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, 7/18/15

Returning to a race that has crushed me and so many others every year since 2012, I was almost relieved with my decision to only do PA weekend #2's Sprint course and not the previous weekend's "EffNorm" designed Super as well. Either way, racers who did any of Palmerton's three race days got just what they had hoped for out of one of the toughest OCR venues in the Northeast.  Missing the NBC action could have also been a good choice too, as I might not want to see my annual Blue Mountain agony shown again on national TV this September!

1. COURSE-  Every year this course changes, as I've described in the previous Reports of 2014, 2013, and 2012.  The biggest differences have been in the actual length of the Sprint, ranging anywhere from 3.5 to over 5 miles.  Like other years, the first two miles were the most grueling, almost all uphill, leaving most at a walking/hiking pace within a minute or two. An early morning thunderstorm also left the course (and all its obstacles) a little more wet and slippery for the morning heats, I'm sure leading to that very excuse if burpee penalties resulted for anyone.  I know we have also had the same water crossing on Blue Mountain in the past, but it seemed much deeper (now a full 100 yard swim) maybe due to that rain?  No more tractor (cinder block on chain) pull through the muddy lagoon, as that obstacle seems to be disappearing from the circuit recently.  This course also had the first time I've seen a Tyrolean (rope) Traverse over land, though it was short and not too difficult. For the most part though, the other key elements were there where we left them last July- the steep sandbag carry and endless bucket brigade, and now an even longer down-and-up barbed wire crawl that still has me a little dizzy from all the rolling.  GRADE = A

2. FESTIVAL-  One of the better setups for a Spartan afterparty, with lots of areas to plop down your bruised and beaten selves after competing the race. Or, if you hadn't had quite enough, Blue Mountain had their ski lifts running so you could take in the course from a bird's eye view as well.  My one issue is with the festival area was the limited selection of food offered (which was also difficult to find, hidden in a far corner), though I did personally enjoy my pulled pork sandwich with rice and coleslaw for $10. Maybe the show was smaller being weekend #2 and only a one day race, but there looked to be a packed house so there could have been a little more variety.  I'll also mention, since I don't care for my post race "free" beer, anyone that would like a pint on me just needs to ask, as I've got a growing stack of coupons now. GRADE = A

3. SWAG-  Yeah, you've seen this shirt and medal before, haven't you? Well, I might as well extend the same beer offer to you readers out there too, since I've already collected at least half a dozen or so of these myself.  As for the medal, that's mine, and you gotta earn your own!  I can't wait until I can do the NJ Super in September and finally have (and show you) a different version of these giveaways.  Even if they'll just be blue instead of red.  GRADE = B