Superhero Scramble Unmasked

In the beginning

Superhero Scramble burst onto the OCR scene in 2012 with a race like many other races coming into the fold. They had challenging obstacles, a great festival area, and a well put together website and social marketing plan. In addition, they also introduced something which turned a lot of heads. Elite Team Racing. With the “Scramble Gamble”, obstacle racers for the first time had a chance to compete and win as individuals and also as a team. The race also promised prize money for the individuals and teams that placed in the top 3.

Leading up to their 3rd event, people were starting to take notice. Even the best of the best were willing to travel to a town they had never heard of to be a part of it. Spartan Race sent elite teams of men and women, including the most famous obstacle racer in the world at the time, Hobie Call, down to Waldo Florida in late July of last year.  Elite competitors and the everyday obstacle fan had a great time. They even had a night wave , which was another new element no one had seen before in OCR. Everyone got their winnings in a timely manner and Superhero was officially on the map.

Shortly after Waldo, Superhero updated their website and listed races all over the east coast. They also were going to introduce 3 different race distances, which was a successful model that Spartan followed. SHS also adopted the Spartan idea of a year long points series which was met with nothing but smiles from the community.

So a quick look at Superhero’s website was extremely promising. You’ve got a points series, 3 different race distances, and events popping up all over the place. They broke ground again by offering free races for life for the first 100 people who got their logo tattooed on their body. Tough Mudder only gives people a discounted rate on one race, so getting a “SuperTatt” was certainly the way to go if you wanted to get OCR ink.

Getting one of these got you free race entry for life.

Getting one of these got you free race entry for life.

People got those tattoos for more reasons than just the free race. People talked about what the race meant to them, how it got them off the couch, how the community they met at SHS changed them, and made them want to be a better person. The Superhero Lifestyle was taking over.

Things start to change

In January of this year, Superhero put on another event in their home market to almost 2500 racers.  Then, something surprising happened. Registration numbers went down for the next few races. Superhero, like everyone else in the industry was experiencing some cannibalization from all of the other races popping up. All of the major markets had between 4 and 8 obstacle races a month. Racers were still signing up for Tough Mudder, Spartans, and Warrior Dashes in droves but all of the smaller players were starting to suffer.  People love OCR but will they still do a race every weekend or even every other weekend? Can they shell out that much money? Can they be away from their jobs, families, and other obligations that often? The future of the sport still looks bright but who is going to be left to enjoy all the spoils?

The CEO of Superhero Scramble wrote a blog where he determined producing a race costs somewhere between $132k-$420k. If the average race registration is $80, this puts the break even point at 1650 participants on the low end of that spectrum and 5000 participants on the high end.  Superhero’s Georgia race had just under 1000 participants. A month later, a central Florida race had just over 800. The event numbers for the next Superhero races ,according to their own website, went like this: New England, June 8, 1500 people. Carolina, 3 weeks later brought in 742 racers, then TriState NY brought in 557 a few weeks after that.  The next two races on Superhero’s schedule did not happen. Ohio was cancelled due to low registration numbers and Illinois was postponed until October. According to Superhero, they postponed Illinois because the course had poison ivy issues. However, one source close to the venue told us that SHS had less than 700 participants signed up for the scheduled date.  Some in the industry were suggesting the poison ivy gave them a great reason to delay the race and push for bigger numbers.

Time to get paid

Superhero had promised podium payment in 60 days from the time of the event.  Around the time of the NY race, money was due to those who had won in the Scramble Gamble for Central Florida.  Athletes began to email SHS looking for their checks (Obstacle Racing Media which had sent teams to compete in the last 4 races, was one of the teams that was owed).  Racers were complaining that several emails to Superhero about payment were not being answered. When answers finally came, they came with varied responses.

“We have had setbacks but plan to get them paid as soon as possible” was one response. Another email said “Ask Spartan winners how long it takes them to get paid?”.  When a commitment for an actual date was asked, the response from Superhero ranged from “as soon as fiscally possible” to “it may take up to 180 days”. One response said “We are days away from raising the capital needed” When ORM brought it to Superhero’s attention that we were writing this piece, an email went out to athletes that read “Your winnings from Superhero Scramble Central FL are being processed and you will receive them within one week.  We spoke with several racers and there was no mention of the other past due race money owed. As of this writing (6 days after the last email to to owed athletes) none has received any winnings for Central Florida (90+ days), New England (60+ days) or Carolina (60+ days). These race winnings total just over $27,000 when added together.

A similar tone of late payments was being heard in a Superhero Promoter group on Facebook. Superhero promoters get a $5 referral fee for every person that registers for a Superhero race using a specific code. Several were asking where their payments were. A few told us that originally, Superhero paid these referral fees within 2 weeks of a race. Lately payments where in the 60 day plus range, and even then, they came only after several emails were sent to SHS requesting payment.

The current SHS Schedule

The current SHS Schedule

Right around the time of the “it may take 180 days” response, Superhero posted to Facebook that along with the regular podium winnings, they were now offering an additional $20,000 to be paid out to the top males and females at year’s end.  Superhero also revamped their race calendar.  Some of the races for 2014 went away while new locations and dates were popping up. Somehow Superhero which was losing money (based on the numbers by their own CEO’s blog post), was now going to venture out to Dallas, Southern California, Ohio, and Denver, Colorado. Some in the industry pointed out that adding races and additional payouts seemed odd considering the current amounts owed, and the recent low registration numbers.

What went wrong?

ORM began to investigate some of the people who were close to Superhero Scramble in an attempt to get some answers. The first person we spoke with was Robyn Goldman.  Back in 2011, four friends, Robyn, Sean “Ace” O’Connor, Steve Kneiser, and Ryan Summers did a Warrior Dash together and decided they wanted to put on a race of their own. Armed with lots of local contacts and a passion to build a better mousetrap, the put on their first event near Boca Raton where they all lived.

Robyn told us shortly after the first event, the honeymoon was over.  She told us time and time again that Sean was always quick to “point out that he was the CEO, but  [Sean] thought that meant ordering others around and never doing grunt work.” She spoke at length about his treatment of employees and volunteers being less than fair. She watched a “pattern of behavior that I was not comfortable with and I decided to leave the company”.

Shortly before the 4th Superhero Scramble which took place in January of this year, Robyn told Sean she wanted to leave when that event was over. A contract was drawn up and signed by both parties that her buyout amount would be $32,500. Weeks after the event, the money had not materialized. She said that Sean went back and forth between ignoring her emails to writing things like “We are working on it and will get it to you as soon as we can”.

After 6 months of waiting, she had enough. Along with frustration about her own situation, she was tired of hearing things about Superhero not paying their bills. “I have been hearing about workers and athletes not getting paid” “All the while,  Sean constantly posts pictures of his adventures and his “awesome” life and giant meals he is eating. It’s disgusting  It’s about time people see who the real Sean is”.  To date she has still not seen payment and seeking legal action.

Steve Kneiser also left the company shortly after joining because he did not like what he saw.  He was not comfortable speaking at length on the subject but did say “I think there is a right way and a wrong way to treat employees and volunteers and that is the main reason I no longer work for Superhero.”

We spoke with several others who echoed a similar tone. One former promoter told us “My experience when I promoted the race was nothing but poor work ethic from a person who takes advantage of people. Yet, people that support obstacle racing don’t see this side of him because he portrays himself as a caring person”

More Unhappy People

Chad Krezmian is a general contractor. He was hired on the first 3 Superhero Scrambles as their chief obstacle builder. He told us that from the very beginning, things were not going as they should. “I told Sean (O’Connor) the number of machines it would take and the number of men it would take to get the job done correctly.  He insisted on squeezing dollars so we were asked to do the job with less men and equipment than was needed.  Our workers had to stay longer than was originally budgeted, which I was never paid for. I didn’t mind so much on the first event because this was the first race and we were all figuring it out. Plus it was a lot of fun doing this new, unknown thing and making it work”.

When I asked Chad about the second race. He said it was “more of the same”.

“This time though our guys had to travel, so I told Sean that this would cost more to house and feed the crew. He assured me that meals and hotels would be taken care of. Most of the time they weren’t. So I paid those costs and was never fully reimbursed for them.  By the end of it, I didn’t even want to talk to him because Sean believes he can cheat anyone.”

ORM asked Chad directly what he that he was owed in total from Superhero in unkept promises. He said it was in the “$13,000-$15,000 range”

Another former sponsor of the race told us “Things started out great, but it went downhill after the first race. Superhero wanted to charge us for things no other company or race had charged us before.  They started out great, but it became constant money grubbing”.

Making Super Friends and Super Foes

In our research, we did find several who enjoy working with and support Superhero Scramble and will continue to do so. They empathize with the company  and talk about how hard it is for Sean and his company to keep everything going in the current overcrowded OCR market. One current promoter said “They put on a great race and are really doing everything they can to get caught up. Another one told us “I believe Sean will eventually pay. I know him personally outside of Superhero and he is a good person”

Meredith Robinson thinks very highly of Sean O’Connor and Superhero.  She is the director of sales of Amesbury Sports Park which was the venue for the New England Superhero Scramble back in June. She told us “I have no complaints about them. They paid everything in full prior to their event, which includes a sizable food and beverage guarantee”. She told us she will work with SHS again in 2014 at Amesbury and another location she manages in Georgia.

