Read our previous reviews on FIT Challenge here!
Featured Review – Epic Fifth Challenge / Do Epic Fit
Featured Review – FIT Challenge II / FIT FORCE
Interview – FIT Challenge 1
Featured Review – FIT Challenge / Rosa’s review
Read our previous reviews on FIT Challenge here!
Featured Review – Epic Fifth Challenge / Do Epic Fit
Featured Review – FIT Challenge II / FIT FORCE
Interview – FIT Challenge 1
Featured Review – FIT Challenge / Rosa’s review
45 thoughts on “FIT Challenge”
F.I.T. has become my favorite race! Robb makes racing fun and challenging for all levels of players. Personally, I was a bit nervous with a bum knee and knowing we had serious climbing (serious for me!) but it worked out just fine. I only got one lap in since I was REALLY slow and careful of my knee but now that I know what is there, and also in the RI one, I am hoping to multilap at least 3 next year.
Communication was great as always. Between emails and Facebook, Robb and his crew make sure everyone knows what is going on and what to expect.
The venue was great at The Ridge. Even with the little over 2 hour drive it was worth it. After the race we had lunch at the bar in the lodge and it was fabulous! The festival had the usual vendors which if I had t o hand pick certain vendors – Robb picked the best of the best. And the parking on site at the F.I.T. venues is the best!
The course and obstacles were awesome as usual. I love that the course is shorter (3.5) and is packed with obstacles. That is why I do this after all! I had more than enough challenge for my level and made it through all but devil steps, 1/2 of the rig (couldn’t hold monkey bars!!) and the upside down cargo. The hills were the most challenging for me with my knee but even when it seemed we were going straight up hill vertical, I managed and made it through. I had a slight easier time on the Destroyers but still needed a hand. Loved that Destroyer One was the final obstacle right at the finish line!
Swag and awards – Well….no “extra” awards for me since I didn’t multilap and sure as you know what didn’t come in 1st, 2nd, 3rd….or even 100th for that matter but who cares! I ran it, completed it and had a blast doing it! For swag – I do have a couple comments. The shirts this race were kind of yucky grey tank tops that don’t look very flattering on anyone. In addition, we got a bicep shaped squeeze toy and a neck/head band thingy. The medals were the same as before – no dates on them and a bit chintzy. I would prefer a better shirt and medal and forgo the other stuff. But that’s just me…
Overall score is 9 for me! ABSOLUTELY doing this again, and again, and again….
FIT Challenge, a perennial favorite race, at a new venue? Count me in! The most recent FIT Challenge, on Saturday, August 12, took place at Powder Ridge in Middlefield, Connecticut. A departure from the normal venue Diamond Hill in Cumberland, Rhode Island, I was curious to see how FIT would translate to a “mountain.” The answer: Amazing! FIT at The Ridge might just be my favorite FIT race so far.
Forecasts called for rain and potential thunder on Saturday, so I was pleased to arrive at Powder Ridge to sunny clear skies. The venue was an easy drive for me — just a little over an hour from my home in Western Massachusetts. Parking was $10, ample, and close to the location. Check-in, as always, as easy and quick. I arrived 45 minutes before my scheduled heat, which was plenty of time to do everything I needed to do and have time to socialize.
After getting my bib and timing chip, I headed over to the NE Spahtens team tent. In the past, I had opted for the NE Spahtens wave at FIT. These waves often took place a little after 10:00 a.m., and often the course was a bit crowded at this point. This was especially the case this spring at Diamond Hill where, having to give way for multi-lappers, I waited as much as 25 minutes at one obstacle. Not cool. Plus, with most of the members of NES opting for multi-laps and going out first thing in the morning, I often missed my friends on the team by taking part in a later wave. With this all in mind, I signed up for the first open wave available for FIT at The Ridge. This was a winning move. I saw a ton of great people and waited at obstacles a minimal amount of time.
After stashing my bag at the team tent and changing into my shoes, I spent time with friends and even got to go and connect with my mother who attended FIT as her first obstacle course race. (Note: Thanks FIT volunteers for taking such great care of Mom! She went up the mountain to see me and, unfortunately, missed me — I was too fast. Volunteers were super helpful in telling her that I’d come and gone, showing her a course map, and getting her to the bottom of the mountain.) A few minutes before 9:00 a.m. I headed over to the start line with my NES friends and with zero fanfare, we were off and running. Powder Ridge is not a large park, so the elevation was probably about the same as when we got at Diamond Hill; however, the way we attacked it was very different. I can almost guarantee that course times will be faster at Powder Ridge. Where Diamond Hill has tons of up and down, lots of single track, and an abundance of technical terrain, Powder Ridge had steady climbs, open areas where one could really run and easily pass people, and some great sections of trail running in the woods. I was able to run much more easily than at Diamond Hill, and I loved it! It was great to be able to really move my legs and run without having to worry about crazy technical aspects. This is a huge plus of the new venue, and, I think, made it easier for people to get around the course and pass people as needed.
The course, for me, measured in at 3.7 miles, containing the distance of two carries. The race started with about a half mile climb which served to spread out the field before the first obstacles. This worked decently well. There were slight waits — a couple of minutes — at the first three obstacles, but nothing terrible. The only real wait I had was at the monkey cargo net, where I waited about five minutes — much less than the half hour I waited here in the spring.
The obstacles at FIT Challenge were plentiful and stellar. FIT’s mentality is do what you can / try your best. You have to attempt things as best you can, but there are no penalties for fail obstacles. This is a mentality that I really appreciate. I was extremely impressed with the layout of this course. Many races shy away from having obstacles up on the mountain. Not FIT! The number of obstacles up at the top of the mountain, and the excellent spacing of obstacles throughout is a testament to the detail that Robb, Aaron, and the entire FIT team put into this race. They run OCR, and FIT is an obstacle course race for obstacle course racers.
The race started with a half mile climb up the mountain with approximately 380 feet of elevation gain. This served to spread out the pack a little and was the main climb of the day. Terrible? Yes. But also manageable. At the top of the mountain, at the 0.70 mile mark was the first obstacle, an a-frame cargo net. This was followed quickly by the double ups, a low crawl and a single cargo net. There were brief stops at the cargo nets and the double ups but nothing of more than a minute or two.
After a section of trail running along fairly well groomed trails was the next set of obstacles grouped at the top of the mountain. This section of the course may well have been my favorite. It featured a ladder wall, over-under walls, a peg board climb, the teeter-totters, the rope climb, and the monkey cargo net (where I waited for five minutes — a vast improvement over last time. Also, the monkey cargo had a rope to help racers get up to the net. This was much appreciated!). Right after the monkey cargo was a slip wall (where my Icebugs made for an easy ascent), followed by a short (0.07 mile) tire drag, and the the devil steps. I have made improvements with the devil steps. This time, I was able to ascend all the steps; however, my short wingspan made it impossible to transition to the other side. An addition step or rope at the top of the ladder would have been most welcome.
The course then went down the mountain, bringing racers back to the main festival area. There, we encountered an eight foot wall and an over-under-through. The next was a quarter of a mile Wreck Bag carry over around 80 feet of elevation gain. FIT is great about providing a variety of weights from 25 pounds up to 50 pounds. The sun was getting hot at this point though, and the Wreck Bag carry felt like a bit of a sufferfest. I’m fairly slow at carries, but I tried to get this done, especially because I was feeling quite good about my course time overall. I was cruising — getting in a lot of running — and feeling strong on the obstacles. The nice weather, having a spectator, and the fun of being at FIT combined for an excellent day.
After the carry was the epic field “obstacle,” which featured a crossfit style experience where racers had to hit a tire with a hammer, do tire flips and slams, and do push-ups on an incline. The volunteer at the hammer station was amazing! He took part in the obstacle with me and we did my 10 hammer hits together. That guy is awesome!
Next up was one of my favorite obstacles, a rig. This one featured a few different lanes with varying attachments. I opted for the monkey bars, into the horizontal pipe, to monkey bars, to a cargo net climb.
Even more exciting, after this was the Destroyer 2.0, a large inclined wall with another wall at the top. After ascending both walls, racers had to do a tire post hop on the other side. Back in the spring, I had had difficulty transitioning to the tires, and kind of belly flopped onto the first one, tried for the second, and rolled onto the ground. Fortunately, this time, I was able to get into a standing position on the first tire-topped post and hopped my way to the end as quickly as I could before losing my balance.
I slalomed my way through a set of kickboxing bags before heading back up the hill again to the log carry. This 0.19 mile carry took racers back down the hill a little and then up again for 83 feet of elevation gain. I was on my way to the log carry that I ran into my mother who had taken the ski lift up the hill and then walked her way back down getting to see all of the obstacles along the way (awesome!) but missing me (sad). At this point, I was over 2.5 miles into the race, so I gave my mother my drill shirt (I was overheating) and told her I would meet her soon at the finish line!
From the log carry, I made my way up the hill a tiny bit to the second crawl of the day. This was a long one, but fortunately, I could bear crawl fairly comfortably most of the way. Plus, FIT uses ropes instead of barbed wire for their crawls, which is very civilized. Next up was the floating wall. A fellow racer kindly held the wall in place while I climbed up and over.
