HESCO BoneFrog Challenge Championship 2016 – Charlemont, MA

BoneFrog Championships - StartEarlier this year, Bone Frog Challenge announced that they would be putting on their first “Championship” series event where they would invite top finishers from their regional events, to compete in a “winner take all” event in the place where Bone Frog was born – Charlemont, MA. With entry numbers dwindling, the brass at Bone Frog walked back that announcement and transitioned back to a full featured event that all could register for. Could they put together an event on par with their past performance? Let’s find out.

Bone Frog grew to half a dozen events in 2016 – while other races were dwindling, Bone Frog is growing. For a race that does their obstacles and venues right, this is only good news for the OCR community. Finisher numbers don’t seem to be knocking socks off this year but with an improved social media presence combined with the signing of OCR UberNerd Dustin Dorough to emcee their events, they were positioned to make a splash up and down the east coast.

The year finished for Bone Frog right where it began – in Charlemont, MA. If you’re lucky, New England in October can be beautiful, colorful, and comfortably warm. We weren’t quite that lucky on this last weekend of the month. Temperatures barely tickled 40 degrees at starting time, which may be ok for some racers but that’s before you start plunging folks into ice cold waters.

Snow littered a brand new course for runners – each step, an adventure in balance and agility. Each obstacle, that much more difficult when your fingers don’t want to work. For the 66-ish runners lucky enough to choose the Tier 1 Race option, that means they’d be on both the 9-mile Challenge course before heading back out onto the 5K Sprint option – each with it’s own unique path throughout the day. Both of these distances pack a strong amount of obstacles in, many exclusive to this event – and both made sure that racers were waist deep in freezing cold waters early on, and then atop Berkshire East you were wading through chunks of ice as you navigated a second tormentingly cold pond.

The course did struggle at times to find itself. Figuratively and literally. Markings through the woods were few and far between which did lead to several lost racers during the day, myself included. One advantage to running in the snow? You quickly realize you’re off course because you don’t see anyone’s footprints in the fluffy white stuff as you forge ahead.

BoneFrog Championships - Course MapBoneFrog Championships - Black Ops

While it would appear that the draw of a Bone Frog “Championship” was not quite there this year, with under 700 racers attending this event, Bone Frog does everything right when it comes to their events. Adding details like identifying bands for Elites, to great swag, and a phenomenal home venue, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be looking to sign up for a 2017 race. They’ve debuted a new website, and next years brings even more new events in Washington DC, Texas, and Buffalo, NY.

BoneFrog Championships - Celebratory CupcakeBoneFrog Championships - Bling and Burgers

Personal Note: Nobody likes getting older. However, I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 37th birthday this weekend with some of the best people in the world – OCR people. Cheers to you all for being the best community around. PS. cupcakes at the finish line are as good as they sound.

HESCO BoneFrog Challenge Sprint Course – Atlanta Race Review

It’s quite an experience arriving at an OCR venue alone. This is the first race I’ve run without a buddy or two along for the ride and while that always makes for a great time, running solo did help me focus not only on my performance on the course but also the purpose of this particular event. This past Saturday, I took part in my first HESCO BoneFrog Challenge at Highland Park Resort in Cedartown, Georgia west of Atlanta. Proceeds from BoneFrog benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation which, in their own words, “provides immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare Community and its families”. Their goal was on my mind from the moment I woke that day and proved to be all the motivation I needed to finish strong.

My latest OCR adventure began with parking at the venue. I paid and was directed through a fairly wooded area already pretty thick with makeshift rows of parked cars. I got the impression this was unplanned overflow because the attendant to whom I spoke told me, “Just find a spot where you won’t block anybody in. It’s going to be tight today.” I was certain I would end up being the one blocked in when I returned to my car after the race. After pushing that fear out of my head, I headed toward the starting area. Because I wasn’t in the designated parking area, there wasn’t any signage pointing the way, so I just followed the sound of the music and P.A. announcements and ended up crossing part of the course to get there. Whoops.