One person who will not be near a Superhero anytime soon is Leigh Rush. Leigh won the Georgia Superhero Scramble back in April and was thrilled to win money in a sport she loved. She then entered the next 3 Superhero races placing 3rd, 1st, and 3rd respectively. She was also on the first place team in those 3 races which means she earned $3,750 over 4 races. She did receive the first $1,000 as promised right around the 60 day mark. However, several emails were going unanswered. Finally, she got an answer with the aforementioned  “180 day payment” reference. This prompted her to send an email to Superhero to let them know how disappointed she was.

Leigh Rush at one of several Superhero podiums.

Leigh Rush at one of several Superhero podiums.

In the email, she referenced several things which upset her. The email told Superhero certain things that she felt needed to be fixed.  She made reference to things like delayed start times and stricter obstacle penalty enforcement.  The email went on to infer that by not keeping their current payment promises but promoting large payments, Superhero was duping people into doing their races. Here is the response she received from Superhero:

“Again, we have communicated that all winners will be paid as soon as fiscally responsible. We have started paying winners this week. We have seen and heard about your posts pertaining to Superhero Scramble. You are forcing us to pursue legal action.  (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Libel+and+Slander.) You are not only harming us, but you are harming the sport, community, and ultimately yourself.  If we see or hear anymore defamatory posts we will be forced to ban you from any future Superhero Scramble’s and you will lose eligibility for any future prize money.”

In the process of putting together this story, we contacted Mr. O’Connor and requested we have a phone call in order to directly ask him about the claims above. Those requests were denied. However, within a day of our last request, several Superhero Scramble race participants forwarded us the following email:

Attention:  It has come to our attention that an inaccurate story regarding Superhero Scramble and its management/founders is being prepared for publication through blogs, websites, and various channels. A variety of methods of distribution have been described to us, many of which allow posting under anonymous names, fictitious names, and false names.  The sources of this inaccurate information are already known to us, and we have engaged attorneys and advisors to assist us in combating this situation.  There are laws and regulations in this nation and its various states that will provide us with methods of seeking legal solutions and compensation for libel and slander, and we intend to pursue those vigorously, targeting all those responsible.
It is sad that this sport which so many of us have helped to nurture, is plagued by those who seek the cover of “journalist” or “statements of opinion.” We know that sometimes statements of opinion are just prejudice in disguise.

This sport that we all love so much is what will suffer the most.

This is a matter of principle, and we intend to exert our rights, and pursue anyone associated with misinformation and lies.

Please feel free to communicate with us directly if you have any information or comments on this situation.

Respectfully,
Superhero Scramble

 

Editor’s Note-An update on this story was written in February 0f 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.

Comments

  1. Do you think an article like this does any good for the sport and community??
    Lots of incorrect info in here…it’s a shame you can’t trust what you read.

    Matt,I also was never given an opportunity to speak about anything. In fact, you never replied to my last 2 emails.

    • Ace if you replied to email I am sure this would have never been a thought to write,,,

      I know for a fact I have tried to email you and have received no response
      worst part it was an email initiated from you and you still couldn’t respond when I gave you details…

    • I am glad I read this article, I will not be entering any of ther races and will stick to the Tough Mudder and Spartan Races, they do not have the complaints and I have enjoyed their races the past couple of years.

  2. Wow, it’s a shame that ORM has been motivated by malice to write such an obviously biased and one sided story.
    ORM has proved itself no better than a trashy grocery store tabloid with this article.

  3. Chris Nanke says:

    WOW. Interesting article.

    Is the reply above the actual race leader for superhero? Did he really ask if the article was good for the sport and community?

    I think it is. I found it to be balanced. It’s simply stating facts about the what is happening to racers and partners associated. If I was a strong competitor, I’d think twice about racing if I knew I might not get paid.

    With all the races starting to fail, and people being left high and dry on registration fees, I want to know when there are things happening that might affect me as a member of the racing community.

    Mr. Ace, you can’t just say, “lots of incorrect info here….” – What is incorrect? Can you prove it? Are these racers that haven’t gotten paid, paid?

    It feels weird to read that an email was sent threatening a racer who was owed money with a lawsuit. Why not use that lawsuit money to pay the racer and make all the negativity go away?

    oh well, none of it affects me, I’m slow. But the story was good.

    • Every point that is negative is misleading or false. Winners have been paid since we started, and yes some payments are delayed but that was communicated to everyone involved. Have you ever been late on a payment?

      • Mister Gor says:

        OK, so anything that could be interpreted as negative is either false or misleading? Gotcha.

        • SUPERHERO SCRAMBLE says:

          We want to first thank all of our supporters. We want to let you know that we aren’t going anywhere and we can’t wait to see you at an event soon!
          It’s sad that our sport which involves so much positivity is being harmed by negativity and inaccurate and false publications. It’s even worse that this article is fueled by the author’s personal agenda. Matt Davis is owed money and he surely doesn’t like that. He also is Spartan Race’s cheerleader (Spartan Race wants us gone) and has applied to be the host of their new TV show coming out.

          Every negative statement or point in the article is misleading or false.
          1. The numbers for each race are incorrect. The Scramble Gamble participants were left out.
          2. Ohio was POSTPONED due to a crew that was beat up and equipment that needed to be replaced after our entire team dealt with weather related incidences 4 events in a row. From tropical storms, heavy rain and winds, to one of our workers being struck by lightning.
          3. The Midwest event was postponed due to the 1,000+ people that got poison ivy at the same venue Spartan Race hosted their event at. At the time no one knew what the cause of the itch was but we knew we had to avoid more people getting it. Why would we delay a race 45 days? Delaying a race causes more problems…more costs, transfers, more headaches
          4. We have always paid everyone on time in the past. All emails about delayed payments were answered. This is a business and every business has accounts payable and receivable. Every business has its ups and downs. We let people know we would pay them as soon as fiscally responsible.
          5. Robyn and Steve were asked to step down because they weren’t able to fulfill their responsibilities and commit the time needed. Steve stole $8,000 from the company along with tools. Did he mention that? Did he mention that he was working with us which is against his contract with Heineken?
          6. Robyn isn’t owed any money because an agreement was never made to buy her out. She is an upset ex-employee that feels good talking badly about us.
          7. Chad , a previous contractor isn’t owed any money. He also made calls as a GC as to what we could and couldn’t do to get the job done within a budget. Chad did however go over budget many times without communicating that to us, and then tried to stick us with large bills. He also may be upset we didn’t want to pay him an absurd amount to travel the country with us as we expanded out of Florida.
          8. .Maybe you should publish Leigh’s crazy emails she sent us before posting just one of the many responses we gave her. Calling our company a “scam” is far from being accurate.
          9. Requests to speak with Ace weren’t denied. Ace requested that things be put in witting so that there aren’t any inaccuracies…which there are clearly many inaccuracies in this article
          Finally, We hope that all future articles can be better for the sport and community. Why are we wasting energy on negativity? We put on some of the best races in the world and we are on a mission to changes millions of people’s lives through the sport.

          • Mister Gor says:

            “Everything that guy just said is bullshit.” I liked it in My Cousin Vinny, and I also like your use of it here.

          • I can’t say that I know one way or the other what was really going on between employers and employees, but when a company identifies itself and then goes on a child-like rampage, I question the legitimacy of those statements. You can’t say “Haven’t you ever been late on a payment?” when you’re a business and expect people to put their trust in you. And when you say “It’s hurting the sport” you sound like a corrupt politician trying to dodge a question. How is this hurting the sport as a whole? Tough Mudder is still doing fine. Warrior Dash is still (somehow) doing fine. Savage Race, which started in Central Florida, just started expanding this year and seems to be doing great. What it’s really hurting is YOUR company and reputation. As an unbiased third party who enjoys these events, almost signed up for SHS (and encouraged friends to sign up for it), and as a teacher, I feel the need to tell you that you’re only making yourself look worse.

          • Ha ha ha! I haven’t had a good laugh in a while.

            This article has cited at least 6 or 7 sources. Can’t help but wonder how many more would be willing to speak the truth.

            This whole scenario? It’s a crying shame.

          • Mike Sneed says:

            I paid for two people in the GA. races in 2014 and they’ve been canceled. I’m still waiting on a refund if all is still well?

            Thanks!

  4. Really Ace, incorrect Info? Your just being a bitter betty because someone finally called you out on your BS. I CONGRATULATE Matt B. Davis for writing this article and letting the public know what a scammer you & your company really are. YESSSSSS!!!! It’s about time the truth came out!

