46 thoughts on “Bone Frog Challenge

  1. Let me first say this review is purely input on the Endurance course put on by Bonefrog for the first time, May 2017. I am not going to go through all of the obstacles and venue and such as other reviewers have done a great job at that; I just wanted to get my rating in and comment briefly on those.
    Communication was great- early, multiple communications, included getting there early, what to bring and expect, etc.
    I have gone to BoneFrog in Charlemont for the past 3 years. I love the venue, great mountain, great space. Plenty of porto-potties plus they give Spahtens their own space, complete with a great sign this time!
    Now for the nitty-gritty of the course…. The new obstacles, and all Bonefrog obstacles were fantastic; these are why I go to Bonefrog- it’s an obstacle race, of course I want challenging obstacles! There were quite a few that were quite dangerous- partially for me as a short person, and even tall people due to their extreme height. I completely skipped the new propeller obstacle after hanging off of it on my first go around and realizing how far the drop was and there was no place to dismount on the other side. This was right after swimming from the rope traverse, I wasn’t about to risk calf or ankle injury. I am so sad to have missed it because their other rigs are great and I love the challenge they give me. There was not a lick of padding, even hay, on any part of the course. Did they miss a hay delivery? Usually there is something. The sandbag carry was also ridiculously dangerous. I watch people slide down and as I tried to find secure footing I slid and ended up going down the entire hill with my friend barreling down into me. I am sad that this was amusing to the race personnel and that they didn’t divert racers immediately when they knew people were getting hurt, here and other obstacles.
    I would have kept my band, if not for the foolish balance beam in the woods. Elites were given mixed messages and I lost my band because I was not allowed to use my hands and another racer grabbed the board I was stepping across, making me lose my balance and fall. Other racers were allowed to crawl across. Volunteers should be clear on expectations and obstacles should be built better than a flimsy board over a ravine. Volunteers were not given clear instructions on obstacles along with what direction the course went. There were multiple times that me and my friends went the wrong way, one friend added nearly a mile to his race because the volunteer pointed runners in the wrong direction. As some points the course was clear, and many others it was not. Apparently there was a rope climb, and where that was I have no idea because I never saw it and many others I talked to didn’t either. The course marking in some places was awful- USE SIGNS NOT JUST PINK TAPE!
    Overall for the Endurance, this was Bonefrog’s first attempt at this. I was so happy to multi-lap at this race, but the time constraints for the course were horrible. We had 5.5 hours to finish Tier one in order to go out for more laps. There were ZERO females that were able to accomplish this, and only about 13 other racers. If the expectation is that only those special elite few will finish, then don’t take people’s money. My friends and I felt ripped off and would have stuck with the Tier 1 course if we had known the time constraints when we signed up. Plus, making us wait in long lines (20 minutes at the first rig and a half hour at the balance board, plus other lines) really set those in the back of the pack of elites behind. We weren’t allowed to pass without completing obstacles! Hopefully they get this ironed out before the next time.
    I have to say, I have always loved Bonefrog. It was one of my top 3 favorite courses. I did enjoy the challenge of the course, but I felt horrible for anyone who did the Sprint and got no obstacles, just a whole bunch of climbs. I hope they can get it right next time with the endurance multi-lap and not make those doing the Sprint hate OCR like I saw on that mountain. I will definitely be back, I hope this was just growing pains including new course designer pains. I want to be broken down mentally and physically (in good ways, not injured) at races, but there is a limit to what you put people through if you want them coming back. I did not feel mentally broken, and I could have done more laps, I only felt angry at the disregard for safety, for people’s money they put into the race, and for the poor people who wanted to challenge themselves on the Sprint and gotten a tough mountain hike with a couple walls and burpees instead.

  2. I will first start off by saying I LOVED Bone Frog Tier-1 in 2016, one of the best races of the year, great atmosphere, venue, people, race in general. My review will come from two views; me as an experienced racer and overall taking everything into prospective.

    Communication: (Both views) Pre-race email went out, pretty standard. Laid everything out well, heads up for expected delays, parking, what to expect yadadada pretty standard stuff here so not much to review BUT the one thing that stood out to me personal since I was doing Endurance is the course cut off. Endurance is advertised as 8 hours of basically “torture” to most people but 8 hours none the less. Starts at 8:30a and you had to be out for last lap by 2:00p……that’s 5.5 hours. I’m positive BFX was also 8 hours but almost certain their last lap cutoff was 3:30 (basically giving you 7 hours of on course time and last lap could take you however long you wanted). Going into this I was thinking, ok so Bone Frog don’t math good (yes sarcasm)…..more on the cutoff in the course section. They advertise one thing and did something else so knocked points off for “lack” of communication

    Venue/Festival: Being as I did Endurance and was on the course until 4:30 I’ll talk about pre and for most of you post-post-race. Pre-race was awesome, seal jump team was hands down the greatest pre-race ever. Who doesn’t love America, well ok so maybe the Brits don’t love it as much as us but even Paul Jones would have loved this. Every single person was glued to the sky and the two jumpers with ole glory tied between them. Super patriotic but what else did you expect on armed forces day? Packet pick up was super smooth, hand them your ID, they look you up, assign you a number and go. Post-race was fun, at least for me. Hung out with the team that was still there, all like 8 of us! Chatted about how we liked and disliked the race and shared stories from the day, typical post-race stuff

    Now the fun part of the review……..

    Course/Obstacles: My view- Course is a b*tch! Everyone will say the same thing. The terrain of Berkshire East is tough and typical Norm fashion he found the “stupidest” climbs and descents to offer. Stairway to Valhalla is a BF staple and I expect that EVERY year, don’t mind it one bit. Difference between Tier-1 last year and this 4300ft vs close to 7000ft (I had 9300ft for Endurance……Tier-1 has Killington gain on a mountain less than half its size). How was this elevation achieved? Well Spartan Montreal style; go to the peak, go ALL the way down, repeat! There was a lot of up and downs, literally, which also leads to mentally. BF has always had well-spaced out obstacles, except for Valhalla since its meant to be an obstacle in its own but even then it still has a crawl on it. There was a LOT of trail running, sometimes even what seemed like 2 hours on the challenge course.
    Speaking of the challenge course, let’s talk about its markings, or poorly marked. I learned my lesson at the NJ Super last year, DONT follow the pack since we went 1 mile off the course. Since then I keep an eye on the course. Course was marked with pink tape and this was announced “follow the pink tape or whiskers (look like long cat whiskers sticking out of the ground). Being a mountain that has a MTN bike course on it, there is plenty of other markings and arrows. Numerous occasions in the challenge course we would be on a clear MTN bike path and then out of nowhere, no arrow in sight, bang a sharp left off the trail into a make your own bushwhacked section or into the woods. A bunch of times I’d see someone still on the MTN bike path and yell “nope, wrong way” (mind you I am out there with the Elite racers. ELITES were getting lost!). This happened multiple times. When we circled back into the “open” waves it just got worse. One woman got to the top of a climb and literally said “WTF is with this BS, am I lost again?” so I could tell it’s been a long, lost day for her and I politely pointed her to the right down the trail since there were branches blocking the view of the pink ribbon (not much you can do if you are just standing in a bad line of sight).
    I think that covers markings, now for obstacles. I’ll start off by saying I kept my band for all 3 laps, had to retry the helicopter once but other than that I personally was good to go. HOWEVER that’s not to say the obstacles were easy because they were anything BUT easy. BF had a ton of tough obstacles and the sloppy trail conditions didn’t help anything. My BIGGEST complaint is actually to do with how BIG the obstacles were. EVERYTHING was 10+ feet off the ground. I’m 6’2″ and it was still a big drop from the helicopter. I actually had to CLIMB 5′ off the ground to even get to it. To top off the height issues, there was ZERO and I mean ZERO padding or fall protection under any obstacles; helicopter, U-Monkey Bars, TRX Straps, Drunken Monkey, Baseball Rig, Cut Check/Dirty Name. The last one was the biggest surprise after how many people fell off it last year and landed flat on their backs; got injured or just knocked all the wind out of them. Last year they at least had hay under the obstacle. Any hanging obstacle was sitting on TOP of 10′ scaffolding (Farb talked to Norm after the race and he said that’s all BF gave him so he had to work with what he was given). Even so, its 10′ plus the base stand and rigging on top of the scaffolding so helicopter was easily 12-13′ off the ground. A 5’4″ girl or guy for that matter, has to drop 7′ to get to the ground and most times when you fall off an obstacle it’s because you slipped and it’s not a straight fall. Luckily I didn’t hear of any major injuries but that’s not to say there wasn’t any since I’m not sure. As many have mentioned the sandbag was through a legit slip and slid mud pit in the woods. Saw a few people ride their bags down the hill since it was too dangerous to walk. I had studded shoes and had to watch my step on 60-70% of the course due to either crazy amounts of mud, shale rocks and moss covered rocks. Most of us are used to crap conditions so no big deal but most of the crap conditions were on the sprint course which is meant to be their “entry” level course. Take that how you want to, you can’t always control rain and mud but the sand bag carry was TOTALLY avoidable. All they had to do is send us on the same loop as the ammo carry from the previous year, at least then it’d be on the ski hill and solid footing.
    I probably could find more to complain about from the perspective of your average racer or even first timers but up/down/up/down repeats, lack of obstacles on the sprint course (2 crawls within a mile) and everything stacked last ½ mile and then obstacle safety are the biggest issues. Coming from my personal perspective, I wasn’t expecting as much up and down climbs since last year it was a nice break up of climbs, trail run, swim, descent, climb, trail, etc…. but I also don’t mind it. First lap I was cursing Norm because well #EffNorm but 2nd and 3rd lap I didn’t mind Punisher. Valhalla didn’t stop me once on the first climb, next lap I took a few short breaks and last lap I took a bunch (didn’t mind them haha) since I was helping to push a few teammates; Kortney, Greg and Eric through their Tier-1 Sprint lap. Obstacles as I mentioned were challenging but still fun (Just had to keep awareness of the drop, even for me). If they cut back the up/down right after each other, toss some obstacles in to break up the climbs, address the height of the obstacles, more like 2016 then it’d be a great race. I don’t care if it’s a lot of climbing, it’s on a mountain, we expect it but all the climbs smashed into the sprint course mainly didn’t make those last 2 laps fun. The reason we do this is for the fun. The moment it’s no longer fun, you lose all your racers. Even with say a UB, if its pure suck fest, no one will do it. It HAS to have an element of fun, no matter what!
    Oh and that cutoff thing. So originally I was pissed the cut off was 2:00p, still kind of bummed since that means Kevin Dawicyzk and I are the only Spahtens to get the extra Endurance lap out of the 15 who did. If others would have gone back out had the cutoff been later is a tough question, I know many would say no but still nice to have the option. I made it back with 20 minutes to spare I believe and talked Kortney, Greg, Ben and Sam to go back out with, which they did. Had the cut off been say 3:30p I wouldn’t have made it back for a 4th lap but maybe others would have, who knows. I guess my biggest complaint with this is, you advertise as 8 hours but even that is vague. It doesn’t say if its 8 hours to finish all the laps (which we found out it wasn’t, once on your last lap you really had as long as you wanted to finish it) or should it be 7ish hours to be out on your last lap by? Clarification on their website when signing up would be great.