BoneFrog Atlanta Festival Area

The starting area for BoneFrog was excellent; one of the best setups I’ve seen. There were large signs everywhere indicating the ever present stops at any OCR event: registration tent, bag check, beer taps, etc. I didn’t have to wait in line for anything (with the exception of the hoses for washing off afterward.) Everything was in close proximity to everything else and well laid out overall. Probably the coolest aspect though was there was a fantastic view of most of the sprint course.

BoneFrog Atlanta Sprint Course

The venue itself is primarily used for motorsports like racing dirt bikes and ATVs. Because of this, the majority of the entire sprint route could be viewed from the starting area. Running it was unique in comparison to other obstacle courses because of the constant switchbacks and hairpin turns. Despite all the running, it never felt like I was making progress from a distance standpoint. Even the shorter sections of the course that did go through the surrounding woods off the track remained in earshot of the music, which was strange because I think most people who run OCR associate hearing the D.J. with being near the end of the run. Additionally, it was dry, hard-packed dirt so running it felt more like a road race than a trail run. Finally, this place must have had other designated trails still open for motocross because the high-pitched growl of motorcycle engines was constant along the wood line and I saw more than a few riders fly by on trails adjacent to ours. It was all a bit disorienting and outside the lines of what I’d describe as the typical OCR experience, but those elements did bring some uniqueness and even what I’d consider new challenges to BoneFrog which I appreciated.

As far as the obstacles go, they were solid. Every structure was well-built and challenging though I didn’t see much I hadn’t seen before at other races in some form or another which a few exceptions. (Please note, I ran the shorter sprint course which was about four miles. The nine-mile challenge course ventured much further from the starting area, went deeper into the surrounding forest, and certainly offered more obstacles I didn’t even see. I’m looking forward to checking out the event photos to see what else was there and more importantly what to train for next time BoneFrog comes to Georgia.)

BoneFrog Atlanta Dirty Name

One of those exceptions was a beast referred to as the “Dirty Name”. I have no doubt it got this name due to all the cursing and swearing it generates from those who attempt it. I made it up to the second tier and thought long and hard about going for the third one before jumping to the ground instead. Without mincing words, I’m a short man and that top log was incredibly muddy and slick by the time I got there. I saw a good number of racers hang on for dear life, exhaust themselves, and ultimately fall before I made the decision to abandon it. I’m no elite competitor, just a weekend warrior out for fun, so no obstacle is worth injury to me. It was a good one and I truly hope I have the opportunity to attempt it again sooner than later.

BoneFrog Atlanta Rolling Thunder

Another cool obstacle I’d never seen before was called “Rolling Thunder”. It consisted of a long horizontal barrier with tires running the length of it. To successfully negotiate it, all I had to do was haul myself over it to the other side just like any other static barrier on any other obstacle course. At first glance, it didn’t look difficult at all. It only looked about six feet high and I knew I’d gone over taller walls without help. However, it didn’t occur to me that once I hit the tires they’d start rolling. Very deceptive…that little motion made the obstacle exponentially more difficult. It took me a couple of attempts but I managed to get over it.

When thinking about most of the other more common obstacles I encountered, I’ve come to the conclusion that my OCR performance is a lot like my golf game. I’ve done this enough times now to know exactly what’s going to give me trouble and cause bouts of frustration before I even get on the course. Further, nothing about that observation is going to change until I find time to practice specific skills more than I already do.

BoneFrog Atlanta Black Ops at Finish Line

I’m a three quarter monkey bar man. It seems no matter how long the set is, I make it about three-quarters of the way across before I slip off. Neither Black Ops nor either of the other hanging obstacles at BoneFrog was an exception.

For some reason, I can’t seem to climb a rope to save my life either. I managed to do it once at BattleFrog (RIP), but that seems to have been an adrenaline-fueled fluke. I guarantee there’s a rope climb going in my backyard very soon as I can no longer handle walking away from a rope climb without hitting a bell.

There are some really tall walls out there on some of these runs. I can get over six and eight-foot walls on my own without too much trouble but these ten and twelve-foot monsters drive me nuts. Like I said, I’m not the tallest guy in the world by a long shot and regardless of the teamwork attitude nearly every participant maintains during a race it always feels a little awkward to ask a stranger if I can step on their thigh or even their shoulder. I might just have to learn to get used to it.