  5. Vinnie Rubino says:

    This is very accurate to my experience with employment at the Central FL event in Clermont. Myself, three guys on my crew, and two of his own guys walked off the build two days before the event. We were lied to and treated like animals while Sean sat in a hotel room in his boxers trying to figure out how to keep his scam going. I hated having to leave because of my love for the sport and the OCR community, but I couldn’t let my team or myself work in the dangerous and inhumane conditions we were exposed to. Three guys on the build had near catastrophic accidents, we worked 18 hour days, and the night before the news photo-op we worked until 1:30 AM, being fed a half of a PB&J sandwich for dinner. Sean was on site for a total of maybe two hours for his PR fix, and wasn’t back until the day we walked. The bullshit goes on and on and he can continue to threaten me with lawsuits and lawyers, but people have the right to hear what goes on behind the scenes.
    At one point in my experience I was asked by Sean to wrangle a team and motivate a team to build SHS. He and his buddy Josh put on this whole song and dance in their motel room (in his boxers, on the bed) and it was totally scripted and I even noticed a couple of cues they were giving each other. When I turned down the position and explained that I’d be leaving after we built the course, they begged me to stay and begged me to “fix” their company. How is it that a motivational speaker like “Accccceeeee” can’t motivate a team to work together? I tried to explain to him that if he showed up on site and got his hands dirty, helped out a bit, that his team would see he cares and is willing to lift a finger, and that’s all the motivation we’d need. He replied saying he was CEO and that he had to be other places, and that I don’t understand how his business works. I told him that clearly his business model doesn’t work and perhaps he should rethink that mantra. He thinks he’s Joe DeSena and that he can loaf around in his boxers while four suckers build his course for less than minimum wage with no safety regulations or direction or support from the company.
    Sean, you can deny it all you want, and claim this only hurts the OCR community, but you have to understand that YOU were the only disgraceful experience I’ve ever had in my entire OCR career. I was respectful enough to not go on the record for this article, but when I received the threat email and read this exposé I had to say something.
    I’m sure I’ll get people talking shit about me, and honestly those people are the side of OCR that Sean is feeding off of.

    • Vinnie, You gotta love your imagination.It was nice for you to come to the NY event…especially after your hard times.

      • Vinnie Rubino says:

        Not my imagination Ace. Trust me, you in your boxers is an image I’d like to erase from my memory. You have a funny way of hiding behind positivity. It’s only good when it’s genuine. I used to look up to you, when I only knew the “Ace” everyone else knows, but after seeing through you I have to kick myself for falling for it.
        As for showing up in NY, I still will run your races, but only because I have the tat and am curious where you are “taking the sport” with your race.

      • Tom Worthington says:

        Vinnie came up to NY to support me. I traveled down to FL to run the Tough Mudder with him and he returned the favor by joining me for my first Superhero Scramble.

  6. Vinnie Rubino says:

    And for the record, why would I make any of this up and lie about a company whose logo I have permanently tattooed on my leg?

  7. This article is nothing but propaganda. If ORM wants to draw traffic and conversation about its own entity, posting information that is not only inaccurate, but 100% false seems to be the direction that they must go.

    Also in response to Chris: I don’t believe that just because someone has the ability to read a few paragraphs of someone else’s words which may or may not be factual, gives enough information to make a judgment on a situation in its entirety.

    As Eddie said, it’s an “obviously biased and one sided ‘story.’ “

    • Mike Santos says:

      Josh, who is it “obvious” to that this story is one-sided? I’ve never run a Superhero, but I’ve heard a lot about them, and planned to run when it comes to either SoCal or to Arizona. Just because a few people affiliated with Superhero are here to say that the story is false doesn’t mean that it is. I know a number of racers who were just wondering in the past week or two about when they might finally get paid. So is Superhero Scramble saying that every racer who was waiting for a delayed payment has now been paid? If not, then this story isn’t “100% false” like you claim.

      Ace, you asked if this article does any good for the sport. OF COURSE IT DOES! If ANY race doesn’t pay their athletes in a timely and professional manner they should be called on it, and that includes Spartan. But this isn’t a story about what Spartan is or isn’t doing. So don’t use that 6yr old logic of “if I’m in trouble I’m gonna tell what my brother did.” I hope for the good of the sport that Superhero gets caught up on their race payouts. The more races that can pay winners, the closer this sport comes to being legitimate.

  8. Todd Sedlak says:

    When you basically lift another company’s entire business model, karma does the rest.

    • Tell that to Burger King. It’s not always about creating something new, it’s about innovating and building off of something that may already be established and giving the masses a choice. It’s been proven time and again, with more choices it’s the participants that ultimately win.

  9. Vinnie Rubino says:

    And Sean, you had an opportunity to speak your side, but instead you spent that time sending out an email threatening lawsuits on innocent people who had nothing to do with this article, which proves that you were fully aware that it was being written.
    Please stop using the OCR community as your bodyguard. You are responsible for your own actions and can’t hide behind your facade forever. You are the poison in the OCR well.

  10. Ermenegildo Montoya says:

    One thing I don’t understand about this whole issue, is how people can refer to Superhero Scramble as a “SCAM” or “BS” I have personally ran 5 of their races. If they were indeed a “scam” as they are being accused of wouldn’t these events never have happened?? All of the races seemed pretty legit to me with free photos, lots of branded tents/signs/etc, merchandise, big ticket obstacles and challenging courses. Granted some could have been organized a little better with the volunteers and later waves being as good as earlier ones, but overall these races were among the best around. No scam race that I have ever heard of had any of these elements. As to whether or not they have been late on bills, this seems to be an internal issue that I believe most businesses deal with on a daily basis. Shouldn’t be too much of a shock that their exist Account Payables over 60 days.

  11. You say that payments were delayed. No race director should put on a race without having race money ready to go. Have I ever been late on a bill? Yes, but I’m not profiting from my late payments and when I fall behind I stop spending money until I catch up.

  12. It’s unfortunate. More and more I find I will never do another OCR brand other than Spartan and Civilian Military Combine. I like the timing and obstacle penalties as well as the courses for Spartan and enjoy the feature of the Pit although I wish they had tougher obstacles with penalties aaociated.I have done both a Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash and would recommend the brand but find Warrior Dash too simple (was my FIRST) and Tough Mudder Once done I don’t feel the need to do again. I have been tempted to sign up for other OCRs but my trust factor has been shattered after the Hero Rush fold. I am a FF and was looking forward to an event that seemed like it was great fun. You are urged to sign up with huge discounts as early as a year before an event and make travel plans to have them pull the the plug and leave you cheated. It’s unfortunate I am sure there are some Great people putting together some great courses with tremendous ideas but the risk reward is not worth it to me.

  13. SUPERHERO SCRAMBLE says:

    We want to first thank all of our supporters. We want to let you know that we aren’t going anywhere and we can’t wait to see you at an event soon!
    It’s sad that our sport which involves so much positivity is being harmed by negativity and inaccurate and false publications. It’s even worse that this article is fueled by the author’s personal agenda. Matt Davis is owed money and he surely doesn’t like that. He also is Spartan Race’s cheerleader (Spartan Race wants us gone) and has applied to be the host of their new TV show coming out.

    Every negative statement or point in the article is misleading or false.
    1. The numbers for each race are incorrect. The Scramble Gamble participants were left out.
    2. Ohio was POSTPONED due to a crew that was beat up and equipment that needed to be replaced after our entire team dealt with weather related incidences 4 events in a row. From tropical storms, heavy rain and winds, to one of our workers being struck by lightning.
    3. The Midwest event was postponed due to the 1,000+ people that got poison ivy at the same venue Spartan Race hosted their event at. At the time no one knew what the cause of the itch was but we knew we had to avoid more people getting it. Why would we delay a race 45 days? Delaying a race causes more problems…more costs, transfers, more headaches
    4. We have always paid everyone on time in the past. All emails about delayed payments were answered. This is a business and every business has accounts payable and receivable. Every business has its ups and downs. We let people know we would pay them as soon as fiscally responsible.
    5. Robyn and Steve were asked to step down because they weren’t able to fulfill their responsibilities and commit the time needed. Steve stole $8,000 from the company along with tools. Did he mention that? Did he mention that he was working with us which is against his contract with Heineken?
    6. Robyn isn’t owed any money because an agreement was never made to buy her out. She is an upset ex-employee that feels good talking badly about us.
    7. Chad , a previous contractor isn’t owed any money. He also made calls as a GC as to what we could and couldn’t do to get the job done within a budget. Chad did however go over budget many times without communicating that to us, and then tried to stick us with large bills. He also may be upset we didn’t want to pay him an absurd amount to travel the country with us as we expanded out of Florida.
    8. .Maybe you should publish Leigh’s crazy emails she sent us before posting just one of the many responses we gave her. Calling our company a “scam” is far from being accurate.
    9. Requests to speak with Ace weren’t denied. Ace requested that things be put in witting so that there aren’t any inaccuracies…which there are clearly many inaccuracies in this article
    Finally, We hope that all future articles can be better for the sport and community. Why are we wasting energy on negativity? We put on some of the best races in the world and we are on a mission to changes millions of people’s lives through the sport.