    Swag/Awards: Well I missed the team award since you guessed it, I was on the course BUT I did see it after the race and kudos to BF. The training bag and items was a cool touch, the Kringle candle bag was, meh…… (I’m a guy so shhhh give me pain and torture devices not candles haha). I get Kringle is a local candle place so cool to see they stepped in to support a local race (Story behind Kringle and Yankee Candle is a good one if you don’t know it but off topic). Team award – Nice job…….Individual awards now. I didn’t get a paddle but they are sweet! Congrats to Laura Messner on getting her 2nd place paddle.
    Now for the petty stuff some may call it but hear me out. BF has bigger and bigger medals for the distance you run. Sprint is smaller than Challenge which is smaller than Tier-1 which is smaller than Endurance……….WAIT! Nope, Endurance is the smallest medal they had although you have to put in the most miles and work to achieve it! I thought that the bigger medals depending on the length you race was cool until I saw the Endurance medal and was like huh, that’s funny, where is the real medal. Nope the medal I got was the real medal. Let’s just compare to BFX for a second. BFX had the same concept as Endurance; 8 hours, as many laps as possible, each lap got you a pin to add to the lanyard. The BFX medal was huge, 2 or 3x the size of the normal BattleFrog (RIP) medal. Figured BF Endurance would be the same, well it was minus the medal size. Had the medal been as big as the Tier-1, which is large if you haven’t seen it, I would have been all cool with it. Again, people may call this petty but that’s what BF has given us in the past so we expect it.
    On to the next stage in swag, the finished shirts…….what???? You don’t have them again this year? Really? So background on last year (from what I know). The vendor messed up the shirts and sent them to BF with every shirt having the Sprint stats on the back (3.2 miles, xx obstacles, etc…) even though they said Challenge or Tier-1 above the sprint stats. Ok, fine honest mistake and the vendor fixed them and mailed them to everyone who didn’t do the sprint. The reason for running out of shirts this year????? No clue, but you think they’d order enough based on registered racers and if you go over the amount you ordered (which always order extra) then you order more again. They took our names and bib numbers so they could mail them out again this year. The shirts last year were well worth the wait so hopefully they are again.
    The last award we got was, well the beer, duh! Big kudos to BF for having a real beer company and not this Coors pee water stuff Spartan has. They had either Sam Adams Boston Lager, Rebel IPA, Summer or Angry Orchard. Solid choices so big kudos! My low swag/awards score is based on the things everyone gets (or should have got), not the team award since we were the only team to get that. Again, some may call it petty nitpicky stuff but as pretty much everyone who knows me is aware of, I’m a #MedalWhore

    Bonus: The merchandise was great, I love grabbing extra stuff at these races; Challenge coins, patches, shirts. No line prior to my race so quick and easy, in and out, zero complaints. Added bonus for Endurance racers, we got free socks when we picked up our packets. Not sure if Tier-1 got these too but I don’t think so.

    With all of this said, I will finish with
    Dear Bone Frog,
    I absolutely love your company, what it stands for and does. PLEASE, many of the racers from the past weekend BEG you to go back to your 2016 standards. This is in no way saying fire Norm because we love to hate the legend but maybe tone down the hellfest on the sprint course and leave that for the suckers of the Challenge/Tier-1/Endurance? First time racers are going to be so turned off by the 2017 sprint course. Hopefully they do return because you guys are a great company. Bushwhacking isn’t always the answer and racer safety NEEDS to be the #1 priority, ALWAYS! Lower the obstacles a little, don’t just get 10’ scaffolding next year. Maybe have a lane that is shorter for smaller people #SmallPeopleMatterToo or some nice thick foam pads to land on if people do fall off? I don’t know about you but nice hard and rocky ground isn’t the most comfortable or inviting landing space. I’m not saying make the obstacles easier but just lessen the risk factor if people fall. Bring the carry back to the ski trail if the woods are wet, that was dangerously slick for even Elites. Finally, PLEASE, my inner #MedalWhore BEGS YOU, make the Endurance medal bigger. Give the racers something to chase after because honestly if the Tier-1 medal is bigger than the Endurance one again, everyone is going to sign up for Tier-1. If that’s the end goal for ya’ll then don’t change a thing but I have a feeling that isn’t the goal, why else would you bring Endurance out if it was.
    All your loving New England Spahtens (Especially the #MedalWhores and #FunSizePeople)

    1. One thing I forgot was how the Endurance laps went. No one really knew what was going on. When I got to the end of my first lap I asked the volunteer at gut check where I was supposed to go, letting them know I was endurance. They told me to follow the Tier-1 signs, which shot you off back to the start, past the bin drop area (not doing gut check yet, same as last year I believe?). Went back out on lap 2. Came back around to gut check and asked them again where to go, again told to follow the Tier-1 signs. When I got into bin drop my friend said what the heck are you doing? You need to cross the finish line every lap and check in at the results table. Mind you the results table is in the festival so way off course. I told her I was doing as I was told (both laps) and went back out on my way, not crossing the finish or start line after every lap, just the start on my first time out. I finished the race and went to the results table so they could mark my laps done for my medal/pins. I asked him how I was supposed to do the whole laps thing and he said I was right. They had a timing mat after the tire hurdles so he saw how many laps I did and marked my paper as 3 so I could get my 3 pins. Basically, no one knew the real answer for how to do Tier-1/Endurance laps other than possibly the people I asked. Not sure who told the other racers to cross this finish line every lap but there clearly was a sign right before the gut check that said Tier-1 to the right, not going over the gut check and led you on a pink marked path to the bin drop. To me it was clearly laid out but it was apparent that many people were either told other things or didn’t see the big sign (2′ x 2′ sign that said Tier-1 —> ). This kind of goes with communication but really goes with course since its telling some to go one way and others to go another.

      And yes I know I was really critical of the course and swag but based on last years course and what they provided last year versus this year, I believe it was a fair scoring. The swag, not having something 2 years in a row is HUGE! Plus this isnt their first race of the year, I believe its their 3rd and the shirts aren’t venue specific so how you run out of those is mind blowing to me when you have registration numbers all along

  3. This was my first Bonefrog and it was exactly what I wanted in a race. The festival area was well done with a good view of the obstacles including the Tyro traverse. The ski lift was also operating which is a very good feature for spectators. I arrived about 7:30 and the parking lot was very close to everything. I was able to keep everything right in my car. Registration was very well organized. I was a bit worried when I saw the line, but it moved along quickly. They took your license and scanned and assigned your bib number right at the table, then you got your packet and out the door. Simple and quick.
    The course was my favorite part. It was painful and made me question my life choices. And I really like a race that makes me question where I went wrong. I thought the obstacles were great. I enjoyed getting to do some things that I have never seen before. The helicopter bars (I forget what they were called) were really cool because of the strange technique required to get across. I really liked 31 Heroes and the Memorial wall at the top of Valhalla. I feel like they both helped to bring things back into focus a little bit. The fact that it is owned and operated by Navy SEALs was a big plus for me. Being able to stop and talk to some of the SEALs throughout the course was excellent. It really puts some of the “suffering” we were going through in perspective when you see that wall at the top of Valhalla, or when you finally reached the top of the Punisher and see the board for 31 Heroes. Maybe those hills didn’t suck quite that bad when you see something like that. I liked the way the Sprint, Challenge and Tier 1 were organized. At first I thought i would be “that guy” who missed the Tier 1 sign, but it explained very clearly before each wave and the volunteer did a good job pointing it out. The Sprint vs Challenge signs were also very clear. There were a few spots throughout the trails towards the top of the mountain that were not marked as well as they could have been and it took a minute to sort out where I was going. The only other thing I think would be the sandbag carry. I think for a carry route, we can handle steep elevation but it was sketchy slipping and sliding through the woods with a sand bag on your shoulder. It just seemed like an unnecessary risk the way it was set up. I liked the Punisher (Don’t get me wrong, I also hated it) because it tested your mental game. At that point it became you versus you. And finally having Black Ops right at the finish line with the American flag right in the background was absolutely fantastic.
    It was a very cool feeling crossing the finish line and receiving your medal from retired Service members. Overall this race was exactly my kind of race. Distance, terrain, obstacles, venue/festival. It had a very good feel throughout the whole place. I am definitely going to be doing every Bonefrog that I can.

  4. I’ll start by saying that I do love the Bonefrog races. This was my third year and I was fully expecting to love this race as much as the last two. That being said, if this were my first Bonefrog, I’d never go back.
    Communication gets a good rating because I knew they were coming, knew when prices were going up, and I had a pre-race email the week before the race. It’s a no-brainer.
    Venue and festival get a good score mostly because of the paratroopers. It was a really amazing spectacle and I’m very glad to have seen it.
    Swag/awards only get 5/10 because I only walked away with 1/2 the swag/awards. I got a medal (I don’t care that much that it’s exactly the same as last year’s), but for the second time in a row they had no t-shirts at the end of the race and I have to wait for it to be mailed to me. If you don’t have enough shirts, then tell people at registration that only the first 1500 registrants get shirts and give them at check-in. Running out of shirts or medals is, in my opinion, unacceptable.
    But, that is all beside the point. I really come for the race, and that’s where Bonefrog failed for me. Again, I love Bonefrog. For the last two years I have loved learning about the Navy SEALS. I liked the 31 Heroes “obstacle”, the Road to Valhalla, and the memory quiz. I liked seeing the SEALS on course and talking with them. I love getting my medal from retired servicemen. Plus, the race tended to have several obstacles not seen in other races.
    Finding out months ago that Norm was going to be designing this year’s course was absolutely not a draw for me. I’m tired of “Norm courses” – they’re all the same: go up a mountain, do one obstacle, come back down, do one obstacle, go up again, repeat until he runs out of miles, then put all of the obstacles at the base of the mountain right before the finish. No regard for advertised mileage and no regard for the fact that I signed up for an obstacle race, not a mountain climb. But I figured, this is Bonefrog and they have standards, so it’ll be fine. Well, I was wrong. It was a complete Norm course. Not only was it simply up and down for the first 8.5 miles or so, some of it was on single track in the woods and in terrain steep enough to be downright treacherous with so many racers out there. Top it off with a sandbag carry through a muddy, rocky, rooty, steep, single track at the end of the race where people were falling everywhere, and Bonefrog is no longer fun.
    As for the obstacles, well, for me they were a sidebar to the mountain climb. Practically non-existent for most of the race and then piled into the last 1/2 mile or so. I was able to complete some that I thought I couldn’t. Some were even fun – like the rope swing. Some were dangerous. There is never, ever a need to have someone hanging from bars 10 feet from the ground. If I have to climb up to chest height then jump to reach a bar, it’s too high. We (and this really goes for all races) need to have at least one lane that is lower for those who are shorter. I’m just not comfortable falling so far. Should I train harder so I won’t fall? Yep. But even training doesn’t mean that I won’t make a mistake. So, for me, the ridiculous mountain climb, lack of obstacles and piling of obstacles at the finish, and that all the upper body obstacles were just too high off the ground was off-putting.
    This year, I wanted to go. Next year, we’ll see what else is going on that weekend. I certainly won’t be recommending this race to my friends, and that makes me sad.

  5. I loved having the online waiver, that saved time race day morning. While the line was long checking in, I also appreciated the efficiency of not having to look for bib numbers and spelling your name 10,000 times and looking for a bib number with the digital check in. Overall, I found it more efficient.
    The festival area was tidy and well organized, portable restrooms were located just behind the festival area and within reasonable walking distance, without being right on top of the tents. There was some food available, though nothing gluten free (many races don’t yet, so not a complaint as much as a statement of fact).
    I personally loved the course, I thought there was a great balance between climbs, downhills, and “runable” terrain. I would have loved it even more if there were a few more obstacles on the short course (I can speak to the challenge course). While I would have also loved some modifiable obstacles (i.e. actually being able to reach any of the monkey bars), I recognize that this is known as a more challenging event and expected to not be able to accomplish everything. Shout out to the volunteers on that terrifying wall to monkey bar obstacle. I may or may not have had a minor anxiety attack at the top and both volunteers talked me through getting across. Great job with the number of volunteers and placement of water stations out on the course also! The only disappointing note was the long bottleneck at the “u” shaped monkey bars. We waited for over 10 minutes (only to discover that we couldn’t reach the rungs).
    I liked the shirts a lot too! The light grey was different than other race shirts I have gotten. Each race had a different medal (short, long, endurance, and tier-1). It provided just enough medal envy to consider doing the challenge next year!
    This was my first time doing Bonefrog and if it’s at the same venue next year with Rob and Norm, I will definitely be back for the challenge!

  6. Communication: I felt this was pretty mediocre, it was difficult to find any actual information about the Endurance level. The race packet was emailed out 4 days before the event. The group was very responsive to questions via twitter.

    Venue & Festival: I took the advice of turning up the day before, arriving while they were setting up around 4pm. Was able to grab my packet and a beer or two while strolling around in what I guess was the “Cocktail/Social” hour – didn’t stay to see if the “Spaghetti Dinner” was going to happen 🙂 Merc tent was open so purchased a t-shirt in advance. The venue thankfully had WiFi, as I could not get any signal (AT&T) in the area. The festival on the day of the event was great – the Adventure Cafe was open, so could grab a hot breakfast sandwich. The team tent was, as others mentioned, in a fantastic location. The map didn’t seem to indicate a transition area for the Endurance buckets, but finally found the proper tent after following a few others around! Post race, you could easily grab a seat in the festival area to drink/eat. The food setup was a bit strange – buy 10 tickets for a $10 burger, but there was no line or anything when I tried, so guess it worked! There were only a handful of sprayers in the shower area, but again this didn’t cause any issue, just had to wait 2 mins. The lack of a changing tent was surprising and made me thankful I’d brought a larger towel!

