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.

BATTLEFROG SERIES (16k), Englishtown NJ, 6/20/15

If there ever were the highest of my hopes for an event, it might be for this one. BattleFrog has exploded on the OCR scene in so many ways over the last year- major prize money for each event and season series (like Spartan race has done), an announced championship at the end of the year (like several others have also done), and of course the ESPN coverage of their college challenge just a few weeks ago.  But as BF is reaching their Terrible Two's early, they have also been through some growing pains- canceling all Sunday events for the year, changing their 5k or 15k course options to now running laps of an 8k, and the general worry that maybe they have tried to expand just a little too quickly. Either way, two things are certain at BattleFrog:  1) they will always put on a solid race with lots of obstacles, and 2) some guy named Atkins will come down from Canada to swoop up the victory.

1. COURSE-  The question for me here is, do I compare this race generally to all the other races I do, or compare it very specifically to last August's 2014 Tri-State event at Raceway Park?  The switch to (elite heat) running two laps of an 8k was a big change from a straight 15k course.  Each lap this year had around 32 obstacles to contend with, and doubling that made for "more" than the 51 reported in last years race.  Having to do a few of the more grueling tasks a second time, after an hour or so of fatigue later, was probably the toughest part of the new structure.  At least a combined mile's worth of each lap had us carrying a Wreck (sand) Bag or a single Jerry (water) can, so the second time around seemed to drag on those, almost literally!  I know the rope traverse, aka Tyrolean, was another critical point that cost some elite's their wristband due to diminishing grip, especially on the final pass.  That spot, along with the Normandy Jacks and Platinum Rig, also were the couple major congestion areas where the participants (especially the Elite's and Xtreme'rs who were doing multiple laps) ran into traffic logjams that briefly defeated their idea of racing a quick, unobstructed course.  It's a small mention, but I do applaud whoever was responsible (Mr. Acord?) for finding the absolute muddiest parts of Englishtown's wooded trails-  one section that was close to a quicksand muck death trap if you stood less than 5 feet tall.  Hella fun though! What I missed most from last year were a few of my favorite obstacles toward the finish line- no monkey bars or quarter pipe (or paintball shooting, even if it was just for fun).  Apparently the venue wasn't very accommodating with time for their build, and some things just had to be left out.  Even with any of the negatives, and I include those frequent pavement running sections (hate!) in that, this course was still better than most of what you'll find on a typical OCR weekend.  GRADE = A

2. FESTIVAL-  I didn't get to peruse the vendor area for very long, as I wimped out to hide under a tent during the late morning rain.  It did seem more condensed, but that design helped to provide some good viewing areas for the new Platinum Rig climbing obstacle and the famed Tip of the Spear which became the finale on this course.  One thing I certainly wasn't thrilled with was the different parking arrangement, across the street in a grassy part of the woods.  Parking right on site last year was great to be able to hit the car for your change of clothes after the race, but I think this distance might have hurt the party scene, since some people my not have wanted to walk the half mile and then come back (again, too, in the rain).  GRADE = B

3. SWAG-  I ran the Miami BattleFrog this February, so I assumed to be picking up the same souvenirs again from that race.  T-shirt of course was identical as expected, but it's one I like and was glad to grab a second one (planning on 5 for the year) to give away.  My new favorite swag among probably all OCRs this year is the Elite band bounty that is yours to lose, if you should have to give it up to the Course Marshalls from not completing an obstacle. Individually numbered to your bib from that race, it's also a symbol that you truly passed the course without fail, if you manage to keep it til the end!  On the downside of this year's prize basket, and you know I'm picky, receiving the same "15k" elite medal was kind of a cheap move that a lot of people caught on to, since this event no longer has any 15k course (as of about 3 months ago). It's not that running the extra kilometer was that much more of an effort to deserve a better medal, but we realize that this was simply a way to pass off the inventory of old awards (albeit nice and high quality) that were no longer accurate.  From what I saw, the Open heat 8k medals had no distinction of that on their actual medallion, just on the lanyard?  I'll be at their New England race next month, but if the same thing happens, this mark again won't get the "A" they really should be earning.  GRADE = B