  14. Anyone who has ever ran a Superhero Scramble clearly knows that the race and the organization are legit. I have known Ace for over 10 years and have worked with SHS on a full-time basis since March. I can personally attest to the quality of both him as an individual and the company as being top notch. I left a six figure corporate VP position to join the SHS team (taking a drastic pay cut) because of my love and passion for OCR and the community and the positive impact I saw that SHS was making as an organization. Like many companies, their exist challenges in managing cash flow, this I do not deny. But unlike many companies, the positive impact we are having in countless people’s lives is truly unique and inspirational. To even change one person’s life for the better makes everything worth it. But to have the opportunity and medium to change thousands of people’s lives is priceless. Even if we have to endure being bashed by those that may have a hidden agenda.

    What people may not know is that SHS is a startup company. And like many startups we face a lot of tweaking and fine tuning in order to create the best possible product and experience for our customers. We are not funded by Reebok or some large private equity firm. Rather we are funded by the very people whose lives we are trying to make better through OCR–our participants. It’s a tough market out there, but rest assured we will continue to do our best in order to bring the OCR community a world class caliber event.

  15. I am very sorry to hear all this negativity, liable and immaturity. As for my son being a scammer and cheater…He was not raised that way and has always been a leader and made things happen with hard work, dedication, commitment and integrity. There are three sides to every story. I know personally that Robyn and Steve did not fulfill their obligations and chose to or were asked to part. Robyn made a conscious decision to go in another direction with Lulu Lemon and Octavio and Steve did in fact steal money and tools and was in conflict with Heineken. I am disappointed in this acting immaturely and trashing what she and Sean dreamt and built. What does this accomplish but hurt not only Superhero but the sport. Matt, I do not know you but do you really call this piece of garbage journalism and in any way helping the sport you supposedly love and work in? In my opinion this is not about Sean or Superhero but a personal agenda and I am very disappointed to read all this trash, negativity, slander and false accusations. I stand by Superhero;s mission to offer the best race there is and change lives and make a difference. Build it and they will come and they do. Again…this is all sad and immature. If you don’t have anything nice to say..Take it privately, get the facts, treat others how you would like to be treated.

    • Avid Mud Runner says:

      Did you teach your son to pay the people he owes money to on time? If so, you may want to talk to him about it again because he seems to have forgotten that life lesson.

    • Christian Griffith says:

      @TKOT

      I so very much wish that I was writing this as Cranky.

      Regardless of such lost opportunity, its probably a good idea to remind everyone that this is public “commenting”, and you never know who is really who, or who’s making up, or setting up, email addresses just to be heard, …or a million other weird behaviors people can sometimes possess.

      Just keep that in mind.


      Christian Griffith
      {{{maybe}}}

    • Contractor says:

      I know for a fact that Superhero has owed a contractor in Boca Raton, FL over $12,000 that is nearly 4 months days past due. Were talking about allot of money that Superhero Scramble is being taken to court on in which superhero will not respond to any emails or calls.

      How can someone run additional races and not pay people for the job that was completed months ago. This person has a family and needs to the money to live. Its Scam and shame that this company can go on like this.

  16. Here we go.

    ORM is a media outlet. Hence, they reported on a story, citing sources who were prepared to put their name to their quotes, and as the comments have shown here, they are prepared to defend them. What exactly do people *think* ORM is here for? The article is just fine.

    SHS owes people money – this is provable fact. The money may be coming, but it’s still overdue. My Credit Card company would be pissed if I promised them a payment, and didn’t actually pay it. The fiscally responsible way to handle it would be to pay them, and stop advertising bigger and bigger pay outs – clearly, they can’t afford to pay the athletes who have already run gambles – to say nothing of all the other claims this article brought up. All the talk of rescheduled races and replacing broken tents / obstacles etc – my credit card company wouldn’t take my excuses if I was late either.

    The OCR world is super competitive, and Hero Rush have shown that even events that put on great races, with great parties and great causes and do all these amazing things still have bills to pay at the end of the day – and when you can no longer pay the bills, it doesn’t matter how many lives you change, or motivational posters you share – you go bankrupt, and it happens *fast*. On fairly good authority, I heard Hero Rush went under in *weeks*, not months or years. It would also be a good idea for someone at SHS to get a good social media person on staff … this is no way to handle a publicity crisis …

    My advice to anyone looking at spending money on going to an OCR and competing at a high level – buy refundable plane tickets. Spent an extra $7 at Active to insure your ticket. This advice is for anyone traveling to a SHS, a Spartan Race or a Tough Mudder – all of who have rescheduled and cancelled events, leaving elites and weekend warriors stuck with travel plans they can’t use.

    I’ll race another SHS, quite happily – had a blast at the two I’ve done – but my entry will either be insured, or at a cost I can eat – same as with any other OCR I race these days, local or national.

    But hey, what do I know …

  17. My name is Thomas Mills, Founder of The Hero Within Foundation & Superman Walks Project. Many athletes out there know me for being a right leg amputee and wearing a Superman Costume. My organization takes challenged and non-challenged individuals to Obstacle Course Races to help them discover new things about themselves. We inspire, encourage and touch the lives of thousands of racers across the country.

    I am writing a comment today in regards to this article. I personally do not know the people who are owed money nor do I intend to debate the validity of the article. I am merely posting today to give you my side and my personal experiences with Sean Ace O’Conner, Josh Kallan and Superhero Scramble
    .
    I have personally been at 4 events. The first event was Dalton, GA. some of you might remember Matthew Pizzuto, the first subject in my project was at that race. I arrived the morning before the race and spend the next 17 hours helping them set up for the race. Sean, Josh, myself and many others were out there in the freezing torrential rains building the SuperSlime Slide and running water out to the water stations at 3am the morning of the race.

    I was impressed by their work ethic and dedication to ensuring a good race for all participants. Sean himself was out there ensuring the kids race was set up and putting up flags and seeing to many details of the race set up.

    The next event was Amesbury, MA. Once again, the night before the race we were out there working. I flew up the week before the race and personally stayed in Sean & Josh’s hotel room. Hour after hour both of them were on their computers until the wee hours of the morning updating websites, responding to HUNDREDS of emails, managing so many aspects of the race it would boggle the mind. For those of you who believe there is an army of people working on this, please think again. A skelleton crew works on dozens of job titles trying to pull off a race for the participants to rave about. Yes the boxers in the hotel room is true. WTH do you or I care what these men do in their hotel room when they are working, eating or sleeping. Seriously people, leave the boxers out of this.

    The night before the race the tropical storm blew in and trashed the field, washed away the ground where many obstacles fell or were unsafe. Thousands of dollars in damages to tents and material. Nevertheless, the work crew, Sean, Josh & I were out there until 3am still setting up tents, flags, running water out to stations, etc. BTW it was also so cold steam was rising off our bodies as we worked.

    There was not sleep when we got back to the hotel, Sean and Josh both were on their laptops (in their boxers) updating all the racers that there would be a delay and responding to emails and updating the website.

    My next encounter with SHS was the South Carolina Race. This time I went up 2 weeks early to help with the race set up. Now please keep in mind I do not work for SHS, I have volunteered my time to help Sean and Josh with their race because they have bent over backwards to allow me to bring my subjects to their races. They provide discounts to my team mates to join SWP for the work that I do.
    South Carolina was the same thing. Maybe when others look they see Sean and Josh sitting somewhere on the phone or on a computer and imagine, “it must be nice”. Sean and Josh have trusted me with information that they do not share with the racers. I have seen financial data, cost, problems, etc. I have watched $25,000 worth of damages to tents and merchandise due to mother nature deciding to whip up a storm. I was standing under the SWP tent when the massive SHS tent, purchased solely for the racers to have a place to stand under out of the sun, get lifted up into the air and slam down destroying it. BTW Josh Kallan was not in some hotel room or air-conditioned office. He was standing under that massive tent when the 35 foot pole was ripped from the ground and came inches from his head and the massive tent collapse on top of him, because he was out on the field helping with the race and got under the big tent with everyone else.

    My next event was the NY event. Josh Kallan personally called me up to ask if I was planning on going. I explained I had the Ihop project and needed to fundraise and plan for the trip. Josh offered to pay me for my time helping them up there so I could fund the Ihop project. I went for 3 weeks and again watched as 2 tents were destroyed and a third came close to being destroyed by the high winds of the mountains.

    I say all of this merely to give you all perspective that although many have stated negative things and some positive things. I just want you all to take a step back and consider for a moment that although there may be problems, there may be sortcomings, there may be monies owed, I for one believe in what Josh and Sean are trying to do with their race. I know both of these men have integrity. I know if there was a pile of cash just sitting around for use that there would be no one complaining about debts. I ask you to simply consider what no one sees behind the scenes and take with a grain of salt that which is said our of anger.

    Sometimes we all need just an extra day or two to catch up in our own lives let alone a company that has suffered massive losses and are still trying to make good on all commitments. Take this how you will, I only speak for my part and what I have experienced & observed. I have also found that sometimes things do slip through the cracks. I am a one man show to SupermanWalks with hundreds of emails, FB messages, and daily calls that mount into the dozens. Things can fall through the cracks. Give it a little time and you will find that in 2014 SHS will be more than previously imagined with nothing but good things to rave about.

    Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. If anyone would like to speak to me directly feel free to call me at 561-797-0104 or email Tom@SupermanWalks.org.
    Keep it muddy my OCR Brothers & Sisters.

  18. Anyone who has ever ran a Superhero Scramble clearly knows that the race and the organization are legit. I have known Ace for over 10 years and have worked with SHS on a full-time basis since March. I can personally attest to the quality of both him as an individual and the company as being top notch. I left a six figure corporate VP position to join the SHS team (taking a drastic pay cut) because of my love and passion for OCR and the community and the positive impact I saw that SHS was making. Like many companies, their exist challenges in managing cash flow, this I do not deny. But unlike many companies, the positive impact we are having in countless people’s lives is truly unique and inspirational. To even change one person’s life for the better makes everything worth it. But to have the opportunity and medium to change thousands of people’s lives is priceless. Even if we have to endure being bashed by those that may have a hidden agenda. What people may not know is that SHS is a startup company. And like many startups we face a lot of tweaking and fine tuning in order to create the best possible product and experience for our customers. We are not funded by Reebok or some large private equity firm. Rather we are funded by the very people whose lives we are trying to make better through OCR–our participants. It’s a tough market out there, but rest assured we will continue to do our best in order to bring the OCR community a world class caliber event.

  19. As a newbie, reading those comments makes me want to quit all together. What kind of company responds to an attack in such a high school mamner. I was waiting for I know you but what am I. I have zero confidence in shs after that response. A carefully worded response of direct fact and future promise would have eleviated some of this but “she is an angry ex employee”??? Immature unprofessional and demoralizing

    • Yo Momma! says:

      Absolutely! Took the words right out of my mouth (or key board in this case!). Now his daddy is responding defending his kid? Can I get Mom’s opinion and maybe his 2nd grade teacher? Clear signs of a lower tier organization. Lends so much credibility to the story.

      Based on the comments, it sounds like the Superhero Scramble is a good event for the average person. Although, I’m not running for money or signing up for any reason other than the fun of running the race. I’m glad I don’t know these people and/or ever have to work for these people. I’m also glad they don’t owe me money. These people are a mess.

      I also will be shying away from this race…too much drama (did you really threaten legal action and then have your daddy write a character reference on this site??? #dumbfounded). And, let’s not forget, on any given weekend, within a 2 hour drive, there are usually a couple of similar events. It appears that Superhero Scramble wants to cash in like WD, TM or Sparty. That takes leadership and business acumen. FAIL!

  20. tom kelly says:

    Did the first SHS with kids this year, enjoyed the NY event. Hope this is a case of confusion, misinformation, and personal issues, and not the begining of the end. If there is another scramble in my area I will attend with my kids, insured.

  21. I don’t approve of the way Walmart does business, but I still shop there. Nike used (or still uses?) child labor/sweatshops in some of the poorest countries in the world, and I still buy Nike gear. Therefore, even if the business model needs work, I will continue to run their races, as I like their product.

  22. A very strange factor here seems to be the overly personal nature of the points and interviews made here…if anyone out there has ever had disagreements in business with someone, then that person was interviewed after…would they really be so accurate or fair in their story?

    I know as a Volunteer that has been onsite at multiple events, I see Sean working to points beyond exhaustion while still showing a supportive and friendly energy to those around him. I know he puts his heart and more into this company and the races and only ever aims for it’s success. I know there are thousands of die-hard fans who feel the same. When did OCR news become like the tabloids in going after individuals? And seemingly just as unfair and one-sided?

    Hopefully people can look past such a personal article and see Superhero Scramble as the outstanding race that it is, that is going through it’s journey of growth while already having carved it’s name out as being an absolute TOP event. They have done so much good and have worked hard to support all positive efforts of the OCR community, while setting the bar high at their own races. This is undeniable. None of it has been easy I’m sure…so I hope people support them for who they are and what they represent within the community.

  23. Michael J. Deater says:

    Well this really tops it all. I have sucked up as much information as I want to get out of this article.My son races all these races. You all know him as Panda. He has talked to me about not getting paid and is willing to wait but still complains. He knows that some of the races have been low on turnout. The NY race was a great race it was my first and I loved it even though it took me 4 hours. We went up the day before to take a look and he introduced me to Ace.I just had a minute or two to talk with him and he seemed pretty intense on getting everything finished.I did a little observing and asked him how costly it was and he did say he was paying quite a bit more then usual and I could understand that since everything had to be brought up to a remote ski area. I can understand the low turnout since the first site in NY was cancelled that put everything in an uproar.I am sure many people had tickets and reservations. A cancelled event like that will put a big ripple into finances.Let alone the fact that Chicago was put off.More people with tickets and reservations.This is a business which is still in the start up mode and many kinks probably still need to be worked out. To all you cry babies about not getting paid. Try working a year with all kinds of overtime and not getting paid for a total of 4 months. Complaining because you worked 18 hours. Give me a break if you don’t like it just quit and stop complaining(well you did quit but are still complaining).Did any of you even stop and consider the pressure Ace is probably under to keep this whole thing going. I mean yea everyone has a right to be upset but give it time and just maybe it will all work out and if it doesn’t just write it off and move on.

    • I believe that your employer is breaking the law, you should really consider filing a case with the Dept. of Labor.

      • Michael J. Deater says:

        Obviously you don’t know much about the law.

        • Not paying employees for work performed is a violation of the federal Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act and state minimum wage laws, as well as breach of contract between employee and employer. Please note that I’m not actually a lawyer and have never played one on TV. However, I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    • Avid Mud Runner says:

      Seems like people are mainly upset because Ace makes sure he gets paid and is out having fun while the obligation to pay them gets put off. The race winners in particular put in EXTRA cash for the chance to compete for winnings. Why do they have to wait so long? These people are customers, not employees, and have the right to be upset. They have the right to be upset because they didn’t work for Superhero Scramble, they WON THE RACE and weren’t given their earned winning. Ace chose this as his career.

    • Vinnie Rubino says:

      Being the guy that quit and is complaining, I’ll chime in on that. Michael, I personally know your son, and in no way mean any disrespect to you or Deater, but I did shut up and tried to let it roll off my back until I got that threatening email from SHS, completely unprompted. Clearly by being one of the few targeted individuals who received the email (the second one cited in the article), SHS was acknowledging that they did something unethical to me and anyone else who may have received the same email. Would you let a threat of a lawsuit used as a scare tactic roll off your back?
      Yeah, I bitched about working 18 hour days, and shitty conditions, but I think you’re missing the point…if this is how the people working for him are being treated (and I promise you, we are all die hard OCR enthusiasts, with a deep passion for the sport and the community), how much can he really care about the rest of the OCR community?
      I know SHS does a lot of good, I’m one of the people who it helped, but when you get a taste of what really goes on, it leaves you wishing you hadn’t taken the one little bite. I don’t wish negativity on the race itself, nor do I want to turn people off to running one, in fact I still bring first-timers to SHS, I simply felt I have a right to tell what I went through rather than be bullied by a failing CEO who can’t man up to his own promises.
      The great and powerful Oz, hiding behind his curtain!

    • Mike Santos says:

      Michael Deater, you are OUT there. “if you don’t like it just quit and stop complaining.” I had a job like you described. I quit, filed a complaint with the labor board, and got paid back wages.

      Everyone is under some kind of pressure. But no creditor (competitor) who is owed money gives a crap about the pressure that any debtor (race promoter) is under. What about the racers who paid to travel to this race on the promise that they would get paid if they placed top 3? Are they not under pressure to pay their bills? I bet the people they owe money to don’t really care about the pressure that Ace is under.

      Like I said before, I hope that Superhero can get it together. I’ve heard they put on good races and I hope to run one. I also believe in giving a newer company some extra time to get caught up on bills. I have no idea what SHS drew for their Tri-State event, or why the turnout was low. I CAN tell you that Spartan was able to put together consecutive weekends for their Tri-State event that drew more than 14,000 racers. Maybe Superhero needs to invest more time/money on its social media marketing to get the word out.

  24. The idea behind Superhero was a great one in the beginning. Its a shame that it derailed and turned into this. You can have a great idea but if you treat the people who work with you, for you, your business partners, sponsors, etc like crap, then eventually it will catch up to you and it has. I’m glad this article was finally written. Everything stated is true and that’s the bottom line. No matter which way you slice it or dice it. There are even more examples that I know of that weren’t detailed so you can only imagine. Its been going on for a long time. It’s important for people to be aware of businesses they are supporting and their actions. Superhero promotes this positive philanthropic mission statement, but their business dealings are anything but. Now if you read the article and just don’t care and still want to do their races then go for it. However for other people, after reading this, they may now at least know the truth and spare themselves from getting a superhero tattoo (feel sorry for those people…lol) and stop supporting them because it isn’t right how they handle their business. My recommendation, go find another race to do. I could go on but I think the point is made. As far as Sean goes, he brought this all on himself and he knows deep down that’s the truth.

