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Featured Review: Shale Hill Polar Bear 8 Hour 2019

The temperature gauge on my Volkswagen registered -10 degrees Fahrenheit as  I pulled out of the driveway of the Lake Bomoseen house where I was staying with my fellow NE Spahten teammates. It was 6:00 a.m. and I was headed to Shale Hill for their final race, Polar Bear 8 Hour.

The sky was still dark when I pulled into the parking lot and made my way up the hill to the barn for check-in. The air was the kind of cold that makes your body suck into it self. I huddled in my Dryrobe and walked as close as was safe to the many small fires that illuminated our way. I had done this walk so many times before; there was no way that this could be the end.

At the top of the hill, I hurried myself into the barn to check in. Jill Butler, co-race director, was there graciously managing all the logistics as always. She welcomed me by name as I picked up my bib and dropped of my gear. From there, I headed over to the “party barn” for breakfast, catered by the local Wheel Inn and the pre-race meeting.

Familiar faces met me right away. One element of Shale Hill that I cannot overstate is the sense of community. Racers who come to Shale Hill to train and race often mention the innovative and challenging course and the beauty of watching the sun rise and set from the start line. These things keep people coming back again and again. But the piece that has always struck me as unique about Shale Hill is the community that co-owners, Jill and Rob Butler have built. At Shale Hill, racers tackle the course together, they know each other by name, and they support each other. This is a testament to the welcoming and familial atmosphere that Rob and Jill have created. Shale Hill is greater than the sum of its parts in that most inexplicable way that so many wonderful things are. As someone who quantifies things for a living, it strikes me that I cannot entirely quantify all my feelings about Shale Hill. How can I place an exact figure on the sense of love I have for the place and how its supported me in my growth as an athlete and provided refuge in good and challenging times? Shale Hill has been there for me in and has given me something that I hadn’t even known I needed.

In the party barn, I connected with fellow NES friend, Bobby, and the two of us grabbed some breakfast and coffee. I chowed on eggs and french toast while Rob Butler led the pre-race meeting providing details relevant to the day. The frigid weather has left tires and wheelbarrows buried under snow and glued to the frozen earth with ice, meaning non-elite racers would walk those loops unencumbered. Rob also explained the Polar Bear penalty system, which required racers to run back to the previous obstacle when they failed something. In select instances, where obstacles were quite far apart, racers would instead take a chip and complete obstacles like battle ropes and sled rides at the conclusion of their loop. The goal: As many loops of the approximately 6.5 mile, 70 obstacles Shale Hill course as possible in eight hours.

Did I mention it wasn’t even zero degrees Fahrenheit outside?

I am not a good cold weather athlete. I’ll be fine if it’s 80 degrees, but winter weather is a challenge. Knowing this, my goal for Polar Bear is always to be non-competitive and run in the penalty-free journeyman division. I am quite serious about setting only a small handful of A-races per year during my peak time of the summer. I don’t believe in every race being an all out event, and I am lucky to have coaches that work with me on periodization that makes sense for my race calendar. Suffice it to say, that with temperatures as cold as they were and snow on the ground, I was realistic about planning to do one lap at the 2019 Polar Bear race.

After breakfast, I coordinated myself for the 7:50 a.m. start time of the journeyman wave. Vermont had gotten about 18″ of snow over the past few weeks. The first layer has packed down into an impermeable icy layer. On top of it was another 6″ to 10″ of powder that we’d have to wade through, similar to running along a sandy beach. I put on Icebugs with carbide tips, gaters, two layers of pants, two tops and a jacket, and two buffs — one for my face and one for my ears. I put on gloves and added Bleggmits on top. I stuffed foot warmers into my shoes and hand warmers into my gloves. I was ready to go. Or as ready as I would ever be. At 7:54 a.m., I crossed the starting line at Shale Hill for the last time.

