoroughly tested. The “Teeter Tubes” are smooth, narrow tubes that are positioned like a teeter-totter. Racers must climb up the tube until it pivots down, and then crawl out. For a person with a large or broad build, this is a real challenge. “Block Party” is a test of strength. Racers must pull a chained, cement cinderblock across a field, then pick it up and run it back to its origin. My personal favorite, the always tough “Saw Tooth” is a set of monkey bars that is designed like the teeth on a blade of a handsaw. Climbing up, down, up, and down again while maneuvering monkey bars is extremely challenging. If you lose your grip, you fall into the water and start again.

Savage Race Sawtooth Obstacle

The course weaved through cornfields and forests, always taking 90 degree turns along the way to keep you guessing which obstacle was coming next. According to my GPS watch, mile markers were correctly spaced along the route. There were enough aid stations along the way to keep you hydrated, and I found the volunteers to be attentive and helpful. In fact, after falling off the “Nut Smasher” (a balance beam over water), the volunteer stationed there even gave me advice on a different approach, which worked perfectly for me. The mix of upper body intensive obstacles and get-on-the-ground and crawl obstacles were set in a way that really gave you a feeling of a total body workout. The “Me So Thorny” low crawl with barbed wire was set quite close to the ground. Volunteers worked tirelessly unloading bags of ice from a truck to keep the water in the “Shriveled Richard” ice cold. Participant safety was clearly on display at this event. They even had a diver stationed in the water for the “Davy Jones’ Locker” obstacle (think jumping off a high dive). Savage did a great job avoiding most of the pitfalls of a first-year venue race. I heard several racers say that this was their favorite race to date this year.

Savage Race ice bath
Savage Race Mud

For spectators and racers, the festival area was clean, open, and spacious. There were several tables and chairs set up near the sound stage. Music was playing for all to enjoy. I think some large tented areas would have been well received as it was a sunny, warm day, and there were no natural shade providers in the festival area. There were plenty of clean restrooms for the amount of people there. Results were available immediately upon race completion for those competing. This is fantastic since nobody gives out as many awards as Savage Race! Cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 Overall Men and the top 3 Overall Women.

If you have run a Savage Race at any location, we’d love to hear all about it. Click below!

Savage Race Review

 

Savage Race Pennsylvania 2015

I’m going to be straight with you. I really like Savage Race. I’ve done four of their events, three of which took place in the exact same location, and I have loved all of them. If you know anything about me you probably associate my existence in the Social Media OCR World with Tough Mudder (or trolling), yet you may be confused at the recent influx of pictures showing me and my wife tackling obstacles covered in blue paint sporting the Savage name. Since I am not a RACEist I will give my hard earned money to any company that puts on a good event and is relatively close. If I cross the 2.5 hour drive to another state barrier, well then it appears we have something special. Enter Savage Race Pennsylvania.

“You just listen to the words of the old Porkchop Express and take his advice on a dark and stormy night when the lightning is crashing, the thunder rolling and the rain falling in sheets as thick as lead. Just remember what Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, the poison arrows fall from the sky and the pillars of heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton looks that big old storm right in the eye and he says: ‘Gimme your best shot pal, I can take it!.” –Jack Burton, Big Trouble In Little China

I felt a lot like Jack Burton on the morning drive through the Pocono Mountains to Skirmish USA, the site of Savage Race PA. It was clear that my wife’s decision to sign up for a race when it would be “warmer” out backfired as the weather was calling for a high of 59 and rain. LOTS of rain. The first obstacle for many, including eventual race winner Ryan Atkins who toed the SavagePro start line with minutes to spare, was actually getting to the event. A road closing accident on one of the few roads in to the venue was closed with no indication of when things would clear up. Using my “mountaineering skills” I zoomed in and out of iMaps looking for roads that would connect and drove around the side of a large waterfront gated community and eventually found a side way in. Upon our arrival check in was smooth and we were treated to what was very clearly the most spectator friendly OCR set up I have ever seen. The festival area, kids course and all of the large scale obstacles were located in an open field with spectators able to view the majority of the obstacles. Colossus, Sawtooth, Nut Smasher, Davey Jones’ Locker, Shriveled Richard, and the new innovative Wheel World were all in short walking distance of one another. If I were to recommend one event to have people come and spectate then THIS would be it.

Savage PA

Now, if you are asking yourself how an OCR event can have almost all of their obstacles in a spectator friendly area and still manage to hit the advertised mileage of 5-7 miles there is a simple answer: Skirmish USA and Gnarly technical trail running. The majority of the running took place in the woods through heavily rooted trails, trails dominated by moderate and large sized rocks, stream crossings and enormous man made outdoor paintball structures. Picture yourself quickly navigating the technical terrain when you approach what appears to be the white castle walls of Minas Tirith (minus Legolas and Gimli). As you run through to the other side of the trail it becomes clear that is one of the coolest venues to hold an event at. In between some of the paintball “villages” were walls and various other obstacles to break up the trail running. They routed us in and out of the woods on numerous occasions to hit the larger scale obstacles in the open field so it did not have the feel of a trail run with a bunch of obstacles set up at the end for people to watch. In routing the course as they did, the achieved an entertaining event for both the participants and spectators while also providing technical trail running to keep the race fresh for both the SavagePro and Open racers.

