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.

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F.I.T. Challenge 6

Editor’s note: Joshua Grant does many obstacle races with his son Callan, age 8. For this review, he and his boy did 3 laps together (completing every obstacle), so they take turns writing about their experience in this review. 

With the many local events around the country going under, you know there’s a good reason that some remain strong. Man, do I regret not attending a F.I.T. event sooner. This event was really  special. Robb McCoy, the race director, has made quite a name for himself over the last few years for running unique, difficult, and very smooth events and was recently hired by Bonefrog. From what I saw, Robb is involved with his events at every level. The guy personally builds his podium awards in a woodshop. These awards don’t just go to the jack-rabbit slims out there burning up the course, but he also gives one to every single person who manages 3 or more laps of the this very tough 5kish course on a knobby little mountain in Rhode Island, Diamond Hill. Robb is in his shop right now cranking them out as about a 100 people earned one. Rewarding people for perseverance as well as speed is a great trend. It fits perfectly with their motto: “Fortitude, Integrity, Toughness.”

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This race is on the cutting edge and delivering what we want as racers: flexibility, challenge, and awesomeness. As evidence of that, I’m writing this review with my son Callan, 8 years of age. Robb allows kids on the full course, if their parents think they can hack it. I love this. I know some people don’t like seeing kids out there, but the kids that come to a course like this tend to be better at most of the frigging obstacles than the rest of us.  I’m not going to belabor this point. Kids in races is an article on it’s own. His portions will be in italics and are in his own words.

Hello i’m Callan Grant I decided to do the F.I.T. Challenge to practice for a race called Infinitus. The F.I.T. Challenge is a very hard, fun, and creative race. It is a race that can be run multiple times/multi-lap. There are some hard obstacles like the destroyer wall, horizontal cargo net, Wreckbag and log carry. They used good resources like picnic tables that you crawled under.12987165_1223803757631506_1574789101898328123_n

It was great seeing the Destroyer again that many of us loved at OCRWC. It was just as tough. Robb also introduced a very challenging floating wall that pivoted vertically, kind of a wall sized see-saw. Very unique and difficult. The rig had an extremely challenging lane with tight crimp grips on a swinging board and skinny Tarzan ropes, and a double lane of various monkey bars for regular folks. The course as a whole is significantly harder than a Spartan and is on par mile per mile with OCRWC. Ask around. This course is for real.

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I ran the race with my dad. After they say “go” you have to climb this huge hill after that you go down hill and then going up a different side of the mountain and down through the woods. The first obstacle is a ladderlike thing that was just nailed into two trees, you needed to get over it and run to the next obstacle. 

This event made great use of the rugged terrain sending us up and down the relatively short mountain relentlessly. This made multiple laps even more of a challenge. One runner managed 6 laps. Last lap had to start by 1pm from an 8am start. Impressive. It also shows the evolution of the race. The inaugural event had a fastest time under 19 minutes. The fastest time this year was just under an hour.

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There was a tire jump thing that you had to get over and you had to do it twice. Once my dad threw me in the mud accidently on the other side of the second tire jump.

This is true. I gave him a little push and he went face first into the mud. The course was very obstacle dense. There was a fairly long uphill low crawl. Lots of iteration on walls. There was a nasty section with an under climb on horizontal cargo net, followed immediately by peg boards and a rope climb. Lots of folks were taking breaks around there.

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Then the log carry came in, first I carried a big log but the other time I carried a small log, you had to go up a hill and then go down it and put the log down.  Then the horizontal cargo net, what you had to do, you grab a few squares ahead and kick your feet up and crawl upside down to the end and hit the bell. The sandbag carry was very hard for me because of the size of it. I carried the 25 pound bag, AND IT WAS AS TALL  AS ME!!! You had to get up a hill, kick a bell and come back down the hill and put it down.

The two carries were uphill and challenging. Callan carried roughly half his weight and it damn near crushed him. He started crying on the third lap while holding the Wreck bag, but refused to stop, drop it, or accept help. The destroyer wall was at the bottom of the Wreck Bag carry and the kid had a moment of elation at the top of that wall every time. That’s a great feature of this event. It breaks you, then builds you back up.

The destroyer wall was hard for me, I had to get a boost to the first handhold and jump to the next one and then get over the wall.Then the second to last obstacle the rig there were two choices monkey bars or a 5.11 ( handholds that you can barely hang onto) a lot of people chose monkey bars like me. When you got to the end of the rig there was another cargo net to get over and after that a slanted ladder to get over and then run to the finish.

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The finishing stretch had a great set of obstacles with another floating wall, some unique takes on over unders, a tall muscle-up double log obstacle similar to Sternum Checker, followed by Atlas stones, the rig and a final inverted wall before crossing the line. If I were looking for an alternative to the big names, I would travel a great distance for this race. Like Bonefrog, they are doing OCR right. F.I.T. gave us some great swag with a headband, wristband, special bracelets for elites and multi-lappers, a nice t-shirt, and a quality medal. F.I.T has a fall event planned. Make the trip, you won’t regret it.

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