    Course & Obstacles: This was my first time attending Bone frog, and I highly enjoyed it! Actually my main complaint would be the 2pm cut off for Endurance – the most people achieved was 3 laps. Getting that gold pin seems insane. The obstacles really seemed aimed at upper body & grip strength – lots of climbing, hanging, swinging etc. A lot of the obstacles could have done with being wider also, allowing more people to attempt them simultaneously. I’d agree with others that the Challenge section seemed easier than the Sprint – more distance to cover, but the quantity of obstacles per mile seemed far lower and not as difficult. There were bottleneck moments – #6 The Sway Bars really stood out on this as there were only three lanes and the volunteers had to keep repositioning the bars as they moved out of line. A really fun obstacle, but making it a must complete for elites resulted in long waits as they rejoined the line. There was confusion on this as to what you were allowed to do to cross – initially everything, then you were not allowed to use the struts to bypass the hanging bar, and then you were not allowed to use the top bars on the monkey bar sections with the black grip. There were multiple points where, while the volunteers were always great, it did not seem they were really briefed on the obstacles. Obstacle #22 – Ammo Carry had the volunteer explaining the heavier ammo cases were only needed for elite, but also mistook the 21 year old verified wrist band as the elite band 🙂 I didn’t mind Punisher and Stairway to Valhalla, though I was disappointed with the tire drag for being too light, and the grenade throw which was fun, didn’t really seem much of a challenge. I heard a lot of people worry about the safety of obstacle #33 – Brute Force Carry, hauling the sandbag down the muddy incline, which would have been pretty treacherous if wearing simply runner. 2nd lap was much nicer since I went between waves, there was no bottlenecks at any of the obstacles. It was difficult at times trying to job, watch where I’m planting my feet, and keeping an eye out of the pink ribbons indicting the course, I’ll like to claim thats why I wasn’t going so fast!

    Swag & Awards: Very nice medal, a bit confusing with the Endurance – you got a small medal and when I went back and asked about the Tier 1 medal they handed it to me? Well, I won’t turn down the sparkle!

  7. Communication: Good: I received an email confirming my registration and another with the waiver to be signed electronically. I arrived about 1 ½ hours early as the race day info email suggested. The volunteer took you license and looked you up on a tablet. They verified your information including your distance. You were given the next available bib and a wristband with your distance. This was a vast improvement over 2 years ago when I volunteered in registration and we had to find the pre-assigned bibs.

    Venue & Festival: Arriving early, parking was really close. Location of the team tent could not have been better. Watching the SEALs jump team land less than 50 feet away was awesome. I did not spend much time looking at the vendors, but they seemed to be the same ones I remembered from last time.

    Course & Obstacles: Before discussing the course, I need to let you know where I was coming from before the race. Early in the week, my doctor gave me orders, because of my ac joint, that I could not do hanging obstacles. As late as Friday I considered not going. I did not want to disrespect the race or my fellow racers. A friend convinced me to go and do my best. At any obstacle I couldn’t do I did the penalty. If I also couldn’t do the penalty, I told the volunteer my situation and we came up with an appropriate penalty. At some points during the race, this felt like a trail run with obstacles. We would go over 30 minutes without an obstacle. At other points, there were multiple obstacles back to back. The sprint course was advertised as 3+ miles. It was 4.5 (50% more). To give an idea of the spread of the obstacles, this is my memory of the first 2 miles of the sprint: a small up & down in the woods, hells gate, up Valhalla with a low crawl, down Valhalla with another low crawl, then a double u monkey bars, then another crawl. Two miles of a sprint with only four obstacles. My other complaint was the Brute Force carry. It was dangerous. On the way back, it was downhill with very slippery mud. Even with studded Icebugs, both of my feet went out from under me.

    Swag & Awards: There were different medals for each distance which I liked. The fact that they ran out of t-shirts was disappointing. Especially after the issue they had with it last year.

    Will I do it again? Definitely not Tier 1. Sprint or Challenge, probably. I hate that I couldn’t attempt so many of the obstacles. I would rather try and fail it, and do the penalty than what I had to do.

  8. First, I will say that I’m still an OCR newbie and ran my very 1st race just under one year ago. In that time I’ve only ran about 15 races. Mostly Spartans (sprint, super, beasts) , FIT Challenges, Boldrdash, and some local races. With that said….. this particular race was my favorite thus far! I signed up for the Challenge (wished I had done Tier 1 though) and indeed it was a challenge! Arrived early as I wanted to see the Navy Seal parachute drop in….. which was very awesome to see right over your head! Venue at Berkshire East was also a great location. I’ve going skiing here before and hiked the area so was already familiar with it. Has plenty of parking and no shuttles needed. Swag tables seemed to be full of good things even though I heard there was a t shirt shortage? Crowd had a good vibe which seemed to be typical of most races I’ve been to. Mother nature was kind today….sunny skies and 70! My heat started at 10:45am. Heats were well organized and volunteers were great at each obstacle! The course was technical at parts on some inclines and descents and passing was NOT an option if you wanted to. The number of obstacles was what did it for me though. Spartan Beasts are mostly running and seemed like you would go a long time before hitting an obstacle. Bonefrog seemed to have obstacles spread out throughout the entire course. There was bottlenecking though and if you are going for time might want to consider Elite waves (which I am learning) I was courteous in asking to jump ahead and for the most part was let to go through. Trails were not an option in parts as safety was my first priority. We were told at the start the course was roughly 9 miles “as the crow flies…with a smirk” so I knew it would be more. Total course on my Garmin Fenix 3HR came in at 9.85. Only negative thing I would say is that course could have been marked better in spots. I went off slightly a few times and had to ask a volunteer the correct direction. There seemed to be plenty of flats to run though which helped offset the larger steep climbs. Personally I like the steep climbs as it seems to be my strength…. I don’t stop moving and just adjust my pace. My favorite obstacle was the Chopper towards the end as I have never done this before so there was no practicing. First attempt I nailed it! Technique wasn’t pretty but I rang the bell. Also the last obstacle Black Ops (monkey bars) in front of the American flag was pretty moving. This course being run my Navy Seals and portions of all proceeds going to Navy Seal Foundation is awesome! Overall I would recommend this race to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. I’ve read some not so good comments on it but for me it was a WIN WIN! Looking forward to the next one where I will try Tier 1 or maybe even Endurance! Like Bonefrog says……. GET AFTER IT~!

  9. Communication: Pre-race emails had plenty of information. It was nice getting the waiver out of the way beforehand. They really need more people on registration though. The line was huge when I last saw it at 8:30.

    Venue & Festival: I do like their setup – lots of places for spectators to watch some of the obstacles. And the Seal jump team was great. But as far as I could tell there were no changing tents this year, which is unacceptable for a race this size with multiple water crossings. They had tents last time I ran so no idea why they were absent today.

    Course & Obstacles: So… background first. I mostly run short, flat courses. I ran the Sprint in the spring and didn’t like it that much because there weren’t that many obstacles. Everyone assured me that the Challenge wasn’t all that much harder than the Sprint and I should do it. So I signed up. And then Norm signed on. I would not have registered if I had known how much harder it was going to be this time, and it seems unreasonable to me to have this big of a difficulty spike without telling people up front. I’m fine with doing Valhalla but all the climbs together were too much. And have the track felt like wandering through the woods.

    Ok let’s get on to obstacles, which I liked better. They do have a lot of cool stuff and I like that the penalties aren’t always burpees. I would have liked them to be spread out a bit better though – that gauntlet of 9 or so in a row (including two cold swims) right at the end was crazy. Some of the obstacles seemed dangerous, though. I saw a ton of people take scary falls off I think Get a Grip (the one that looks like a bunch of hanging handle things). I don’t know why it was so high off the ground. And I saw wipeouts from people slipping on the final heavy carry.

    Swag and Awards: It’s a nice medal. There were no shirts when I was finished and I was too exhausted to try to figure out what was going on (apparently there was some kind of sign up sheet to have it mailed).

    I know some people like this type of race, and that’s great, but for me I had a terrible time overall and don’t expect to ever go back.

  10. Hmmm What could I say about this years BoneFrog?

    Communication: Communication pre race was great! The Bone Frog team was awesome at communicating with me via email when I had a question!! They responded within hours too! At the venue, the check-in/registration line was a bit long but it moved quickly. I did end up missing my heat but it was partially my fault. I should have shown up sooner.

    Venue & Festval: I have always loved this venue. Plenty of on site parking is always a plus. I didn’t spend much time in the festival area. I didn’t see a changing tent though. Maybe I missed it? The festival area was tidy…. My spectator would have liked to seen a little more variation of food then just burgers and hot dogs.

    Course: Last year I did the Challenge and this year I went for the Tier 1 and I finished! When I was out on the course I wasn’t surprised by the obstacles and climbs Norm threw at us. Yes, I felt that the Challenge course was more technical than last years but then again, thank you Norm for pushing my mental ability to keep going. The climb to Valhalla seemed like a piece of cake compared to the punisher! Lots of ups and downs, changes in elevation compared to last year. The obstacles were great. The terrain was challenging but worth it. At times I found the course tricky to navigate especially when you’re out there by yourself and you forget to follow the pink. Also when your down at the base and have to transition from the challenge to the sprint in order to complete the Tier 1. I figured it out but some of the volunteers were unsure of what direction to guide the racers in. Other than that it was a good well mapped course. All the volunteers were super friendly too!

    Swag & Awards: BoneFrog has given out he same medals for the past two years (maybe more). I hope they switch it up in the coming years!

    Overall it was a great race!!!

    1. I have done the Bonefrog Challenge 4 times. 2017 was the most difficult terrain I’ve encountered. I left the race angry or annoyed, feeling it was unnecessaryily harsh. Hello Norm, nice to meet you. 4,000+ feet of elevation gain was tough, but the 4,000+ feet of loss was torture on the knee & ankle. It took 7+ hours of determination with 2 battle buddies to cross the finish line. Running is not our thing.

      The new obstacles were excellent, challenging, and made up for all the evil. All of the obstacles make the course a favorite of mine. They are difficult and give me something to work towards each return.

      Water crossings. I can swim, not well. I fear water. But I have managed to get to a point where I can force myself to try for the sake of obstacle completion & ego. That said, please upgrade the shoddy stakes that hold the ropes those of us who fear the crossing depend upon. Do NOT tell me it is not over my head if it could be at any point–especially when I let you know my comfort level. I’m 5’8″ went over my head and the rope slipped off the stake. But did I die?
      No. Just fix it.

      Kudos to the traverse rope support team. They were above and beyond helpful and made that crossing feel safe.

      Volunteers everywhere were amazing. The course was marked mostly well. Just a few places of us seeking pink tapes to get back on track.

      Running out of finisher shirts was a bummer. I do not doubt that it will be received quickly.

      I can’t imagine not going back. There are too many obstacles to master. But not without A LOT more time at Bluehill’s ski slope. Remains in my top 3 races with FIT and Polar Bear.

  11. Communication: Just fine. I looked out for the e-mails, read them when they came, and did as directed. Arriving 1.5 hrs early made for a short wait, as did filling out the waiver online.

    Venue & Festival: Pretty great area for watching the cluster of obstacles at the end, plenty of port-o-potties, $10 parking, $5 bag check, a good selection of affordable food, and a shower station but no changing tents made for some creative quick changes behind towels. A few people even snuck into a nearby shed to change. Point being, changing tents should be set up next time. The team tent was in the best possible spot to watch the drop team parachute to the ground.

    Course: This will likely be the most divisive course this year. I loved it. Everyone knew going in that it was the first Bonefrog laid out by the notoriously sadistic Norm Koch. I’m a fan of the bushwacked Norm trails that go straight up and down in the middle of the woods, others are not. I’ve heard many complaints to this end. Add to that the fact that the two longest, steepest climbs were nearly back to back on the Sprint trail, you it made for an unpleasant experience for some first timers. The Challenge course split off before the second major climb (The Punisher) and didn’t return to it until many miles later. Tier-1 had the joy of doing both twice. Again, I really enjoyed it, but that is because it was what I was anticipating in terms of a challenge from the designer. We essentially got our long wished for Western Mass Beast in this course.

    I also think people had become accustomed to the level of difficulty from previous Bonefrogs, and having done both last year, I can say this was a significantly more difficult course. Course marking in the woods continues to be an issue. I witnessed at least half a dozen people / groups go off course and backtrack looking for trail markers.