BoneFrog Atlanta Cargo Climb

If I were forced to call out BoneFrog on any shortcomings, it would be a big stretch. There’s very little to criticise at all. Here are the relatively minor things I saw that could be improved for next time:

  • I found that my interactions with volunteers at each obstacle varied wildly. At the first wall, there was a kid chastising racers LOUDLY for using the wall support to get a boost. On the other hand, there were other obstacles where volunteers were very friendly and helpful. And, then there were those volunteers that said little or nothing motivational, critical or otherwise. So, the entire volunteer experience was inconsistent and kind of all over the map.
  • The wooded sections of the sprint course were well marked for the most part but they became extremely narrow in some areas and I don’t think any brush had been cut from the path in preparation for race day. I ran into a lot of tree branches and all sorts of other vegetation consistently.
  • In regards to broken trail marking lines, they really only became an issue at a small section of the course near the parking areas. It was hard to tell, but it seemed like part of the course crossed a dirt road very close to the lot and as a result, there were a couple of cars leaving the venue while runners were on the road at the same time. It was an extremely small section relatively speaking, but it could have been a potential safety issue.
  • While climbing up Black Ops near the finish line, I did hear a participant alert someone with the event staff that Dirty Name was unattended and needed to be for safety reasons. There was a volunteer at that obstacle earlier in the day when I reached it.

It’s my understanding that these last two items were being addressed immediately upon being reported. Nice response BoneFrog!

BoneFrog Memorial Wall

(Memorial Wall Photo Courtesy of BoneFrog’s Facebook Account)

Minor complaints aside, this was an excellent event and one of my best OCR experiences to date. My favorite parts of BoneFrog were the two obstacles included for the sole purpose of memorializing the SEALs and other military members who had lost their lives in battle in service to our country. Roughly half way through the run, every racer ascended a long incline referred to as the “Stairway to Valhalla”. At the peak was a Memorial Wall where anyone was welcome to pay tribute to any fallen member of the military close to them or to whom they held in high regard. The view from here was amazing.

BoneFrog View From Valhalla

As if that weren’t touching enough, near the very end of the course, a large wooden sign was posted listing the names of 31 heroes who died in combat. Before proceeding, every racer was directed to read a name aloud, do a burpee, and then repeat. I completed all thirty-one burpees but frankly those last few likely didn’t meet the Navy’s standards. Still, that obstacle and the entire race was humbling and one I’ll be feeling long after the soreness subsides. I could not be more pleased or feel more honored to participate in such an event.

BoneFrog Atlanta Finish

HESCO BONEFROG Challenge: The Original (and only) Navy SEAL Owned and Operated OCR

HESCO BoneFrog Traverse

Back in 2012, some Navy SEALs decided they wanted to create their own obstacle course race to offer racers an opportunity to challenge themselves. The idea was to have a Navy SEAL owned, Navy SEAL designed, Navy SEAL operated, Navy SEAL Foundation supporting organization that was all about challenging limits. BONEFROG Challenge was born!

Now, it’s no secret that Navy SEAL training is extreme. The SEALs are elite tactical military who are expertly trained to deliver highly specialized, intensely challenging warfare capabilities that are beyond the means of standard military forces. Read this as ORGANIZED – COMMITTED – SKILLED! And that is exactly how Brian Carney – Founder and CEO – approaches every race. Brian and the BONEFROG team painstakingly plan and execute every BONEFROG event and have methodically grown the brand from a single event in September 2013 to the 6 events planned for 2016. Is it a plan for success? If the Navy SEALs have anything to say about it…you better believe it is. BONEFROG proudly announced it’s new partnership with HESCO Group just the other day, and it’s a partnership that reinforces HESCO BONEFROG’s dedication to the SEAL ethos.


Press Release: BONEFROG Challenge is proud to announce HESCO Group as our new Platinum Sponsor, creating the HESCO BONEFROG. Based in the UK and the US, HESCO Group is a leader in rapidly deployable, earth-filled barrier systems. Renowned for their military force protection and flood defense capabilities, and recently launched ultra-light body armor for protecting first responders.

