Savage Race Dallas 2016: Is it too soon for this Battler?

After BattleFrog cancelled their weekend races (and after going through some serious grieving), I went in pursuit of a new favorite OCR series.  With Savage Race high on my bucket list, I snagged cheap airline tickets and registered for last Saturday’s Dallas event (Sept 10, 2016).  I have to admit, a lot of cheesy relationship rebound analogies were going through my head.  Would Savage Race be the one?  Was it too soon to move on?  Would I be thinking about BattleFrog while I was with Savage?!?  The intent of this article is to provide a recap of this race as well as to share my opinion – if Savage Race will become the new favorite series for the rebounding Battlers.

THE RACE
In the early morning hours, wind and rain whipped through the event area.  This rainstorm and the “cool” 60°F morning were quite the contrast to the 90°F sunny weather that had been the Dallas area norm.  Fortunately, the OCR gods were smiling on us, and the rain passed shortly before the 9am SavagePro (i.e. elite) wave start time.  Although the terrain was muddy, most of the obstacles were not overly slippery.

Savage-Dallas-Start-Line

The course was just shy of 6 miles and consisted of 26 obstacles. The terrain was mainly flat with small rolling hills.  Obstacles were sparse for the first 2 miles and were a variety of walls and mud pits.  With this being my first Savage Race, I appreciated “easing” into the agility-based obstacles that I knew were ahead.  At mile 3, the tides turned and many of Savage’s challenging obstacles made an appearance.  These obstacles were Sawtooth, Pole Cat, Kiss My Walls, Great Wall, and Wheel World (pictured in order below).  Although these obstacles slowed some of the elite runners down, none of these obstacles were a severe threat to claiming bands.  A bottleneck did form at Kiss My Walls as the footholds became muddy and slippery due to the earlier rain.  Additionally, Great Wall (an 8′ wall) was a challenge to several elite women since the use of kick-plates was not an option.

Savage-Dallas-Sawtooth

Savage-Dallas-Polecat

Savage-Dallas-Kiss-My-Walls

Savage-Dallas-Wheel-World

Mile 4’s obstacles gave a reprieve to the grip strength.  Davy Jones Locker and Shriveled Richard (an ice bath) gave this portion of the course a “Tough Mudder” feel.

Savage-Dallas-Davy-Jones

Teeter Tube marked the beginning of mile 5.  This obstacle was a significant challenge to many racers because the moisture from the earlier rain made the tube extremely slippery.  Even the most versed elite athletes had to inch their way up the tub at a painfully slow pace.

Savage-Dallas-Teeter-Tuber

The final mile had an influx of agility/grip obstacles and included Colossus, On the Fence, Tree Hugger, and the Savage Rig.  The Savage Rig consisted of rings, ropes, t-bars, nunchucks, and stirrup-type holds.  Although the rig didn’t appear to be a significant challenge to the elite racers, many of the open racers did seem to struggle.

Savage-Dallas-Colossus

Savage-Dallas-On-The-Fence

Savage-Dallas-Tree-Hugger

Savage-Dallas-Rig

Will Savage Race become the new favorite for the BattleFrog following?

As preface to my opinion on this question, here are the aspects of Savage Race that I loved.

  1. Fun and camaraderie was the resounding theme. The design of the obstacles, the starting line vibe, the general feeling throughout this race, and the awards ceremony were all about bringing the racers together and making sure they had fun.
  2. The course design was superb!  The distance of the course, the spacing of the obstacles, and creativity of the course layout were extremely well done.
  3. A+ on obstacle creativity!  Savage has done an excellent job in striking a balance of fun and challenging.  Additionally, by introducing new obstacles every year, they keep their races fresh and are progressing the sport of OCR.

Savage Race is a worthy contender as a new favorite for the BattleFrog following.  I think, however, that Savage will need to make a few changes to completely steal our hearts.

  1. Make several of their grip and agility obstacles more challenging:  For example, lengthening Wheel World, On the Fence, Tree Hugger, and the Savage Rig would make these obstacles more taxing without sacrificing the fun factor.  Elite-specific lanes could be added to these obstacles to keep them doable for the open wave.
  2. Add a second lap:  Anyone who has run elite in a BattleFrog event knows that the 2nd lap can be a total game changer as endurance and fatigue enter the mix.  Being tested on both endurance and speed is something that many elite racers seek.  Another option is for Savage to offer two event distances – a single lap or double lap (similar to Terrain Racing).
  3. Payouts to the master’s podium holders:  The master’s category (40+) comprises a significant number of athletes.  During this event in particular, 18% of the elite males that finished with their bands where in the master’s category.  Savage will need to include a payout as part of the podium awards to gain a loyal masters following.

Rebecca Morr

Rebecca is an Elite OCR competitor and a member of King’s Camps and Fitness pro team (located in the California Bay Area).She is also a stay-at-home parent to her two, very active young sons.Rebecca laughs that her two passions (OCR and being a mom) often serve as training for the other.

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