I have spoken at great length in many many blog posts about the obstacles at Shale Hill. If you’re looking for a detailed play by play, I refer you to my write-up from summer 2014 and the NES weekend training. Obstacles have been added since that time, but it will give you a good idea about what we were up against. Rob Butler’s obstacles are no joke. They are innovative, challenging, and a heck of a lot of fun. I am a decent enough obstacle course racing athlete, and yet I have never completed an entire loop of Shale Hill with 100% obstacle completion. For context, I cannot think of any other race series where I haven’t been able to 100% in one or more of their races.

Polar Bear 2019 had its own set of challenges. The cold was mind-numbing. When the wind blew I got a cold headache, like one might get from drinking a bubble tea too fast. My muscles did not cooperate. My fingers did not grip. My hips were locked. Of course, faced with the snow, ever step was effortful and anything more than a little bit of running was off the table for me. It is truly humbling to experience the effects of weather on the body. All of the racers at Polar Bear were challenged in this way. I failed obstacles that are a snap for me in warm weather. The 7′ wall that I consider one of the most manageable obstacles on course was a challenge without assistance. My gloves slipped on the ropes making them impossible to climb. If I tried to take my fingers out of the gloves, they would get numb, making my grip strength exactly zero. Everything was a tremendous effort.

The first couple of obstacles, the split log carry and the pond rope traverse, had some unexpected back-ups. Since I was journeyman, I walked the log loop sans-log. The pond traverse is a favorite of mine and something I wanted to do one last time. As luck would have it, very few people wanted to try the lane was the metal ring around the rope. I opted to tackle that traverse, leading me to get to move ahead quickly. However, the pond traverse was a good example of what was to come in terms of effort. That rope traverse took it out of me. I barely made it to the end and was left huffing and sapped of energy, body almost shaking. Exerting yourself in the extreme cold is no joke.

I was glad to have the company of fellow NE Spahtens on the course to keep up morale. I ran with Bobby for quite a bit, saw Niki and Steve, Josh and Molly, and encountered a few others briefly. Friendly faces helped. I got to meet some entertaining guys from Connecticut who gave me a mental boost in the last mile. It was great to see some photographer friends all over the course to add a smile to a rough race experience.

It’s pretty easy to get lost in the “pain cave” when you’re walking across a meadow into the wind in weather that makes your eyes feel as though their fluids are turning to a solid state. It’s almost impossible not to question how you define fun when you’re on the top of a metal obstacle and feel its penetrating chill. 2019 Polar Bear was mentally challenging. I have never failed so many obstacles in my life. Truly it’s a shame because while I did as much as my body could do in this last race at Shale Hill, what I really wanted was to be able to do everything, something that was impossible for me given the conditions. In a way, I knew this would happen — I am not a winter racer after all. So in many ways, this summer’s 24 Hours of Shale Hell was my farewell effort. Though just as I say that I want to take it back. Because every time I run Shale Hill I want to run it again so that I can try harder, do better, see the moon from the top of a pile of hay bales, watch the sun come up over the mountains as I wrench myself up from my sleeping bag for another lap.

I crossed the finish line after 3:50 out on the course. I was freezing, and I was tired. One and done. I accepted my medal and went inside to change and get a hot drink and some food. I’m not such of a social person, but I love post-race time at Shale Hill. I ate many delicious rolls from the buffet while I chatted with Amy, Bobby, Liz, Niki, and Steve about our love of Shale Hill and various feelings of denial and sadness that it was over. (There was some bargaining thrown in there too — those of you familiar with the Kubler-Ross model may sense a pattern…)

Finally, it was time to go. I said goodbye to my team and then made my way around saying farewell to all the Shale Hill folks I have come to have such affection for. I was especially glad that I was able to see Jill who has always been so generous with allowing me to come up to Shale Hill for training and stay over. I was sorry to not get to say a final goodbye to Rob and thank him for his excellent coaching during training weekends and for building such an amazing course.