Brian Carney, Founder and CEO of BONEFROG Challenge, welcomes the partnership with HESCO Group:

“HESCO BONEFROG is truly a unique experience which will challenge even the highest calibre athletes as well as be welcoming to new OCR racers. With our 3 course options, we truly have something for every racer and our Navy SEAL-style obstacles are the best in obstacle course racing.  As SEALs, we have used HESCO products in Iraq and Afghanistan countless times, and these products have even saved some of our lives. For this, there is no better company for BONEFROG to partner with other than HESCO Group.”

HESCO Bonefrog Jumbotron


2016 EVENTS
May 21, 2016: New England – Berkshire East Ski Resort, Charlemont, MA
Celebrate Armed Forces Day with BONEFROG at their home course in Massachusetts. 9+ mile Challenge, 5+ mile Sprint, and Tier 1 races available. Prizes for all categories.

June 18, 2016: Atlantic City Sprint – Borgata Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
$15,000 up for grabs at this special event.  Sprint distance only – about a 5k. Read The Borgata’s press release about the event.

July 23, 2016: South Carolina – Carolina Adventure World, Winnsboro, SC
New venue…new opportunities to challenge yourself. 9+ mile Challenge, 5+ mile Sprint, and Tier 1 races available. Prizes for all categories.

August 27, 2016: Atlanta – Highland Park Resort, Cedartown, GA
New venue…new opportunities to challenge yourself. 9+ mile Challenge, 5+ mile Sprint, and Tier 1 races available. Prizes for all categories.

September 24, 2016: Orlando – The Park at WildWood, WildWood, FL
New venue…new opportunities to challenge yourself. 9+ mile Challenge, 5+ mile Sprint, and Tier 1 races available. Prizes for all categories.

October 29, 2016: Bone Frog Championship – Berkshire East Ski Resort, Charlemont, MA
Qualify for the Championship Heat at another HESCO BONEFROG
Take on the 6+ mile Championship course at BONEFROG’s home in Massachusetts for the final race of the season. MORE MONEY!

CHARITY
A minimum of 10% of sales goes to the Navy SEAL Foundation.  For the 5 BONEFROG events held in 2013-2015, $55,000 has been donated (that’s an average of $11,000 per event). BONEFROG is committed to giving back and actually follows through.  The CEO, Brian Carney, doesn’t take a paycheck.  The HESCO BONEFROG was created by Navy SEALs to challenge, build and inspire participants to become better athletes and recognize that they can do anything they set their minds to while enjoying the camaraderie and teamwork usually reserved for active duty Navy SEALs.

OBSTACLES
Based on SEAL training, the obstacles can provide a unique challenge.  For instance, other races might ask you to complete a memory challenge, but the HESCO BONEFROG has Mindgames – a repeat until success memory challenge (there’s no easy in SEAL training).  Other races might have heavy carries, but the HESCO BONEFROG has the Ammo Carry – a heavy, awkward to carry water filled ammo box carried for some distance (SEALs hump it in and out).  The Monkey Rings and the Gauntlet are also waiting for you, and HESCO BONEFROG is rolling out new obstacles for 2017 at the 2016 Championships in October.  You can bet the obstacle development team is giving their all for the new designs.

HESCO BoneFrog Monkey Swing
HESCO BoneFrog Raft Crossing

PENALTIES
With the bands vs. burpees debate, HESCO BONEFROG has their own missed obstacle penalties – calisthenics based penalties based on the muscle group of the particular obstacle. An upper body obstacle will have an upper body penalty, a lower body obstacle will have a lower body penalty – you get the picture.

PRIZES
Prizes are awarded to the top 3 finishing males and females in 6 categories – you read that right folks…36 awards every race day (with the exception of the Borgata Sprint, which is single distance):
Sprint Elite – cash and paddles
Sprint Open – paddles
Challenge Elite – cash and paddles
Challenge Open – paddles
Tier-1 Elite – cash and paddles
Tier-1 Open – paddles

HESCO BONEFROG is the only event I’m aware of that awards across such a wide breadth of categories.

So who is ready to race like a Navy SEAL?!