The finish line was in sight. I bombed down the hill to tackle the final few obstacles. There was a quick tube crawl and inverted ladder wall. Then it was on to the final Destroyer wall and a quick step across the finish line.
I had a very good race, finishing strong in 1:13, way faster than previous FIT times. When comparing across all open waves, I finished fifth in my age group (out of two dozen), 8/223 for women, and 96/524 overall. If you lump my time with the elites, I finished eight by age, 24 by sex, and 126/560 overall. Pretty good all around.
FIT at The Ridge was a great race. I loved the new venue, the course was fantastic — dare I say even better than Diamond Hill, and, as always, I loved the obstacles. I’m not sure when the next FIT race will be happening, but suffice it to say, I will be there!
Communication: As always, FIT Challenge has great communication. Leading up to every price increase, as well as race day. Robb was straightforward with his mileage even posting his actual run on facebook as well as a layout as to where we would expect obstacles. Volunteer communication with Scott was awesome as well.
Venue & Festival:
I really liked the CT venue. It was about the same distance as RI for me to get there. The festival area was great and easy to locate everything. The Multilappers area was huge and central between the start and finish line. Parking was easy and it was a very short, easy, walk to the festival area.
Course & Obstacles: The FIT Challenge team knows how to deliver. I absolutely LOVED this course. There was a great spread of obstacles. I did not mind the up the mountain, it was a nice hike before getting into the meat of the course. I liked seeing mats around some of the obstacles.
Swag & Awards:
Tank top, bicep stress squishy, buff, and medal. (Plus the pins and blocks for multilappers)
FIT Challenge offered a great deal of swag with race registration, but then there was the merch tent. I also picked up a pair of their new sunglasses.
Overall, I loved this race. It was my second FIT and I must say, while it’s a challenging race it is definitely one that is a staple on my calendar.
Given this was the first time at this location for the awesome FIT series, it was damn near perfect. The McCoy / Farb / Sweeney / Lee / Cooper crew even dialed in some sunny hot weather.
The format of 3.X miles and about 1K elevation change is excellent. Gives you the opportunity to do as many laps as you are up to that day, or just do one lap all out for time. The obstacles were amazing.
The only suggestions I have are:
– I wanted to buy some tank tops at the merch tent and there were none left.
– Add second obstacles for those that backed up (and dedicate a multilapper lane):
> monkey cargo net – 10+ minute wait
> floating wall, and all walls for that matter.
Overall this is the best race the east coast has to offer at this distance.
Great race and venue. My only complaint is a few back ups. They could add more cargo nets in all locations, the two climbs and the monkey cargo net. And add more double up logs in the woods.
I’ll be back!
Since I took part in my first F.I.T. Challenge in April 2015, this race has been a staple of my calendar. April 2017 was no exception.
I showed up in Cumberland, Rhode Island’s Diamond Hill Park at around 10:10 a.m., about 30 minutes before the 10:45 a.m. NE Spahtens team wave. Parking, as always, was $10 and onsite. Not a bad deal. I had to park in the second parking lot, which is about a three to five minute walk from the main venue area. Once I arrived, I was able to register. As always, registration was a breeze. (And, as a bonus, I got to see teammate, Marc.) I got my small unisex t-shirt and a timing chip — I was good to go.
I had a few minutes until race time, so I headed over to the NE Spahtens team tent where I did some visiting with Bobby and Paul, lusted after Paul’s DryRobe (Yes, I’m going to cave and order one), and changed into my Icebugs.
At 10:40 a.m., it was go time. I headed over to the start line with my fellow NES teammates who had not already started the race as multi-lappers or in the elite wave. (Seriously, I never see anyone anymore; so many of my friends from the NES multi-lap or run elite!) The announcer did a festive job and at 10:45 a.m. we were crossing the line to tackle the 3.5 mile F.I.T. Challenge course.
As usual, race director, Robb, packs in as much elevation as he can at Diamond Hill. We did approximately 1,000 feet of elevation, which included some gnarly descents. The course was more-or-less reversed from the last few races and featured some nice sections of trail. Compared with last year, we actual got to start on a less steep section. The past couple of F.I.T. Challenges have begun with a very steep climb; however, for this April’s race, that climb was moved to later in the course when I was more warmed up. I think that this was a better move.
There was a fair bit of trail running to start the race. Many of the F.I.T. Challenge courses start this way, in what is, I believe, an effort to spread out the pack. The weather was modestly sunny but not overly warm. It was in the low 40s and a bit windy. I had kept on a base-layer tech t-shirt under my NES drill shirt and was glad that I did.
It was especially key that I had layered up because this spring’s F.I.T. Challenge was slow. My main theme of the race was waiting. I would estimate that I spent almost half an hour in total waiting at various obstacles. This was quite a disappointment, especially since the obstacles were so fantastic that I wouldn’t skip them even though I could. F.I.T. Challenge is an obstacle course race, and I was there to do the obstacles. I ended up waiting over 15 minutes at the hanging cargo net, about five minutes each at the two Destroyer walls, and a few minutes more at a cargo climb. Not ideal to say the least. The stopping and starting meant that I got cold and definitely interfered with the flow of my race an my enjoyment of the experience. I think that the abundance of multi-lap athletes (to whom the rest of us always had to give right-of-way) might have contributed to these back-ups. Fingers crossed that this is adjusted for the next event.
The obstacles themselves were excellent! F.I.T. Challenge features a variety of unique obstacles, all of them fun. This year, they featured an obstacle that was much like the devil’s steps, a set of upside-down stairs that one must ascend by one’s hands. I still have yet to master this obstacle. While I did a bit better getting up the steps on the first side, I was unable to transition to the next half (even while using my feet, which I know is illegal). I have to work to get this down before OCRWC in October.
There was also the hanging cargo net that caused such a back-up. I was much more efficient on this obstacle than last fall. I went backwards and used my hands and feet to move along quite quickly. I was pleased with my revised technique and improvement.
As always, Robb had the rope climb back-to-back with the peg boards. This year, we had to do the climb first and the peg boards second, as opposed to last time when the process was reversed.
There were also a variety of floating walls — both a skinny one and a thicker one, the latter of which moves….a lot. When I first saw the thicker floating wall at the last F.I.T. Challenge, I was alarmed at how much it moved when I was at the top. This time, I was more prepared and I kept my body much closer to the wall as I climbed and traversed over.
One of my favorite obstacles is always the Destroyer wall. This obstacle features an inverse wall that transitions to a high-up wall with grips. Creator, Larry Cooper, has now created a second version, the Destroyer 2.0, where the top wall is angled away from the climber. After climbing up the Destroyer 2.0, I was surprised to find a set of balance tired on the back side. Having trouble reaching the first, I basically draped my body across it, then tried to stretch to the second tire. I promptly fell off, had to pull myself back up, and then traversed the tired on foot as designed. Paul and Vince had a riot making fun of me on this one. (May the video Paul took never see daylight.)
Another obstacle that I consider a highlight at F.I.T. Challenge is the rig. I especially loved the rig this year. It was the perfect balance of challenge and fun. The rig started with a horizontal pipe, transitioned to a few monkey bars, back to a pipe, and then to a cargo net climb. It was fantastic! There were also a couple of lanes where the horizontal bars were replaced with hand grips to up the difficulty.
After the rig, it was a few short obstacles to the finish — an inclined wall, an atlas stone lift, and an inverted ladder wall. I finished in 1:48:45 (though I’ve been subtracting time in my head due to all the back-ups).
F.I.T. Challenge is a great #racelocal event that features a course that’s a fun length at 3.5 miles and loads of obstacles that are fun and unique. They do a great job combining a race that many people could do with a race that is competitive enough for the seasoned OCR athlete. (Hunter McIntyre ran F.I.T. in the elite wave this April. I cannot believe I missed seeing him — so cool!) While this April’s F.I.T. was not my favorite due to all the waiting around, I still had a lot of fun. I think I might want to consider the elite wave for the next event so as to avoid the lag time. Either way, it’s always great to hit the trail, climb and swing!
This was my 15th OCR, first FIT Challenge. I ran in the Open Class, 9:00 heat.
Communication: Everything was pretty clear.
Venue & Festival: I arrived early, and found parking close and smooth, as well as check in. More than one food venue might have been nice. I am a vegetarian, so there was overpriced cheese pizza, and that was about it. I did think the DJ/MC did a great job…especially starting my wave to my requested song – Lunatic Fringe (yes, I was a wrestler!)
Course & Obstacles: I really liked the course layout. I am hiker, so the hills were something I welcomed. I also really like courses where there are stretches of running, then multiple obstacles backed together, as opposed to evenly spaced obstacles – so this course was ideal for me as well.
The obstacles themselves were great, you had a number of standards like walls, crawls, etc. – but a lot of unique ones as well. I really liked the floating walls and stair case, as I have never done a floating version of either. I was able to pass the Elite lane on everything except the destroyers and multi-rig, but got the easy lane on those – which felt awesome. It definitely gives me something to strive for, and makes me on the fence about stepping up to Elite, as I have done in a few other races.