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Things that are New:

1. Wheel World: This is the second showing for Wheel World and it did not disappoint. This obstacle is aimed at grip strength and managing your momentum. Spinning pipe wheels are mounted to the structure and the participant must cross the water while using their upper body to get across. It gets tricks as depending on how you shift your weight the wheel may spin you around as you reach for the next one. This is the first obstacle of its kind and from what I saw had a pretty high failure rate amongst open participants. This is a great obstacle and I cannot wait to do it again.

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2. Participants: At the beginning of every wave the start line emcee asked how many participants were doing Savage Race for the first time. Of the 3 waves I witnessed being sent out a large amount of people raised their hands as first timers. This was also evident as I overheard many people on course expressing how excited they were and how exhilarating the event was for them. As someone who does a lot of events I enjoy seeing new participants as it reminds me of how I felt at my first event. Additionally, having new participants makes for a much better after party. Even in the pouring rain.

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3. Sponsor: Savage Race was sporting a new sponsor named Nu Aquos. This is important because I believe new sponsors coming aboard the OCR train are an important part of the future and help enhance the experience of racers during the event and in the festival area. Having a rehydration beverage on course that tasted good was a huge positive, and who doesn’t like free samples?

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Wrap Up:

If you are new to Obstacle Course Racing and see that Savage is in town it is a no brainer to sign up. Dollar for dollar Savage Race provides probably the best race experience as their prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of obstacles they provide. If you are a seasoned Obstacle Racer and you haven’t signed up for a Savage Race yet?? Seriously, what are you doing? Sign up.

*Photos By: Savage Race, Skirmish USA, and Keith Allen

Savage Race Review Ohio

So you haven’t done a Savage Race yet? Why not? I have participated in over 60 obstacle course races and these guys are truly one of the Big 4. Savage Race came to Ohio, for the 3rd year in a row, on June 13 at Mad River Mountain Ski Area in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Participants numbered around 4,000. The weather was a typical Ohio summer day with lots of sun and temps in the upper 80’s. There were storms the night before and the humidity was through the roof. They got the distance up to around 6.5 miles this year but kept the start line the same, looking straight up the longest ski slope at the venue. This first quarter mile of going straight up a hill will jack your heart rate to incredible levels, you have over 6 miles left to go and will be back up that hill several times on other trails.

Savage 1

There were 25 listed obstacles and they were all spread out nicely. There were no long trail runs with all the obstacles near the festival area, like other races might do. They had all the standard Savage Race signature obstacles like, Colossus, Sawtooth, Shriveled Richard and Nuttsmasher, including last year’s introduction of Pipe Dreams. I love the Pipe Dreams obstacle. It takes a lot of upper body and grip strength and has an extremely high failure rate, especially when it gets wet.

Savage 2

New addition to Savage Race this year and introduced in Ohio is Spin City. Based on a Ninja Warrior and playground style obstacle, this thing was great. Consecutive bars that spin when you grab them, the key to this one is stay in motion and go with the flow. The elites went through with about 15% failure rate and the open waves had a 40% to 50% failure rate on this one. As with many obstacles in all the events this year, upper body and grip strength is key. This new obstacle was the brought to life from an idea of Garfield Griffiths, OCR veteran and new hire to Savage. Garfield gave a sketch of the idea to Go Native Gear, who completed the final design and fabricated it. Go Native Gear specializes in obstacle and Ninja Warrior design/builds for homeowners, races and gyms and is based in Cincinnati.

Savage 3

Another item unveiled by Savage Race at the Ohio event is their new sponsor. NuAquos signed a 3 year sponsorship with Savage Race to provide recovery liquids at the finish line. I have to say this is the best tasting sports drink I can remember having and it has added protein. This will be a great relationship.

The top finishers of the Pro wave for this event truly earned their accolades. Yuri would have to let us know for sure but I have to believe the Ohio course is the most difficult Savage Race, simply because of the terrain. This event marked Yuri’s 10th top Savage finish and coveted axe. Following are the top male and female finishers of the Pro wave.

Savage 4

In my humble opinion, Savage Race is the best overall event on the market. They have incredible obstacles that are true, massive obstacles. They challenge everyone that participates, as well as the elites. The course designs are very well spread out and portioned. They don’t stack obstacles on top of each other and simply send you on a bunch of trail runs. They have added a couple ‘heavy lift’ style obstacles but they don’t overdo it by throwing ridiculous heavy carries and lifts all over the course, this is an obstacle course race not a crossfit competition. The addition of the manadatory obstacle completion requirement for the Pro Wave this year has legitimized their events as qualifiers for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. The festival areas are always well thought and keep the participants involved with things to keep them onsite. I look forward to the potential growth of Savage Race across the country. The west coast needs to get Savage too.

As always, the best part of these events is the people you run with.

Savage 5

And then there was this guy ….

Savage 6

*Photos By: Savage Race, Kori Cioca, T. J. Shanteau, Juffrey Turley.