  25. Nano aka Bearded Viking says:

    When a bird is alive.. It eats Ants.
    When the bird is dead.. Ants eat the bird.
    Time & Circumstances can change at any time.
    Don’t devalue or hurt anyone in life.
    You may be powerful today but remember
    Time is more powerful than you!
    One tree makes a million match sticks..
    Only one match stick needed to burn a million trees.
    So be good and do good.

  26. Avid Mud Runner says:

    A lot of people are saying this is an agenda to damage Superhero but if it was I think ORM wouldn’t be allowing Ace’s comments through. Seems like they are giving everyone a fair shot at commenting on the article.

    • Vinnie Rubino says:

      Avid,
      Good point! It also says a lot about a company’s integrity when they seek out and remove any inkling of a negative comment on their FaceBook page. I know people post less than perfect reviews for their races on the SHS FB page, but I also know that they are quickly removed from the page. I understand having to keep up appearances as a business, but to say that an article like this hurts the OCR community is no different than allowing only biased reviews of your events on your FB page. Ace can preach all he wants about “integrity” and “false accusations”, but to me it sounds like he has gone into ultra-defensive mode, expecting anyone who read this article to turn off all sense of reason and pick a side.
      This isn’t about taking sides or trying to take down SHS…its about awareness and protecting the OCR community from tyrants like Ace. After my experience I posted on FB about what had happened, hoping to prevent it from happening to anyone else I care about in the OCR world, and unfortunately by doing so I was treated to lots of trash talk and eventually removed the post out of respect for the people who would benefit from running a SHS. Over the past 3 months I was asked repeatedly to go on record for this article, but I was reluctant to fuel the fire. When I received the e-mail threat last Friday, I had a change of heart.
      If Ace and SHS want to bully the people who supported their race with lawsuits, so-be-it, but they can’t expect us to stand by and feed into their lies and BS excuses. It seems like the list of rebuttals they posted are a list of lame excuses. They blame the weather, the venues, ex-employees…pretty much taking absolutely no responsibility for what they have done (or haven’t done, i.e.- paying winners). I worked on one of the “last 4 races” where they claim the weather was a huge factor…..besides the 100 degree temps that week, the weather had no affect on the race itself. They can keep saying that they are the victim here, but posting a list of “reasons” for not paying your winners is a cop-out! Perhaps Ace should have skipped that mani/pedi he posted a pic of on his FB yesterday and instead use that money to pay out one of his winners.

  27. Wow-Reading this I can’t understand why people like Octavio are being brought up. Sean’s mom talks about tools being stolen. Like really??

    Get outta here!!

  28. Even if the multiple sources in this article MIGHT be fibbing, there’s a few undeniable truths are no way ‘he said/she said’.
    First, the key to starting a business is having capital. If you can’t pay your racers their technical prepaid winnings, you’re not solvent. You shouldn’t be selling tickets for future races to afford past.
    Two, race attendance is dwindling, that’s a fact. I’ve personally been to a race where I’ve had front row parking and I’m no early bird.
    Third, make peace with as many people as possible. The OCR community is very small and word gets around. If you have to part ways with founding members, pay them their share so they didn’t work for free. If you hire vendors, pay them for services render. If you have agreements with gyms, honor those agreements. If people win your races and have pictures of themselves holding giant checks, make sure they receive the check they can take to the bank.
    There are many races to choose from, but after this article, and more specifically the kneejerk response in the commentary, ensures I’ll spend my money at races that have a good reputation.

  29. Bearded Viking knows what’s up.

  30. SEIZETHEMUD says:

    And for those of you looking for a discount to future Superhero Scramble events, use the promo code SEIZETHEMUD and save a few bucks!!!

    You can also find discounts for other events at https://m.facebook.com/SeizethemudPromoCodes?id=237784269693132&viewtype=public&__user=816098748

    #SEIZETHEMUD !!! 😉

  31. First let me say I ran the SHS in SC and had a great time. Some things I noticed was a low turn out, volunteers that were still at their posts past their scheduled run times and ropes on the wall climb up the back of the super slide were broken so we just climbed up a ladder.

    Personally I wish SHS success because I want to run all their distances to become a Superhero Legend.

  32. Dan Staples says:

    Here’s what I don’t get. If Matt and all these guys are owed this money, why go with a public shaming? If SHS is struggling then that article could easily be the nail in their coffin. And if they file for bankruptcy, noone gets paid. These people should be quietly taking legal action and hoping SHS survives long enough to pay them. There has to be another side to this story.

    • Really?!?! You expect people to go to court and spend additional money on court fees to get back their rightful winnings of a few hundred dollars, ridiculous. There’s a saying, you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

      If I was a winning, I would do the same thing, blast the company for not being solvent and cut my loses. We’re not talking about lottery winning, which makes not being able to pay small denominations even more of a red flag.

      Honestly, I’ve heard about their poor business dealings way before this article, but this is something that should be said as SHS ventures into new markets with unsuspecting participants.

      • Dan Staples says:

        What I am saying is that this article does nothing to help the people who are owed money. If anything it hurts their chances of ever getting paid. I have a day registration, a night registration and two Superhero Kids registrations and I can’t wait to use them. Matt’s article is intentionally sabotaging a business that he himself painted as struggling. By posting this he is screwing not only podium finishers but also regular Joe OCR fans like me. If the article succeeds in killing SHS which is clearly its intention, then we all lose. This is the portrait of irresponsible journalism (coming from a Matt Davis fan) and I hope Matt takes a hard look at it going forward lest he become the Geraldo of OCR.

  33. Ok, I’ll bite. Exactly how does an article that is reporting statements (factual or opinions) hurt the sport and/or the community? Are the statements flattering to this particular company, no. However, they are just statements and everyone that pays their entry fee and laces up a pair of muddy shoes is an adult free to make their own judgements based on their experiences not just what they read.

    That being said if the sources in the article are all being spiteful ex employees, ex vendors , or race winers then it will become evident in the future as time goes on from how the company responds with actions not comments. Proof is in the pudding or in this case on event day.

    Speaking as a member of the “community” I do not feel harmed or wronged in any way because of an article. It is information gathered in an organized fashion about a subject that is a recreational hobby of mine. Again, we are all adults here and are free to draw our own conclusions. One should not feel as if their statements factual or opinion should be kept to themselves based on the fact that they might have a negative tone.

    My guess is that 98% of the readers or this article will still race with this company. I have two registrations already on the books and have no intention of asking for a refund. Now if something unforeseen happens and the company does go under I will not feel duped or blindsided as I was given the opportunity to back out and chose to stick with them, but at least I was given the opportunity to hear the thoughts of some people close to (or formally) the company.

  34. I am attesting to the fact that Superhero was formed from a dream – a passion to offer the best race while changing lives and making a difference. That still stands. Have they had learning curves, less than committed staff and volunteers that don’t show, terrible weather…Yes…but they persist and stand by their mission. You can attack Sean or anyone else for that matter. Bottom line is, he has worked hard- endlessly and til exhaustion to bring the best race out there to you, continues to implement a system that works. Somethings are out of his control – weather and other people…I know he does not think he is better than anyone else and is always looking to help others. Is this a business yes. Do they have losses, yes. Come on people, think for yourselves. Put yourselves in someone else’s shoes before you attack someone’s integrity and purpose to what end?. Oh, I suppose I forgot, you never had troubles and are perfect. Really…remember what Superhero is all about. The awesome races they put on no matter what and are dedicated to making the best race out there for all- to effect change in lives and make a difference. I stand by Superhero and Ace and their organization.

    • Good intentions might be there, but you can’t put together a large organization by being a tyrant.

  35. I would just say you need to take this opinion piece for what it is, opinion. The writer is associated with a competitor, so bias is inherent. The Carolina’s race was awesome & I already signed up for next year & GA villain. I would say if you’re racing in these events to make money, caveat emptor. That’s a very minute portion of the participants yet you are the major complainers & whiners. The vast majority of us running this series enjoy it so quit trying to destroy it. Spartan, TM etc need competition or you will see jacked up prices & fewer choices. Spartan wants that monopoly but most OCR racers do not.

  36. About an hour before I first read this article yesterday, I received a call on my mobile phone from Superhero Scramble. At first I thought it was going to be a survey about the race. Then I thought they were going to ask me to help promote the race from a grassroots level — become a member of the “street team”. I was surprised when the purpose of the call was to ask if I were interested in buying in to the company — to become a shareholder/part-owner/investor.

    After wishing them luck, I pretty much hung up on the caller (as I do with any telemarketer – I am in no position to invest).

    Then I said to the two people in the room what the call was all about and said: ” I guess that company is not going to be around much longer, which is too bad because I liked their races.”

  37. I’ve run plenty of superhero scrambles. I know ace, eddie, and josh.
    I won a payout in GA for 2nd place team. The check was late. I don’t care.
    I’ve been to some superhero scrambles that were late to start or had low turnout. I don’t care.
    I hear a bunch of people complaining on this page about long hours and harsh conditions… I STILL don’t care.
    Everyone needs to grow up and stop acting like babies. SHS is a scam? If you live in florida and you have done as many races in the last year as I have you will know what a SCAM looks like.
    Armageddon Ambush: Scam
    The Challenge: Scam
    Most other small OCR: SCAM
    these are all events that lied to the PARTICIPANTS and took their money and didn’t fulfill THEIR promises. SHS has never not followed through on a promise to the participants with the exception of maybe being late on paying payouts to winners which i really see as a small issue in the grand scheme of things.
    Hobie Call and some of the big competitors still list SHS as one of their top/favorite races…. big scam.

