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, Barre MA, 8/30/15

It's seemed like an eternity since I last ran a Spartan (or even any competitive OCRs, not counting LI Tough Mudder a few weeks ago) since going back to mid-summer with the Palmerton Sprint in July, or then a week later coming right here to Barre for BattleFrog MA. I think this was the only time I have been to the same venue for two different race series in the same year, so it was interesting to see how the two races would use the terrain and obstacles to fill each of their 5 mile courses.

1. COURSE-  I could have even made it a three time visit to Carter and Stevens Farm but missed the Spartan Super weekend in June.  I heard comparisons of this Sprint to both that Super course as well as the recent BattleFrog, and was surprised that the concensus seemed to say this might have been the best of the three?  I'm partial to BattleFrog only because the Elite race had to do two laps of the 8k/5mile course, which makes for a different dynamic to the race.  One thing can be said for all the races that have been here- they're about as flat as you'll find. The directors have tried to counter that fact with incorporating lots of grip strength tasks, to slow down the speedsters and add that challenge on obstacles (to also risk retries or penalties for failures).  Whichever race camp you favor, everyone would have to agree that the versions of the heavy obstacles (Wreckbag/sandbag, and Jerrycan/bucket carries) were a little tougher and longer for BattleFrog.  That was a relief at Spartan, where those usually kill lots of time and take beating on your hands and forearms.  I love the wooded trails of this venue, which most sections were plenty wet and sopping mud.  But Spartan also added a little too much of the "open field" running parts in the hot and dry sun that were just boring and unneeded, maybe only to reach the same length that BF had for their race.  Sorry if this review isn't very detailed or imaginative, but there honestly wasn't really anything that stood out from past SR's except for the first time I've done their log farmer carry, which was also short and not really all that tough.  In my opinion, all the obstacles could have easily been fit into a 4 mile race (instead of 5), still "qualified" as a Sprint, and made it a little more fun of a course. GRADE = B

2. FESTIVAL-  Again, to compare the two events I've attended here, both BattleFrog and Spartan had very big and spread out festival areas, almost to the point that it seemed "far" (after racing two laps of each for 10 miles of course haha) to walk from the finish line to the showers to the beer tent to... etc etc.  And don't get me started on the shuttle bus system again- definitely the worst part of doing (any?) race in Barre.  Especially when their VIP parking areas had well enough space for a lot more vehicles that didn't pay the whopping $40 to be close to the race.  Despite that negative, I did enjoy the scenery (but not those farm "scents" though!) at this setting as most other city-folk and suburbanites would.  It's a pretty landscape, and one I don't get to take in much except for a few weekends a year.  GRADE = B

3. SWAG-  Believe it or not, I have only done Sprints so far for all of my Spartan Races in 2015, and still have one more with Cornell this coming weekend (hoping maybe it could be a unique shirt for their first college classic event?).  But even if not, I can at least promise to finally show you a different tee the following week with the NJ Super.  Just getting a little sick of the color red already, and so are the friends and family I've given all my duplicates to haha.  Bring on the blue!  GRADE = B