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, Vernon NJ, 9/13/15

Year Four at Mountain Creek was a throwback to a few years back- with a few course tweaks, a few native black bear sightings, and now more than a few extra racers and hoopla due to the NBC coverage of Saturday's race. But even while the 2014 NJ Super was one of my favorites of last year, this race left me with wanting a little more from this place.  Maybe that was due to Spartan's focus shifting toward the following weekend in Killington VT and even the Championship a few weeks later in Lake Tahoe, but many would rate this one as just "semi-Super" compared to the past editions.

1. COURSE-  We'll never again get the incredible course we found in the very first 2012 NJ Super, which included portions of neighboring Action Park, but each year since they have made up for it by building out one of the most difficult mid-distance Spartans here in Vernon.  The mountain itself is a legit ski resort and plenty of up-and-downhills were worked in, but I can't recall there being as much gravel road straightaway running before, which is typically not SR's (or Norm's!) style.  The three heavy carry obstacles were all much more manageable than it's seemed before- though the log carry was apparently shortened on Sunday due to dangerous/slippery trails.  We did get the modified Tyrolean Traverse (over dry land) that has appeared in a few events this year, but it's just not the same as going over a terrifying chilly lake- yes, they even had that here in 2012, the first TT I had ever seen.   And speaking of water, I don't know what happened to the mainstay lake swim that has always been a fun and refreshing part of Mountain Creek, as that section was reduced to a short knee deep walk on the shoreline. A lot was made of the very long decline barbed wire crawl near the end, not so much because it was difficult to roll downhill, but that it led to many dizzy racers right up to the already high failure rated MultiRig (rings, bar, Tarzan ropes) that was literally a tease from 100 feet away of the finish line, that is, if you didn't get stuck with the failure 30 penalty burpees first.  GRADE = B

2. FESTIVAL-  Mostly copy and pasted from last year due to the limited narrow space to place a festival here, but how long did it take everyone to find the new port-o-potty location, hidden in a far corner (but close to the start and finish line)?   We also noticed a revamped merchandise tent that now resembles a full-on mobile storefront, complete with a "bouncer" to make sure you were entering with clean shoes and no beverages in hand lol.  Still a tough setup to relax anywhere after the race with little seating or shade coverage, so my post race downtime was short.  Food offerings looked varied and tasty but a little expensive at around $10 for a sandwich. And while the BBQ pig roast smelled great, I could see it being a bit of a turnoff for those vegan's or animal lovers in the crowd.  Either way, until they allow the base lodge to open up their doors and house the exhausted racers and their fans, this is getting to be a tighter squeeze each year. GRADE = B

3. SWAG-  Your eyes do not deceive you- that color is blue and finally I have a new shirt to keep in 2015!  Besides the color, obviously the design is what would be expected, though an idea Spartan could take might be to have some enhancement on the shirt/medal for those 6 events per year when NBC is filming, just as a special souvenir and marketing ploy for the cameras?  But I won't complain, I'm just happy to be filling the next piece of the Trifecta, with just the Beast green still to collect.  GRADE = B