One thing I want to echo from other posts: This is not a course I would advise to beginners. With that said, that is something I liked a lot about it. In this sport, I feel you have the challenging big name races on one hand, while the independents don’t tend to be as challenging and are either run more for fun, or the challenge comes in pushing the pace since there is little risk of failing obstacles. While I like doing all sorts of races, it is awesome to have an independent race that offers a great challenge, and puts this race in a very unique place within the landscape of OCR.
One thing I couldn’t help notice was that in the middle of the day there were significant back ups at numerous obstacles. Additional lanes or more spread out wave times could be a good idea.
Swag & Awards: Pretty nice medal and shirt, fairly standard, the blocks the multi lappers got were pretty nice.
Volunteering: I had a fantastic time volunteering after I ran. I got to work a pair of obstacles with another great volunteer (See Saw and Stairway), then helped take down the course. The staff did a great job with making sure we were well utilized, and instructing us to do it correct. I got a great perspective from this experience, and hope to do it again, not just for this company, but others as well.
All in all, this race is awesome, and I hope to run it again in the future.
Communication for me all came from Facebook as I signed up day of but it provided all the information I needed!
Venue & Festival are well known. Great food and vendors, easy to find what you are looking for. This year was even better with the addition of port-a-loos! They were clean and close to the start finish and really made everything so much better!
Course & Obstacles. We all know Robb likes to get the maximum elevation out of Diamond Hill Park. We all know Robb loves to have innovative obstacles on his course. This was definitely the hardest FIT Challenge I have ever done. That being said, it just pushed itself out of being a race I am interested in bringing my friends to for their first race. Enough with the elevation for the sake of elevation. Enough with making the obstacles harder and harder. We want to continue to bring new people in, I want to continue to interest friends who have never done an OCR before and are intimidated. Every friend I have talked to this winter about their interest in OCR, had I brought them this weekend would have walked away and never come back and that makes me sad.
FIT Challenge continues to have THE BEST swag and awards around. Where else can you get a block of wood for running 3 laps or more AND a medal, AND a pin for each lap. If you run one lap, you still get a medal, if you run two, you get a medal and a pin! A rocking t-shirt that people actually want to wear, and the pride of knowing you finished.
Overall, I LOVE FIT Challenge and will continue to go and race my heart out but when I am bringing a newbie, I will be finding a different event.
This course was no joke. I knew going into this race that it was going to be one of the tougher ones I had completed. But while I was out there, never once was I questioning my decision to be out there.
Communication: I saw ample communication on Facebook and got plenty of emails about the closing of registration. However, I never received my email with race day information. This was my first time running this course, as I volunteered in November.
Venue & Festival: I got there early enough to be able to check out the festival area a bit since the rest of the day I was on course. It was busy and well organized. I greatly appreciated the PT tables as they were able to teach me about a strategy for taping. Everyone was pleasant. It felt spread out enough that it wasn’t too chaotic but close enough together to feel like a small festival. I also appreciate that we were able to have the Team Tent, but parking was close enough that I was able to go drop some things off too.
Course & Obstacles: I said it above, I’ll say it again. This course was no joke. But it was a great time. I really enjoyed the rock scrambling for some of the inclines and declines. The elevation wasn’t all at once but spread out nicely. The obstacles seemed innovative. There were new things I hadn’t actually witnessed on course. While I was way too intimidated to give the Destroyers a go, I was with a teammate and watched him complete both.
Swag & Awards: Comfy t-shirt and a medal with mountains in the background. It felt fitting.
I really enjoyed this course and anyone who went out to do it multiple times, you’re awesome. It took me a bout double the time I had anticipated, largely because of the elevation.
im going to start with the main reason I am even writing this review, the multilappers. I have done quite a few FITs now and have seen the progression of the multilapping and as admirable as it is that people want to run a ton of laps, it’s quite discouraging on course when those people are rude at obstacles. I firsthand witnessed a woman fall off of an obstacle because a multilapper came barreling through. I, personally, was up on top of a wall and basically told to move quicker because a multilapper was coming through. I was honestly quite annoyed with this during this race today. I’m not a newbie to OCR and even I felt pressured on obstacles and it’s not necessary. I was around newbies who were quite intimidated. I’m not saying this was ALL multilappers but there were quite a few today who I thought were beyond rude.
On the other hand, aside from the issue I stated above, I had a really good time on course. I liked the change in the layout. I felt it needed a little shake up and it was great to see that today. I am not a fan of elevation personally but I did think that mix of flat and elevation today was pretty perfect. There were a lot of great obstacles.
I don’t have much more to say. I’m familiar with the venue at this point. I know the parking deal, the registration deal. It was all fine. That emcee, Blais, though? I dk about him 😉
Overall, I had a great time but I do think in the future, I am going to try and go out in the first heat so I don’t have to get yelled at by multilappers.
This is my second FIT Challenge race. Both I have completed with my niece by my side. She turned 10 in October 2016. To be able to share my passion for OCRs with her, and actually be on course together has been amazing. It is not something we can do at the “big name” races. I love the fun, family environment that Robb and company provide. FIT will always be on my race list (as well as my niece’s)!
ive dont all 7 FIT event to date and each one has been a improvement on the past .
Ill start off with the dislikes – biggest issue ive seen the past two events was a small group of the multi lappers who are rather rude on trail and at obstacles. Like i said there a small group but it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the bunch and leave a bad taste in the mouth of people. Basic trail rule if your coming up to someone its YOUR job to call out your location and what side you intend to pass on its not my job to have to look behind and figure out where you are .
Next a personal dislike , while diamond hill is a fun venue i myself get bored of the same venue after a few time around i get bored because i know the path were on and where where going and what is going to be coming up . i know Robb has said for FIT VIII he intends to use a new path so that should fix this gripe.
last dis like but should be fixed with the new reouting is how obstacle baren the first mile was.
the obstacles here are second to none and some obstacles you wont see at other races. there all rather well built and feel safe. one area to nit pick the rope climb still has no real safe crash pads under them, my rule is if the only thing under a rope climb is a bale of hay or dirt i wont even touch it and just by pass it.
the swag is amazing the shirts are actually a normal tee shirt size and not the more athleatic cut that other races * cough couch * spartan * cough cough* uses . and the medals have been different each and every time.
This is the text book on how to build a proper LOCAL ocr, and the few issues and things they miss on they read the reviews and the next event you see efforts to correct those issues and improve.
As my second non-Spartan OCR, FIT Challenge totally delivered! Terrain was nice and challenging and the obstacles did not disappoint; will need to come back and try some of them again so I can conquer (Destroyer, this means you). Only complaint was lack of water; the second water station was empty by the time we reached it. Overall though, it was great challenging fun.
Start out with my only negative–the bathrooms, though flush toilets, are awful. This is not the RD’s fault. Porta potties should be considered.
The swag is sweet! The medals get better ever race & those multi lapper blocks & pins are amazing. The hats and sweatshirts for sale are great quality.
The obstacles are superior to well, every other race (my race base is over 50 since 2012 mostly #racelocal and Spatan). Everything was sturdy, safe, and some were just plain insane. The elevation gain of 1100′ over 3.4 miles is beautifully brutal on the body & soul.
This race is humbling and the best fitness test out there. I have yet to achieve my 3 lap block of wood due to my own insufficient training. But each race I come closer. I look forward to the handshake with Robb the day I hold that damned block proudly.
The fact that this race is family friendly is amazing. If you want your children to experience a bond with you that is forever, take them on this course and watch them experience the conquering of “I can’t.”
It’s the morning after 2 laps. I’m a special kind of sore. Calendar is marked for April…Im coming for that block, but first I need to return to stairs, hills, arc, inclines, everything up!
Couple of after thoughts. The ramp wall just before the finish got backed up a good 15 minutes on my lap 2 (11:45 a.m.). It was because racers stepping aside for multi lappers coming in just before 12 p.m. being allowed through (expected and not an issue in my mind) and many children trying it (to which I say, good for them!). A volunteer in this spot would keep things moving more quickly if the back ups happened throughout the day. Option 2 move the ropes further apart and paint lines to encourage 2 racers at a time. (One of the boards sounded stressed, no visible damage. Possible need for added support behind it. 2nd sheet up, center).
Have racers turn in timers to get their tshirts.
This review is only for the Kids Race that took place at FIT.
The race took place at Diamond Hill at the same time as the FIT Fall Challenge 2016. Communication for the race was pretty consistent with the information coming at the same time you received information for the FIT race. Race day registration was 35 dollars and was quick and easy. The registration fee was a ticket to run the course as many times as they wanted.
My kids have been to quite a few of the kids races but most of the time they feel like an after thought. This race was anything but. The course was long and mostly flat. It was obstacle heavy which is great. The obstacles were diverse. They had options for different age/ability levels. My 3 year old was able to do a lot of the lower walls by himself while my 6 year old was still able to challenge himself with the more difficult options. In addition to the walls there was some crawls, balance beams/slack line, a mini wreck bag carry, ring swing, mini rope climb. The last part of the course ran along side the full FIT course and had smaller versions of the same obstacles which I thought was really awesome.
By far this was one of the best kids races my children have participated. They had a blast!