    ORM keep doing what you do. keep people accountable. report what you hear/know.

    SHS keep doing what YOU do. put on a great race. brush the crybaby’s off. see you at your next race.

    Everyone complaining here: grow up

    • Vinnie Rubino says:

      SHS is a “scam” in the sense that they are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Opening registrations for races a year out to bring in revenue to build the next race is not a sustainable business model. Even more-so, cancelling/postponing races which people have paid for and offering no refund, but only a transfer (with fees attached), puts that burden on the runner. For someone who “cares” about the community, he is only making it worse for the participants.
      As for SHS delivering what it promises…I ran NY, and I didn’t see a lot of the obstacles promised. They advertised water pits under two major obstacles, not present. They advertised slime on their signature “Slime Slide”, not present. They advertised a party atmosphere after the race, not present. They advertised cash prizes for top finishers, not present. So don’t say SHS hasn’t made promises they didn’t fulfill. Trust me Mike, I wish I hadn’t taking the chance to work for them, cuz I’d be as oblivious to the truth as you are. Ignorance is bliss.

      • Every one of our races is different and the water pits were not used under the ring cross and balance beams because it’s nearly impossible to excavate the top of a mountain without dynamite. This was a decision I made as the course designer. I thought it would be cooler to put the obstacles on top of the mountain without a water pit rather than at the bottom with water. I heard mixed reviews regarding it, but most thought it was pretty cool. We had well over 20+ obstacles, some of which I intentionally switched locations as our course map was not meant to be released publicly prior to the event. I changed the course and the obstacles from the map the day before to keep the element of surprise, which for me, is part of the fun.

    • After reading this I wanted to throw a quick note out there since you included some new races in the topic where I know the people personally.. I personally know the Owners of The Challenge and of Armageddon Ambush and don’t think they are in it for a scam, they both seem to sincerely want to put on good races. I just wanted to voice my opinion of their personal merit and not adding to any dialogue of the actual race events themselves if you know what I mean, that I leave to others to decide, and I am not intending to debate in this forum 🙂

      And I also support and LOVE SHS 🙂 Thanks!

  38. So, who was the first to come up with the idea of three different race lengths? Spartan or SHS?

    • Lubo… aren’t you a competitor/company as well. Dirt Runner? You really shouldn’t be stirring pots.

  39. To me, this isn’t so much about who’s complaining and who needs to grow up. I doubt that SHS management are thieves or that this is a scam. Instead, this is merely a reflection of the economic and business reality about SHS and other obstacle race companies in a completely saturated market. Most of these guys about about to go under. I’ve see the decline in registration numbers firsthand. Question is, WHO will fail, WHO will survive and at what rate this will happen. I’ve seen a list of 175 obstacle race organizations. With most putting on a series of some sort, I would estimate this is 1000-2000 OCR events in the US. In 2014, I anticipate a much smaller number. Good luck, everyone. (And for those employed in the industry, start polishing up your resumes.)

  40. Amazing company with amazing people led by a conflicted person.

    I love what SHS stands for. I love what they do for our community but promises have been broken. I hope we can learn from this and rectify these errors by seeing some fantastic SHS events in the future. I want them to succeed. Their success is kind of a big deal for this fledgling sport.

    As for Sean, they say skill brings you to the top but it is character that keeps you there. I hope he can learn from this and grow stronger. Otherwise the old MLM-touting Sean will continue to leave people high and dry while posting pictures on Facebook and videos on his youtube touting his lavish and adventuresome lifestyle. Whenever dealing with an MLM person, always be skeptical. Even his investment opportunity slides are riddled with inaccuracies and over exaggerations. With any business, there will be ups and downs. I sincerely hope the negativity from this down can be turned into positive momentum.

  41. You are dealing with ppl who are broke and running and MLM scam. If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck…..

    • Bill G.P. says:

      I would imagine that you’re about as ignorant of a person as your statement is. What do you look like? We already know how you act. Maybe we should judge you based on that? It seems that’s about as relative as your statement is here. Broke people? Where do you get your information? This is an article, Vincente. Agree or disagree with what is written, but this type of comment is a waste of time to post and to read.

  42. I have to agree with vinnie. After traveling and working an event for shs (NY) I’ve realized how cheap they are. They are upfront with what there gonna pay there employes which is only around $1000 for 2weeks or more worth of work. Not much but i absolutely love ocr and want to help it grow.They did pay for gas but some meals weren’t payed for like promised. We worked WELL over the “expected” hours Sean said we were gonna work which brought my pay down to about $6 hour if you do it per hour. Took 3days after being there to get any machinery. He does not help setup the event unless its last minute, the night/morning before. I hope they stay in business as I will be working at there next event in Chicago however I talked to spartan employees and they get paid over $2000 per event which is more then double what shs pays there employees. They definately need more cash flow and to pay the athletes owed

    • Also some volunteers who signed up to volunteer and run the same day could not because they were stuck at obstacles on the top of the mountain well after the last wave went off

      • Ivan,

        I must admit that I have enjoyed reading this entire thread of posts, and individual perspectives on issues that may or may not directly impact them. With that being said, you sound like a very confused individual and this is the most contradictory post I have read thus far. You state that they are cheap, yet you are the one who accepted the job at $1000 when you say others are receiving $2000 (which is not more than double, it’s just double). You criticize the guy who is the “event organizer” not the “worker.” There is a hierarchy in any business, which you seem not to be aware of, and an “event organizer” and others that share those responsibilities most likely have other obligations to fill their time with. My guess would be that they would NOT have hired you (the “worker”) if they could or wanted to do it all themselves.

        If Ivan is your real name, I don’t see why Superhero or any other company for that matter would want you back if they are reading this ridiculousness. What is even more confusing to me, is that after you do all of this complaining you then state “I hope they stay in business as I will be working at there next event in Chicago.”

        Did two people write this post?

        Lastly, a spell and grammar check may have helped you with your writing.

        Sincerely,

        One confused reader.
        Regarding one even more confused poster.

        • I said around $1000 as it was a little less. I also said spartan employees were getting paid over $2000 not shs. That was my first event working for them and I love the OCR scene so I hope they stay in business however its not looking promising. So please re read and get your shit together “Steve”. Have a good day! 🙂

  43. Superhero SCAM says:

    Sean is a failed realtor. What a scumbag.

    • Bill G.P. says:

      What exactly is a failed Realtor? Is someone who takes and passes the Florida Bar and does not practice law, a Lawyer failure? What exactly is your name and your profession? Is your name is Superhero Scam? Easy to post hiding behind a fake name and throwing insults (which only insult your own intelligence) around. Grow up.

  44. As Director of VPX Team Xtreme OCR (23 elite athletes strong & positive) I’m not going to be negative nor pick apart all the facts of this article but I will say as training partner and good friend of Johnson Cruz from Nicaragua (multiple 50k & Survival Run 70k champion) he came here leaving work and family to come to the USA and race hard in OCR and trusted all of us and promoters to be fair and trustworthy to pay him his winnings but Super Hero still owes him a big sum of money. He’s traveled across the USA by plane and vehicle to diff races on a shoestring budget trusting he would reap rewards of training and winning. Super Hero hasn’t paid up. I joined him and so did my sons at Super Hero South Carolina few months ago and we had a great time great race and Johnson did in Boston too but again he hasn’t been paid so he has to rely on all of us to help him. I will back up Matt B. Davis in regards to him always being positive about Super Hero with me and all around me. Matt also was in that race I know because I passed him early Lol! (Btw the attendance at SC race seemed really low to me and I’ve been on the OCR scene for years) Matt has always been positive & supportive of SHS, Fuego Y Agua, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and many others as well as Spartan (not solely Spartan). Matt Davis has tried to get me with VPX to spend money & product with Super Hero for months but I’ve not done so because of Johnson not getting paid…I’m not comfortable yet proposing sponsorship for SHS to VPX/Redline when I see there are issues paying athletes training and competing hard. We all have had personal and business struggles and its been a tuff economy i understand so I hope SHS can work hard to overcome their issues and keep putting on fun and challenging races. If these turn around I’d relook at sponsoring with SHS like Matt Davis asked me too for past few months. Matt has Never been negative about SHS to me at all and we’ve known each other a while. Good luck to all! – Dave

  45. How not to handle a PR problem: 101

  46. Following your passion and changing directions in life does not mean you failed at what you did previously…Get your facts straight…Judging and slamming one’s character and name calling does not a problem solve..Grow up or if you don’t have anything of value to state to solve an issue, refrain!

  47. Pyramid Scheme says:

    Wasn’t this individual also involved with the pyramid scheme of Nussentials???