I don’t think that I will ever race anywhere else again in the same way that I raced at Shale Hill these past five years. Shale Hill has always been a staple in my race calendar. It’s odd not to have a race to look forward to with them this summer. And I know that while other things may fill my time, nothing will be a replacement. Shale Hill will always be a special place, the years an experience to forever value, and the camaraderie we all found there a testament to Rob and Jill’s efforts.

The truth is, I don’t know how to end this post because I am not quite sure yet how to say farewell to Shale Hill. But maybe it’s as simple as just this: Thank you.

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Episode 5 – Garfield Griffiths of CMC

In this episode of nespahtens.TV, we speak to Garfield Griffiths – once English, now a Floridian who is well known from his time with other race brands, and the fantastic 2015 OCR World Championship course – he is now leading the charge in the reboot of one of our favorite races – Civilian Military Combine.

Audio Only

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The cost of a Perfect Delta

Update 2/24/16

As Spartan add the hardware to their store, and after a few weeks of feedback – I wanted to add a couple of items to this article. Scroll down to find the TRUE, updated cost to getting your Perfect Delta.

What is the Delta?

Delta-Expanded-View-2Spartan’s infographic on the Delta isn’t very clear – so let me try to sum it up as best I can, with the information I currently have available (and thank you to Spartan HQ for fact checking and clarifying this post prior to publication).

12/1/16 update – Spartan HQ got back in touch post publication with some more updates to the pricing – I’ve noted these in the body of this article.

It starts with a flat piece of steel – called a “Circuit”, with space for three pie pieces, and three Delta Icons (more below). The pyramid – the Delta – you see in all the photos seems to be THREE of these Circuits, leaning against each other on a round base. You do not earn a single, solid pyramid. You probably have to buy the Circuits too – but details aren’t available on the cost.

You’re supposed to build your Delta with three Circuits – one for each of three types of Trifecta (Race, Endurance and Training) – but of course, feel free to fill it up with any pie piece you want, in any combination. They have cute names for some of the combos – if you have three Race Trifecta’s, then it’s a 3T Trifecta. If you have three Endurance Trifecta’s then it’s a Masters of Endurance Trifecta.

Those corner tab pieces (the Delta Icons) you’re supposed to be able to earn at each venue – but at time of writing, the help article describing these is poorly written to the point I have no real clue what they are or how you get them. Neither did HQ! Expect more information to come on these in the future.

I don't even know what this means ...
I don’t even know what this means …

If you have three Circuits – one from each type of Trifecta – this is called the Perfect Delta.

Lets analyze this Perfect Delta, and how much it’s going to cost you.

Note: I’ve given the cheapest prices we could find at time of writing, and listed our source. These will go up, of course, and worth noting, it doesn’t have to be done in a single calendar year. This can be picked up over multiple seasons.

UPDATE 2/24/16

Each “Delta Icon” is now listed at $5 each. $45 for a Delta’s worth of Icons, picked up at a venue (so, no shipping)

Also, the Delta hardware is now in the Spartan store and you can get it for the low low price of $125  – photos courtesy of Jeremy Reid, who got his in recently.

delta_new1$$
Race Trifecta:

A Sprint, Super and Beast. We’re familiar with these. Sprint pricing starts at $79 (Sunday in MA), $109 for a Super in MA and $159 to get your Beast in NJ.

You can get in cheaper with a regional season pass for $259, or volunteer and get free codes. Of course, you can make three Circuits up with Race Trifecta’s, and call it the 3T Trifecta, if you like – but thats not the Perfect Delta.

Total cost for a Race Trifecta: $259 (for the regional SP).

Update 2/24/16 – I was given feedback that I should include insurance costs in this total. Even if you use a season pass, you are on the hook for $14 per race insurance. So, $42 insurance too.

Endurance Trifecta:

A Hurricane Heat, 12h Hurricane Heat and an Ultra Beast.

Hurricane Heats are $25 add-on’s to your regular heat, or $100 if you do it totally solo. Most people simply add this on to their existing race weekend though. $25 it is.