A special shout out to the alert volunteers on the course. My son wiped out on the course in the woods and within seconds of falling he had volunteers helping him, making sure he was okay and trying to locate me which took no time since we were right there. It is nice to know if he had been on his own or if I had been right there that he would have been well taken care of.
Finishers received a medal (a custom FIT challenge wood block on a lanyard) and a water bottle. Multi-lappers received a pin per extra lap completed.
I only have a couple suggestions for the next event:
1) The crawls fell apart quickly. Within the first 20 minutes I saw volunteers re-staking the crawls. It might be better to find an alternate way to stake the crawls.
2) The blue paint on the over-unders on the back side of the course was rubbing off on the kids hands/clothing. I am not sure if it was the type of paint or if it was still tacky but my kids ended up with smurf like hands. It was not a big deal as it washed off with soap and water.
Overall the addition of this race was great. It made it so we could make FIT Challenge a true family event.
Very challenging course and obstacles. Harder than OCRWC 2016. I loved it. It beat me up, but it was the best race of the year. I wish I could give the course and obstacles an 11.
“So so much fun!” If one is to judge the success of an obstacle course race based on the first text sent, F.I.T. Challenge would be deemed an epic success!
After a month of racing in sub-prime weather in October, I was thrilled to learn that the weather for this fall’s F.I.T. Challenge VII was to be sunny and in the 50s. F.I.T. Challenge is the epitome of #racelocal and time and again proves to be one of my favorite races on the calendar.
Taking place twice annually at Dimond Hill Park in Cumberland, Rhode Island, F.I.T. Challenge combines a course with innovative and frequent obstacles with some solid trail running and around 1,500 feet of elevation — enough to make you feel like you’re doing some climbing but also not so much that you feel beaten down. Challenge without a beatdown is one of the best things about F.I.T. Challenge. Race director, Robb McCoy, prides himself on offering a race that is always just over the 5K mark. At 3.4 miles, this fall’s course was right on the money. After doing lots of long races, it’s nice to have a race where you can get out and push the speed a little bit. For those who prefer endurance at every event, there is a multi-lap option. This fall, Robb had around 200 multi-lappers, making this a very popular option (and one that could serve as an OCR World Championship qualifier).
For my part, after a busy October, I was ready to have a race that would take under 90 minutes, have some do-able but challenging obstacles, and be fun! With the lovely weather and the fun course, I was almost tempted to go out for round two (and you could make that adjustment on race day); the course was that much fun for me. In the end, I decided that my one super fun lap was good enough for me. I have perfect memories of a very enjoyable race day. 100% enjoyable.
I arrived at Diamond Hill about half an hour before the NE Spahtens 10:45 a.m. wave start. I paid my $10 to park onsite and then headed over to the main festival area. Registration was a breeze. We were provided with timing chips to wear on our ankles. No bibs this time. Likely this is because, unlike in past years, there were no event photographers on the course. For me, as a NE Spahtens, this wasn’t really an issue since we were lucky enough to have Vince there taking pictures of the team.
After registration, I made my way over to the Spahtens tent where I changed into my Icebugs and then stowed my gear. I spent some time socializing before heading over to the start line. The 10:45 a.m. wave was Spahtens only. Much of the team was already on course, opting for the multi-lap challenge. There were some brief announcements, and then we were off and running!
The course matched fairly closely with what we did at this spring’s F.I.T. Challenge with a few new obstacles added in. As with last spring, the course layout was to my liking. There were some stretches with a bit more running and a few fewer obstacles than I would like; however, a lot of this was to the beginning of the race and is necessary to make it so that racers don’t experience waits at obstacles. This is especially important for a race that is one of the favorite OCRWC qualifiers in the area. I was very impressed this year but the lack of wait-time at the obstacles. It was, for me, the best it has been.
The course began by taking us straight up Diamond Hill. It was quite a steep hill to start out on, but it did a good job of thinning out the field. Overall, there is a bit of up and down for F.I.T. Challenge. Robb and his team make use of every inch of elevation on Diamond Hill. The running is somewhat technical and quite rocky. There are definitely downhill segments that are gnarly, where my speed is limited by my comfort running on trails and not my fitness. I was able to get quite a bit of running in along the course though. The amount of running I’ve been doing lately is great for my endurance, and I’ve been enjoying reaping the benefits during my OCRs. I can do a lot more running without feeling tired. Other than the very steep hills and the gnarly downhills (which do count for a bit), I was able to run the entire course. The trail running was interesting, challenging, and well marked. This is a quality build.
Of course the obstacles are the star of the show. F.I.T. Challenge featured two Destroyer Walls, both the original and a new Destroyer 2.0. I was lucky to have the creator of the Destroyer be right by his obstacle when I tackled it and was so pleased with how he praised my form getting over the wall! I complemented him on his excellent obstacle. The Destroyer 2.0 has a similar design to the original but with the top wall angled away from you. I actually found the original to be a bit more of a challenge, but the new one definitely gets you higher up in the air, plus the transition at the top of the wall is harder. The Destroyer at Shale Hill takes the cake though for hardest Destroyer around, with four different difficulties, only one of which I can do (and I have never failed a Destroyer at F.I.T. Challenge).
Another great obstacle at F.I.T. Challenge is the hanging cargo net. This net is suspended above you and you have to traverse it underneath. The volunteer at the obstacle helped me reach because I was too short, but then I was off. This is definitely a challenging one. It is made more challenging by the fact that it is immediately followed by a pegboard climb and then a rope climb.
F.I.T. Challenge also features an abundance of walls. There is a ladder wall in the woods, two sets of over-under-thrus, a tall wall with rope, an inverted wall, a set of hurdle walls with unders, a set of short walls with unders (where you crawl under picnic tables), and no doubt more that I’m not remembering. There is also a fun double-up make out of logs.
F.I.T. Challenge also has a cargo climb and features two carries, the first with a log, which was not too bad, and the second with a Wreckbag, which was quite lengthy. Fortunately, they provide a few weights to choose from, anywhere from 25 lbs. to 50 lbs. Wreckbag is a F.I.T. Challenge partner so there is also a Wreckbag hoist, paired with a Wreckbag bicep exercise (because Robb loved biceps).
The race finishes with a bang with a really great rig. There were five different lanes, all different. I attempted two of them. The first, featured monkey bars, a horizontal bar, more monkey bars, and then ropes. The ropes were tiny and very hard to grasp. There were three. I successfully swung along two of them and touched the third before coming off. Thanks goodness I made the reach so that I could say I completed the obstacle. From there, we did the ladder wall before attacking a giant slip wall to finish out the race.
I crossed the line in 1:24:23, good enough for fifth in my age group, 21/230 for women and 99/472 overall. Most importantly, I had an absolutely blast. F.I.T. Challenge is one of my favorite 2016 races and a great one to close out the #racelocal season. I can’t wait for the April race. I will definitely be there.
Best Communicator there is he really should get an 11 or nobody else in the game should be given a 10, he deserves his own scoring system for communication.
Best local swag around, he really cares that you get what is important to you. Thought is put into all the swag, honestly many times its voted on by the community.
Course has some signature obstacles and takes place on very challenging terrain.
Course is marked very well, because of his experience he tries to see the course from the racers perspective
Cons: because some of the obstacles are so unique some times an obstacle has to be removed during a race due to the fact that it breaks down.
I wish i knew how to do this before today so i could have given a review that was fresh to mind but i still wanted to give my input to hopefully help improve what is already a good race.
Let us start at the beginning, i first emailed Robb about this race when he first opened it to get the discount and he responded very quickly and also my other questions in the same manner.
Race day comes and i loved the fact of how close this race is compare to others i have done. It was a smooth ride in and a smooth ride out, which i was very happy about. Parking was right next to the start line so again a huge positive. You get so used to being shuttled to the site that when you actually get to walk from your car to the start line you are shocked.
We are now in what is called the “festival grounds” , was moderate sized but i do wish they had some sort of bag check. I know you could leave you stuff in the car and it is close but there are some items i like to be readily accessible right after the race (ie phone, wallet,etc). Was pleasantly surprised at the massage tables there; must say that was very nice. After that though i was very underwhelmed, having the paleo tent was cool but the prices weren’t. I had to leave my wallet in the car so there was no way i was goin back to grab it for a “grass fed” burger. Idea was there but still would think of having someone who has more sample style items or cheaper menu items. People may say “well you don’t have to pay for it then” , however we need to review every aspect to give a good review. Besides that i given the festival venue a 6 for being just above average.
I would like to say how this was a very well thought out course, the inclines and declines were placed in all the right places which made this probably one of my favorite layouts i have done. So lets talk about the downside, many of the obstacles were broken during the NE Sphatens heat. Which is one of the reasons why i felt i had to leave a review. Many people gave this race a full (10), which doesn’t help Robb make the necessary changes to really make this the best race is RI. If an obstacle is broken, well hey one is fine and it happens but it was 3-4 that were broken. That to me is completely unacceptable, i feel the marquee obstacles were taken care of with the utmost care but then others were thrown together. Also, if you are going to have a “barbed wire crawl” can we at least make sure the line is strung up so it stays snug. Worst of it all was there was a crew member at that obstacle who wasn’t even trying to fix any of it. Needless to say that is something that should be addressed for your next race. I would also like to point out the lack of signage for obstacles to let you know what you are to do if no one is around you. Other than those items i pointed out the obstacles were good which is why you i gave a 5.