  48. All I can say is to many people I know close to me loved running your race. Then worked for you. People don’t leave a job they love for lies.

  49. I have know Sean for a few years now, we met at a race in miami ( tarzan cup/ jungle cup) and remained friends since, I helped out in the first two SHS and have raced in all Florida races but one in Waldo fl. I understand that that they might be having a hard time within the company, with contractors and paying for winnings on time. And I know it has to suck for all 3 parties here. And maybe things could be done differently and so on and so on. But my question is has anyone raced a SHS and been disappointed? Have you finished the race and told yourself ” I paid $$$ for this joke of a course! ” have you not finished with a smile and a beer and medal in hand? Don’t we run ocr for the LOVE of the sport not the winnings? ( don’t get me wrong making money ruining ocr is nice but just a plus in my eyes) what % of ocr runners actually win? (And they should get paid yes, but if it is late is it that big of a deal? Didn’t you me and the guy next to you do it for the LOVE of the sport to have fun?
    I might disagree with how some things might be handled but I would put my hands in the fire that you will have a great challenging run or race at a SHS.
    Just my 2 cents.

  50. Wow. I can’t believe what a blatant hatchet job this “article” is. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it seems like the historyically pro-spartan fanboy author is trying to bury a competing org. Surprising. He may succeed, but he may be buried by the eventual litigation. What a total lack of professionalism.

  51. I don’t know who you are….but keep it up and you will be answering a liabel/slander suit, ignoramous. Sean and Mom do not own a failing real estate company….I am very successfully engaged in real estate and have been for over 29 years…Get your facts and apologize or prepare yourself to answer to an attorney. Sean has chosen to take his career in a different direction…are you that threatened by someone’s career change, passion?? Get a life! and engage your brain before you speak!

    • Vinnie Rubino says:

      Who is this even aimed at?
      You two just love throwing lawsuit threats around like beads at Mardi Gras! I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, huh?

  52. Obstacle Andy says:

    All I know is that my daughter worked for Sean and she always got paid as promised. I can also tell you that most of you don’t know how the real business world works. My wife works for a mid-sized corporation and oversees the accounting departments. Not one vendor gets paid when the work is completed. Checks are cut at a certain times and that’s it! In many businesses that go up and down with the economy, no matter how well you budget there are going to be the occasion that cash and reserve funds are low, and people who need to get paid just got to wait. It is not fun but that is the way it is. I use to work for a small company that would provide commercial cleaning services for some big corporations and we never got paid on time. Never understood it at first, but that is the way it was, we small vendors were the last to get paid. If they did not have the cash they would try and catch us next month or the month after that. The thing was, we finally got paid.
    As for Sean posting about all his adventures, traveling, eating out, that is his business what he does with “his” money. Besides don’t we all do that on Facebook? I have tons of family members that have Type A personality’s like Sean. They work hard and play even harder. Sean looks like he is spending tons of money to do all these crazy adventures that you see on his Facebook page but he really does a lot of discount traveling and budgeting (like we all do when we vacation). Many things he posts on his site are actually free or very low cost. So I say God bless him for all his and his families hard work.

    PS… Speaking of scams that should have articles done on them, I got one for you. There was this magazine I’m sure you heard of, called “Obstacle Racing Magazine”, and I bought a subscription for $39.00 dollars. I never did get my magazines, and was promised a refund but never received one. Now that’s a scam!

  53. You can borrow my shovel says:

    Sucks learning the hard way. Thank you for a very entertaining read. This post just gets better and better with every comment ignoring a simple fact of when will these “individuals” get paid. We are paying them is not an accepted response. You should feel lucky that you only owe somewhere around 20 people ( 1-4 per team 1-3 m/f 4 events with a large overlap of winners. Ie repeate winners). Threats are not a good buisness practice and will come back to haunt you. Excuses are easier to digest with the facts to back them up but one liners and threats? You and your cohorts better get a grip before you dig your own graves. Its simple people want answers not the B.S. run around you SHS have given them!

  54. THE REAL 'IVAN TFL LACAYO" says:

    Ha ha ha. Who framed roger rabbit huh? Good job on making me look like an illiterate bi-polar raving idiot. Kudos. Hope you sleep all too well. As for the article and placing a comment, i tried that once. Wink wink. So maybe this will even it just a bit. Or even better, add more envy in the hearts of vindictive punks. I build obstacles. I have done so with vinnie,garfield,nano and others. Good people, to say the least. Some of them worked for the ol’ SS. (Notice i write SS and never shs) but back to my story and comeback. They didn’t pan out with the company. So what? It happens. I was then employed. Thomas Mills picked me up at my home drove me to the CATSKILLS MOUNTAINS. Wow beautiful place. If you or any living soul would like to contest my enjoyment of my stay with SS, then follow my instagram and check out the fun i had. @ATIREDSOULRISES. Not only did i have fun. I cherished the time as one of the best in my personal life. Ace,ryan,eddie,josh,the crew,the venue owner laz of plattekill mt.,and the bars around that awesome town all know i had a great time!

    My words on this article were positive. Hence some very unusual and confusing feedback by “Ivan”. I dont recall an agreement to vinnie. Ever. Superhero scramble fed me steak and lobster. (Surf and turf baby) . I can go on and on about how some culprits tried to sabotage my comment. Or perhaps my image. I try not being a spiteful man. Yet some individuals deserve to be reckoned with. OCR has become a real good thing. Lets try not nipping it at the bud. I intend on being present at the illinois event oct 5. And all the hero’s from around the region will join together to stop the one thing we all have in common. THE VILLAIN. The bad one. The lost one. The fearful one. So rest up “OCRers”. Because a waged battle of titans is soon to be upon us. And as for me. Little ol me. I like it best with my back against the wall.

    Steve M… that wasn’t me.
    Over.and.out.

  55. ^^this young child above me worries way too much, don’t lose any sleep over it “Ivan” lol. Superhero Scramble will fold soon and you won’t have a job. Until then enjoy making minimum wage about 2 weeks a month when they actually have an event with an owner who used to own a Failing real estate company with his mother. They cancelled there last 2 events without giving full money back because there insursnce company said poison ivy was in the woods haha. Design the course around the poison ivy like everyone else does because its a mud run in the woods haha. if not then refund people there money AND ALSO the money they paid for insurance which you lied and said your insurance dropped you as a customer and call it quits forever (probably Because you stopped paying them like you stopped paying the winning elites)There’s so many mud runs out there especially in the south that there’s way more supply then there is demand. Once Superhero Scramble calls it quits, yourself and the company will be forgotten in about a week like the rest of them.

    • First off, I’m shocked (probably shouldn’t be at this point) that the ORM moderator would let such a classless, insulting and rude comment through for the public to see. This sort of garbage is not opinion, fact or editorial. It’s unwarranted personal attacks on an individual and his family. Think what you will about a company and organization, but have the decency to leave it at that. Personally, “Mike”, if you are going to make such provoking, incendiary comments I invite you to please release you true identity. Granted; this doesn’t involve me personally and you are lucky. Because if it did I would slap some respect and manners into you. And if you feel that you would benefit from a good slapping, then let me know, I’d be more than happy to travel wherever you may be and help you out, bro. You know, as service to you and the community that has to deal with your nonsense.

  56. I ran the south Carolina event last year and found it to be my favorite run of the year. I also did a rugged maniac in Charleston S.C and the Charlotte Spartan Race. I thought the event was run well with a good family feel. I obviously don’t know all the back ground dealings and what not being a average joe, but I thought this race was fun and will be getting a season pass this year.

  57. I know its sort of side-stepping the point; but I enjoy running races for the races. I’d rather not look behind the curtain. I know if I did enough research into the food I ate, Id be disgusted by the companies. If I researched how the shoes and clothes I wear, id be disgusted by the people who run those companies. If I researched the crews and practices of the business who put on the cruises I go on, I would be disgusted by those companies..

    I enjoy the things I eat, I enjoy the clothes I wear, I enjoy the races I run!

    I’ll leave the researching and hating to the rest of you 🙂

  58. Super hero canceled our event in waldo, fl, for November . and have not refunded us our money. After researching, I find this! Where can I go to get my money back?

    • I have this same problem. I registered and the race was cancelled. ….

    • I experienced the same thing. TRUE superheros keep their word and refund entrance fees. I wouldn’t run with them again if THEY paid ME to do it.

  59. I know this much. Superhero scramble supposedly got bought out mid-2014. I had pre-paid for their North Florida event. They sent out an e-mailed notice saying they had canceled the event and that pre-registered people would be reimbursed. This NEVER happened. They stole $100 of mine!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Last August, ORM released an article unveiling some of the problems SHS and their race director Sean “Ace” O’Connor were dealing with internally. Since then Superhero Scramble put on their Miami race in January which did have close to 2500 participants. However, events in Ohio, Texas, Arizona and California were postponed until 2015 or cancelled all together.  We’ve decided it’s time to check in on the OCR community and with SHS for more information. […]

  2. […] and $250 for third.  And to be noted: they were paid out that day (an issue that is unfortunately becoming a concern in our […]