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, Amesbury MA, 8/10/13

It seemed like I was becoming the last remaining (avid) obstacle racer to NOT have been to Amesbury Sports Park in MA, since the venue has been host to this race for several years and also added Superhero Scramble, Civilian Military Combine, and perhaps others to its weekend tenant list recently.  I realized that I also luckily picked the right time to attend this event, as it was claimed to be Spartan's biggest weekend event ever at 20000 racers (now imagine me being even more "left out" if I didn't go!).  Be warned for anyone not too close by- this spot is just shy of the New Hampshire border and not a short drive for us Tri-State folks.  Either way, any Spartan Race seems to be worth the travel and once again this event was good enough to say that.

1. COURSE-  Only comparing this to the other SR Sprints I have done, including Tuxedo NY and Palmerton PA, their site for this Massachusetts race was nothing like the terrain and layout of the others.  In my opinion, it was the easiest Spartan I have completed to date (besides any of the stadium series runs) since this was my first not held on a ski mountain.  At 3.5 miles long but mostly flat course, there wasn't much to slow the runners down besides the decent amount of muddy sections due to the previous day's downpour. Obstacles were the typical style, but maybe a few less than the standard for a Sprint, supposedly 18 total.  Nothing new that I can recall, and some favorites missing this time- no cargo net climb or any type of water/slide, and the the log hop was shut down due to the soggy ground.  What this race does get kudos for is the spectator friendly path of the course, as fans got great views of the start and finish, and pretty much free range to walk anywhere for good obstacle picture-taking.  GRADE = A

2. FESTIVAL-  Amesbury has a unique turf field base area where everything was set up for pre/post race.  Not that it matters when you are already muddy from the race, but it was nice to lounge around afterwards somewhere besides a grassy field.  An oversize tent had room for hundreds to sit at picnic tables, and was situated right in the middle of all the other action, vendors, food, podium, etc.  It looked like the sports park had some of their own amusements running (some type of bubble orb chute?) in addition to the common Spartan contests (slosh pipe press, traverse wall race, and pullup challenge) to keep everyone busy. A lucky bonus for the great sunny weather brought the afterparty out in full force, as it was among the biggest crowds I have seen post-race this year.  GRADE = A

3. SWAG-  I'm running out of ideas on how to show the same medal and shirt for the last (seven?) Spartan Races I've done in 2013 haha!  I am also wondering if other frequent participants are having this same dilemma of just adding numerous pieces of the same clothes to their wardrobe every weekend, or if that's just me.  Please- if anyone wants a Reebok SR finisher shirt, just let me know what size you want.  The photo below includes the headband bib that SR has introduced this year, although racers still also get the paper style as well.  GRADE = B