    I don’t have much to say about the obstacles other than they were decent standard challenging obstacles with a some new rigs that cost a few elites their bands. Fortunately the penalties for obstacles vary and on some of the really hard obstacles they were only jumping jacks or squats. I loved the placement of a cargo net climb up the side of a small cliff. There were two water crossings on the Challenge course, one close to the top of the mountain and one at the bottom. Sprint racers only did the bottom crossing, which was closely followed by the rope travers back over the water.

    Volunteers were all very friendly, most were really helpful too. A few places could have used volunteers that didn’t have any, like the grenade toss, which was running fine the first time I came to it, but the second time during the sprint all but one grenade was left on its line leaving people to run out in the line of fire to retrieve grenades. Water stations were well manned and stocked, though the station at the top of Valhalla ran out of cups by around 1pm. We did have a very nice volunteer who didn’t understand the Tier-1 try telling us we didn’t have to do Valhalla while a few of us were on our Sprint run of the Tier-1. She insisted that we had finished after doing the Challenge course because on map she had on her phone they overlapped. We assured her that we were supposed to climb Valhalla twice during Tier 1 and that we were on our second. It led me to wonder if she succeeded in accidentally pulling anyone from the course prematurely.

    Swag & Awards: Their medals are very cool, and get bigger relative the size of the course you run. Disappointingly, by 2pm there were no finisher t-shirts left. I heard about it while I was hosing off and was exhausted so I just dried off and went to the car. Later I found out they were taking people’s information at the t-shirt tent so they could mail shirts out. Super bummer, because the new shirts were very nice. (I’ve e-mailed HQ to see if I can still get one.)

    Will I do it in the fall? Possibly. The ice water last year was a bit much, combine that with a Norm course and it may be too much that late in the year.

    Will I do it the spring? Probably. It turned out to be very much the course I wanted to run this spring.

  12. Communication: Average, there was an email confirming my registration and another email that came out with ‘race day information’. When I arrived they were still getting into place. So the woman was training her volunteer on the system they were using.

    Venue & Festival: The festival area was high spirited. There were different venders, food, and a merch table. Everyone was mingling around and having a good time pre and post race. It was awesome how they actually painted a sign for the Biggest Team space that said ‘NE Spahtens’. Where the team tent was located was prime viewing for the Navy Seal Drop which was amazing to watch. Everything about the festival area was fun and a great atmosphere. They were serving Sam Adams as the beer of the day. Boston Lager and the Summer Ale.

    Course & Obstacles: I know 4 is a low score. But let me lay this out. For the Sprint there were barely any actual obstacles. Then when there finally was a cluster of them towards the end, you were absolutely spent from the continuous up the mountain, down the mountain, repeat that made up the entire course. Marking natural land as an obstacle does not count, though it does make referencing the area a bit easier. Stairway to Valhalla was expected. It’s a gem to Bonefrog. But it loses it’s ‘charm’ when right away you are sent straight back up the mountain on a similar incline. Where the Sprint and the Challenge split it was right after you came back down from Valhalla. The Challenge went right and the Sprint went straight back up the mountain. While the marking of the trail was better than October there were KEY AREAS that needed Hesco Bonefrog arrow signs because it went from a regular trail into the woods where the trails felt like they were being made by the racers out front. Then, at one point when you thought you were finally going on your final descent (Because looking at the GPS it tells you you’re at 2.5 and the race is supposedly 3.2 according to the volunteers I would ask.) that’s when you hit Punisher. It was straight up and technical. If you got caught in a cluster of people it was hard to pull off and stop without breaking the pace of those behind you. Otherwise there were some trees you could cling to to pull yourself off the ‘trail’ a bit enoughf or people to get by. On the actual final descent there was a bunch of extremely technical trail where at times you had to scoot off of. At this point any movement my legs were threatening to cramp up again when I’d sit or go to stand back up. As I stated above, when you did finally get to the bottom there was the cluster of obstacles. But being so spent it set many up for failure. I will give credit where it is due in the fact that they did not have the cold water at the very beginning but at the end.
    As mentioned above, the mileage was over what they kept telling everyone. For the sprint it kept being said verbally 3.2. I logged 5.5 and I know it was logged anywhere between 4.3 and 5.5. I don’t care if it’s longer, but be honest about it! Focus less on the + in the 3+ or 8+ in your advertisements.
    I understand that this is a ‘Norm Course’ and he is known for crazy courses. But to have all the hardest parts on the sprint (a statement taken from many people I spoke to on course.) was rather outlandish.

    Swag & Awards: Same exact medal as October 2016. Ran out of shirts and they will be mailed out. In essence, it’s more or less the cherry on top of an otherwise brutal and frustrating day.

    Will I be back? As of right now…. as a racer, the answer is no. I’ve down two events in a row that left a very sour taste. I had not expected to score this lower than I did October when I went into the event yesterday. I was hoping it would redeem itself because I had always heard such amazing things about Bonefrog. If other events start to get more positive reviews. I may consider it.

  13. Communication
    The correspondence leading up to the race was good. We received a race waiver, athlete guide and map of the race. I like the fact that you get the waiver beforehand which speeds up the registration process. My only recommendation is to also include the venue waiver in the email so no further waivers are required once you get to the race.

    Venue & festival
    I knew this race would be a bit frosty being in late October and the location receiving 5-6 inches a few days before and so this would affect the number of tents setup for vendors. It’s late in the season and people probably want to start resting up for next season. I did like that food was available right after the race which I definitely needed. Had the pulled pork which was excellent. Also having good beer like Yuengling is plus as it is one of my favorites!

    Course & Obstacles
    Okay so I was one of the Tier-1 participants and having done Tier-1 in May I can compare them both objectively. First off as many have said, the course was not all that well marked. I understand that there were arrows stapled to trees and posts in the ground but you have to remember that a lot of us were staring at the ground most of the time on the trails because of the snow, mud and fallen leaves to make sure we didn’t trip or fall over a branch, root or rock. With that said, I got lost about 3 times and although I didn’t have to backtrack a lot it was a bit frustrating.

    The obstacles were pretty much the same as they were in May although no traverse rope but we still had to go through the water 4 times in Tier-1 so keeping any fine motor skills by the end was impossible for me as I could not feel my hands or feet.

    Now the distance. I have my GPS data from the May Tier-1 event and compared the distance to October and we had to do over a mile more at the fall race than the spring event. I got exactly 13 miles in May and 14.37 in October. I am not complaining but it shows that there was a lot more distance covered in this race while battling the elements than at the May race. Just something to note.

    I also want to point out that the volunteers were fantastic and the water stations were perfectly spaced out across the course.

    Swag & Awards
    The Tier-1 medal, that will always get a “10” in my book. I have two Challenge course medals from 2015 and two Tier-1 medals from 2016 and there is no doubt on which ones are more prominently displayed on my medal holder.

    I also liked how the Tier-1 shirt fronts are different from the ones we received in May. I like being able to tell them apart. I also want to point out that Bonefrog did one of the best things for Tier-1 to avoid people receiving a Tier-1 medal and not doing the full race. When you crossed the finish line you had to show your wristband where a hole was punched and once they verified you did the whole race distance they gave you a bag with your name on it that contained the Tier-1 medal and shirt. Great touch and please continue to do this for future races.

    Overall it was another good Bonefrog experience and I will be back for Tier-1 again in May but one thing to work on would be better course marking.

  14. Bone Frog New England – October 2016

    I’ve done three Bone Frog races. All in New England at Berkshire East in Charlemont, MA. Parking and registration has always been good. A free shirt and beer is included. Being at Berkshire East, the venue is very nice.

    My first Bone Frog was in May 2015, which was excellent. My second Bone Frog was in May 2016, which was very good. And this would be the third, in October 2016, which I would say was so-so. Let me explain why.

    In May 2015 I believe there were over 50 obstacles. In May 2016 there was something like 45. And this time it was about 38 obstacles. So the number of obstacles has slowly declined. Maybe I was spoiled with the first race, but I like the obstacles, specifically quality unique obstacles. At this race there was some excellent obstacles, like Drunken Monkey, Black Ops, Rolling Thunder, Get A Grip, Swingers Club, Hells Gate, Dirty Name (as much as I hate it), and a few other permanent obstacles on the mountain. But there was also many mediocre. There were 4 low wire crawls, that were not exactly well built. There were 2 carries, the Ammo Box and Wreck Bag, both very short at about 100 feet long each. There is a permanent traverse wall at the site, but we ran right by it. It was only about 25 feet from the course, easily accessible. I’d rate the obstacles at 7 out of 10.

    For the course it was different then the May course, which I greatly appreciate. This time it was a counter clockwise direction, and appeared to take us on some new trails. The running included: single track through the woods, ATV trails, around solar panels, and of course ski trails. I enjoyed the changing terrain, however there was a catch. I’ve done over 20 OCRs, and have never gotten off track. Yet here I got off track twice. The second time I was with a group of about 6 and we all missed the arrows. We ended up going under the mountain roller coaster as one of the staff helped get us back on track. Overall the marking of the course was poor. More arrows and tape were needed almost everywhere. And also there were times we crossed under tape of the mountain bike course at the property. This was poor planning in my opinion.

    In regards to registration I did have one issue. I signed up 9 months in advance for a discounted early bird price. However just a few months before the race they were offering a discounted price even lower then what I paid. The golden rule in OCR has always been sign up early for the best price. I asked Bonefrog about this on Facebook, but never got an answer.

    Overall I’d rate this as an average race. If this was an organization’s first race I’d say it was good to very good, but this is Bonefrog. They are one of the Best of the Best, and this isn’t their first rodeo. In my opinion there were several minor things that were easy to fix and would have made this better.

    I will most likely do Bonefrog again, but would like to see a few improvements.

  15. This is for the fall event, and includes a review of the build volunteer experience.
    I ran this event after volunteering for obstacle build. I had originally volunteered to do build on the Sunday before the event, but due to business travel, I did not get home until Sunday morning. After a brief email exchange with volunteer coordinator Scott Sweeney, I was easily able to change my day from Sunday to Monday. I arrived shortly after 9 (a little late), but there was nobody there that seemed to know what was going on for Bonefrog. It turns out the crew that we were helping was also late that morning, so we did not start build until almost 10. Once we got to the area we were building (The Kraken and Vertical Cargo), it was a little uncoordinated but we got it done. I did not receive any communication from Bonefrog until the Friday before the race regarding the status of my registration. When I did receive it, it was for 10-10:15; again with a quick email exchange, I was able to change to an earlier heat to run with the team.