The 12 hour Hurricane Heat, if you can travel to one, will run you $150 (Taken from the Vegas event)

The only Ultra Beast on the calendar today is in NJ, and it starts you at $175 (if you want to run Women’s Elite, oddly, this is the cheapest wave – Opens and Male Elite were more).

No season pass for any of these events. You’re paying $350 for this trifecta, minimum.

Update: Season Passes CAN be used for Hurricane Heats – but there are “gotcha’s”. You can ONLY use a SP once per weekend. That means you can use it for both the Hurricane Heat and the 12H Hurricane Heat, but not the same weekend you do a race. To get a race, a HH and a 12H HH, you will be visiting Spartan on even more race weekends. Still. Included in your SP. $free

Ultra Beast – I’ve been assured by HQ that the Season Pass also qualifies you for a 55% discount on Ultra Beast, bringing the cost to $96.25 at a base minimum cost. I can’t find this documented on the Spartan website at time of writing, however.

So – IF you have a Season Pass, and IF you go to a race weekend for your Hurricane Heat, your 12H Hurricane Heat, and EACH of your three Race Trifecta events – you can get an Endurance Trifecta for as little as $96.25

Training Trifecta:

To get your Training Trifecta – the most expensive step on the Perfect Delta, you need to go through two courses, and one endurance event.

SGX training has been around a while now. To earn your piece of the Delta pie, you need to take a Spartan approved class. Coming soon is a single day, Spartan Obstacle Specialist class, for $395, that will be the simplest, quickest way to earn your piece of the pie. No prior personal training experience needed. Thanks to HQ for helping clarify this, it seems to be the most confusing piece of the Delta story.

SpartanX is something new, and appears to be an online course that will cost you $199 to complete (and you have to test out of it – I assume you need to pass that test). It’ll help you prepare mentally to be a Spartan.

Lastly, the Agoge – the “not a Death Race”, event. Offered in various time lengths, all appear to start at $375, but a Season Pass will get you $75 off this – again, I can’t find documentation of this perk, but HQ assure me it’s the case.

$669 for the Training Trifecta.

So – that Perfect Delta means you will almost certainly have to live the Spartan lifestyle – as it’ll cost you $1,653 at a barest minimum.

So – if you align all the stars correctly, and commit a full race weekend to a Sprint, Super, Beast – AND the Hurricane Heat and 12H Hurricane Heat – AND all five of these events happen to fall in a single region, then you COULD make your Regional Season Pass work hard, and get a Perfect Delta for only $1,024.25 (at present, I don’t see a single region with all these events – and the Spartan website doesn’t note some of these discounts – worth noting, this doesn’t include insurance, parking, gas, tolls, beer money, bail money and other sundry expenses)

UPDATE 2/24/16 – Plus $212 to buy your hardware and get your insurance! New total: $1236.25

As they say in the Delta description – Total commitment is the only true starting point.

I’ll be honest, when I started this exercise, I thought the end $ cost would have been much higher. While I used barest minimum pricing,  I think the knowledge that this can be earned over multiple seasons reduces the impact of the financial cost considerably. I think the biggest take away about the Delta is that you don’t actually earn a solid stainless steel pyramid – you earn panels – then assemble them at home. There’s going to be some disappointed fans out there …

Will you be trying to earn your Perfect Delta?

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Who is ready to race?

The warm sun, the gentle breeze, the mud; cooling off in the water after tackling a grueling course in the heat of the summer.  Congratulating yourself for a race well run with an iced cold beer.

Boy, it’s going to be amazing when race season comes back around!

Except, around these parts, we didn’t get the memo of race season requiring warm sun and a gentle breeze.  On Sunday, January 31st the 2016 #racelocal Grand Prix kicks off in earnest with Blizzard Blast!

