Savage Race New England 2017 – New England’s Most Anticipated Race

I had heard a lot of good things about Savage Race, and when I heard it was coming to Massachusetts I immediately got excited. Like other recent races this one was held at Carter & Stevens Farm in Barre. It is a relatively flat terrain with lots of fields, wooded areas, and cows. Parking was a short shuttle ride away and then a short walk to the actual registration tent. There were some lines for registration, and it took a little longer than expected but it was a smooth process.

SavagePro

The SavagePro heat started at 9am, with an athlete meeting to explain rules at 8:50am. Each SavagePro athlete was given a wristband. If an athlete could not complete the obstacle then they turned in the wristband. This was great format for the competitive wave. It put more pressure on obstacle completion.

Savage Obstacles

The course was muddy and rugged. There were a lot of opportunities for a twisted ankle. It was about half a mile before the first obstacle, the barbed wire. The second half of the course had more obstacles than the first. The quality of the obstacles was fantastic. They were more difficult than other races. They also seemed sturdier and felt safer. There were the usual obstacles that can be found at the majority of obstacle races: walls, a heavy carry, cargo net, fire jump, and barbed wire.

However, there were several obstacles I had not encountered before. The “wheel world” was such an obstacle, a set of spinning blue monkey bars that were suspended over water. I watched people attempt this one over and over again. The amount of water on the course, in forms of ice baths and “Davey Jones’ locker” stood out for me. I personally enjoy water obstacles and welcome swims, dipping under submerged walls, and jumping into water from great heights.

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Savage Determination

It was refreshing to have unlimited attempts at obstacles and to see the perseverance and tenacity this brought out in the athletes. There were two Savage Rigs on the course, because one didn’t seem to be hard enough… Both sets of rigs were brutal and took a spectacular amount of upper body strength.

As I passed the final rig I noted a SavagePro athlete standing to the side. She still had her wristband on and this was the very final obstacle. It was clear to see that she had been at this obstacle for a long time. I was unable to complete it and as I left she was back in line to try again. The determination on her face seems to be what Savage Race is about.

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Savage Aftermath

The course was approximately 7.6 miles long. Savage Race boats the “perfect distance” and I can’t help but agree. It’s long enough to wear you out and beat you up, but not too long. By the time you reach the finish line you feel like you deserve that medal and that beer.

The medals were superb and the t-shirt was soft and good quality. There were food vendors and a beer vendor, as well as merchandise and several companies giving out free samples. The festival area was buzzing as I passed other wet and muddy finishers all discussing the highs and the lows of the past couple of hours.

Overall I would strongly recommend Savage Race to anyone out there looking for a more unique obstacle race with a great atmosphere. I will definitely be signing up for the 2018 race.

Savage-Race-New-England-Shriveled-Richard

 

Blizzard Blast Race Review

January obstacle course races are hard to come by in New England. Enter Blizzard Blast, a five mile winter-themed race that takes place in January at Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, Massachusetts, put on by SmithFest Events. Blizzard Blast does a good job of filling a niche – the affordable entry-level winter race. At between $40 and $70, it provides good value.

Four Oaks Country Club is a nice place to have a winter race. The entire club is open for post-race meals and as a pre- and post-race hangout. There is ample room for storing your bag and changing. Post-race, there is free chili or soup, and though selection was limited and you had to wait in a line, the price was right. The one big minus to the location is that parking, which costs $10, is offsite and about a 10 minute bus ride away. Getting to the race went smoothly; however, on the return trip, the wait for the bus was almost 20 minutes. Other than that, logistics were pretty effortless. Check-in was a cinch.

Blizzard Blast Tree Carry

The course was 5.5 miles of rolling hills. This year was void of snow and lots of the running was on the concrete golf cart paths around the club. The course also integrated some trails that were in wooded areas adjacent to the golf course. The one real downside to the course was the obstacle placement. Blizzard Blast is advertised as being a 5K race; however, last year it clocked in at 5.8 miles and this year it clocked in at 5.5 miles. The first 2.5 miles of the race contained only one set of obstacles – an over and under wall. The vast majority of the obstacles were jumbled together at the end. I would love to see this race as a more obstacle-dense 5K.

Blizzard Blast Hoist

Blizzard Blast had around a dozen and a half obstacles. The obstacles were in keeping with the race’s winter theme and featured a pine tree carry, a holiday lights crawl (instead of a barbed wire crawl), and a hot chocolate stop mid-race. The race is sponsored by a beer company and kegs proliferated. There were two styles of keg hoists and a keg carry. The featured obstacle of Blizzard Blast is Keg Kingdom. This obstacle is made up of suspended kegs that the racer must swing from, followed by a set of monkey bars. Swinging from kegs is tricky (they move in unpredictable ways!) but also fun and unique.

Blizzard Blast Keg Kingdom

The swag from Blizzard Blast includes a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt and a really nice finishers medal. For those who like to collect medals, this one would make an excellent addition to your collection.

Blizzard Blast Medal

Bottom line: Even with its faults, I’ll keep going to Blizzard Blast because it’s a race during a time of year when there are very few things on my calendar OCR-wise. It’s a good opportunity to play outside in the winter and a great opportunity to get to see friends that I see less often than I wish during the colder months. If this race was instead in a busy month like May or July or very far away from my house, I might skip it. That being said, I like how the obstacles are different from what I see elsewhere and have an entertaining twist that adds up to a good time.

Have I signed up for the 2017 Blizzard Blast yet? No. Will I? Very likely, yes. It’s fun. It’s a race anyone can do, and with all the miles of running without an obstacle, friends are key to the experience. So, yes, 2017, I’ll be there.

(Photo credits: Blizzard Blast and  Caley McGuane Photography)

So you want to run long …

Recently, ORM blogged about the Battlefrog BFX24 event- a 24 hour version of the Battlefrog Xtreme event that proved so popular in 2015.

It looks like a cool event.

I took a little bit of exception to a single line in the article – and called Matt on it. He asked me to write this little blog post. So, here we are.

“we often hear rumblings about this concept from other races, BattleFrog are the only ones pulling it off on a regular basis.”

Here’s why this bugged me enough to say something.

In New England, FIT Challenge has been doing the multi-lap concept since 2014. Sure, they aren’t quite at Battlefrog volume, but Shale Hill has been doing multi-laps at their 8h Polar Bear Challenge since 2013.  Also at their 24 hours of Shale Hell event since 2014.

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We’ve also been promoting, encouraging and facilitating multiple laps in the 2015 #racelocal Grand Prix since the beginning of the year – and since January, you’ve been able to run multiple laps at:

Multiple Shale Hill events, Blizzard Blast, Wason Pond Pounder, both Gauntlet Series events, both BoldrDash events, Bonefrog Challenge, Zombie Charge, Samurai Sprint, the fall Tuff Scramblers, and more.

And I don’t mean “fun laps”, where you just bandit the course again – fully paid, timed (when applicable), insured and Race Director blessed laps. 156 of them between 50 people at the last FIT Challenge.

In fact, during the 2015 #racelocal Grand Prix, we had over a dozen members of our “Century Club” – individuals who covered over 100 miles on nothing but locally owned and operated obstacle course races.

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BFX is a great event – we’re fortunate enough to have plenty of options like it if you branch out a little.

24 Hours of Shale Hell

 

BFX24 also sounds like it’ll be an awesome event for the right athlete – I hope those same athletes consider hitting up the 24h of Shale Hell for a totally different, grass roots kind of 24 hour obstacle course challenge.

OCR is a huge market. We’re so lucky to have all these events, run by excellent race directors who are all trying to push the envelope.