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, 6/8/14

Before we dive into the review, indulge me for just a few minutes to reflect on my history of this particular event... the Tuxedo Sprint has been a special race for me going back to 2011, and through this past weekend it's a course I have run on 8 different days since then.  I'm from New York, and with the exception of CitiField, I have also been proud to call it my "home" race.  That inaugural 2011 event, when Joe DeSena and I first met and had an insightful half hour one-on-one chat about this new sport of OCR, was also the first (and only) Spartan Race where I achieved one of my greatest race accomplishments of making it to their podium, for a 3rd place Elite heat finish.  Needless to say, that now extinct Spartan engraved sword which I walked away with that day, remains one of my most prized possessions especially due to the incredible difficulty that's evolved to reach that level now.  That 2011 event was also the birth of this 3 year old diary known as The Mudman Report!  Over the next two years, I worked for Spartan Race as it's Tri-State Local Ambassador ("head" of NY/NJ Street Team) and then Race Manager for Tuxedo, helping to bring this small initial event of only a few thousand to its current level of the biggest attended (and only two-weekend event) that Spartan Race holds, another accomplishment I am proud to say I was part of.  For so many reasons, I look forward to coming back to this race each year, both to see the changes it goes through and to feel the special place it holds in my heart from the beginnings of my racing, and really of OCR as a whole.

1.  COURSE-  I love the shocked look of rookie Spartan Racers who come to Tuxedo for this little "sprint" of only 4+ miles and even moreso the crushing surprise of well-trained athletes, who each can't understand how it takes them sometimes several hours or more to finish.  While Tuxedo Ridge is not truly among the other big ski resorts of the Northeast that Spartan visits, like Killington VT or Mountain Creek NJ, the design of this particular course draws many comparisons to them when it comes to the actual race.  Naturally, few can run uphill as comfortably as flat ground, but Tuxedo has always provided a brutal path of up and downs, not just in number of trips but also their placement/sequence along the race.  Add in having to carry a sandbag or large tree log, or pull a cinder block there, and the game certainly changes even more.  This year added maybe two new obstacles that really stood out, namely the cargo net monkey bar traverse over a waist deep water pool, and a new take on a high vertical wall where foot/hand hold steps were only found above maybe the 6 foot height, and which began by standing in water first.  Some of the order of repeat obstacles made for a different twist, such as the spear throw now following the evil 100-yard Tuxedo uphill rocky barbed wire crawl, and the traverse "rock climb" wall shortly after the main rope climb and uphill hike, which left most legs wobbly or cramping before you got to it.  The one obstacle, gladly, that did not make an appearance here was the log hop, which has been known to ship many off to burpeeland in addition to some good bruises if they fell off.  GRADE = A

2.  FESTIVAL-   The scene after the race has improved here year after year.  Perfect placement of the most exciting obstacles and finish line near the festival area, as well as excellent sideline paths for spectators to see even more, has made this a very fun race to watch if not to participate.  A number of tents have sprouted as well, which was great because luckily the weather was perfect for all four days and the sun would have baked anyone stuck for a long time without shade.  The ski resort offered food for sale at its base lodge, not unreasonably priced either.  I also liked that SR has a handful of "obstacle challenge" contests open to everyone, though it's usually the Elite racers that clean those up as well.  The only issue I see as this race grows is soon running out of space for people to hang out, but I'm sure that's a good problem Spartan will want to have if Tuxedo actually gets any bigger. GRADE = A

3.  SWAG-  Like the previous Spartan Race's this year, finishing this course gets you a double souvenir- a ribbon with a medal for both the Sprint race and a red piece of the Trifecta pie, which is a different color for each level completed (blue for Supers and Green for Beasts are the others).  I ran 3 out of the 4 days, improving my time each successive race- but unfortunately I had to miss the "big show" on the second Saturday (7th), where NBC was filming for an upcoming piece on Spartan, surely lending the feel of last September's VT championship. It will be interesting to see what comes of this TV coverage, but even the carry-over to Sunday added some extra excitement to what I consider the official start of the Spartan "summer" season.  GRADE = B