BB tree

When you sign up for Blizzard blast, make sure you use the following team name: NE Spahtens. We’ve got your hook up for 15% off, at check out pop in NES15.  Boom, saving cake!  We’ll be rolling in one of three waves, 12:30, 12:45 and 1:00. Right now, until this Friday (1/8) the price is $64.  $64!!!!  I mean, holy ___.  A kickin’ race, amaze-ball obstacles, more fun than a barrel of monkeys on a sled in a blizzard, and a medal you won’t want to take off!

#racelocal 2016 is the year we get the whole family involved!  Do you have kids who have always wanted to run with you?

BB kegsThe minimum age for this one is 14.  If you think you have what it takes to keep up with your super star, make sure they are signed up as well!

Blizzard Blast has some of the most innovative, challenging, and fun obstacles you’ll find…on top of the fact that it’s an OCR in the winter.  I mean, right?!?  Let that sink in for a minute. You don’t have to wait until spring or summer, and your kids get to run with you.

It’s time to get serious, and it’s time to race, and it’s time to get the family involved!

Have you registered for the 2016 #racelocal yet?  Have you seen the 2016 medal?  Ooooooh,  you haven’t?

rl medal

 

Those eyes, tho. Right?!

Your first race gets you this badass medal.  And, here is the thing…every year this happens after Blizzard Blast:

Pictures of the event get posted and people get massive FOMO.  “Those obstacles look super cool, why didn’t I know about that race?”  Then the pictures of people’s medals start hitting on line…

Don’t be left out.

#racelocal.  Blizzard Blast.  It all starts…now.

 

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Endurance Society 2016

endurancesocietylogo

Please welcome Andy and Jack to the #racelocal 2016 season! I personally am very excited about this as I have been a fan of their races for a while. For those not familiar with the Endurance Society, here’s a bit about them from their website:

The Endurance Society is an organization that is dedicated to providing extraordinary physical and psychological adventures to the endurance community.

​Co-founded in 2014 by Andy Weinberg and Jack Cary, the mission of The Endurance Society is twofold: To create unique, life-changing, and mind-blowing experiences for adventure enthusiasts, and to utilize our members for community involvement.

They have just opened their 2016 membership drive with some new levels this year: a $19, $49 and $99 membership levels, with different swag offers and different levels of discounts to events. They have also partnered up with Rob Butler of Shale Hill as well as Killington for ski passes, Fuego Y Agua, and many more ski resorts, outdoor outfitters and endurance events. Check the ES website for all the partners and discounts.

Can’t wait to see you all up at Frigus for the first ES #racelocal event!!

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Robb McCoy joins Bone Frog Challenge

#racelocal and the New England OCR scene just got a little bit more awesome.

11073578_834434089963608_275746813643007483_oWe’re excited to be the first to announce that Robb McCoy, evil mastermind behind FIT Challenge – is joining the Bone Frog Challenge team as a Race Co-Ordinator for their expanding 2016 season!

What does this mean?

FIT Challenge is going no where!

Robb is still the owner and operator of one of the best short course OCR’s in the region, and it still operates independently – but along side his duties as “Chief Bicep Officer” of FIT, he will now also be working along side the Bone Frog Challenge crew, leading their road crew as they expand down the east coast in 2016.

The decision to bring Robb onto the Bone Frog team was easy. He is an incredible asset to any OCR and his involvement in Bone Frog’s growth will be instrumental in bringing us to the next level. His first hand knowledge of obstacles as well as OCR operations is where we will be utilizing his skills. We could not be more proud to welcome him into the Bone Frog family” – Brian Carney

With races already announced for Carolina Adventure World, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia – and of course the annual return to the best mountain in Western MA – Berkshire East – and more to be announced – Bone Frog is growing, and doing it the best way this industry knows – organically and with the best people in the sport involved.

I couldn’t be more excited to join Brian and the Bone Frog team. Aside from the absolute top notch events Bonefrog produces, their values as an organization are second to none. I’m honored to be a part of their expansion as a company and can’t wait to get on that mountain in May!” – Robb McCoy

(oh, and there are some other well known names from our local community joining his team, such as Scott Sweeney, already volunteer co-ordinator at FIT, will be the new Bone Frog Challenge volunteer co-ordinator- another superb choice).