Medal was cool, i really liked the design. Headband and wristband were different but a nice change. I didn’t run multiple laps but i did notice a handful of multi-lappers skipping obstacles. Now i know how you pride yourself on awarding the multi-lappers but they should be held to the same standard as single lappers.
Overall, I give this race a 7. Not the best race i have ever done but definitely one i would try again in the future
I want to start off this review by just stating that I have participated in many OCRs since 2011, and this is still by far, one of my FAVORITE ones! The care and thought that goes into this race far surpasses many of the “bigger” races as which I will explain why.
Firstly, Robb McCoy will assisted me in any way he could prior to the race. My first F.I.T. Challenge race was in November, for the multi-lap race, where I completed 6 laps of what I thought at the time was one of the hardest courses I had ever done. Well, let me tell you, Robb and his staff certainly outdid themselves this time around.
The day started out with incredibly close parking, costing 10 dollars, which is generally standard for most races. There was a special area for the multi-lap participants, in which I brought my race bin for additional laps. This time around I was able to run in both the elite wave and continue on with the multi-laps, which I was VERY happy about. In November, due to less daylight we started an hour before the elites. The elite wave was PACKED with incredibly talented racers, especially from my race team Nor’Easter OCR and of course the hosting team, FIT Elite. To say I was nervous about this elite wave is an understatement!
The course itself was incredible and NEVER left you bored (and this is coming from someone who once again completed 6 laps). Terrain-wise, it included very steep ups and very steep downs. There were sections that were very runnable, especially towards the 2nd half of the race (thanks Robb!). Obstacle wise, Robb certainly out does himself. These obstacles included classics such as over/under/through walls, carries (both log and wreck bag), but also included some that I have never seen before. The destroyer was as always a huge hit, and this time around they included a horizontal cargo net that was suspended as a monkey bars of sorts. The final rig is something that can be daunting whether you attempt the elite side or the open wave side. All in all, A+ for obstacles. The one obstacle that I thought was innovative, but I was not a huge fan of was the floating inverted wall. While this was cool to see something new, the right one was inop after my second or so lap, and the one that was working was pretty dangerous when trying to get down on the other side.
I will leave this review with a HUGE shoutout to not only Robb, but his AMAZING staff and volunteers. Everyone at every obstacle was very helpful and great at cheering on myself and the other racers. I very much look forward to the next F.I.T. Challenge as the sky truly is the limit for Robb and his staff.
This is an event done right. Communication was plentiful and answered just about every question anyone could have. It also reminded everyone that even last minute questions would be figured out, so no need to worry about much of anything. The festival was fun and the food was high quality with healthy options. I’m not sure why more OCRs don’t have healthy options available. The swag was top notch with cool cut out medals and super soft t-shirts. For anyone completing 3 or more laps, there were additional prizes which is also a nice touch. It rewarded people for something other than just being fast. The obstacles were varied and fun. They were nicely spread out at the beginning so that bottle necks were mostly avoided. Later in the day, I saw/heard many being aware of the super fast multi-lappers and clearing lanes for them to speed through when necessary. There will always be bottlenecks somewhere, and the horizontal cargo net/monkey cargo net is where they were the most present. The only ding I can give this race is the floating walls that swung back and forth. There might have been just a little too much play in the bottom – it was intensely scary to be on it and have it swing to what felt like a horizontal position. My first lap, we were all cooperative and held it for each other to navigate. My second lap, I had to ask that it be held a bit in order to get over it safely. I’d love to see the swing shortened up just a little. Finally, the multi-lap option could not have been easier. It is well organized and super simple for participants. It was a popular option this year and blew the historical numbers out of the water! Even with that many participants on the course between regular waves and extra laps, it all seemed to move smoothly.
Well done to Robb, Aaron, Scott and the whole crew.
I knew more about what was going on with the race than any other I have run due to Robb’s big social media presence. It made getting my info and knowing what to do when I got there a snap.
Venue and Festival
Diamond Hill is a great park and Robb uses it well to make the course challenging. The festival was small but fun. Great food.
Course and Obstacles
I’ve run FIT 3 times and every time there is something new that challenges me. Just a great course. The only negative for me was by the time I got to the hill crawl, all the ropes were down or very low. After struggling with it for a bit and getting very tangled, I gave up. Better knots next time I guess. Overall it didn’t overshadow the rest of the awesome experience.
Swag and Awards
There was plenty and it was all great. The medal this time was awesome. Although Robb never disappoints on that. This one was really nice. T-shirt was great and a bald guy like me appreciates the sweat band.
This was my first race ever last year and it set a bar that some of the others I ran didn’t meet and it keeps getting better
This was my second FIT so I sort of knew most of the deal ahead of time. But there were no issues. Multi-lap instructions were easy.
VENUE & FESTIVAL
I finished running too late to partake, but the team of massage therapists with folding tables set up near the finish line was a great idea. Especially with all the climbing on the course.
COURSE & OBSTACLES
Fun, challenging course that felt much longer than it technically measured (horizontally anyways). Creative, varied obstacles – the monkey net climb, peg board, and of course Destroyer stood out. Plenty of marking – there was no chance of getting lost.
SWAG & AWARDS
Awesome medal, headband, and multi-lap plaque.
Superb race. I’ll be back.
It was awesome! Full write-up on my blog: http://perseid85.blogspot.com/2016/04/fit-challenge-vi.html.
p.s. Sorry if that seems self-serving — I just didn’t want to type everything twice. 🙂
I have been lucky enough to be one of the handful who have done all 6 events and seen FIT grow and change with each event. This event was close to the same path as last falls event but with quiet a few new obstacles . I do think this race really took the elevation and obstacle count to its limit for a 5kish distance. i wouldent mind seeing some of the elevation and distance chopped and make a lil more focus on the obstacles. you really did not see your first obstacles till about mile 1 and that leavs for a very backloaded 2/3 of a race
Dont take the 5 for the venue as a negative, as with all local events there festival areas are more dialed down and tame as compared to the larger national events. so its expected to have a smaller feel.
overall the race was very well done and the obstacles were well built, loved seeing a herc hoist added and a few more cargo nets.
the only hicup I and a few others i talked to mentioned was the kids on the course. the issue wasent with them being out there it was more that since they went out in several waves at times on some trails and some obstacles you would hit a patch of kids and would cause extra backups at some obstacles. i think everyone thiks its great the race let kids do the big course but the one change id like to see is maybe have a set wave later in the day like a ” family ” wave so that way a majority of the crowd would be out and moving before the family wave begins.
I’ll start with the cons because I truly feel this race is the best around. There are 2 cons-some back ups at obstacles, usually the more challenging ones such as cargo nets, suspended walls. Personally, I will live. Those running for time were allowed to come forward when they announced themselves with no bad talk from racers. (Excellent sportsmanship people!) The 2nd is those poor bathrooms. Either they are in a sad state to begin with or they simply cannot handle the volume of racers. It must be a horror show of a clean up in there. It might be wise to bring in portapotties and keep the peace with the venue.
Everything else is excellent. New obstacles brought in were innovative and (scary) fun. Thank you for making more use of the hills by the log carry and rope crawl. Hills are painful. Having a task helps.
Multilapper was well organized & quite easy.
The dearest thing to me about F.I.T. is that kids are allowed to conquer the course. Parents, I don’t care if you have to walk the whole thing, sign your kids up and experience F.I.T. alongside them. The pride of climbing higher, making it over a wall, running faster than you is going to last you a lifetime. Thank you for this! And yes, my 13 year old smoked me on lap2 by over 30 minutes! Yep, proud of him!
This was my first time doing the FIT Challenge, and I have to say I hope that this event did not spoil the rest of the races on my schedule. The venue was incredibly easy to find, and parking was a breeze, right near the staging and check in area. Check in was smooth and simple, just find your bib number on the bulletin board and go to the desk to collect your bib packet and initial swag with your waiver. Very convenient multi lap staging area. Since this was my first multi lap event, I was not sure how the process worked, but the volunteers were a big help in getting me squared away. The music at the venue area really helped keep the crowd pumped up and ready to go. The course itself was challenging but doable. There was a bit of a stretch between the starting line and the first true obstacle, but it allowed for a nice warm up. The obstacles themselves had the usual suspects, but there were some innovative ones that gave the course some great character: the floating wall was a challenge getting over, as it turned into an inverted wall as you started to climb, and the swing of it the other way once you got to the top can catch you off guard; the monkey net was a tricky one and worked every part of the body to get across without touching the hay below; and of course The Destroyer, an inverting wall going up to a straight wall, there was a great crew there coaching and helping people up and over it. The finisher medals were awesome looking, and the T-shirts seem like they are of very good quality; the only issue I have on the T-shirt is that the dark print on the dark fabric is very difficult to read. As an indicator of how much the sport has grown, and the quality of the event, they ran out of the multi lap awards, but since they collected personal information for those that did not receive their awards, I have no real complaints there. Since I packed my own food, I did not partake of the food from the vendors, but it all smelled so good, and from what I heard from people that did indulge, it was terrific. All in all, this is what an OCR event should be like, and I can’t wait to see what cunning and devious twists Robb comes up with for the next one.
