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Featured Review: Bold R Dash on the Beach

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Bold r Dash returns to the beach in 2014 – this year part of the New England Spahtens Race Local Series. This year located at the fantastic Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island. If you ever wanted a taste as to why Rhode Island is an awesome place to live, just spend a beautiful Saturday morning here.

 

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9am Wave getting ready to go out!

 

Here is an overall review and some positives and negatives which i will get into more in depth below:

 

Positives

  •  – Free ample parking right at the venue
  •  – Beautiful location
  • – Mix of Beach running and technical rock terrain
  • – The Buoy Walls!
  • – Ample Volunteers
  • – Good Obstacles
  • – On going adjustments during the day

Negatives

  • – insufficient course markings
  • – Not enough buckets!
  • – Sack hop?
  • – Spectators rampant on the course
  • – Poor course direction on the 2nd half of the 5k
  • – fees
  • – long Obstacle back ups.

 

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Straight portion of beach run up and around Black Point

Scarborough is a State Beach – which made for ample space, free parking and being right at the venue. This was a step up to the more difficult and spread out parking at last years Beach race in Misquamicut.  Registration and check in went smoothly for those that did not hit up REI during the week to pick up their packet. Runners each were given a timing chip, bib and colored bracelet which designated the heat they were assigned too.  There was some disorganization when it came to starting off the first wave of the day, runners had to be checked for their color band before getting into the chute. Bold r Dash was strictly enforcing their No Wave jumping policy. Unfortunately that’s about when they stopped enforcing it. We also had to exit the chute to get a rock and get back in. We had to stall a bit before the start so a volunteer could run a cone out for us to run too and back before hitting the beach.

The Race started with the staple of Bold r Dash which is doing the first sprint of the wave with a softball or slightly larger rock in hand, about 200 meters out and back to drop the rock off at the start and then onto a trail and out onto the beach. We had a good half mile run up the beach before we hit the sack hop (personally hate this obstacle) and then onto the the bucket run. You had to grab a bucket, run it down to the water and back up the beach to dump it in a large bucket 3 times. For the Elite wave they immediately ran out of buckets. I assume the thinking is the run up the beach would thin out the wave enough to not cause a bottleneck, however the elite wave ran out of buckets right away and caused a lot of waiting if you were not one of the first 25 there.  This clearly could have been avoided.

Bucket run, backed up several times during the day. Need More Buckets!
Bucket run, backed up several times during the day. Need More Buckets!

After the buckets you continued up the beach into the technical rocky terrain. This is where your first and second place finishers of the wave went astray (accidental or not, misdirection by volunteers we have not confirmed).  This again comes down to course markings and Volunteer direction. The technical rock terrain was pretty awesome… however their needed to be more course markings here and several runners started to 2nd guess if they had missed a turn and caused some confusion for us in the 9am. After scaling up the side of a huge rock slab we were turned around and headed back up the beach where we started to hit the larger walls and A-frame scaling obstacles. There was a little concern here for me as we scaled the A frame with chain steps as i watched a chain break from is support and a guy fell strait through the obstacle ( He appeared to be ok ) But i didn’t have the warm and fuzziness knowing we were the first ones to use the obstacle and it was already breaking.

a-frame chain wall @10am
a-frame chain wall @1030am

Back up running over some tires, tire hopes and chain supported balance beams (which made them wobble intentionally ) we were up onto the Beach paved walkways which caused again some more confusion for runners, as spectators were scattered all over the course here. There was no markings preventing Spectators and runners from getting all mixed up with each other here.  Again, another area easily avoided.  However after this section was on to one of Bold r Dashes best beach obstacles. The Buoy walls. It always feels like there is a 1000 walls to go over and under and is my personal favorite at this race.

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Buoy Walls! the Buoys were a heavy weight you had to bring with you over and under the walls

Further up the beach we cut back into the large open fields for some more of Bold r’s bigger a-frame obstacles Tire walls, A-frame ladder walls etc. the Course was marked with buckets, However you did have to think twice about where you were going… they did correct this later in the day with more volunteers in the area to direct runners. Again this could have been easily corrected with some caution tape or something to that effect. There were some big, fun obstacles here for the first waves of the day. As the day went on however these obstacles turned into huge bottleneck for runners.

