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.

HIGH ROCK CHALLENGE (Solo), Staten Island NY, 4/27/14

Surprised it took me this long to do this event, now in its 14th year as New York's (and among the country's) longest tenured adventure races.  Until last year, it had only been run as a team event, as duo's had to complete the race side by side, sometimes even literally tethered to one another as they ran and negotiated obstacles and mud. I opted instead for Sunday's "Solo" competition, which was around 4+ miles of Staten Island's Henry Kaufman Campgrounds, but without having to share the fun with a partner ;)

1.  COURSE- As the team race measured around 7.5 miles, the individual course came in at just over half of that, at least according to my legs. Most of the running was along flat and pretty clear hiking trails, but there were several gradual inclines that snuck up on the racers at a few points, and some excellent use of natural water spots throughout the park.  This was definitely a fast race, benefitting the cross country runner, but obstacles such as the ranger rope (cable) crossing over a pond and several minutes of single track in a foot deep stream slowed everyone down.  The rest of the obstacles were standard type climbing walls, monkey bars, and low crawls under netting or through large drain pipes, but the most challenging was probably the final “lily pads” of floating platforms above inner tubes, which forced almost everyone to take to hands and knees rather than risk falling in the drink right before the finish line!  I also have to mention how friendly and helpful the staff and volunteers were at this race, but that’s probably to expect from being such a seasoned veteran in the adventure race world.  GRADE = B

2.  FESTIVAL- Being that I had to race Sunday’s event due to other obligations on Saturday (as is often the case), I have no doubt that the previous day's afterparty was a much bigger deal than here (well, there must have been like twice as many people anyway, being a duo-team race).  But, regardless of the Sunday attendance, everything was still available for an afternoon of music, grilled food for sale, and for me- a little extra monkey bar practice time for fun.  GRADE = B

3.  SWAG- The trend seems to continue- sometimes the smaller name and local races give away the best stuff!  A really nice quality tech souvenir shirt and well designed finisher medal/bottle opener were a surprise to me, though probably not a shock for those regulars that have been doing the HRC for years. Top 3 overall men and women also walked away with trophies for their efforts (2nd place for me!). Everyone also got a string cinch sack bookbag (not shown) as well as complimentary bagels post race.   Part of me hopes this race would get bigger, but the intimate nature is something nice that is to be appreciated too.  GRADE = A