Congratulations to everyone – we think this is an awesome move – and #racelocal is only going to be even better, as a result!

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The Kids Are In The Game!

Benson Bear

Soon, the 2016 #racelocal Grand Prix will be on us.  Walls will be climbed, heavy things carried, miles will be run, mountains will be scaled.  There are medals to be earned.  One of the items we are very excited, and very proud, to announce about ~this year’s~ 2016 Grand Prix is it’s not just for *you* any longer.

It’s time to get the kids into the game!

A few early details for you: Some races will have a minimum age requirement, some will not.  Some will have a minimum age requirement, and require the child to run with their parent.  But this year your children are going to have the ability to run, crawl, jump, get muddy, and #racelocal right along with you! FULL details are coming very soon!

MaAlong with the registration information, there will be information about how to register your child for #racelocal as well.  While you are earning swag for your races, so will your child (or children). Oh, wait…you didn’t think we’d save all the cool stuff for the big kids, did you?  Oh, no…we have a lot of very cool things lined up just for the kids division!  The more they race, the more they earn!

What could be better than spending the day together, racing, and earning cool swag?  That’s what we thought, too…nothing!  Which is why we’ve put this whole thing (and prizes) together!

Racing should be able to combine all of your passions together, and now it can.  We told you the 2016 #racelocal was going to be bigger and better than ever, and we mean it.

Now, look – medals and prizes are fantastic, we all enjoy earning them.  We have all crossed a finish line with friends, our battle buddies. Imagine taking on a race with your family! Helping each other on the course, building memories as you finish the race together; those would be memories which would stay with you, and your family members, forever!  Ultimately this is the big goal, to bring us all together.  #racelocal #strongertogether

FIT

We hope you have questions, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! Keep your eyes peeled, more information will be coming soon!  All questions will be answered soon!

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Out of Dagobah

Somebody crashed a damn X-Wing into my swamp and spoiled my slumber. Now I have to go fire up an ancient Macbook and take to the keys. 40 years old you become, cranky too, you will be.

“Fear is the path of the Darkside. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Master Yoda

The worst fear is the fear we don’t even realize we have, and that is the fear that leads to anger. Its not the fear from with out that breeds hate. Its the fear from within. The things we fear about ourselves that we fear will be let out into the light. Jung’s “shadow”. When we see it reflected inn others, that which we fear in ourselves, we lash out. When you take to the internet and condemn others, your own fears about yourself spill out.

“Just because you are a character, doesn’t mean you have character.” The Wolf

Everyone is the the lead character of their own story. Most people believe they are the Hero. But if you are the villain of someone else’s story. you are probably the Villain of your own as well. It’s been said time and again that most people are their own worst enemy and I think that’s accurate. If your choice of options is to belittle, degrade or dehumanize another person for some trumped up reason in your own mind, you’re a bad person. It’s really that simple. Instead of being someone who others look up too, you simply attract sycophants who agree with you out of fear. Which leads to anger, and hate, and then suffering. So instead of being a bright, happy, respectful person. You become a twisted, bitter, angry, wrathful wretch.

Character is one of those words which many can define yet, few seem to understand. It’s quite simply the moral and mental process which lead to an individual’s choices and actions. Correlation does not imply causation however. What I mean is just because you do something good for others to see, does not mean you really are good. Dave Barry the humorist wrote: “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they aren’t a nice person.” To really be nice, you first have to think nice, then speak nice, and then: AND THEN, do nice.

Dennis Prager wrote: “Goodness is about character- integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage and the like. More than anything else; it is about how we treat other people.” Similarly Buddhism is often attributed to these five factors when speaking; Is it spoken at the right time? Is it spoken in truth? Is it spoken affectionately? Is it spoken beneficially? Is it spoken with the mind of goodwill? With all of these things in mind, when you interact with other people either in person, or over the internet, if you can’t qualify your thought and your speech by these ideas, your probably speaking with fear. And with fear you will only find anger, hate and suffering.

