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.

GOLIATHON, Mullica Hill NJ, 5/14/16

Despite just 5 events in their young history, a great philanthropic cause that deserves even more attention than it gets, and a capped registration around 1000 racers... this event in southern NJ has made quite a name for itself among both the OCR crowd and gymnast-ninja types in the Tri-State area.  With a unique format that takes the usual pressure off of chip times and failed obstacle penalties (ie, burpees, 8-count bodybuilders, or the like), Goliathon was a refreshing and fun event beyond what I could have expected.  Regardless of how many wristbands and points you came away with, everyone got to take on some of the most creative and challenging obstacles out there, and enjoy watching their teams and fellow David-wannabe's do the same.

1. COURSE-  Unlike most of the other hundred obstacle races I've done (yup, this was career #101 in the books!), the only other familiar feel to this starting line might be that of a Tough Mudder, where the clock doesn't really matter, the obstacles are the real bread and butter, and you know you're about to load up with at least a week of great Instagram videos- @themudman77 is guilty as charged haha. However, as you slowly and confidently approach each of the dozen obstacles on the course, the nerves of a BattleFrog or Spartan Race rig quickly get your adrenaline flowing! The course was setup over almost 4 miles of varying terrain, ranging from dense forest trails to steep sand hills, but most runners took their time hiking through it all to save energy for the obstacles. The catch, and how this is all scored, is that every station offers three levels (labeled G1-G2-G3) with increasing difficulty and points (plus a wristband souvenir) available if done successfully.  You get one attempt (except for a few final Wall climb obstacles that allowed 3 tries), but have to weigh the choice of completing an easier level, versus the risk of failing a harder version and then receiving zero points.  It's almost too difficult to describe each of the 12 obstacles on this course, as many were a combo of various scaffold rigs- with multiple parts of balance, hanging/swinging, and strength elements- built to test any type of well-rounded athlete.  My favorite, even though I admittedly fell off in the last few feet of the G3 version, was their incredible Hangman obstacle (number 10 of 12, in order on the course), which looked like something straight out of American Ninja Warrior. With just a 100 yards to go, the last test, called "Over the Moon", was the classic ode to ANW's Warped Wall, with the toughest version being an unheard of 17'6" height!  The reward upon success (which I thankfully achieved on my 3rd and final try), besides those points and wristband, was a gratifying slide down into a muddy pool of water below, the only time you'd get dirty and soaked for passing an obstacle! GRADE = A

2. FESTIVAL-  From the moment you drove into the parking lot and approached the registration area, to finally crossing the finish line and swag pickup tent many hours later, you are greeted in a way that was immediately obvious to all attendees that the staff cares deeply about your experience here.  For what Goliathon lacks in size and marketing resources compared to the big races, they make up for with genuine quality people and attention to detail.  I can't tell you how many of their staff and volunteers were just so very engaging and friendly, almost like they were on your racing team- and were equally happy for your successes and sympathetic for your misses.  I'm sure they have many repeat customers for this very reason, and I'm hoping myself to be right there for their next one on October 1st.  GRADE = A

3. SWAG-  The same theme about top-notch quality extends to the gifts you get to keep from this race.  The initial swag you get can only be earned, as you can pick up as many as a dozen rubber wristbands for completing each of their obstacles along the course.  After the last of these is done and you cross that finish chute, you're awarded an impressive medal that rivals any big OCR series, and the t-shirt is even nicer than many of the other race giveaways.  Lastly, I'm happy to boast our team of wild, rambunctious donut-devouring obstacle racers called the "Scruffy Mudders" also took a 3rd place overall podium spot, and picked up an extra medal (not shown) for that accomplishment! GRADE = A