    Race Day:
    Parking was very easy, right at the venue, for $10. Because I had arrived early, I had a very close parking spot so I opted not to use bag check (which would have been $5). Entry for registration was single file; again, because I arrived early, it went very quickly, but a later arrival may have been quite a bit slower. Two waivers to fill out, one for the race, and one for the venue, followed by check in at a series of tables. Since I was coming in as a volunteer, my process was a little bit different than the paid registrations, and I got bounced around between a couple of volunteers till I could get checked in. When checking in, they told me I was starting at 10, which was not what I was expecting, but after a short conversation I was able to be moved up to 9:15.
    After a brief warm up, it was time to run. We got a good starting speech from the emcee, then sent on our way.
    First obstacle, the Ammo Carry: did not seem as heavy as the spring event, and it was a much shorter and flatter than spring as well; I was hoping this was not a sign of things to come, since it was quite easy. Simple wall was next, followed by Rolling thunder (tires), pretty typical of other races. The Hesco Walls were really simple, basically 24″ boxes to step or jump over; again, was this race really going to be this easy? Well, the Frog Pond water crossing quickly answered that question with a resounding “NO!”. The water was frigid, a couple degrees above freezing, and went up to my chest. The right side was a bit shallower, and I tried to stick to the right, but I was coming up on another runner; the primitive part of my brain was screaming at me “Get out of the water!”, so I shifted to the left to pass, and immediately found myself neck deep! A muddy bottom really slowed things down, and I was in a borderline panic till suddenly I felt the incline of the shoreline. Getting out I did some jumping jacks to try to warm up again while I waited for the rest of the team. A few standard obstacles followed the water crossing: Dead Weight (hoist), Siege (slip) Wall, and Reverse (Inverted) Wall. A balance beam obstacle followed, with a number of different approaches allowed; I opted to cross on my belly like a traverse rope. More running followed by some High Knee tires, Mike and Murph (simulated ship boarding), Roller Derby (a pair of suspended beams with tires to jump over), Window (through) Walls, leading up to the second water crossing, Swamp Thing; I found this one a little bit shallower, and perhaps a little easier to navigate, but it was definitely just as cold. After that water corssing and a bit of a climb, it lead to the steep rope walls, Solar Walls (as it was up by the facility solar panel farm). Between the cold, mud, and wetness, I had a really hard time getting up, and this was the first of my failed obstacles (25 jumping jack penalty, which I welcomed as it helped me warm back up). A couple of low crawls led to a fun obstacle, Geronimo: a jump from one beam, to a swinging rope, across to another beam. A bit more of a climb led to another cool obstacle, Slide For Life: Ascending a couple of platforms led to a rope traverse down to the bottom, and thankfully there was not the bottleneck on this obstacle I experienced in the spring. Swinger’s Club followed that one, which was type of obstacle I normally struggle with anyway, but due to cold and wet and no grip strength, I had no chance, more jumping jacks. After this was a long descent, which is where I ended up moving ahead of the team; due to an old knee injury, trying to slow myself down really hurts, but going more quickly actually helps. A few basic obstacles during the descent broke it up a bit till I I got close to the biggest climb, Stairway to Valhalla. But before that, I may have missed some trail markings, and ended up off course a bit on the ascent. After Stairway, a couple of cargo net based obstacles (the ones I helped build), led to the Memorial Wall; the combination of the view from the top and the memorial to the fallen service members was touching and inspirational at the same time. This led to the descent, which was fairly straightforward, but there was a turn that I missed somehow and ended up needing to backtrack a bit. At the bottom was Get a Grip, another rig I couldn’t manage and took a rough fall, 25 burpees there. Hell’s Gate (series of walls) led up the hill again, which is where I ran into a struggling team member. With a hug and some words of encouragement, we went on together to the 31 Heroes, which seemed, unlike the spring race, less of a penalty for Mind Games and more like an honoring of fallen servicemen. Back down the hill for the final time, to the gauntlet of festival area obstacles. Drunken Monkey (an interesting twist on monkey bars), wreck bag carry (like ammo carry, much shorter than spring), Dirty Name (which seemed like there was more hay than in the spring), Rope Climb, and finally the signature obstacle, Black Ops, to the finish line.
    Receiving finisher medals from Navy SEAL veterans was an honor. This followed by T-shirt pick up. Both the medals and t-shirts were the same as the spring event (at least they had the shirts on site this time).
    The free beer was a choice of Yuengling (lager, Octoberfest or Black and Tan), which is a significant upgrade over Spartan’s Coor’s Light. Festival area was playing some great music, and had heaters outside to congregate around (wish we could have gotten one at the team tent). Food was at an open charcoal grill which provided another way of warming up while waiting for generous portions of food at a fair price. Since I parked so close, I opted to change in the car without hosing off so I can’t speak of the shower and changing facilities.
    All in all, an excellent experience, and I can’t wait to get to the spring event.

  16. This is for the Fall 2016 race.


    The switch from the 6-mile to the 9 or 4 mile formats was well communicated.

    My only unanswered question heading in to race day was whether there were starting / finishing cutoffs for Tier 1. So we just kept going. No harm, no foul.


    Parking was really close to the base lodge.

    The foliage and snow made for beautiful trail running.


    The air temperature was cold, the ground wet and muddy, and the water obstacles frigid. It was a long day on the mountain; both the Challenge and Sprint laps were no joke. But that’s what this race promises.

    I didn’t run the spring race in 2016, but there were definitely far fewer obstacles than in past years. Black Ops (monkey bars high above a net in front of a huge American flag) is a great finale. I liked the tower climb, the rope walls climbs among the solar panels, and the tributes to the fallen. Each of the carries was really short.

    As the unofficial Tier-1 sweep, by the time we started the Sprint, many of the volunteers had packed up. We got a little off track at one intersection where volunteers would have pointed us in the right direction. Happily, staff came by on an ATV and got us back on course.


    The Tier-1 finisher’s medal is the largest and one of the coolest I’ve seen.

  17. Communication: Communication leading up to the event was average from what I’ve found. It was informative and to the point, but nothing really stood out. However, after the race I had some gentlemen from Hesco talking to me, and looking for feedback. I do believe that there should have been better communication concerning mileage, especially for the Sprint. More on that below.

    Venue & Festival: Parking that close, for $10 was nice. It was short enough of a walk where I really could have just left my bag in my car, but I did opt for the bag check – which I do appreciate immensely when it’s there. The festival area was small, I have nothing to compare it to for other Bonefrog events as this was my first. The food was good, definitely hit the spot after being out on that course. The beer was excellent, and they had three options of the Yuengling.

    Course & Obstacles: Tough course, good course. However, I have some qualms I’d like to point out. First, the sprint was advertised as 3 miles. I heard multiple complaints about this out on the course, especially after we’d gone over the 3 mile marker. The Sprint ended up closer to 7 miles, which while I know I can do 7 miles, having been told much less, it definitely caused some mental blocks as I neared the 6 mile mark and not knowing how much further there was. I comment so much on the mileage here, because this was feedback I received throughout the entirety of the course from many other racers. So it is not only my feedback, but what I overheard throughout my time on course.
    Another qualm was how poorly marked this course was. I made a point of being meticulous about following the arrows, because that’s what we were told to do. But there were points where it got confusing between their green tape and their arrows where it essentially contradicted each other. Or there were points where there were NO arrows but green tape… the arrows were abut fifty feet ahead in a different direction, hidden by foliage. I was with some others at this point, and two guys went in either direction so that the whole group didn’t go in the wrong direction.
    I did appreciate the foil blanket after the first pond crossing. I kept that thing with me, and it got me out of the second crossing, through the picker bushes, and I was able to pass it along to someone who needed it more after.
    The terrain was crazy muddy, and there was snow that was about 2 or 3 inches deep higher up. The terrain in itself became its own obstacle mostly because of the mud on various parts of the trails.
    While i know I posted a lot of negative above, I do think that it was a good effort. I am unsure if a Fall race is a first for them. But I did feel like they were prepared, especially at the first water obstacle. They had people right there and ready for a potential emergency with those freezing waters. Most of the volunteers were friendly, and encouraging. The Penalties were reasonable for the obstacles and if you had to modify or change them for what YOU could do, they were happy to let you. I even had a volunteer speak up in my defense when i was doing squats over whatever the penalty was and another racer commented.
    While I found this race very hard, I felt accomplished when I finished it. I will likely be back this Spring to give it another go – better mentally prepared.

    Swag & Awards: The medal is nice, and the ribbon is dated. I like when there’s a date somewhere on the medal. The shirts feel very cheap and thin. And if they’re going to pull this with the Sprint, it shouldn’t say ‘3+ miles’ they should own up to it being more like ‘5+ miles’ – yes, that might sound petty, but it’s my opinion.

  18. I ran the 9 Mile Challenge, Elite Heat. This was my first ever Bonefrog.

    First off I really liked the obstacles themselves and the course itself that was a lot of trail running, with a mix of up and down hill sections, as well as some ski trail climbs towards the end. The obstacles themselves were relatively standard climbing, crawling, grip based. Not unlike Spartan, they had stretches of a lot of running, broken up with sections with a handful of obstacles back to back – I’d been under the impression this race was more of an obstacle “every quarter mile” layout – but honestly, this is probably better than that to spread the field. I was back of the Elite pack, so I was often alone, and never in a huge group of people until the end when the Sprint racers rejoined us. I did really like the ending Obstacle packed area, both a huge challenge, and awesome to spectate post race.

    Overall the course and obstacles were as good as anything I’ve run. I do have a huge issue with the course markings. I was turned around a few times, and was lucky to not be running alone when I was at the most confusing parts of the race. The small arrows don’t cut it, the race tape that is for the mountain bikers, not us, doesn’t cut it. The solar panels and mountain coaster areas seemed especially confusing. I hate to bring up other series – but taping both sides in confusing areas, and using much larger logo signs was great at Spartan’s Killington race, and this race should look into something similar. Monster Mud Run’s ground flags are another idea of something that works on a similar course – also worth looking into. Either way, that course marking issue needs improvement.

    Another thing that was discouraging was staffing. A number of obstacles had no workers. They said it was the zero failure obstacles, which it largely was, but a wet eight foot wall and an equally wet 20′ ladder climb (that one was in the middle of the woods) should be staffed, especially given that this race wasn’t packed with people, at least not for Elite.

    Even with those criticisms, I really liked this race. It was the first time I ran a challenging mandatory completion race, and it was a great added challenge, and needed multiple attempts on Get a Grip and Rolling Thunder (I am short!). With that said, they weren’t SO tough that you had massive DNF rates, so I think they have struck a good balance where other Frog race was seen as going overboard. All in all, I was very proud to have kept my band.

    I also find myself really liking the mid size races like this that are small enough to not feel like a madhouse like the big three, but not low key like the super local mom and pop races. For this, I feel Bonefrog occupies an awesome spot in the OCR market, a spot that needs more races. The offering of three different distances, and distinctly different experiences for Elite and Open was also a cool element of this race, and a perfect approach for a mid-sized race, in my opinion.

    I will definitly plan to run another Bonefrog in the future!

  19. This race was changed from a 6 mile Championship event to a standard 3 disstance Bonefrog sometime over the summer after quite a few of us had registered. The change was handled smoothly for the most part. Everyone was notified of the changes we’ll in andvance of the race and it gave more choice to people who wanted more or less than 6 miles.

    Parking was less crowded than the May event. I suspect the weather and time of year were responsible.

    Registrations was a little clunky, but volunteers were all very friendly and helpful. If we were able to print the venue’s waiver at home, like we could the race waiver, it would have been much smoother.

    The festival area was pretty sparse, again I think the weather and time of year had an affect. After the race all I wanted was to find a place serving hot coffee… or hot anything. But I either missed that place or there weren’t any.

    None of that really mattered a whole lot to me, since what I was really there for was to run the course.

    I ran the 9ish mile Challenge course in the 9AM wave. It was cold, damp, and there was snow on the ground for most of the trails in the woods. Totally fine with weather being what it is. There was some concern from myself and others about the water obstacles and whether there would be any, if there was full submersion, and if we’d have to do them.

    They put us in the water within the first mile. It was a 20-30′ chest deep wade through the pond. It didn’t feel irresponsibly cold and climbing out to immediately do the hoist went a long way to getting the body warmed up. Running from the hoist, my legs were definitely very cold, but quickly heated up.

    Most of the obstacles were fun, challenging, standard climbing, crawling, swinging and generally not trying to fall types. I fell like a champ from the end of the Get a Grip obstacle. It was well placed for the spectators.

    The only real complaint, and it’s a very big one, is how poorly the course was marked at various points in the woods.

    I thought the splits were well marked for the Sprint and Challenge course, but saw and heard from more than a few racers who were in the wrong loops at different points.

    I was lucky enough to be with a few other runners when we got confused three different times in the woods. Somebody would follow an arrow only to turn back, meet up with us and tell us there were no markers ahead. We’d all stand around the last marker we saw and walk out in a few directions that it could have been pointing us until someone would find a marker and yell to us where it was.

    Small orange markers in a New England forest stapled to trees every 50 feet at times were essentially camouflaged in the foliage. Sometimes runners were confused when an arrow would point them ahead, but there would course tape appearing to block them only to discover we were supposed to go under course tape because it was for the mountain bikers, not us.

    There should NEVER be a situation where runners are made to run through course tape. It causes much confusion.

    The place we were lost for the longest was when the arrow pointed us up towards the mountain coaster track. The arrow pointed up and slightly left. Were we supposed to go under the track? Nobody could find the next marker for a few minutes. We spread out and eventually someone found it 30 feet up and to the right blocked by trees from where the previous marker was.

    Overall I had a great time and really enjoyed the course. Hopefully the course is much more clearly marked next year.

    The finisher medals and shirts were the same as the ones from spring race.

  20. This is one of my favorite races and the only one I will drive 2 hours for. I felt that communication was great both via email and following them on Facebook. I agree with others that after this years shirt problem on race day a follow up email would have been nice. I know a lot of people missed the communication at checkin that they were being shipped. I love the venue and love how the use the terrain with the obstacles. I would have liked to see a somewhat different design for the medal as it was basically the same as last year. Overall I love this race and will continue to make it a must each year.

  21. No diet coke, food tent was OK. Un-original medal. Easier course with 12 less obstacles this year!
    Shirts and PRE-ordered hoodies? AWOL. Still waiting for them in the mail one WEEK later.

    The biggest fail was the photography. It seems like there was only one photographer and they only photographed 1/4 of the field. LAME. Then it takes them a week to get them online.