Communication was amazing up to the event and day of with emails, facebook posts, and how well marked the course was. There was no question about where to go or what to do on Saturday morning. One of my favorite things about this race was how Rob organized multi-laps, being able to head out early and how easy it was to get into second+ laps was wonderful, share that with other RD’s please!
The venue had some amazing pros and few cons… Pros – The elevation on a short course was challenging but didn’t feel like you were in a squishy space or running over other people. There was plenty of space for everyone and bottlenecking was negligible and only occurred when there was a group of people racing together. The festival area was small, but fit the needs of the race, again it didn’t ever feel crowded. The food vendor “Paleo Naturals” was amazing!!! I cannot eat dairy or gluten, so I normally cannot eat anything at races and end up leaving to get food. I was elated to have great food and be able to stay and hang out with Spahtens (old and new) longer. PLEASE bring them back again! Cons – Restrooms left much to be desired. The toilets didn’t flush well which lead to quick plugs and ran out of toilet paper in the ladies room early in the morning. Perhaps next year it might be beneficial to either schedule bathroom attendants for the day and/or rent some port-a-potties if the venue allows.
The course was very well marked, thank you Rob!!!! 🙂 and 95% of the time had plenty of space for runners to easily move around walkers allowing everyone to ‘run their own race’. There were some new to me obstacles, which was very exciting! As much as the swinging wall was a bit unnerving it was a unique challenge. There were a couple of obstacles that went out of commission by the time we came around for our second lap. While I am glad to see that safety is Rob’s first priority, I was bummed to not be able to try some of them again. Tough choice, but I know he made the right one there. The guys at the destroyer were a bit firmer than most volunteers so we didn’t really enjoy that obstacle as much as we have at Shale or other training centers, but they worked great with the kids when they went through!
The medals and plaques were sweet! It was definitely an incentive to push for 3+ laps. I also appreciate how honest and how well Rob handled running out of plaques. When we spoke to him he had done his research and made educated projections based on prior growth for multi-laps but was blown away by how many people pushed for extra laps. Talk about an awesome problem to have. With the way he handled running out and the fact that Monday morning he posted pictures of him working on the needed plaques to send out, it’s impossible to be anything less than impressed.
Overall – I cannot wait until Fall FIT… if registration was open now I’d be sending Rob my money 🙂
The latest installment of the F.I.T. Challenge series was another great spectacle of OCR glory. It did not disappoint at all. This race keeps managing to grow at a just right/Goldilocks pace that manages to keep the crowds ever more challenged and entertained without attempting to Jump The Shark.
Having the 5k-ish length with multi-lap options is the perfect way to bring to a challenge from those just getting off the couch to those who are looking for something more. Having special multi-lap bling is a very nice touch. The log pieces and wood blocks are awesome!! It would be great to see more local races join this trend. The regular bling this round did not disappoint either. The camo ribbon and larger face was a step up from the last rounds.
The terrain is one of the best in all of New England OCR. There’s elevation, wide and single track, steeps, flats, and MANY technical rocks (a personal fave). The size of the Diamond Hill venue in acreage and elevation provides for an ideal course that be done with summit hill repeats on a short course providing more bang for your buck.
I was quite pleased to see a healthy food option being offered in the festival area. This is a very welcome sight that should be offered at more races. They had quite the line going later in the race and it was quite tasty.
The obstacles were a great mix as always–something out there to test your Fortitude, Integrity, and Toughness for sure. There is an ideal mix of the natural obstacles, the tried and true walls (vertical and inverted), over under throughs, low crawls…and the very ninja-like/technical like The Destroyer and the rig near the end. The horizontal cargo net was new very interesting; though a bit low to the ground. The floating/wobbling walls seemed very technical and stepped up from the last race. I did notice by the end they were being passed and removed early. It was great to see a working herculean hoist with wreck bags again. The low crawl/falsetto barbed wire was damaged by the time I entered, but it was great to see. The track width and spacing between stakes seemed ideal, as did the height of the rope appear originally.
Very well done. Can’t wait to see what November brings!
FIT is one of my favorite races for sure. They are continually innovative and challenging their racers, while maintaining an atmosphere that fits both the elite racer and beginner. It will be a challenge for all. The option to run multiple laps quite easily is a huge bonus, especially when someone like me actually finds childcare to do it!
The swag- a t-shirt, sweat band, wrist band, AND medal, plus patch and pin for multiple laps- is amazing! Love to walk away with things I’ll use in the future.
The venue- the course is amazing. The bathrooms suck every time. It’s a park so it is on whoever runs the park. The festival area was a bit confusing, I’m not sure if it was on the vendors or what. I heard there were wreck bags, never saw them off course. I heard the food was amazing, I was only able to get a Kill Cliff at the vendor between laps, which I was very grateful for. I wasn’t up for waiting in the line after (it wasn’t bad, I just had to leave). I love that there has always been a restaurant at the race offering more than just cheap burgers and dogs.
I can’t recommend this race enough and I can’t wait until the Fall for the next one!
This was my fourth F.I.T. Challenge and I think the race gets better every time. There are always a few fun/scary new obstacles to try. And it remains one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. I don’t know how Robb finds more elevation when it seems like you’re already on top, but he does!
A couple of quick notes:
Venue & Festival – I’m not sure who is really at fault here, but there was a TP shortage in the ladies room when I went in.
Course & Obstacles – Overall fantastic. There’s a great mix of fun and challenging obstacles and some new stuff every year. I especially liked the new hanging cargo net. Though I am disappointed that twice now by the time I’ve made it to the floating wall, it was broken and off to the side of the path. I also ran into a decent number of backups. Usually just a minute or two but if I were running for time it would be irritating.
This was my first time at a F.I.T. event, and it did not disappoint. I went into the race hoping to complete 3 laps. As soon as I hit the first uphill climb, I knew that was not going to happen. I completed 2 laps, with time to start a third, but with my upcoming Disney road race, I decided it was better to not tempt fate. The obstacles were mostly doable, for my level of experience. For the first time ever I was able to actually get off the ground at the rope climb, which is an obstacle that I normally bypass at every race. On my first lap, I did make it over the first floating wall, with awesome people holding it steady. The second lap, I bypassed the same obstacle, since I was already fatigued, and wanted to finish without injury.
The Destroyer…took one look at it, and went around (yes, I saw the fearless children going up and over…wasn’t happening). I also skipped the inverted walls. I just can’t get my mind wrapped around them, and they are something I will work on this year.
The climbs killed me. I’m a wuss when it comes to elevation of any kind. Who knew there were so many steep hills in RI?! Well played, Robb!
The only reason I didn’t give a 10 on Venue is because of where the bathrooms were situated. They were too far away from the multi-lap tent for me to bother with between laps. Thankfully, I live 5 minutes away, so it wasn’t REALLY a problem once I was done racing.
I will definitely be back to this venue! And I will conquer more obstacles, and more laps!
First off, this was my first FIT Challege race and heard so many great things I was excited to finally get a chance to run the course. I ran one lap with the team and one with my 9 yo daughter, who did awesome.
1. Communication: Email received a couple of days before the race. Clear instructions for Bib numbers, parking, venue and other information for race day.
2. Venue & Festival: Venue was easy to find. Parking was the best I’ve ever experienced at any race I have attended. As Robb claimed our car was steps from the venue so bag check was unecessary. Another positive was an actual restroom, a great change from th etypical porta potties. I also picked up a wreck bag which was at a discount due to the communication prior by Robb letting us know that we also received 15% off if it was pre-ordered. Nice score on my new training partner. I did not have food but I heard it was great.
3. Course & Obstacles: Course was challenging with technical trails up and down during the course lap. I believe there were at least 3 climbs and the biggest one came soon after the start. The course was very well marked and never had an issue of going off course. Obstacles were either very creative (picnic table crawls) or very challenging (cargo>peg wall>rope climb>wreck bag>Destroyer). There were a couple of backups at the upside down cargo net and angled wall (one of the two walls was closed) but overall not too bad. One of the walls before the finish was closed but I can understand as it was due to safety.
4. Swag & awards: Robb is great for recognizing all levels of achievement. From the standard 1 lap medal to wooden plaques for multi-lap finishers. Finihser shirts are good quality with a headband and sweatband. Great takeaways.
5. Overall Score: This was one of my favorite races due to the challenging course, creative obstacles, great atmosphere and Robb and his team’s dedication to the OCR community on providing a family style race that challenges from the beginner to the most seasoned elite athlete. Can’t wait for the next one and I plan on doing at least 3 if not 4 laps.
Communication leading up to the race was great. Even though the official race email did not come out until a couple days before the race, the information about multi-laps, start times, and fees was posted in the facebook events earlier which gave us plenty of time to figure out our plan with the kids.