10 minute wait by the time the 10:10 wave reached the last obstacle
10 minute wait by the time the 10:10 wave reached the last obstacle

Runners were told they would not be allowed to run multiple waves without paying $15 and picking up another bib and chip – no exceptions and would be strictly enforced to prevent bottlenecks, overloaded waves and safety to ensure all runners on the course were accounted for. Unfortunately this did not not prevent huge back ups. I can also speak personally that I watched 4-5 waves go after I had finished from the 10am wave on… and “strictly enforced” was no longer the case as there were no longer volunteers checking bracelets and it was very easy for a runner to hop into another wave or any wave they wanted after the 9am.

Also T-shirts had to be purchased if you registered past a certain date. an additional $5 if you were a late register. So you paid more and got less if you were a couple week register.

 

Overall is was a great location with many issues that could have been avoided. Bold r Dash did make adjustments throughout the day with volunteer placement – some sections became so overloaded with spectators by 11am several runners were lost in the mix – at one point while taking pictures i had to start directing runners in the confusion.

 

Overall Rating:  Average

 

Saving Features:

  • Location, Location, Location!
  • Parking was fantastic
  • beach running and rocky terrain
  • Lots of Obstacles

Turn-offs:

  • lack of course markings
  • add-on fees / costs
  • Disorganization / spectator infiltration
  • long wait times for later morning heats.

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Featured Review – Zombie Charge

group_photoIt was a Weekend 6 Deep in OCR races. While Most of our fellow Spahtens found themselves in Jersey on the Quest for Trifecta… Myself and 11 other brave souls found ourselves in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse.

@#$% !  – They got me… it was only 3.5 miles to the safe zone… with a mile left i let down my guard – and that zombie caught me off guard.. I’ve got 30 minutes before the bite is fatal and I turn into one of them. I can already feel the infection spreading up my arm – gotta move fast before i black out.

Ugh.. a cornfield. This isn’t smart but i don’t have much of a choice.. I go around – Im dead.. I cut through the cornfield, i might make it to the safe zone before the infection takes me down. Its a risk I have to take. As I emerge from the cornfield I can see the safe zone sniper on the barn, he is keeping the way clear. So far i am only the 3rd citizen to make it the last 3.5 miles to the safezone – down the slide and into the decontamination area. Doctors Immediately administer the Vaccine, a shot of something i take without thinking twice, then into the bio hazard clean room – and finally hit with an extra dose of anti-Z-infection powder. I get the green light from the Doctors I am clean.

Made it to the safe zone. I am not dead, I am not a zombie… I hope the rest make it.

Welcome to Zombie Charge! – The very first event for Zombie Charge took place in New England this past weekend.  With an already crowded OCR weekend, and being their first event Zombie Charge (ZC) managed to still bring in just under 1000 runners for their first event.

IMG1012When it comes to themed races its the little things that really count. ZC made sure you questioned whether or not you were actually about to be eaten.  From The Staff directing traffic and parking in full body hazmat suits to the Paratroopers (yes, they actually had people Parachute into the safe zone) to Snipers positioned on top of barns popping off rounds at Roamers that got to close to the safe zone. It is those type of things that really make you appreciate the effort these guys put forth on making sure you had a good time. Let’s not forget Celebrity Guest Addy Miller “The Little Girl Zombie” That set the tone for the Entire Walking Dead TV Series : (Caution, Video is Graphic – Not for the kids!) 

leader-addie millerAddy was there signing Autographs and posing for pictures in the festival area. Festival area was spacious for the People, Registration was smooth. Bag check was free and there was a decent amount of Vendors including Zombie Merch and Food.  Race swag was an A+ from ZC. Racers got a Shirt and a ZC Hoorag and the Survivor Medal was some quality Bling.