  22. The 2016 NE BoneFrog Challenge was my third race (2015 NE & NJ 9 mile Challenge) but my first running Tier-1. Let me start off by saying this is my must do race every year. There are several reasons why but the primary one is the overall feeling of this race. The venue, course and atmosphere is built around providing a positive experience while reminding the participants and spectators the sacrifice that military veterans have made for this country.

    I received the typical email communications of race registration and preparation for race day. The only feedback I have is that there was an issue with customs for the finisher shirts so they were going to be shipped. I think a follow up courtesy email to participants explaining the issue and apologizing for the mix-up would have been nice. No biggie just my opinion.

    We are over two hours away so it is always nice to have parking close to the venue and the $10 charge is the standard for races. After a quick walk from the car I walked up to registration with death waiver in hand and was instructed to have my ID and waiver packet ready. Check in was super easy and quick at 7:30AM but I saw long lines about an hour later. Upon check in they explained the finisher shirts were not there and we would have to verify our information on a list and they would be sent to us. Bummer but no big issue, I have 20 other finisher shirts in the rotation. A huge positive was having good beer. Thank you for having Yuengling as an option as it is one of my favorite!!

    This is what I was waiting for. I know the course is on a ski mountain so I was hoping they would utilize the terrain and boy did they. Tier-1 had to make that long climb 2X and man the second time was much slower after a really bad calf cramp at mile 9. Overall I thought the obstacles were very well spaced out but I was missing some of the more creative ones like the blackout under the tarp they had in 2015. I’d also like to see one more heavy carry with a log up one of the slopes like in 2015. The water was pretty cold and Tier-1 had to cross water 6X during the course so I am attributing my cramp to that water crossing under the crates.

    I only have two criticisms

    1. Tier 1 did the 9 mile then the 5K course. When we hit the 5K course there were a lot of backups due to 9 mile, 5K and Tier 1 participants on the same course at the same time. My recommendation is to not overlap so much with the course to avoid the backups. It may be unavoidable but that is my 2 cents.

    2. The kid’s course was no course. It was a bouncy house. My 10yo daughter and her 2 10yo friends were so looking forward to a real kid’s course as they do the Spartan and Fit Challenge races. It would have been nice to have some obstacles there for the kids to do even if it was only 5 or 6. Needless to say they were very disappointed.

    There were a bunch of vendors there and all were great. They Tier-1 medal is one of the reasons I wanted to do that distance. That thing is now proudly displaced on my medal rack. As I mentioned before the shirts weren’t there but I was told that there was a Tier-1 shirt so I’m looking forward to seeing that as I already have two Challenge finisher shirts.

    This race is still my favorite with a close second being FIT Challenge. If you are looking for a great course, challenging obstacles and a top notch organization to support BoneFrog is for you. Can’t wait for the Championships in October and Tier-1 in 2017.

  23. This was my first BoneFrog and for me it lived up to the hype. I was told the race was well run and that the atmosphere on the course was one of camaraderie that comes with a shared challenge and upbeat because of awesome volunteers and staff and both of those were true.

    I thought the communication leading up to the event was true and that the racer’s info email that was sent out early in the week was thorough. Once I arrived at the venue, It was easy to find my way around and even though there was a line, I went through registration quickly due to solid organization.
    In terms of swag, the medal is awesome. One of the best I’ve received. I’ve heard how awesome the finisher shirt is, because unfortunately the delivery of shirts was delayed and got there after the race was over. The staff had us confirm our addresses so they can mail them out to us.

    The course itself was awesome. The mountain terrain was varied utilizing ski slopes and trails which made for an enjoyable run (except for the half mile climb that was Stairway to Valhalla. That was tough). The Obstacles themselves ranged in difficulty but even the most difficult ones were doable. Nothing was designed to make you fail (*cough* spear throw *cough*).
    The festival was on the smaller end which is ok but there were long lines for beer and food which was a bummer.

    Overall, I had a great time and will be doing this again.

  24. I signed up for Bonefrog Tier 1 after completing the Challenge last year. I ran early so parking wasn’t an issue however I did hear that there were major backups and problems later on in the morning. Parking was the typical $10 and within a very short 2 minute walk to the venue. Registration was a breeze and bathrooms were right there! (a welcome since it was a 2 hour drive to get here). Plenty of portapotties and they were easy enough to get to pre/post race.

    Venue/festival: Festival you got a free beer; food seemed pricey so I ate elsewhere.

    Course & Obstacles:
    I loved Bonefrog last year for their course & obstacles. This year they had fewer and unfortunately the volunteer who was directing us up at top misguided my group so we missed the memory test and 31 burpees (my fav part last year). They were regular burpees this year not the wreck bag ones (I later did this obstacle at night for tribute). Heavy on the military influence which I personally love (not like the other BFrog-sorry!)

    There were some unique obstacles:
    Hell’s Gate 4/6/8 ft walls over/under just after getting out of the water and the walls were only a few feet from each other
    Signature Black Ops rope climb up a wall with very high monkey bars-net underneath set in the festival area

    I swear this was Robb McCoy’s doing: Stairway death march-if you did Tier 1 you got to do this 2x; At the top of the climb there was a board to sign/leave a message and a memorial. Take a few minutes here to pay respect for our fallen and enjoy the view from up top.

    Sandbag carry where you filled your own sandbag

    The ammo box carry was shorter than last year and possibly lighter weight-they used 2 different size metal ammo boxes vs. last year larger metal or wooden ammo box.

    The traverse rope over ICE COLD water is a long one; several lanes and one of the ropes you could even go on top of. I chose the one closest to the lifeguard 🙂

    I saw several people fall at “Gut check”. It was 3 uneven parallel logs and by the end of the day it made for slippery conditions and there wasn’t a ton of padding underneath. As in any race evaluate the obstacle and your own abilities carefully-and take a penalty if need be. I took the penalty-I saw some epically awesome NES folks get over this so it can be done just not by this gal.

    There were some backups at the traverse rope, on top of the mountain for the reverse traverse downward rope; and large cargo net (15 minutes at least for this one). I believe there were even longer backups later in the day so if you were running for time you’d have to take the penalty.

    Swag: Awesome medals and the Tier 1 are gold (Challenge silver) and a bit bigger. Sadly there was a delay with the T-shirts arriving on time but at registration they had you double check your address and said they would be mailing them out. I want to say last year Tier1 gave you arm sleeves but nothing as far as I know this year.

    ALL of the volunteers were wonderful & helpful both on course and the build crew as well. My only concern was on the Sprint lap after the Challenge I didn’t see volunteers at several of the obstacles or water station. If there was an emergency it would’ve been difficult to get help. Some of the racers made it a point to buddy up together because of this.

    At the end there are retired Navy Seals handing out your medals-an incredibly special touch.

    This is a MUST-DO race!

  25. I arrived around an hour before my heat time and got in line for the bus like everyone else. The buses did take a little while to get back but little did anyone realize is that the train was holding the buses up. In the race email it was put out that there was an issue with the tracks so arrive around and hour and a half early. I got there when i could and still missed my heat by 15 min. No biggy. The race was fun besides me rolling my ankle 100 feet in, i continued all the way though. There were a couple back ups but nothing so drastic that some people were getting aggrivated with. There could have been one more water station put in after the ammo can carry. The volunteers were great and staff. The festival area was huge with a lot going on. The kids had a place to play and keep busy. All around a good day, besides my injury haha. I would do it again, great job.

  26. Most has been said and I agree
    Great venue, festival was a little dull
    There were still lines at obstacles, but I hear better than last year, hope they continue to improve
    I’m 5′ tall and couldn’t even get on to two obstacles I know I can crush. Some consideration should be done. Battle buddy dislocated shoulder and couldn’t help me, but either way, I’m a grown woman. It’s insulting to have to ask to be lifted up to handles or monkey bars.
    Really pretty area to be in
    Awesome to support and be around the Seals. New favorite race of mine, I will be back in the fall

  27. This race was a killer for me last year, so I was excited (and a little bit terrified) to get back out there. Parking was simple if you arrived early. There was a decent line at check-in at 8:00, but it moved quickly. Things were a little confusing due to the separate lines created to verify your mailing address for your t-shirt and to change your start wave. I asked to change my start time from 10:45 to 9:00 so I could get home for my son’s soccer game. I was allowed, but was charged $20. In my position, it was worth the money, but most people would probably just forgo the formal change and jump waves.
    The course seemed easier this year than last. I don’t know if I’m in better shape or if it really wasn’t as difficult. Of course, the Stairway to Valhalla was a brutal climb. Everything else was really not bad. So much so that I kept waiting for the next giant hill that never came.
    I do have two obstacle issues with this race. The first issue is with the ones that are simply too high for me to reach. When I can’t even get onto the monkey bars or make the reach for the tarzan swing or the swing with the handles, how can I possibly complete the obstacle? Even the monkey bars in front of the flag at the end were so high that the volunteers had to lift almost everyone I saw in front of me. In my opinion, it’s unnecessary and cruel.
    The second is that there were several obstacles that just create backlog. The worst was the cargo net where only 3 people could be on at a time. Simply make this into an A-frame and you’ve taken away the backup. Others could be eased by adding more lanes.
    I was one of those who missed the 31 heroes burpees and the memory test. I never knew where it was until long after I’d finished. Better signage and a volunteer directing traffic was clearly needed in that spot.
    All in all, I liked this course. I was disappointed that the very end included all of the hardest obstacles (and, for me, lots of penalties) when everyone was wet and tired, making them even more dangerous. But, I had fun and I feel like I took part in a great race. I’ll be back next year.

    1. My review is from the viewpoint of a battle buddy. This race is the most difficult race I run. This was my 2nd year where I ran Bonefrog with a group of Spahtens who agreed to stick it out to the end with each other. We truly hiked the race and enjoyed each other’s company for somewhere around 6 hours on the 9 mile course. We assisted each other where needed, shared tips of how to conquer an obstacle, supported each other when fear took over, clapped, high-fived, and hugged for new accomplishments. It was a day of laughter and pure fun.

      If your final time is not important, if you are injured but not so bad that you shouldn’t be on the course, or if you simply don’t want to be alone out there, stop in the tent or reach out on the event page and you will not be alone. There will always be a Spahten or 10 willing to hang with you.

      Great thanks to those who put my true fear (being in water) into check, allowing me to conquer those evil tasks and to Scott for patiently supporting me at the gut buster where that fear of a wipe out was overwhelming.

      Compared to last year, I believe this race was easier and had less back ups. I will note that my Moov fitness band tracked “active” minutes (anything at a brisk walk+) at about 3.5 hours compared to the finish time of 6 hours. Some of that difference is waiting for our group to come back together, some of that is obstacle back ups, some of that was the trip up to Valhalla. We also allowed runners to pass before us so as to not add to their time on course.

      I do feel like obstacles were missing. More is always better (except water). I still worry for the safety of some fall zones. It seems more could be done to avoid injuries. I did not see any staff at the last water crossing, so we had no idea we were supposed to go over the wooden boxes floating off to the side. Maybe we weren’t?

      This race may have the happiest volunteers and the best spectators. I had the chance to speak with quite a few while on course. Thanks goes out to all of them.

      Note: water was not always available on course. This is the case at many races. If this concerns you, come prepared. Black flies are still an issue. Bug spray is your friend.

      Food supply: Electrolyte tablets, trail mix, Stinger & ProBar.

      Customer service was phenomenal as my entry had been cancelled 2 days before the event because it was linked to another entry. My initial panic of getting there and not being allowed to race was put to rest as BFHQ quickly remedied everything.

  28. I have run Bonefrog Challenge for the last three years and think that they do a phenomenal job. They are my favorite race series by far. Their team is fantastic, their obstacles are tough, innovated and fun and they are willing to take all suggestions into consideration. They grew a lot this year and I know that this caused some back ups during the open wave. I will argue that this is part of their growing pains and they will strive to mitigate or eliminate this issue in the future. I think that they used the terrain well with a good mix of challenging ascents, descents, fire roads and single track trails. There was something for everyone here. I’ll definitely be back to Berkshire East next year!

  29. I volunteered this year as EMS (I ran it the previous three years) and I’m extremely disappointed with how BFC is managing their EMS & commincations plans. To me (I’m a Wilderness First Responder and a NASAR SARTECH II), BFC EMS and communications plans are unconscionably inadequate – I was sent out with no medical supplies (not even GLOVES!) and no radio. At the safety brief for the high obstacles there was _zero_ training for stabilizing a suspected spinal (its very easy and takes about 30sec to learn – subject on ground, hands on head to keep it from moving around). I had to walk an asthmatic crisis PT (who ended up going to the hospital, btw) out as I had no way to call for transport!