The festival area was improved. There was a food vendor, Paleo Naturals that had some delicious food for sale. The addition of the massage/PT group was great. I saw lots of athletes utilizing the service as needed and can imagine it was helpful after running that course a few times. There was wreck bags for sale and a few other vendors. Bathrooms were a bit of a walk and were a little gross, even at 7:45 in the morning but no worse then the normal port-a-potties found at most races.
Swag for this race was great. Every runner got a nice soft t-shirt, a headband, and a wrist sweat band. Racers intending on trying multiple laps got a silicon wrist band. The multi-lap swag was the best yet. Racers were given a pin per extra lap, a patch for 2 and varying handmade blocks of wood for 3-6 laps. Definitely the best swag of all the races I have attended.
The course was challenging. The hills are brutal. This was by far the hardest short course OCR I have run in the 4 years I have been racing. The course was similar to previous years but more hills and more obstacles. Many of the obstacles were pretty standard, inverted walls, walls of varying heights, cargo climbs, over under through, carrying heavy things, herc hoist and rope climb/peg board climb. Then there was the not so standard obstacles like the Destroyer, the peg boards, the double ups and the rig. The new obstacles were creative. There was a floating inverted wall which was a bit dangerous but lots of fun to try and the hanging cargo net traverse which was like nothing I ever seen.
My only issues with the course came to some backlog at the more challenging obstacles and that it was difficult to reach some of the obstacles. Some of the obstacles had at least a 5 minute wait to get on it. There were hay bales to help people reach the rig and some of the other taller obstacles but even at 5’6 it was hard to reach even with a good jump. Both of these are minor and did not take much away from the experience.
The kids race for this race is my favorite. Both my 5 year old and 3 year old ran it and it was perfect for both of them. My older son ran probably 1/3-1/2 of the course and was killing it. My younger son did less but he over under the picnic tables and wall were great. They love that they get to go on the same obstacles as mom and dad and they get the same medal and swag.
This was a great overall race experience. I would not hesitate to do another F.I.T Challenge.
What can I say, I am a fan of #racelocal. Local races are the place where I feel like I see real innovation with interesting and diverse obstacles. They are the place where you can bring friends for free and where everyone knows your name. Local races are where you can chat with the race director, where you can give feedback, where you see people who want to make your experience as a racer as good as it can be. They also tend to be more affordable, allowing people to take part in more events per year. For someone who likes to race once a month, or even more in the summer, these cost-savings are key, since OCR can easily add up. In sum, to me, F.I.T. Challenge is the highlight of what #racelocal is all about.
F.I.T.’s fifth race took place on Saturday at Diamond Hill State Park in Cumberland, Rhode Island. This is my second time going to Diamond Hill, the first time being this April for the fourth F.I.T. Challenge. I had such a great time at that event, that I was very glad when graduate school classes did not conflict and thus allowed me to attend the fall event. Diamond Hill State Park is a great location for F.I.T. in my book. When I arrived, I was quickly directed to the onsite parking, which cost $10. The cost for parking is the only additional charge at F.I.T., again something to be appreciated. F.I.T. is also very family friendly. When I arrived I exchanged hugs with many fellow NE Spahtens. The team had put up a tent right near the parking lot and just a few steps away from my car. (I got the best parking ever — maybe fifty feet from the starting line!) Right next to the Spahtens tent was registration. I handed in my waver and received my packet with my bib and timing chip. This took seconds. No lines and everything was perfectly organized.
It was a cool day with cloudy skies, gusts of wind, and weather in the low 40s. I kept my hoodie on until the last possible minute. At around 10:40 a.m., the Spahtens headed over to the starting line for a team picture.
Race director, Robb, shared a couple of super quick words and then we were off through the inflatable F.I.T. arch and on our way!
Diamond Hill offers the opportunity for surprisingly rocky and hilly terrain, making for a challenging course. This fall’s F.I.T. clocked in at just over 5K in distance, and the park was well-used. In April, I had started more towards the back of the wave and found myself having trouble getting past people on the single track course at the beginning of the race. This time, I started at the front and had a much better time. I had a few waits, probably totaling less than five minutes at some of the obstacles throughout the race, but it was much much less than last time. The course layout made racers tackle a lot of hills early on, which did a great job spacing out the pack.
The course started with a couple of small obstacles — we had to run over a pair of wood bridges. It was then on to the first climb of the day. The air was cold and my lungs were burning immediately, more than my calves and glutes even. The tried to climb quickly in order to warm up and also to increase my spacing from the pack. As I mentioned before, this was fairly successful and compared with April, the waits were limited.
I ended up running a portion of the race with fellow NE Spahten Ninjas Ragnar teammate, Bobby. Running with others is something I tend to enjoy, so this was a nice diversion from having to navigate some fairly technical rocky areas of trail.
The obstacles at F.I.T. were numerous, interesting, and a good balance of challenging and do-able. I am not going to remember all of them or their order, but I will do my best. The obstacles were well-spaced, something that I appreciate since it keeps the race interesting. The F.I.T. team gets top points for an interesting course with a good use of Diamond Hill’s elevation, excellent layout of the obstacles, and for the quality of those obstacles.
After the first bit climb up the mountain and some time in the woods going through rocky, fairly un-run-able sections of trail, we came upon a vertical cargo net climb. There was a little bit of a wait here, but probably only a minute. When I got to the net, I zipped over and then ran off along a stretch of train that was smooth enough to actually have some running take place. There was also a small wait at a section of trail where you used a rope to climb down a stretch of hill between two rocks. F.I.T. offered the option to go around, but no way I was missing this fun.
F.I.T. also had a few strength-based obstacles. After the first climb, we encountered an area were we had to take a barbell and do shoulder presses — 20 for women and 30 for men. This was an obstacle towards the end of the course last year, and both times, I have found it a challenge. Also, both times, a very encouraging volunteer has made all the difference. Hopefully these ladies know how much I appreciate their kind words! We also had a Wreck Bag carry. There were a variety of weights; I believe 25 lb, 45 lb, and 70 lb bags. I struggle with carries and took the 25 lb bag, which was more than heavy enough to go up and down the hill for a modestly long-enough stretch. The final strength-based obstacle was an Atlas stone, which we had to lift and toss over our shoulder five times. This was odd but went fine and different weights were provided for men and women, which, as a small woman, I tend to appreciate.
F.I.T. also brought back one of my favorite obstacles from the April race — a peg board climb, immediately followed by a rope climb. In April, I struggled on the rope climb after the peg board. This time, I had no problem with either the peg board, which I was able to do using my legs and arms, or with the rope climb. There were a set of knotted ropes and an unknotted rope. I scurried up the unknotted rope with the s-hook and transitioned to the j-hook to speed down. Right after that was an obstacle just like Double Up at Shale Hill. We had to jump up and grab a log, pull ourselves up, and then go over a second round log on top. I enjoy this obstacle and was glad to see it at F.I.T.
The highlight of the day for me was and obstacle called The Destroyer. This is the first obstacle that has scared me in quite some time. I was able to get over it by myself, but I was happy to have a volunteer spotting me just in case, and I would not have made it over without the coaching that the volunteers at this obstacle provided. The Destroyer was an inverted wall where you had to use a kick (and in my case the side of the obstacle) to get up to a tiny grip. From that grip, one grabbed the top of the inverted wall. On top of the inverted section of the obstacle was another wall that went straight up. This, for me was the hardest part. I had to transition from where I was to another block up on the flat wall. The reach from the lower grip and the section where the walls met to the higher block was a far one. It was here that the volunteers’ cues came into play. Once I got the higher block, I was able to pull myself up and dig my shoes into where the two walls met and climb over. The transition from the inverted wall to the higher straight wall was a bit of a scary one. I slipped a bit at one point and was glad that the volunteer was spotting me and that I have good grip strength. I was very excited to get over this obstacle!
Another favorite for me was The Rig. I always love a good Rig. This wasn’t one of the most challenging, but that was good in a way since it was the second to last obstacle and, at that point, I didn’t want to wait for more than a couple of minutes. The Rig had a set of monkey bars, which transitioned to a horizontal bar. That led to a couple more monkey bars which you had to use to swing to a cargo net that you climbed up and over. Super fun!
Throughout the course, there were a lot of walls, many around four or five feet, including at least two inverted walls. I consider these “medium height” walls to be my favorite variety, and really enjoyed them. I’m also a big fan of the inverted wall, so having them there was popular with me. There was also a taller wall of around eight or nine feet with a rope. Towards the end of the course, was a F.I.T. original — the floating wall! This wall was suspended between two trees. Aaron, one of the race directors, had built this wall and had it at the Spahtens’ Labor Day party, which took place at his parents house. At that point, I had battled the wall and more or less lost. As a result, Aaron has put a kick step on the wall — the so-called Sibley Step. I was glad to see the Sibley Step still attached to the wall, as I took full advantage of it. Fortunately, the wall was hung quite a bit lower than at Aaron’s, and I was able to get over without any trouble.
Another thing that I really enjoyed was that the very final part of the course was on trails that you could actually run! After all the up and down of Diamond Hill, it was great to have a stretch of groomed, less rocky trail where I could move quickly and stretch my legs out.