So lets get to the actual Race / Survival run for the safe zone.   This was an UNTIMED event. Something that many of us were not aware of before hand. This is not that big of a deal, as your big name Tough Mudder is not timed either. However, I personally think ZC should get themselves a timing company for future runs.

The Course itself was pretty awesome. GPS Watches recorded between 3.2 – 3.5 for the race. Mario and Myself were the 2nd and 3rd runners to come in from the first wave and guessed our time to finish around 35 minutes give or take.  The area had some nice up and downhills, Plenty of Nice technical trail, including some long stretches of wide open trail and some Treacherous Rocky terrain – nothing much for running OCR vetrans, but Newbies could have defiantly bit it hard in a few spots.  Race Director Eric was waiting for us at the finish and was anxious to here our thoughts on the course immediately – When Mario and I gave him our thoughts on the above mentioned rocky spot on course – they staffed EMTs at this area of the course to ensure immediate assistance if anyone was to injure themselves here. Good Move ZC.

What alot of people do not realize at these Zombie themed events, is that they are one hell of a workout. You wear a 3 flagged velcro belt – this is your life and this is what Zombies Want. To survive you will find yourself running and then all out sprinting to ensure you keep your flags. This Zaps your energy quickly – if there is anything to keep in mind when in a Zombie Apocalypse.. its Rule #1: Cardio:

The Course had a mix of I would say 4 Types of Zombies (unconfirmed, this was my take on the Zombies).  Type 1: Roamers – These guys pretty much there for intimidation. You would have had to run right into them to lose a flag. Type 2: Stationary – These ones were actively reaching for you, but couldnt really make it more than a few steps either way. Type 1 and 2 were easy to avoid unless you were me, who turned my back and walked into one that had stumbled out from behind a boulder. Type 3: Aggressive –  They were pretty intent on eating your brains.. err… i mean flags. They had pretty good reflexes but couldn’t really go very far. Then there was your Type 4 Zombie Chaser… the OMG 28 Days Later – all out Sprinting Zombies. These guys were scattered throughout and you didnt know it until you heard your fellow survivors start screaming “Chaser!” and everyone went into an all out sprint. These guys would chase you for a good 100 yards- or chase you into another pack of Zombies.  This made it pretty exciting – and made you try and find a safe spot to catch your breath. Key to survival is to be faster than the slowest guy.. and not be alone. There was 3 (Mario and Myself +1 unkown survivor) of us that took a pretty substantial lead on any other survivor. This in turn made Zombie Dodging a lot of work.

staffObstacles – Some crawl tubes, Slanted rope wall, Some vertical wall jumps, mud crawls under chain link fence, natural and man made ditches full of water. Monkey Bars. Spider Web (rope strung around trees forcing you over and under a weave of ropes) a Corn maze, Cargo net climb and lastly the infamous obstacle in the OCR community – a Water slide.  The Obstacles were “OK” Zombies and the terrain were the real challenge of the course.  You will also be reassured to know that ZC did the slide right. Safe, Hay baled around the sides and at the bottom for a crash pad no torn up ass or back. The slide was fun!

 

 

Water – The course had 2 water stops. I actually never saw 1 of them – but was told after the fact by fellow runners there was 2.

Overall – a well priced fun race to run put on by Race Directors that really did care about making it worth your money and that you enjoyed it.  If they are back next year and hopefully not booked on a super busy weekend – you will check them out.

 

Venue: A+ : Ample Parking, No shuttles needed, $10 usual rate to park. Plenty of Space, live band and Beer.

Spectator Quality: A- : Live music, some vendors – Zombies roaming about, Celebrity Guests, Skydivers. The slide finished within spectator view, and spectators could see the Cargo net area of the course if they chose too. Spectators couldn’t see much else of the course other then on the drive in to the parking.

Race Course:  A: This was a quality Race Course – Completely stand alone it would be a great trail race – throw in some Zombies and Obstacles and it made for a Good Time.

Runner Support:  A: 2 water stops and a decent amount of volunteers and Zombies spread out made it so that if you were alone without fellow runners, there was always someone… or something close by.

