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.


As much as I loathe the Boston Red Sox (and their scraggly bearded World Series championship a few weeks ago), I do love coming to Fenway Park, whether it's for a ballgame or now the second time Spartan Race has visited this stadium.  A year ago, when I ran the very first 2012 Fenway "Time Trial", it remained to be seen if these stadium races would endure, being so different than the usual outdoor muddy obstacle courses that people have become accustomed to.  But with four different ballparks on this year's tour (and more being added) while pulling in close to 10k racers per event, it looks like the stadium events could be a lasting addition to the mountains and woods venues that fill the rest of our schedule.

1. COURSE-  My initial worry was that the repeat stop at Fenway would just be an identical blueprint of the course from 2012.  Surprisingly, the course included many new paths around the roughly 3 mile course (though many participants thought it was shorter, and certainly seemed faster than last year).  A couple problems came up again as we had seen in the other stadiums- lack of equipment for some stations, cramped areas when running in certain narrow spaces, and the difficult issue of arranging the small starting heats every minute or so.  But what again showed as the worst problem at Spartan's hand was the poor job of holding racers accountable for obstacle completion.  The stadium series has introduced a number of fitness station obstacles, requiring racers to complete a certain number of reps (ball slams, box jumps, rowing erg, and of course burpees) before moving on.  But both the absence of some racers' integrity and volunteer's judging continues to allow both intentional and accidental "cheating" by doing less or incorrect form/standards.  It may be just a personal grudge since I have seen it too often while I am competing, but after all, this is a race and it makes a joke of that fact.  GRADE = B

2. FESTIVAL- This now being my third stadium race (2012 Fenway and this April's Citi Field Sprint), I have come to understand the limitations of what an afterparty can simply offer.  What I also found was that due to the lack of large open area to congregate after the finish line, the real party is indeed outside in the streets.  You could see more people enjoying the Fall weather in New England on Yawkey Way and around the local bars and restaurants than in the stadium seats after they were done racing.  It is what it is, but there just doesn't seem like there is much reason to linger around the finish line or hallways after collecting your medal and other swag (at this type of event).  GRADE = C

3. SWAG-  A small disappointment here, as the thing I most looked forward to was a new commemorative race shirt like the one that was given out last year, or even perhaps something signifying the home team's recent title.  But then I remembered, last November's race was actually pre-Reebok takeover, and I shouldn't have held out hope for something special.  So once again, plain black RSR shirt (#10?) headed to the pile!  I was happy with the finisher medal, unique with its 2013 ribbon and Fenway design on reverse (and red front rather than green front on last year's).  There were also a bunch of freebie tables with stickers, temp tattoos, and such to pick up some extra swag if you don't have enough logo'd paraphernalia.  It was also interesting that racers were not permitted to wear the race bibs that they gave out, supposedly due to the ban on safety pins inside the stadium?  Weird, but at least I didn't have to worry about losing it on the course.  GRADE = B