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, Palmerton PA, 7/13/14

For those of you Spartan Racers out there who have become familiar with some of the courses and the event's planners, you were either licking your chops or biting your finger nails realizing that this PA Sprint would be one of several designed by the infamous Norm Koch this year.  Known for creating hours of torture and endless uphill hell, fans of Norm got exactly what they hoped for out of what most would agree is Spartan's most difficult short course.  The rest who maybe hoped the legend wasn't true, pretty likely had a miserable and crushing day.

1. COURSE-  This course, which I also ran in 2012 and 2013, has had a unpredictable pattern in its design, unlike some other races that have changed very little.  No, unfortunately the size and inclines of Blue Mountain haven't altered in the last few years, but the course length has been the major fluctuation.  This year's path was reported at 5.3 miles, more like the 2012 race, but much more than a year ago when it was for some reason cut at least a mile less.  I looked back at my times from these years, and saw last year was nearly a half hour faster than either the year before or here in 2014.  Maybe there was a demand for "more"?  Whatever the case, this course had some of the most grueling uphill battles with sandbag and rock bucket carrying, and just some awful incline trails themselves.  I don't think much new appeared in PA, and although the slip and slide was gone, my favorite section of lake traverse was the most welcoming cool-down few minutes of the entire course.  Grade = A

2. FESTIVAL- This year I didn't hang around too long after racing both days, but there was no shortage of others who did.  The weather held out and the action from NBC on Saturday drew a packed house of both racers and spectators.  Sunday was still a good turnout, but maybe a little less without all the cameras rolling on day 2.  One thing to note was that the festival area seemed quite divided with its setup- half near the start and half near the finish line, which were close but not right in the same area of the base lodge.  I guess as race numbers have grown, this festival has had to expand as well. It did make it a little difficult to decide where to call camp, and then to find friends who might be scattered around.   Grade = A

3. SWAG-  Same deal as the previous 2014 Spartan Races have been, but that's to be expected for at least another 5-6 months I would guess.  I've now got so many dark gray finisher shirts (and don't get me wrong, they're nice and of decent quality), that I just pick one up for a friend in their various size with each future race I'll go to. I also have yet to even do a Super or Beast this year, so my Trifecta medal pie is nothing but red so far.  Looking forward to September when I'll be able to put it all together.  Grade = B