Bone Frog Challenge Discount Code

Bone Frog Challenge Discount Code

Bone Frog Challenge – New Jersey: Race Review

Stepping up to the plate this past weekend, only three years old, is the relatively new Bone Frog Challenge and boy DID THEY BRING IT!

Bone Frog Challenge - Kevin on the Black OpsAs the OCR season begins to wind down, finding a good race is sometimes a hard thing to do, but Bone Frog was definitely a good find. Built by Navy Seals, this course felt very challenging, especially if you opted to take the Tier 1 Challenge – which is both the 9-mile course and the 5K course, which was pretty much a shortened version of the full course. Filled with obstacles, I encountered both at Spartan World Championship as well as OCR World Championship, Bone Frog tested my resolve to finish the course. As a relatively new company with no big sponsors, Bone Frog is very much making an impact and a course, which I believe is hear to stay.

THE FESTIVAL
The festival was nice and a good place to relax before and after finishing the course. While the race was held at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, they had a merchandise tent as well as some other vendor areas. Mostly, they used the resources at the venue which in opinion is all a good race really needs. For completing each distance, you received a cool Bone Frog medal as well as a finisher shirt. One cool thing I noticed was that you received a different color shirt for finishing each distance which is not something you see at other races, at least the ones I have been to which include Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, Battlefrog, and Civilian Military Combine. Another cool aspect they have that I don’t see much of at other races is the Gym Challenge. In the Gym Challenge, you ran a course with a heavy weighted ammo box in which your team/gym had to carry throughout the course in addition to the obstacles on the course. More than that, at certain points along the course, your team would have to do certain challenges such as doing a cumulative set of 100 sit-ups with the ammo box on a few team members chests. Some of the other team challenges included additional push-ups, lunges, and squats.

THE RACEBone Frog Challenge - Billy under the wire
Now for the actual race itself. While I was impressed with the different obstacles they used, the course itself was similar if not exactly the same path as all the other races I have done there this past year. Obstacles were on par with those of the OCR World Championship, if not harder at certain points around the course. Below is my description of a few of my favorite obstacles during the race.

  • Rolling Thunder – 2 Horizontal beams 5’ high that are lined with low profile tires that spin as you jump over. Racers jump over the tires while the tires roll them back. Both tire hurdles are spaced 15’ apart so there is less room to run and jump for the second hurdle.
  • The Dirty Name – This is our version of the “Sternum Checker” that you see at other OCR’s however ours is authentic to the same obstacle that is at the Navy SEAL O’ Course in Coronado California. Racers navigate 3 logs that are at ascending heights and approximately 5’ apart. The lowest log is just above ground level while the top log is 9’ high. Racers jump from log to log and finally go over the last log, hang from their hands and drop safely onto the ground below.
  • Ammo Carry – This is what separates Bone Frog from other OCR’s. While most OCR’s these day’s have some version of a weighted carry, the Bone Frog Challenge has an authentic military style carry. Racers carry a .50 Caliber ammo can filled with dirt that weighs 70 lbs. Racers carry the ammo can a quarter mile while also navigating a low crawl that they must drag the ammo can through.
  • Black OPs – This is Bone Frog’s signature obstacle. This is the last obstacle racers attempt before crossing the finish line and it culminates what Bone FFrog is all about. Racers ascend a 15’ rope climb up to a platform. From there they jump up to monkey bars that are suspended 22’ in the air and angle upwards at a 2’ gradient. From there they cross 26’ of monkey bars before dropping onto another platform and descend down a large ladder to the ground. All of this is done while crossing in front of a 15’ x 15’ American flag. If racers cannot successfully navigate the monkey bars they will fall into the safety net below.

I would like to definitely single out that results were updated from the minute you crossed the finish line. It was great finishing and getting an unofficial result once I reached the timing tent.

Bone Frog Challenge FinishersMoving forward, Bone Frog plans to expand down south to Georgia and possibly a few other areas and then turn west in 2017. Bone Frog is currently looking for top tier athletes to join their family. So if you think you are tough enough, check out their website and sign up for their next race!

All in all, a great race with great obstacles but the festival could use a little bit more to keep racers occupied. I would suggest maybe a chin up competition or a rig to practice on.

