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.

SUPER SPARTAN, Winnsboro SC, 10/26/14

Another busy weekend in the obstacle course racing world, with the OCRWC ("World" Championships) in Ohio and also Spartan out on the West coast with their Sacramento races, most picked their poison either by distance from home or whatever course seemed to advertise the most excitement (or perhaps money/prizes).  For myself, only one goal in mind sent me to South Carolina- to go after my last chance for a second blue medal and repeat my 2013 status in the Spartan double-Trifecta club.  It also didn't hurt that the local forecast called for near 80 midday temps, better than my NY October Fall weather settling in.

1. COURSE:  By the number of friends who were returning to Winnsboro after doing the race last year, I assumed they vouched for the quality of this course, which had both a 12-mile Beast on Saturday and then this 9-mile Super version the next day.  Being from the Northeast and used to the dense and rocky mountain trails of most of my area Spartans, this race had such a different feel in both the "type" of ground and of course, its flatness.  Sure, a few rolling hills and some motocross dirt mounds broke up the level running, but it was more the pavement-like dry packed dirt that shocked me (and my knees, ankles, and feet).  Then, on the flipside (and all the more fun!), whatever muddy parts we met were a slippery clay composition that made every step like walking on slime, and those obstacles to follow that much more difficult and hard to grip.  I've never seen so many people have trouble with the ordinary rope climb than after what was easily the muckiest mud-bog walk of any Spartan Race I've been through!   Besides the terrain, nothing new stood out on the obstacle list, save for the spear-on-a-string which appears to be making its way in as that standard, though it continued to cause a lot of problems with some knots, short strings, or getting caught, as we saw when it debuted at the Vermont Beast last month.  GRADE = B

2. FESTIVAL:  Like I mentioned, OCR diehards were spread out across the US to begin with, but then also as I only could attend Sunday here I expected a smaller party (I know, I'm a broken record on that from previous posts, but what can I do).  Either way, this was one of the best setups of Spartan festivals I've seen.  Placement of spectator areas and all the merchandise/ vendor/ food tents somehow literally sandwiched perfectly in the middle of everything allowed several points of viewing of start, finish, and just about all the best obstacles.  Really an ideal spot for those watching friends and for the racers to receive that encouragement at the most needed stops, as the race seemed to be happening on all sides of the festival.  GRADE = A

3. SWAG:  The hardware I came for was worth this trip (double Trifecta medal shown in center of shirt logo), but getting to see finishers who earned many multiples of this was even cooler.  Two was enough for me this year, but I've heard some have gotten 9x, or even more! Those achievements are definitely impressive but the medals do get silly at that point, as they resemble something closer to a dinner plate on a ribbon or a Flavor-Flav necklace (can you even wear that?).  The rest of the swag is par for the 2014 course- same shirt, same medal/pie piece. I'm excited to see what SR has promised for next year, as all their bombarding emails advertise NEW shirts and medals?  I might personally have to wait til Spring for that, but maybe that release will come as early as mid-January's SoCal weekend, their first 2015 calendar year races.  We'll just have to wait and see!  GRADE = B