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Blizzard Blast 2014 – an interview with Fred

Blizzard Blast is approaching! Only a few weeks away, it’s close enough that Fred Smith, of Smithfest events is looking at the sky and starting his snow dancing …

Last year was the first Blizzard Blast, and we were handily the biggest team there – kicking off our amazing year in some chilly, but great style – and scoring our first team flag in the process. Mike Hastie and the Team Mike McNeil boys led the charge and coralled the troops, and I believe we brought around 40 members.

You can check our reviews from the crew here and here

Blizzard Blast 2014 also launches the first of the #racelocal Grand Prix races – this will be your first chance to log some points and get on the leader board for the Grand Prix series, lasting 6 months, 6 races and giving Elites and Open division runners chance to earn a cool medal, support local racing, and win some cash prizes too. More information on the Grand Prix here.

Team Mike McNeil and the New England Spahtens at Blizzard Blast 2013
Team Mike McNeil and the New England Spahtens at Blizzard Blast 2013


Q: Blizzard Blast is one of a few winter OCRs on the calendar, why pick winter as a theme?
A: We are always looking for different types of events and there are lots of road races in the winter but it seemed like the OCR races ask their patrons to take on all types of adversity but they seem to be running from the cold weather of New England with their events so we decided the OCR community deserved to have something in the dead of winter.

Q: Roughly how long do you expect the course to be, with how many obstacles?

"Through" style walls
“Through” style walls

A: The length is usually about 5k but we have had some changes with some terrain concerns and it will be closer to 4 miles most likely.  We are also looking at an area to add some more length for the elite runners.  The number of obstacles will vary from 15 – 25 depending on how much the snow will allow us to get certain equipment on the course the week of the event.  We have two plans in place but if we have a good amount of snow, that alone is going to be very difficult to deal with as a runner!

Q: Some of your obstacles are winter themed, do you have fun new obstacles for us this year? If so, can you share details of them?
A: As you know we are not big fans of giving out secrets as we think as we move into future years we will leave some things for the mind to wonder what the SmithFest Crew has up their sleeves this year.  But we will have a sledding hill, maybe 2 is we are lucky with snow and will will once again have the famous Christmas tree carry! 

Q: How many people do you expect to brave the elements?
A: We hope to have over 1200 out for the event! 🙂 (Editors note: Almost 100 of those will be New England Spahtens! Join the biggest team!)

The first snow mound of 2013’s race

Q: Blizzard Blast is a little more competitive than Panic in the Dark, tell us about the elite competition you have lined up?
A: We have added the elite heat to add some a new competitive level but even at the open level this will offer a very competitive race.. It will have more running and tough terrain than Panic. The snow, trails and terrain will offer a major obstacle in itself.  On a difficulty level I would much rather run in mud than snow any day if I was looking for the easy way out, but we are not hear to give out hugs so be ready for a difficult race that will definately test you on all levels!! 

Q: Smithfest has given back to the community many times in the past – what are your plans for this event?
A: Well recently we have teamed up with The “Children’s Tumor Foundation” So now if you can raise money for a great cause and if you raise over $150 we will give you a free future race to Panic in the Dark or Blizzard Blast! 

The Spahtens rocked Blizzard Blast!

Q: What feedback from last year have you most taken to heart this time? What are the biggest changes?
A: We are always trying to improve in all our areas but we have really focused making it a great experience for everyone including all the spectators.  I think it is tough to take care of the spectators at Panic with safety in mind so we have really tried to make this a great spectator event close to the main area especially.

Q: Smithfest is also known for rocking parties – what do you have lined up for Blizzard Blast?
A: The set up at Four Oaks Country Club offers great views from a top a hill that will set a great backdrop for large windows, outdoor patio and heated tent that will have an awesome Acoustic show inside, Dj Music outside, Food and drink provided by the venue along with our agility competition and possibly a Keg throw competition as well.

You can sign up for Blizzard Blast 2014 here:

and prices go up on January 10th. Nespahtens5 will save you $5 off the cost of entry, and remember to join team NE Spahtens for a wicked cold time!

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