Grade B

Bone Frog Challenge- New England 2015

I tackled Bone Frog Challenge in 2014. It was one of my favorite races, challenging but fun. So when it came around to running again? I was all for it. Word on the street that you were to forget all you knew about Bone Frog Challenge 2014, because 2015 was going to be a whole new animal. New obstacles, more challenging terrain. Let me tell you. They delivered. Navy SEAL inspired, Navy SEAL designed, and Navy SEAL run.

I arrived, running late, to Berkshire East where parking was a breeze, I was only a minute walk to registration. There were indoor bathrooms, always a plus, and a quick check in with same day registration to add on the Tier1 Challenge, which I sadly did not get to actually run. There were some awesome vendors, space for biggest team to set up tents, and food. I was shoving my feet in to my shoes as they played the national anthem, I ran to get in line with the Elite wave (I wanted the extra time to make it back for the Tier1 Challenge) and off we went.

I will admit, I was shocked, they didn’t immediately send us up the mountain. A little rolling hill action brought us to obstacle number one of approximately 50! Nice little low crawl through the mud and up a hill. As we worked our way up the hill, we came across more obstacles and lots of volunteers. I managed to get the tarzan swing, from platform to platform. Took me two tries and a bashed shin but I did it. Major win for me!

bonefrog 2

Since I was wearing Icebugs, I had to crawl instead of attempt to run/walk across the boats, but with a little assistance from some awesome runners to transition from boat to boat, this became much “easier” and was a ton of fun. It was about this time that I had firmly left the Elite wave behind and was engulfed in open wave runners. These runners were willing to help each other out, willing to accept help, were still smiling as they cursed the “Get your Grip On” obstacle of hanging handles to cross.

BFBoat

At different points throughout the course there were different SEAL based banners telling us about SEALs, charities, etc. It came in handy later in the course when we were asked questions about different banners we had seen. One of the obstacles was for 31 Heroes. For each of the 31 names, we were to read the name aloud, do a press with a Wreck Bag, and a burpee. This was not an obstacle for speed, this was a marathon obstacle. At the top of a super steep climb, was a memorial and memorial wall. We were invited to write names on the wall, to take a minute to remember our veterans, our lost troops, our family and our friends. All of these touches are what makes Bone Frog Challenge.

BFMemorialWall

As we continued to go up and down the mountain, over and under obstacles, people helping each other, we came to a section of trail running. The ground was almost spongy, helping to propel you down the mountain. It was here that I rolled my ankle, tweaking my knee, and slowing me from a run to a walk. While this didn’t prevent me from finishing the course, it did prevent me from going back out on course to do the Sprint as part of the Tier1 Challenge. Next year. Oh yes, next year!

bonefrog 1

All the volunteers kept telling us we were almost there, we were in the homestretch, and then, and then we could see the finish line. But wait. First? First we must do a carry up the mountain and back down before tackling a few more obstacles and then we were in the home stretch. The final major obstacle of the day is a wall climb with rope to a platform with far spaced, uphill, spinning monkey bars. Was amazing to watch people bust these out. Next year I hope to be one of them.

BFFinish

As we crossed the finish line, we were greeted by Navy SEAL veterans. This definitely choked me up a little bit. Was a great way to finish a great race. The medals were not just handed to us but placed around our necks. I was able to thank them for being there to support us but also to thank them for their service. I cannot wait for next year!

*Photos By: Dawn DiCecco, James Suller, and Bone Frog Challenge

Bone Frog Challenge New England Review

 

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On Saturday, May 17 I had the privilege of racing the 2nd annual Navy SEAL Bone Frog Challenge on the ski slopes of Berkshire East Resort. This was Bone Frog’s true coming out party and the message was clear: “Bone Frog is here and the big OCR brands had better step up their game.”

I won’t mince words when I tell you this race obliterates all. Without question, it was the best race I’ve ever run. I can’t remember smiling more during a race in the face of pain and fatigue.

Owned and operated by Navy SEALs, Bone Frog managed to assemble a mountain course with relative balance between climbing and obstacles and that tested both the upper and lower body. That is a rare thing to find. As it says on their website, “Would you rather tell your mom you completed a course designed by a Harvard MBA or US Navy SEALs?”