    Because of this inadequacy, I’m no longer comfortable participating in BFC, either as competitor or as a volunteer

    I’ve got no insight into how EMS works at Spartan or Tough Mudder, but I think with BFC you’re taking a large risk of major injury.

  30. Last years course was more difficult. This year the massive Robb McCoy hill climb was the most difficult part. The 4 swims were icy, but it felt good to be numb by that point. I did miss the 12 or so obstacles they removed (wreck bag burpees to 31 fallen heros).

    Food wasn’t bad, but not good either. Good thing any real food tastes good after a race.

    They could do better with pre race information and post race notification of results and photos – even on their FB page.

    Overall, difficult and awesome. I’ll be back again.

  31. Bonefrog was arguably my favorite race from last year so I was excited to approach it as a more experienced racer this time around.
    Communication was fine, I didn’t have any issue and received everything I expected. The packet they provided had everything we needed and was delivered in a good amount of time.
    Venue and Festival: I do love this venue. When we pulled up, our first comment was, “well, at least we can see the top of this one.” We were there early enough to park on site and walk right to registration. The registration process was inside and quick, having the extra volunteer reminding people to have their IDs and waivers out definitely expedited the situation. The festival area was minimal but had everything we needed- food for those that wanted it and a free beer at the end. I don’t know what most of the spectator spots looked like but it was nice to see people at a couple points on the mountain to cheer things on.
    Course and Obstacles: The course was challenging and creative and had personal touches that you miss out on at several other big name races. The Stairway to Valhalla will always be the obstacle that I love to hate. Don’t get me wrong, that climb sucked, but it was really where I got to see my teammates shine. There always seemed to be a Spahten with an encouraging word or mustard or chew to help along those we didn’t know. It’s moments like those that define how we’re seen in the race community. I don’t think I faced too long of a backlog at many obstacles. The cargo climb might have been the longest and I saw several people just burpee out of it. I still love the black ops at the end, perhaps the pressure of having it right in front of everyone pushes your mental game, I was just happy to get across those bars this year!
    Swag and Awards: It’s unfortunate that the shirts weren’t there when we finished the race but since this shirt may be my most worn from last year, I’m anticipating a great product. The medal is gorgeous and placed around your neck by a Navy Seal at the end, which is another great touch from Bonefrog. I did get to the merchandise tent and was very pleased with their change in shirts this year. A beautiful grey and pink shirt now sits in my laundry hamper.
    Overall: I will definitely be back. I really think that Bonefrog puts a lot of thought into the event they put on and I respect that. Last year, this race beat me up and this morning, I’m feeling sore but really great about how it went. They’ve improved on everything from last year and I believe they’ll continue to do so moving forward.

  32. Although easier than last year it’s still 1 of the best in New England. Gut Buster still a VERY risky obstacle. Enjoyed the upper body heavy obstacles. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for a challenge and able to handle that kind of distance.

  33. Starting from the top rating, race registration e-mails were constant- no chance to forget about this one. However, a very simple e-mail went out the week before the race that I almost missed because it didn’t look like much of anything and did not give much for details, just included a waiver.
    We were warned about traffic so my friend and I arrived very early- 2 hours, which I would prefer so as to have time to socialize and remember all of the forgots. We parked very close to the venue which is so helpful so no bag check is needed and I was able to vacate my warm clothes in short time before the race. The registration line was fine, I got through quickly and then had to verify my address for a soon-to-be missing race shirt to be shipped. How unfortunate that they have to pay all that money to ship shirts! I hate to see races who donate to charity have to do that! I also am not wearing my shirt today, Race Shirt Monday, which is quite sad.
    The festival and venue were just fine. There was beer and places for my friends and I to chatter as we had a team tent. I did not peruse the vendors since I did not bring extra cash with me and really hate to tease myself with pretty things I can’t have.
    Bonefrog has been my second favorite race, perhaps tied with FIT since they are quite different races as the Challenge is 9 miles, not a 5k. (Shale Hill is #1 always in my book). I was excited for the different obstacles that they have to offer. Elevation and backwoods trails were used to the max. Some complained about the “Stairway to Valhalla,” but I appreciate that. I just wish it was used later in the race because it is better suited to times of despair where we have time to wonder why the hell we do all of this nonsense and fight the urge to lay down and roll back down the hill where the cold beer surely awaits- or dying that’s always an option that runs through one’s head as they climb the steepest of the ski slopes. Without pictures it is hard to speak to all of the great obstacles, from rope climbs to rope traverses to the infamous last obstacle of fear and torture combining a rope up a wall and high monkey bars over a net. Their obstacles are built to test your mental fortitude and I love it. Yes, it would be nice to have a fluffier cushion than a couple flakes of hay under things like the gut check. However, if you have hesitation, please do not do an obstacle. You sign the death waiver! There are a lot of obstacles that if you fall off, injury is pretty sure. Like the obstacles up the nearly vertical and very high walls (2 of them!) When I completed them last year I thought for sure my arms were going to give way and head would meet rocks, so i had to mentally convince myself to f-in finish. This year luckily I did that “training” thing and had no problem.
    My biggest 3 complaints would be the sad course marking- why were the signs so little?! This made a lot of people miss the 31 Heroes obstacles, perhaps the most important and meaningful! There was also no guidance at that obstacle so people just followed what others were doing. I made sure to stop and stand and say each person’s name loudly and then do my burpee. People followed suit, though it was difficult since there was no space in the area to complete the burpees with the crowd that was there. The back-ups were very annoying also. There was a wait at many obstacles and at least 3 had a 15-20 minute wait. Please, for the love of GOD get rid of that high cargo net or add another one! It doesn’t matter how spread apart the obstacles are, when you have 3 people going up, even just one of them freaks out, you have at least 2 people stuck up there as one is coaxing the other over. It just doesn’t work for the crowd. Speaking of getting rid of obstacles… we were missing a bunch! The crawl was lack luster and even I would have liked to see more. Another rope climb would have been nice. Something else, I don’t know, it just seemed like a lot of trail running.
    Overall, however, it was great! I really love the touch of having the Navy Seals as volunteers, especially getting to shake their hand and thank them at the end. The obstacles are challenging and some are much different than other races. Through in the cold water and it’s great! I can’t wait for my shirt to go with my medal! Next year beer glasses please 🙂

  34. I was hesitant to sign up for this year’s Bonefrog since last year’s race was really tough for me but I’m glad that I did. This year the race was so much better however I did make a promise to myself: not to wait in lines for obstacles, no matter how fun they looked (last year there were long backups and a 45 minute wait for more than one obstacle).

    I signed up for the challenge. I ran just over half this race by myself, which didn’t turn out to be a problem except for some obstacles. I did eventually catch up to the 10:15 am wave and meet up with fellow NES who I stayed with for the last four miles.

    I signed up late, just a week before the race as I was trying to decide if I really wanted to do it. I may have missed some communication however what I got was good. I didn’t understand the email that was sent regarding the train accident since it was so far in advance of the race, however after having been to the venue and remembering about the train it now makes sense.
    Also because I signed up late, all the early waves were sold out, however a quick email to Bonefrog asking to be moved to the 10:15 am wave was answered within a day and I was moved to that wave. The back and forth email regarding the wave change was the best I ever had with a race, whoever it was (there was no name in the signature, just Bonefrog) was friendly and pleasant.

    Venue and Festival:
    I gave a low score here for the same reason as others, the two small buses in the overflow parking was just not enough. I arrived in time for my wave, however I ended up missing it due to waiting in line for the bus. On top of that- then I had to wait for a train, a very slow moving train. An hour simply was not enough time as it took that long to get from my parked car to the check in table. I wish that the email that came about the train accident mentioned that there were constantly slow moving trains that would impeded your arrival (and departure) from the venue.
    Check in was inside the building similar to last year. There wasn’t a line when I arrived so I had no problem getting my bib. Since we missed our 10:15 wave due to the buses- we were trying our best to make the 11 am wave. We grabbed out bib packet, dropped our bag and ran to the start line just in time to be the tail end of the 11 am wave.
    I did not spend any time in the festival area. No time before the race and I went straight from the gut check to the medic tent (I was waiting in line for the last obstacles before noticing the swelling in my leg, ended up skipping it, crossed the finished line and went straight to medical). My first time in a medic tent (for an actual injury) and I will say that everyone here was efficient and helpful.
    Check in was inside the building similar to last year.

    I missed the whole tee shirt issue but heard about it from another Spahten while on course.

    Course and Obstacles:
    One reason why I love this race (and ended up doing it again) is the fact that it is tied to the military. I come from a huge military family and appreciate how the obstacles are tied to fallen heroes or are military themed. I felt that course layout was much better this year- even with the big death march added in. That was definitely the hardest part of the race for me, and I took many breaks but I made it!
    The start and finish were in the same area and set up the same- but just about everything else was different. There were two carries this year, the ammo box and the make your own sandbag, which I like a lot and the volunteer here was hilarious! I have to echo what others have said about being short and that being a problem on some of the obstacles. This was even true in the water obstacles- I can swim- but there were areas in the water obstacles where I couldn’t touch the ground and had to swim to the other side. A heads up by volunteers would have been nice.
    I got almost all of the rope obstacles except the two walls climbs at the solar panels. I made it half way but felt that the rope was the reason I failed here. It was really thick for someone with small hands, I think the thickest rope I’v encountered at a race.
    Having done this race last year, I knew there was a memory test at the solar panel area. I waited to talk to the two volunteers dong this however if someone didn’t know what was happening it would be easy to run by this obstacle. There wasn’t a sign and it looked like people were just taking a break and having a chat so if you didn’t know it would be easy to miss.
    There were a few obstacles that had backups that I did skip. I agree with others about the cargo net climb- having only three people at a time go over made it slow. A lot of people burpeed out just so they didn’t have to wait in line. I also didn’t make the incline wall. I can usually get this wall, with a boost, but I was by myself at this point. A couple did come running up behind me and they guy offered me a boost, I let him know that I had metal tips on my shoes (I was wearing Icebugs), he didn’t think that was a good idea for him and rescinded his offer, did it obstacle, took off running and left me at the looking at the wall. The way he rescinded his offer made me laugh so I did my penalty and off I went.
    I didn’t run into any issues with course markings and never felt like i was off course. I kept looking for the white Bonefrog signs stapled to trees- and some of them had funny remarks that have me a good laugh.
    The gut check- the volunteer here was great. I think he empowered people to complete the obstacle when they didn’t think they could. He gave great instructions on how to do it and even helped people out however- I feel that there should have been a volunteer on each side. The volunteer is only able to help one person at a time, when two people were going.

    Swag and Awards:
    The medal is freaking awesome and like others have said- getting it from a retired Navy seal makes it even sweeter. I like how they have different ribbons for the different distances. I don’t know how they knew I ran the challenge but they did and I got the right medal!

    Everyone knows about the shirt issue, not sure what they look like this year but I bet they are awesome!

    Bonefrog has become a favorite of mine. A big improvement over last year when I said that this race broke me. The uphill climbs are tough for me but it gives me something to work on and improve. I believe that a big lesson was learned from last year regarding the backups. There were still a few backups but I think that overall it was an improvement over last year. I cannot stop talking about the course layout- I was impressed by how well it was. The obstacles are different from other races and tied together with a good message. The biggest issues for me were the waits for the small bus from the parking area and then having to wait for a train. I look forward to next year’s race.

  35. This was my very first BoneFrog event, having missed it last year due to a local wedding (and attending Tuff Scramblers instead), and after mostly positive reviews, I was very happy to finally make my way out for this race. The Spahtens had a great showing and I saw almost all of my friends throughout the day. This was a RaceLocal event, which always brings a number of people out, some trying this for the first time, and we were in for a true OCR treat. Our very own Robb McCoy joined the ranks of BoneFrog;s staff and we knew we were in for a bicep curls for the legs treat, aka, a full death march climb up the mountain. With that being said, lets break this down.

    I have no complaints. I eventually found all the information I needed. The packet had parking information. They gave us a heads up about a possible traffic issue. I didn’t find them overly informative, but the pre-race e-mail came with plenty of time and it was enough.