Race Bling:  A+: T-shirt, Hoorag and a nice medal.

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Timing System and Results:  C : I give this a C, rather then a “Fail” because while this event was not timed by chip or manually. The point of the event is to Survive.  I personally would like to see timing in the future .  Some of us treat race results as important as a race medal.

Staff, Volunteers and Directors:  A+ : Staff done up in Biohazard suits, Race directors were on site, actively engaged with all the runners, Volunteers and Zombies adequately supplied. Made for (from a runners perspective) well organized and smooth.

Final Thought: Zombie Charge was a good event, a better atmosphere then you would see at RFYL and a fun course to run.  I can say that Zombie Charge is “Spahten Approved.”

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Interview: Zombie Charge – New Race, Fresh Zombies!

New for 2013, Zombie Charge is (as you guessed) a Zombie Themed Obstacle Course race making its debut this year on September 7th in North Stonington, CT.  We had an opportunity to speak with one of the Race Directors and find out how Zombie Charge plans on bringing a new and refreshing take on the Zombie Themed Obstacle Course race.

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Tell me a little about your organization and it’s background. How big is the team behind the idea?

Zombie Charge is an event created by Rising Sun Productions. It is new 2013 and the premier event will be September 7, 2013 in New England, specifically North Stonington, CT (about 5 miles from Foxwoods). The next event is October 19 in Miami, FL and we are in the process of planning Houston TX in Nov and Baton Rouge in Dec for this year.
We have 4 founders. How we all met and know each other is a longer story, but a brief bio of each is as follows:

Jeff Rizer, The Director.
Jeff, 36, has been a commercial insurance producer for 18 years. He was born and raised in CT and now raising his family there. Jeff is an avid mountain biker, triathlete and runner. Jeff is incredibly active in community youth wellness and athletics.

Eric Anderson, The Professor.
Eric, 35, has been part of 9 start-ups. Currently he is the CEO of a disaster restoration company in RI and the Chief Happy Guy of a social enterprise t-shirt company based in Providence and production out of Boston. He is also an adjunct professor at Providence College and teaches entrepreneurship and business management. Born and raised in RI, Eric and his family now live in eastern CT. He is an avid triathlete and enjoys mud-runs.

Bill Horgan, The General.
Bill, 33, is the President and owner of a leading pest control company based in RI servicing lower New England. Bill is a RI native and now raising his family there. Bill is hooked on CrossFit and when you meet him it’s pretty obvious. His triceps are huge.

Jason Aminsharifi, The Doctor.
Jason, 31, is our MD. He graduated with his BS at age 19 and continued working in several careers including a large pharmaceutical company before attending University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He graduated this year and is working on an antidote for those infected with the virus. He is a born and raised Floridian and continues to live in Miami.

What made you want to organize an Obstacle Course Race / Zombie Themed Event?

Jeff and I (Eric) train together for races.  It’s a simple story, we were talking one day in his office about upcoming races and what races we might do together in the upcoming summer as he commented he received “another mud run flyer” in the mail.  Jeff is the director of a 5k race for a local non-profit and knows how much work actually goes into it.  Knowing this I simply stated, “why don’t we start our own race series?”  He replied, “Yeah, how about a zombie run?”  Two weeks later our website was launched and registration was open!
Since then we have all become obsessed with all things zombie.  There is a tremendous cult following and it is growing.  I can see why now.  We all dream about zombies regularly.  But this is shaping our company culture and why we will be creating a truly amazing and authentic zombie race experience.  It’s going to be so much more than another mud-run or obstacle course.  From the moment you are parking your car, you will be immersed in the experience, in the post apocalypse, zombie-infested world.

Have you organized any other races, of any variety? If so, what have you offered?

Jeff is the only member that has been a race organizer before, that’s why he’s the director.  But Jeff and I have lots of race experience and friends who do also.  We know what works and what doesn’t.  Where to put our efforts and what is needed to make a kick-ass event.  Jeff’s organizing experience helps tremendously on all the back-end stuff that no one really thinks about.

What are your goals for 2013?