The 9.2-mile course featured between 4,000 and 5,000 feet of elevation gain, an endless flow of mud and 44 obstacles officially, although that number is lowballing it. The true number lay somewhere in the mid 50s. For example, one obstacle required competitors to hurdle a dozen chest high logs.

Later after climbing to the top of the mountain, competitors had to navigate an obstacle course that included a log hurdle, a rope climb up to a monkey bar traverse, a rope climb down, a barbed wire crawl, 3 walls (6, 7, and 8 feet), balance beams and another barbed wire crawl. According to Bone Frog, that counts as one obstacle.

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The ascents and descents varied as some required competitors to march straight up the mountainside while others wound their way gradually up the mountain, and there was no avoiding the mud, which was ankle deep in many places throughout the course.

The race also featured 3 uphill heavy carries. Early in the race a log carry, toward the middle a sandbag carry and at the end, an 80-pound tank tire carry.

The obstacles themselves were constructed sturdily and with great creativity, and included 4 different types of monkey bars and two floating bridge traverses. One of those bridge traverses included a snow machine blowing 85mph wind in the faces of competitors. The Bone Frog team also had the foresight to place 4 water stations on the course.

On their site, Bone Frog writes, “Our obstacles are designed to test your functional fitness with the same style obstacles Navy SEALs use to train for combat. You will NOT be electrocuted or covered in paint by the end of the course because this does not test you in any way other than humility.” I respect these guys more because they respect their participants.

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But it wasn’t just the race itself that Bone Frog did right. They put on a pretty impressive festival. The festival area lined the final finishers gauntlet, providing an excellent view of the finish as well as the log carry and a few other obstacles from earlier in the race.

Each finisher was awarded a medal in the shape of a Navy SEAL Bone Frog, which was hung around their necks by actual retired Navy SEALs. You could feel the military influence at this event, as SEALs and other military, both active and retired, came out in force. And it was no coincidence that the event was even hosted on “Armed Forces Day.”

Bone Frog CEO Brian Carney, who is a class act, a great American and holds the rank of Chief, knows how to organize a mission and lead men. He doesn’t believe in watering down his event. When you come to Bone Frog, you’re coming for a Navy SEAL Experience.  When you come to Bone Frog, you’re coming for a Navy SEAL Experience: Challenging obstacles, brutal terrain, and gut checking fatigue.  In only their second event, Bone Frog functioned as a well-oiled machine. It had a lot to do with the fact that it was staffed and organized by a team with a “whatever it takes” mentality.

Parking was easy, registration was organized and quick, and the swag bags were high quality, including a high quality T-Shirt, gift cards, some snacks and a free beer. Afterward, the festival offered $1 beers all day, relatively inexpensive food and a live band that kicked off later in the day to keep the party going. The festival area was of adequate size with tents from various vendors and plenty of free samples. And for those who needed to get out of the sun, access to the ski lodge was provided. 

The awards ceremony was quick and efficient, with the winning male and female receiving $1500 and the top 3 finishers for each gender receiving an engraved Navy SEAL paddle, which is a symbol of service awarded to a SEAL upon completion of active duty.

It was evident from start to finish that the Bone Frog team did their homework, had a plan and executed, just as you would expect from Navy SEALs. But the most telling thing about the future of Bone Frog was their interest in improvement as soon as the event was finished. Their entire team was seeking input, scribbling notes furiously as we discussed the course mile by mile. 

The men who run Bone Frog Challenge are seeking perfection. They don’t cut corners and they don’t settle for OK. This race has the potential to consistently be the best obstacle race around. Their next event is scheduled for October 4th in Staten Island, New York. You’d be crazy not to be there.

Magida Author Shot

 

David Magida is the General Manager of Elevate Interval Fitness and an OCR Pro with nearly 60 ocrs and numerous podium finishes under his belt. This is his first review for ORM

Editor’s Notes:

This and future Bone Frog Challenges are OCR World Championship Qualifiers. Read more about OCRWC here.

Nele Schulze reviewed the inaugural Bone Frog last September and gave it favorable reviews as well.