Master Yoda told us that the path of fear would lead to the Darkside. Lucas however didn’t define the path of the light side. Probably because it would appear too religious and didn’t fit his sci-fi movie. But we can discern it for ourselves with no need to attach currently practiced religious canon. Understanding is the path of the Lightside. Understanding leads to joy. Joy leads to happiness. Happiness leads to love. Love never finds fault. Some guy long ago tried to teach these ideas. We haven’t come to understand his message or any other great teacher who tried. Some day we will though. Some day.

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Spartan’s Burpee Penalty is Staying

Thanks to a blog post, 5 Obstacle Racing Trends to Watch in 2015, by Ekaterina Solovieva, the rumor mill was crazy with the idea that Spartan Race had eliminated penalty burpees from their races (her blog has since been updated assuring people the Spartan Burpee is here to stay and with her apologies).  With each rumor I read there was a different understanding on how Spartan would be making the change.  Some were in line with how Battlefrog handles elites, others were in line with how OCR World Championships worked.

When a search on Spartan’s Facebook page and website couldn’t corroborate what I had read, I reached out to Aja Varney, Customer Service at Spartan Race.  Here’s what she had to say: “Hey! So, that was speculation by blogger that seemed to turn into a crazy rumor. There is no plans to get rid of burpees at this time – we love them too much.”

A few helpful links with the current rules and guidelines:

Rules, Guidelines and Penalties for Spartan Race Obstacles

Standard Obstacle Specific Instructions

Spartan World Championship Athlete Standards and Guidelines

Spartan World Championship Penalties & Disqualification

And just in case people are still unclear on what a Spartan Burpee is!

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Superhero Scramble – the future

shslogoI really can’t look into the future, and I have no insider knowledge for whatever counts as Superhero Scramble HQ these days. This isn’t a judgement of character or life style choice.

This is simply about a race that has been to New England twice now – put on some fun times for us – and is still accepting New England cash to come back in 2015.

My recommendation has to be that you should not register.

As many of you know, they recently had venue issues with the tri-state event. Lots of issues. Two (at least) venue relocations, and ultimately a full cancellation. Refunds WERE offered, and if you got one, I’d love to hear from you, because I didn’t.

However, the New England event we saw in 2014 was fantastic. It didn’t show a company in trouble. They pulled out everything they had and the course was both challenging, well built and well marshaled for safety. The festival was jumping – although much of that may have been to the Sports Park staff and crew, as we’ve seen in previous races.

At the time, I remember having to explain to people – especially new runners – that despite the gloss and shine of the New England event, it wasn’t always that way. In other regions, events were being relocated, rescheduled and “postponed” (which is OCR Race speak for “canceled, but you aren’t getting your money back” – at least in my personal opinion).

SHS NE 2014 - Biggest Team
SHS NE 2014 – Biggest Team

In fact, a common turn of phrase was that Superhero Scramble was a Florida race, with a New England event. They seemed to do well in their home state, but struggle everywhere else outside New England, where we saw their best side, and brought good turn out.

Thats changed. Recently they postponed their Central Florida event, scheduled for next January – due to low numbers. Even more recently, the North Florida in November 2014 event was “postponed” for the same reason. “Compensation” will come – but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

This means Superhero Scramble, the well polished event that used to bring out the elites, pay out prize money (eventually) and showed us a great time just a few months ago has now postponed ALL events scheduled for their home state, have nothing on the calendar for 2014, and are postponing events as far ahead as January 2015 for low attendance – but still have registration open for New England 2015 next June.

Again, my personal recommendation is to not register.

This doesn’t even take into account the recent bizarre shopping rewards program they recently announced – which is so out of left field I’m not sure what they expected the OCR community to think of it …

shs