Our goals for 2013 were originally just to have the New England race. Oh how things change so quickly.  We now have registration open for New England in September and for Miami in October. We will also be announcing Houston TX November and Baton Rouge December very soon! So for 2014 our goal is to have 10,000 participants between the 4 locations.

Tell us more Specifically about The Zombie Charge. How Does it Compare or Differ from other known themed Races like Run for Your Lives? 

So if you haven’t realized just yet, there will be a few big differences.  We care about the entire experience, think about Universal Studios or a Hollywood movie set. We have an entire story that will be told – some before the event and some during.   We are going to make this experience authentic.  From the set, the course, and especially the zombies.  Our zombies will receive special training on how to “play the part” so the runners feel like they are in a real post apocalypse world.  Some will charge (chase) and others will walk or crawl.  Some even are trained.  Similar to other zombie runs, our runners wear a flag belt and have to try and survive with at least 1 flag. If they lose them all, they still have time to avoid being permanently infected, but they are on the clock! And at the finish line they will be required to visit the “infected”  decontamination area before joining the survivors.
Another big difference will be the venue selection and the obstacles.  We are working on securing some major sponsors, but in short our obstacles will be legit.  They will provide challenge, but more importantly will be fun…not lame like some others’ courses.

Tell us about the Zombies, Are We talking “Night of the Living Dead” or “28 Days Later”? 

This is a great question.  There will be a mix, but have you seen Zombieland? Zombies are encouraged to come in costume and we will have professional make-up artists at the event with all the tools to make awesome zombies.  More than just blood splatter too!  In our story, once a person is bitten and become infected, they begin slow – think The Walking Dead. As they age and get more kills, their strength and speed increases and they become Chargers.  Chargers are faster than humans and don’t get tired.  They’re endurance is better than the best marathon runners.  Our course will have a mix of Walkers and Chargers – so come prepared!  We recommend running with a team and thinking about team survival strategies, protecting those with fewer flags or even using decoys and distraction techniques.  All zombies are sensitive to sounds too, so a blow horn or shouting will certainly draw their attention towards you!

Do you have an official Zombie Charge website? 

www.ZombieCharge.com – watch soon – should be a new site released in about 10 days!
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
@zombiecharge
Remeber to use hashtag #zombiecharge
we will have an RSS feed and tumblr going shortly!

Where do you see the sport of Obstacle Course Racing going in the future?

Oh man, another great question we’ve thought and talked a lot about.  It’s not a fad or a craze. We are still on the upward slope of it’s popularity, the problem (or not) is each year company’s have to one up the previous year.  I think we are going to see some pretty insane obstacles. Think about the first few events Spartan Race or Tough Mudder had and their obstacles and look at them now?  But I think it will continue to grow in popularity and days of the typical 5k are going to be considered “boring”.  Maybe not for all, but for many.
I think many races are getting a little too expensive and we may see people getting priced out – so companies need to keep it realistic.  Some even pass the cost of insurance and registration fees on to the participant at the end of registration.
For Zombie Charge – we are going to make the course challenging enough for the hard core obstacle course runners but more than the challenge will be the overall fun experience, this will open the door to challengers at all levels.  Who knows, maybe we will have our own dusk or night-time zombie run before you know it!  Or maybe the ultimate zombie run for hard core competitors one day.
Many Thanks to Eric @ Zombie Charge for taking the time to answer our questions. Sounds to us like its going to be a very story driven immersive experience. Registration is currently Open for the September Event – Check out the Teaser video we pulled from the website www.zombiecharge.com below:

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Featured Review: Bold R Dash on the Beach

Bold R Dash on the Beach held over 2 days at Misquamicut Beach, Westerly, RI. This is the First Year Bold R Dash has strayed away from Yawgoo Valley location in the fall not only to offer a great day on the beach, but also to benefit “Bring Back the Beach”  Being from New England I am sure most of you were effected by Hurricane Sandy one way or the other;  “In 2012 Twenty-seven businesses and 3 miles of beach along the Westerly coast were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, severely impacting the lives and jobs of hundreds of Rhode Islanders as well as the state’s economy and tourism industry. The Greater Westerly Chamber Foundation, an arm of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce, is a local, non-profit 501c(3) organization that is directly supporting volunteer and recovery efforts. BoldrDash is organized to help support local charities and organizations. For our Misquamicut Beach Race we are partnering with The Westerly/Pawcutuck Chamber of Commerce to help raise funds for the Bring Back the Beach Campaign.”

