EPIC Series – San Diego – June 11

RobbField2016-211-LOn June 11th Robb Athletic Complex in San Diego hosted the OCR/Crossfit crossover event EPIC Series. This short {2 miles} course offered 33 different obstacles to overcome and was every bit as tough as advertised. Epic Series offered Elite and Open classes along with a second event the same day for Elites. After they punished you through their 2-mile course, elite racers could choose between a strength or endurance course for separate prizes. So, two events for the price of one for elites. The kids race, parking, and bag check were all FREE! Also spectators could cheer on their friends and family at no additional cost. There were vendors showcasing gear and selling food.  A D.J. kept everyone energized and on schedule with music and timely announcements. Upon completion of the race, each participant received a finisher’s medal and a free t-shirt. Women were offered the choice of a tank which was a nice change of pace.

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The course that everyone ran was segmented at most obstacles into Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice. Obstacles varied on the weights of the objects to be carried, the number of required reps, the amount of time required, or the height of the obstacle. Staggering heats every 5 minutes, athletes were instructed at the start to carry a large Epic Series flag for 400 meters around the field of obstacles in an oval, dropping them off back at the start line. This was the easiest part of the course by far. From there on it was hot and heavy on the obstacles. A series of several walls, including a couple inverted walls, to be climbed over started the obstacle parade.  Next, a very low and long crawl that left everyone dizzy led to the Epic Series’ version of the balance beam. Athletes were to balance on a crescent shaped series of pegs that were mounted to beams. The Elite racers’ beam was narrower and more flexible than the other two beams. What a unique way to make a balance obstacle! Up next for 15 reps was a box jump into a burpee. An Atlas stone throw (over the shoulder) and an over/under bar rounded out that leg.

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Racers then changed pace and went through an inflatable obstacle/slide to get back in touch with their youth. After a short rope climb, athletes were led back to the start line where a slosh pipe was to be picked up and carried while running around the 400-meter course and dropped back off at the start line. Another group of obstacles awaited that began with a timed plank, followed immediately by a keg hoist for reps and a strongman mainstay, Epic built metal pipes that needed to be flipped over 10 times. A short tire drag and an elastic band hop really started to make the misery set in as they then led you to a test of grip strength. Racers were instructed to carry 2 Jerry Cans while running once again around the 400-meter course.

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With traps on fire, athletes were sent to a timed wall sit and then straight into another peg balance obstacle! Epic then gave us a small break as we were set up with a bow and arrow that were used to hit a target twice before continuing on to another round of burpee box jumps and Atlas stone throw. The last thing Epic challenged you with was a final jog around the 400-meter course, all while carrying a keg on your back and shoulders. What an Epic Finale to the All-Levels Obstacle Course! Top 3 elite males and top 3 elite females were awarded trophies and swag bags for their achievement.

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But that’s not all! The event got even tougher for the Elite athletes who now had to choose between a strength or endurance short course where the obstacles were the same, but the weights/reps varied. A judge followed around each athlete on this course making sure reps were properly executed and counted correctly. Athletes started off being harnessed to a large truck to pull, followed up by a set of 10 on the military press. Drop that weight on the ground and on to the lunge for distance with a loaded bar on your back. Starting to sound tough right? Just wait. Drop the bar off your shoulders from the lunge and it was time to pick up a set of kettlebells for a 10 count step up onto a box. Now very winded athletes had to pick up an Atlas stone and throw it over a wall before then jumping over the wall for a set of 5. A farmer carry for distance followed this up and led to a barbell loaded up for 10 reps of a strict deadlift. A series of 3 Atlas stones of varying weight was up next all leading to a final 30-foot rope climb. The top 3 male and 3 female athletes on this separate course also were awarded trophies.

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I found the Epic Series to be an outstanding blend of functional strength and stamina all wrapped into one outstanding event. Always improving and making the course design better by actually walking around and talking to athletes is a great way to keep giving OCR and Crossfit athletes what they want. The swag was nice and the area was clean and well maintained. The only recommendations for improvement: first – expand the number of restrooms available, having only two meant there were long lines, and the basin filled very full; second, a bit more climbing, perhaps taller climbing walls or cargo net climbs. In the end, I found this to be one of my new favorite events. Based solely in Southern California, I’d love to see them expand to other parts of the US. Talks of finding new event locations are currently in the works. My conclusion is that if you like less running and more obstacles, with a variance in difficulty at each obstacle to allow all levels of athletes to challenge themselves, this is the race for you!EPIC Series San Diego - Archery

Photo Credits: EPIC Series and Jessica Lyn

Scott Brackemyer

42 year old Scott Brackemyer is a self described "Eliteish" racer from Dekalb Illinois. The father of four loves to travel with his family to races to spread the good word of OCR and living a healthy lifestyle.

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