    Venue & Festival:
    Berkshire East made a great host for this event. I wasn’t wowed by the festival area. While there was music, there wasn’t a whole lot going on, just mostly people milling around. I did see some pull-up bars and cornhole set up, but they were mostly ignored. The food was OK. Some people loved the shaved steak subs, but I found myself very hungry not long after eating it. I heard the chicken was meh. Check in was inside, though, and while there was a line, it moved very quickly. The check-in volunteers were numbered and there was a volunteer that would send the next racer to the numbered spot when it was available. It moved very well. Unfortunately because of the T-shirt issue, there was a long line to check your address to ensure your shirt got mailed to the right place. My (self diagnosed) ADD lost me there as I spotted Mr. Sweeney at the Kids Race table where I killed some time chatting with him before admitting I had to verify my address still.

    Course & Obstacles:
    Overall, I felt like this course was PERFECT. No really, it was a great mixture of challenging and enjoyable. It was hard, but not beat you to the ground hard. I loved it. Even the climb up Valhalla was awful, but a great contribution. When I reached the top I really felt great. Unfortunately, I do have a few issues with the course. The first is that, like Amber said, after the solar walls, Amy and I were sent off to the right, and there was no tape to guide us differently, completely bypassing the mind games and the 31 heroes. While I’ll never complain about missing burpees, I was actually very disappointed to miss the most meaningful obstacle of the entire race. Better course marking could have fixed this. The second issue was the absurd height of almost all of the hanging obstacles. I needed a boost at every single one of these obstacles, even though they were already platformed. These are just unnecessarily high and such a buzzkill for us shorties. Many of us do have the upper body strength to complete them, but needing help and/or having the spacing impossibly far was truly disheartening. I failed 3 obstacles yesterday (swingers club, get a grip, and drunken monkey), and 2 of them were because I was too small to complete them (the third was because the bars were too wet and very unsafe for me, although I heard they handed out towels for it not long after I completed the race), which is just not cool. My last complaint (I said two, I can’t count…) is that there was still a bunch of back-ups at some of the obstacles. I’d say we waited near 45 minutes at least throughout the entire race at obstacles. Simple things like changing a vertical cargo net to an A-frame cargo net would have allowed more people on the obstacle at once and kill most of the back-up there. The slide for life with only 2 ropes had a big back-up, which would be better suited later in the race than sooner. I was surprised how much back-up there was at the end of a 9 mile race, but perhaps because the 5k and the 9mi converge within the last half mile, almost every single obstacle at the end of the race had back-up. Not fun. But to end on a positive note, they had a lot of fun innovative obstacles, great use of the water there, and I loved the rope climb so early! I think, for me, the best part was getting my medal from a retired Navy Seal. Those men were awesome.

    Swag & Awards:
    The medals were hefty, shiny, and pretty! Loved them!! The T-shirts, were held up and delivered to the venue after we left, but they’ll be mailed to us soon. If they’re anything like what I heard last year’s to be, then I can’t wait for it to arrive! The Spahtens won a fastest team award, which included a box full of stickers and goodies from BoneFrog and Rogue, a sponsor. By luck of being in the right place in the right time, I scored a BoneFrog sticker and Rogue tank!

    Overall, I did truly enjoy the race. I hope some of my unhappy points get addressed for next year, but I think this race has the potential of being the best and could grow to be something incredibly amazing. It is absolutely worth the trip to Western Mass. Don’t miss this race next year, and I’m definitely considering making it out to the Championships this fall.

  36. The race was great overall. Loved the course, the festival area was setup well.
    Two comments of note:
    1: Needed more buses from the offsite parking area. Even arriving at 10am to parking, we just barely made our 11:45 start time (maybe 15min to spare).
    2: During high volume time on the course there were pretty lengthy backups at the obstacles at end of the course (from the rope traverse through the finish).

  37. Last yr Cheryl got lost(ish) going from Challenge to Sprint for Tier 1, so i felt the need to accompany her in order that she get there….lol.. Parking and checkin good, though i think for those leaving later than 9 am, the way they situated check in created quite a bottle neck. A few more portapotties probably wouldve been welcome based upon the line at 830. The course was challenging which i like. The variations on a theme of pretty much every obstacle made it more fun. While the course was marked well, I believe the volunteers may have misdirected runners after the two 60 degree walls, as we looped back but never got to repeat the sign memorized at the top of the ammo box carry. the 2 ninja warrior obstacles after the water dunks beat me the first go through, but i redeemed myself on one on the second lap. I feel the introduction of extra water at the end created ,imo,a safety issue,. At that point we successfully negotiated the transition to the sprint. I did notice a general lack of volunteers on some obstacles of the sprint course, my only concern being if someone got hurt, would take longer to alert medics. Overall i loved the challenge, plan on being back again and i know there will some epic photos from the worlds best OCR photographer, Bob Mullholland

  38. What can be said about this race that others havent said.

    this race is the real deal, if you want to really see what you have deep down this is the race to test yourself on. there are very few venues in new england that can offer a challenge like this and this race makes AMAZING use of the terrain and the obstacles are full of physical and mental challenges. there all very well built and dont make you concerned at all.

    the course was VERY well marked out and i even enjoyed some of the lil notes someone wrote on the markers.

    the only negative mark was 3 obstacles had rather big back ups ( slide for life , verticle cargo net and black ops) i think the slide for life could be fixed if a second structure is built next to it there is plenty of room up there for a second one same for the verticle cargo net it wouldent hurt to have a second set up to help aleivate the crowds considering cargonets usually cause back ups due to the time and fear it gives some people.

    Also for obstacles like the rope climb and dirty name id like to see some crash mats underneeth and not a tiny bit of hay that is going to do nothing to soften a fall.

    This race does a great job of reminding you of those that have fallen in service of this country. one part that bugged me was when at 31 heros hearing a few people say ” i dont want to read the names” i honestly wanted to break my treking pole over there head for saying that.i was unable to do the burpees because of my hip but i went to the wall got on my knee read the story and read each and every last name on that wall.

    One of the best special touches was having retired SEALS at the finish line to congratulate us and shake our hand and award us our medal

    #thereisonlyfrog and its not battle 🙂

  39. I signed up as a volunteer for the Build for this event. If you haven’t volunteered for a race before, I highly recommend you do it. You get to go out there with a bunch of people that are enthusiasts for the same thing as you, and you get some insight into what goes on behind the scenes at these events.

    I received an email for my race time, but no bib number. I figured it was due to volunteer status.

    Parking at this venue, Berkshire East, was pretty good if you got there early enough. Event parking was right there within a 1/4 mile of the Start line for $10. If you got there later, there was a shuttle that took you at least 4 miles away, but no different than a lot big races like SR or TM, I don’t know if they were charging where ever that was, but it’s likely.

    Pretty standard sign-death-waver tent, then had to wait on the registration line for at least 25 minutes before I got to the table and was redirected to another registration line for the volunteer registrations. There’s no “rating” for registration, but if there were, i would rank it as a 4. A single registration line is a terrible idea. All races, road or OCR, that I have been to, have corrals for bib or last name segments. Judging by the amount of volunteers inside, there was plenty of availability to chop this up better with a little more time before race day to segment it up.

    Once in the corral to start the race, the fellow with the megaphone was somewhat enthusiastic, and started things off with a little 10 second countdown and off on the trail we went.

    The course was great, I really liked the terrain of this mountain. Most trails were utilizing the mountain bike trails, which were well worn and relatively well footed. Obstacles were everywhere and challenging, but not impossible for the average OCR runner.

    Some of the stage walls were not grounded well, when i went over one I think if there were two of us going over it may have toppled.

    Great use of the water! Water obstacles were well thought out and lines moved quickly. The traverse had a nice “easy” line for pulling oneself though which was a great touch for safety and speed.

    There were a couple obstacles that should have been moved earlier in the race to avoid blockage. The two story cargo net, and the twin ropes at the top. There were 20-30 minute waits at these obstacles for a 930 starter, no telling how that grew as the day wore on.

    The dirty logs at the end were pretty slippery and pretty hazardous. I understand one should expect such at an obstacle race, but if you complete the obstacle, the landing area should be sure footed or softer than one bale of hay. In the short time I was there, I saw three people go down with bad landings, one with an audible crack. I heard many, many people say they would not be doing that obstacle again.

    The 31 burpees needs to be moved somewhere less confusing.
    Lots of racers turned before getting to the banner because they thought they made a wrong turn and were following losers of the mind game. I really liked this memorial though. Great touch.

    Overall, i loved the course, it was exactly my kind of race, and my critique on the obstacles was more for the community and race directors than because I didn’t like it (except the lines, waiting always sucks).

    The addition of real Navy Seals handing out medals was nice, but honestly I didn’t even know they were Seals until the following day though social media, so I found the finish line highly anti-climactic after such a great race. And there didn’t seem to be any water at the finish either. Some bananas and water at the finish is pretty standard, even at a local town 5k.

    The festival area was set up well, but there didn’t seem to be much in the way of free swag. The beer and food lines were too long to be worth the wait and the lodge was closed. Other than the fact that there were a plethora of Spahtens there, I would have had no incentive to stay and “party” at the festival one anticipates at a large venue like a ski mountain.

    Long story short, Great Race that I will definitely be attending again, but needs work on the “fun” part of it.

  40. My first Bone Frog Challenge didn’t go off without a hitch, unfortunately…but the only hitch was fairly minor. I was registered for the 11:15 wave, and as directed in the email arrived an hour and thirty minutes prior. I spent over an hour in the overflow parking area waiting for the shuttle bus, and missed my heat. I was, however, very easy to Jump into the 11:45 heat and it definitely was not over crowded.

    As for the race itself, it was awesome, challenging, with just the right level of difficulty for someone who’s relatively fit, but not an elite racer. The SEALs and other volunteers at the Obstacles where excellent, in great spirits, and VERY helpful. They seemed to be having as much fun as the racers. My legs are definitely barking at me this morning, so I know it was definitely a challenge. I cramped twice, once on the invert wall, and once on the rolling thunder, but was able to stop the spasms fairly quickly and continue on.

    And speaking of other racers, this was the cleanest course I have ever seen! the few goo packets I found and picked up fit in nicely in my little 3×3 zip pocket on my shorts. Great Job Folks! the racers I ended up grouping up with were friendly, helpful, and helped make it even more fun.

    So aside from the overflow parking/bus situation, it was a great day!

  41. Pre race communication was great. I would agree with others on the volunteers. We actually were directed where to go by a volunteer at the solar panels and he ended up causing us to miss 31 heroes and the trivia based on the map. At others they did not really describe a lot.

    I loved all the water obstacles. I wish all the grip obstacles were not all together at the end right after two freezing water crossings. As a short person, I was also mad that on at least two or three of them I couldnt reach what we needed to grip…spent so much effort jumping to try that I then couldn’t complete it or still couldn’t reach the near grip. I also literally couldn’t reach the bell at the top of the rope climb with arm full extended, so while I completed it, missed hearing the bell. A side or option for or something that considers short people would help. It was really defeating to fail obstacles I know I can do. The climb was a beast – wow is all I can say.

    The ticket system for food in the festival area was different. I mean, I guess it worked fine, but I don’t understand why it was necessary.

    Medal is awesome. I love how they are different for each distance.

  42. It was a great and challenging course. It might have been coincidence, but it felt like a super-sized F.I.T. Challenge. My only criticism would be that the volunteers at most obstacles needed to be far more vocal. There were a lot of them, but not many explaining certain things. At the top of Stairway to Valhalla where everyone is completely gassed, there was a memorial, and a big board people were signing. I thought it was nice. Turned out to be a memory test. Later when I got the test, the place we went to do the penalty burpees was crowded so I asked the volunteer how many to do. He didn’t tell me about saying the name of the fallen soldiers with each one, and eventually a bunch of us were loudly chastised for not doing so. No disrespect meant at all, just total race brain. In the middle of a tough race, I need explicit instructions if involves using my brain.

    Also, they need WAY more hay under Gut Check. People were getting the wind knocked out of them left and right.

    I started at 10 AM and for a few obstacles there were some pretty hefty weight times. (My bad for starting so late.)

    Parking was very close if you got there before 9:30. I was just inside the front gate. They started the shuttles right after I parked.

    The lack of finisher shirts doesn’t bother me, as I trust they’ll be sent as promised. It worked in their favor because I wound up buying two shirts today.

    Overall a great race, I’ll definitely do it again.

  43. Always one of my favorite races. This year obviously not having finisher’s shirts hurts and must drive the RD crazy. However this is the best collection of obstacles/mile of any course in my completion list. Not a big fan of uphills on the ski slopes, we can do that ar any mountain, I prefer a selection of trails and avoiding the straight ups – they put this race on another level normally.

    Thanks for having water obstacles, I love them! Adds variety, challenge, discomfort and makes the course more interesting for me. I’m also a strong swimmer so…

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