Mike McKenzie and Todd Birmingham leading the 10:15 Wave for most of the Heat. Both finished 2nd and 3rd in the Heat and 27&28th Overall for the day.

Positives:

  • Plenty of Parking easily accessible to the race. 
  • Tons of Volunteers and Staff
  • Beer Tent, Bands, Beach Grilled Food and Venders
  • Onsite KTape by PT’s
  • Entire course accessible to Spectators
  • Its on a Beach, and Beaches in RI are the best.
  • Slosh Pipe Balance beams!
  • Sturdy well constructed obstacles

Negatives:

  • The Tide Could have been a potential disaster for someone, This didnt prove to be to much of an issue on both days. But in the future the course should probably try to avoid this trap between the ocean and the Sea Wall. 
  • While the Course was Clearly Marked, their were areas that were confusing and I witness several people cut portions of the course entirely by accident.
  • The After Party Area (beer tent, band) was small – while sufficient if they were to do the Beach again, increased numbers could make this area very cramped.

Bold R Dash was held over 2 days, Majority of the Spahtens ran on Sunday, as several of us were pulling back to back races with other events only held on the Saturday. We did have a few run on Saturday as well. Reports are the course changed slightly between Saturday and Sunday. Apparently on Saturday the Course was not a full 5k, and in recognizing this Bold R Dash extended the  course  further down the Beach for Sunday. Also I am told that there was no water stations on the Course Saturday (confirmed their were water stations on Sat), but there were 3 on Sunday.

I think these kinds of changes show 2 things, 1.  It was their first time at this location and 2. They made adjustments on the fly.  So You’ll need to treat this as 2 separate Races, rather than 1 race over 2 days.

Onto Race day (Sunday) Easy to find parking, with short walks to registration and the race. RI Beach towns are built for Tourism and plenty of parking so this we didnt expect to be an issue, and it wasnt. There was Tons of Staff on the streets directing you to parking, and friendly as well. Check in was smooth, and it was a beautiful day to Race.

img from Precision Fitness
img from Precision Fitness

Lets Start off with the staple of Bold R Dash.. which is the fact  you need to pick up a rock and run with it for the beginning of the race. They sent us down the beach front, pick up a rock (ranging from baseball size to football size) and run it back up the beach passed the start block dropping off your rock probably about 400m into the race, and then Here comes the fun part.. Having to get waste deep in Beautiful Rhode Island Ocean, which was instant leg numbing cold.  This area became an issue for some on Saturday because the Tide was coming in for some of the Waves, and some people experienced Deeper then they would have liked water through this part of the course. I had immediately checked the Tide for my wave time after hearing this and knew i was in the clear. 😉

The Frigid Water kept my legs numb for at least a mile into the course, which was a nice distraction from having to run through beach sand. Because running on the beach sand is difficult, You could see many runners Glutes and Quads burning out quickly trekking through the sand.

BoldRDash saved the majorty of obstacles for the 2nd half of the race, this allowed heats to thin out greatly running on the beach and cause no back ups at obstacles, I have to think this was intentional. We hit our typical Walls, Football Tires, an 8ft, a 20ft Tire wall, We even hit a Balance beam where you had to carry a (4ft or 5ft ??) slosh pipe over.

Ill have to say my favorite of the day was the water filled Bouy’s over and under walls. Bold R Dash made sure they had enough walls to make you curse the Bouy by the end. (maybe 30lbs? )

We did plenty of Glut Burning running on the beach, Some low crawls and then it was up the Sea Wall to the Finish line.

