After each mud run or obstacle race I compete in, you'll get my review and grades for each event to help you decide which ones you might want to sign up for. The following categories will be discussed:

1. COURSE- the design, venue, and setup of the race itself- how creative/ adventurous/ difficult the obstacles were, and obviously... how was the MUD?!?

2. FESTIVAL- all the fun beyond the actual race- the social atmosphere which usually includes food, beer garden, dj/ music/ concert, contests, vendors, and more during the after-party

3. SWAG- the included goodie bag and prizes up for grabs- all the "free" stuff that comes with price of entry and the quality of awards, shirts, and other giveaways

Feel free to use the search box to read up on any past topics you might be looking for.

SPARTAN SPRINT, Tuxedo NY, 6/1/13

Returning for a third year to Orange County NY, Spartan Race continues to bring back a winner each June. This year, they even completely sold out the annual weekend and, for the first time ever added a second Saturday race due to the demand to run the Tuxedo Sprint.  A few changes were noticeable, but nothing that did much to change a great event as its already was in 2011 and 2012.  Being the former Race Manager for this event, I was proud to see it continue to live up to its reputation as one of the best short course OCRs in the country.

1. COURSE-  Listed at around a 4 mile course, when the average finish time is close to 2 hours and even the best times are around 50 minutes, you know that's a serious 4 miles!  They did change the course routes a little this year, and definitely incorporated more of the off-trail, woodsy sections of the mountain.  Really made it more of an adventure race as opposed to a cross-country type of trail run- loved it, especially because it also offered more shade as temps were hovering around 90 on both scorching sunny days I ran.  I enjoyed the improved "tire obstacle" (no more boring tire carry or the too simple tire flip onto a stake), with dragging a large tethered tire about 10 yards downhill and then pulling it back up by the rope it was tied to.  Also new was an angled wall with ladder rungs- think a vertical/slightly backwards climb, out of a thigh-deep muddy pool of water- not very difficult but still creative. One other note which we had heard about from previous recent Spartan Races- the official finish line timing mat is now after the fire leap but before the gladiator pit, essentially meaning the last battle with those pugil-stick warriors does not effect your race time.  So you can take your time bashing it out with those giant Q-tip wielding foes all that you want. Grade = A

2. FESTIVAL- As it keeps getting bigger every year, and with the race reaching capacity both Saturday and Sunday, it did get to feel a little frat-party spring-break type of crowded throughout the base lodge area.  While this is what lots of the patrons were looking for in the post race, they might have also forgotten that the folks getting ready to run their heat really had no place to warm up or prep as the day went on and crowds grew.  Either way, Spartan has improved its race afterparties continuously, providing many contests and interactive things for race finishers and spectators alike.  The more popular obstacles (traverse wall, spear throw, rope climb, barbed wire crawl) as well as start/finish lines are in plain sight and within very short walking distance for friends and families to see.  Not necessarily in the Festival category, but the parking situation is less than ideal, with up to a 15 minute walk from car to registration to race.  But hey, I guess that can be your warm up?  Grade = A

3. SWAG-  With so many SRs on my schedule, I may sound like a broken record here... the shirts and medals are nice, decent quality, and always have been.  But with the money and numbers they rake in, I don't see why they can't give some kind of unique swag away at each race.  The finisher medals do have the race distance printed on the ribbon and the medals themselves are the corresponding color to what level event this is (Sprint = red, for example).  But I'm just a big fan of souvenirs and either a date or location for the race would be more of a collectors item than the same black Reebok tshirt I have a stack of already.  Please Joe D, hear my cries!  Grade = B