All and All Bold R Dash put on a Great Race for a Great Cause. Every Obstacle had at least 1 if not 2 volunteers Encouraging and Cheering you.  It was a beautiful day and reminded you while you live in Rhode Island (or maybe want to move to Rhode Island?)   Thumbs Up from the New England Spahtens on this Event. I hope Bold R Dash Continues to bring this race back to continue to help fund the charities that make these beaches great places to be in the summer.

I apologize for all the Copyrighted Images. We were all having such a good time running the beach no one took any photos.

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Featured Review – Wason Pond Pounder

This race season is in full swing now – and with that will come Spahtens traveling in groups across the East Coast (and further) to hit up as many OCR’s as Time and money will allow. Next Year, Keep the Pond Pounder on your list of races to do. Wason Pond Pounder accurately describes themselves as a moderately challenging, and family-friendly obstacle course; it is exactly that. This is a race worth supporting and running, and hope for a bigger event next year!

Wasonpondpounder

Price:  Proceeds benefit Chester Charitable Foundation, a non-profit raising money to support charitable endeavors in the community. This year including One Fund Bostoncourse

Venue: Excellent, Wooden and Open Fields with Water crossings.

Parking: Ample Off Site Parking with Shuttle Service 2.5 miles to race site. At $2 per car to park (super cheap!)

Course: Moderately Challenging. Elite Spahtens will be able to take on this course multiple times.

Staff: Super Friendly, Ample Volunteers. Smooth Check-ins, Shirt pickup, Multiple Volunteers on course at every obstacle.

 

James on Lap 4So lets Get on to Race day!

The Race is located at Wason Pond in Chester NH, Depending on how heavy your foot it, its about 30 minutes north of the MA border.  Race Directors Posted Waivers online a week before to download and bring with you, BIBs were also posted online the day before to ensure you had everything you needed for a Smooth Check-in. Several emails were also sent to participants leading up to the race to inform Runners of Race Day to-do’s including locations for parking, cost etc. Everything about Pond Pounder is all about getting you all the information you need up front so there are no surprises.

Like I said before, Ample parking at $2 a pop can’t be beat with a short Bus ride to the course. Buses were frequent to and from the venue – I didn’t wait more than 2 minutes before I had a ride to and from the race. There was also binders on the bus of everyone’s BIB numbers, so if you happen to forget to get this info it was available on the Bus. Buses dropped us off directly in front of Registration, where there was additional Bib Lists so you can pick up your packets.  Registration Staff was Friendly and timely. Again, no wait for us.

The area is small, However there was plenty of room and picnic tables to set up shop at. They had Bag check and Changing Tents, Vendors selling Food and some other Vendors selling item for charity. Wason keeps the feeling and mood of the day like your at a big family cookout. Lots of Kids and families around.family

 

Announcers made clear when Heats should get ready to go, Heats went off every 20 minutes. Timing chips were done by Velcro straps to your ankle. They counted you down and then you were off! It was a fast course for Elite runners, fastest time coming in about 23 minutes. We faced your typical obstacles, over unders, 6ft walls, monkey bars, They also included Cinder block carries, Tire drags and Water Crossings. (Course never took you deeper then your waist, No Swimming needed)

This is a very much a “beginners race” to the OCR world, Nothing was too scary for the beginner and was a great way to have the WHOLE family run in any heat, but specifically with their Family Heats in the afternoon.  There was no real backup on any obstacles if there was it was minimal. (seconds not minutes) And for those of you that fear the race clutter, Wason Offered 2 competitive waves in the morning this year.

Pro’s:

  • Ample and cheap parking
  • Plenty of Staff, Friendly and Helpful
  • Accurate described course
  • Obstacles were sturdy and Safe
  • Spectators can get at atleast 1/2 the course

Con’s:

  • Honestly there really isn’t much worth mentioning. Runners do have to cross a portion of the course to get into the starting gate, this could be adjusted.
  • Wason had 743 finishers, the venue / spectator area would probably max out at 1000 runners. There is however plenty of additional room to expand with some slight course adjustments if participation increases.

rollhay