After the Rig, it was a short run to an inverted ladder wall and then across the finish line. I finished in 1:19:01. Good enough for 127/489, 30/214 (top 14%!) for women, and 15/93 in my age group. This was true, despite the fact that I had to wait a little bit at some of the obstacles, and I find this to be an exciting result.
As I said before F.I.T. is a highlight of what #racelocal should be. This is 100% a race I want to do again. (I am super disappointed that the April race conflicts with my spring grad school class and that I won’t be able to make it.) The F.I.T. team puts on a fantastic event that emphasizes what a great local race can be. If you live anywhere in New England and can make it to the next F.I.T., I highly recommend that you do so!
Really well run event from beginning to end. The hills were brutal, some of the obstacles too. Shows where improvement is needed for me as an athlete. I had a great time running with great people!
I absolutely LOVE this event. It is truly hard for me to give an unbiased review of this event as I love the people who put it on, and the ABSURDLY close distance to my house, that I was out there with them building/taping the course twice in the week leading up to the event. I wanted to give my free time to make this event amazing. That being said, here we go:
Location: Diamond Hill Park, Cumberland RI. Easy enough to get to from either I295 or I495. And maybe 10 minutes from my house. Convenient!! Plus, there is an AMAZING ice cream shop across the street. I’m so familiar with the area, that I didn’t notice the lack of signage pointing towards the parking entrance. A sign at the 121/114 intersection, and perhaps one on the far field entrance would be an easy fix. Nit-pick, but hey, I’m going for honest.
Venue/Festival: Parking was $10 (but I had the hubby drop me off, and we had no problem pulling in so he could drop me by the team area). NES was allocated a HUGE area right off the festival where we could spread out and put up our pop-ups and drop our gear. Multi-lappers had their own special pop-up/gear drop area, so they could make quick pit-stops between laps. The start/finish lines were right next to each other, and super easy to find. Bathrooms did have running water! However, they really needed a good cleaning (but that’s on the town of Cumberland). There were a few vendors, including wreckbag. The hard part about a growing local race is keeping vendors (especially when the weather doesn’t sound PERFECT). It has been a bit of a problem of vendors backing out last minute, for him, HOWEVER, this has never bothered me. It was a wonderful intimate festival, to be honest.
Course/Obstacles: Balls to the wall this is hands down the hardest 5k I’ve run all year. Probably ever. And I mean this with as much gushing and glowing happiness as I can muster. Again, I know, biased, but I truly believe this course brings the best of obstacle racing (sans mud, and I don’t miss it). The terrain is difficult (the grade on some of those climbs will shock you to know how short the “hill” is compared to other steep climbs you’ve taken on), but if you’re a good trail runner, gives you plenty of places to run. The obstacles range from cute/easy to frustratingly difficult, however doable by any with a want to do themn(even if you need a little help). The Destroyer was an amazing addition to this field, and I cannot wait to attempt it, unassisted, in April after the shoulder heals. Robb and I argued over the rig’s difficulty, but almost everyone I talked to loved the challenge it presented. It was the only obstacle I couldn’t complete (not agreeing to the help offered) due to the shoulder not willing to take the transition from the monkey bars to the straight bar. I did get help with the destroyer and the floating wall (because of the injury). I know that when we come back in April, Robb will have found a badder use of that “hill” and him and Aaron will have thought up new devious obstacles for us to take on. I. Cannot. Wait.
Swag/Awards: The green bicep/wreckbag medal was absolutely perfect. I have no idea how Robb will top this one for April. I know there was some miscommunication regarding medals taken and these fell short at the end of the day, which is regrettable, as I loved them, however, everyone went home with a medal, just an old style one. The t-shirt is actually really nice, a good color and quality, however, I’ll continue my gripe that the small people are forgotten and this shirt is still too big on me and looks silly. If women’s style is too much hassle (I totally get it, I do!), can we PLEASE add XS?! The awards for this race were pretty stellar! There were typical place awards, but also multi-lap awards for everyone who completed 3+ laps. They were super neat wood “trophies” with an old FIT medal on them and they looked awesome.
Overall: I recommend this race to everyone. I know it is not easy. I’ve heard non-race friends take on this as their first OCR in the past and hate the hills. But seriously, this race is the heart of OCR. Its what it should be. Run really fast with mandatory obstacle completion. Run as many laps as you can. Run for time, run for fun. Walk the whole thing and try something new! Robb, Aaron, and Scott were all over that course all day Saturday. Checking on everything they could and offering encouragement. These guys run all the other races and do what they can to give you an amazing experience and it shows. Add that the course is incredibly spectator friendly and there’s a kids course, its really an event for the whole family. You can even bring your dog to the park (just don’t ask Robb to pet him/her…). If you like OCR, this race is for you.
It was a chilly morning but getting out the door to run with some of my favorite people at one of my favorite #racelocal courses was a no brainer.
Challenging, fun, great spectator access, and something for everyone!
I nailed the rig on the easy side twice, the rope climb twice, and said NO F’ing WAY to the Destroyer twice!
This is a must do event.
I put more information in my featured review, but wanted this to have the scores reflected:
Epic Fifth was the closing to my #racelocal and ocr season. I went in with hopes of 3 laps with my 13 year old son. We proudly finished 2.
I absolutely love the challenge of this course. The obstacles continue to increase in intensity each race. I believe Robb has discovered how to make the hill a mountain. The course was extremely well marked. The volunteers were (probably very cold–especially the girl up just before the rope climb down the hillside. Yet she was still friendly our 2nd time through.) unbelievably supportive. Robb was everywhere on the course.
I sincerely haven’t been this sore post race since 2012. The hills are nothing to joke about people. Train for them. I live for obstacles, not for running. Things like the rig & destroyer are not your average obstacles. Do not let the technical, challenge, hills, heavy stuff deter you from signing up for this race. You can finish it in under an hour (elite & super fast racers) or you can work at it for 2 hours and you will still smile as you cross the finish line. You will earn your bling. You will be marking your calendar for the next F.I.T. Challenge.
F.I.T. is extremely family friendly too. Robb’s epic posts and the biceps talk speak to the next generation of competitive obstacle course runners. They may be running along side us now, but in a few years, we’ll see them at the finish line. Thanks for that Robb! There truly isn’t much better than sharing an epic day with my kids.
FIT Challenge lived up to it’s name on 11.14.15, and has earned it’s spot as a solid racelocal event. Yesterday was my first but definitely not last time running it – many thanks to Robb McCoy for an event well-run and having something for every level athlete, including a kids race.
If you like trail and hill runs, this course is for you! The elevation was just steep enough to be a challenge even for the fittest athlete, but not so steep as to overwhelm or discourage the beginner. I personally enjoy hill and trail runs, so this course felt like a great fit for me. Obstacles were a good mix of strength (overhead presses, atlas stones, wreckbag carries), agility (wall climbs, multi-rig, cargo nets), and fun (tube crawls, downward rope climbs). The Destroyer was the highlight obstacle, a giant inverted wall climb, with hand and footholds that encouraged teamwork and even a timid beginner to give it a try – well done, Robb!
If you like flat courses or water obstacles, you will not find them here. But you WILL find a challenge on that very technical terrain with multiple hill climbs.
Swag included a finisher medal and a gray cotton t-shirt. I would have preferred a tech shirt material, but this is not a dealbreaker by any means.
The site itself was a nice, manageable size with onsite parking within walking distance of the start line, so no bag check was necessary. Bathroom facilities on site and a handful of vendors including Wreck Bag offerring 10% off, which I took advantage of. There was no beer, but participants were casually tailgating afterwards. Nothing crazy, just people enjoying their accomplishment and the perfect fall day we had!
The only minor communication issue I would cite is that there were no event signs coming in, so I actually drove right past the entry, and when I raised it to the parking lot attendant he said the signs kept blowing away!
Our NES team prides itself on supporting races of all kinds, but has clearly embraced and supported #racelocal very successfully. Yesterday was a low-key, stress-free, friendly, and prime example of what #racelocal can be. NES supports its own, whether you are a beginner racer or a racer turned Race Director. This team is what you put into it..say hi to a few people and watch them become your battle buddies on the course!
Parking was a breeze-I arrived early around 7:15am and it was a very short walk to registration. Bib #s were easily posted up and registration was a breeze. The festival area had a few tents set up-Wreck Bags, some type of drink/granola, selling FIT items. Swag included a great “biceps” medal and I loved the T-shirts. Soft and comfortable. Additional awards were for multi-lappers (3 or more laps I believe).
The only negative that I can think of was the timing issue; RaceWire was all over the place with some times coming in at 5+ hours BUT the race director night of the race contacted the head of RaceWire and was working to resolve the issue.
Now the fun stuff: Obstacles. Course was easily marked without any difficulty. Made excellent use of the terrain-leaves making it a bit more challenging at times. Hills were challenging with a total of 1004ft elevation & ~3.1 miles. There were some tough obstacles-wreck bags (25-70#), floating walls, stones to toss over your shoulder, a rig and the Destroyer. This course was by far much harder than the Spring and amazing! My 9yo was able to do most of the obstacles with a big grin on his face. Thank you for an EPIC course and we are already signed up for the next one.
i have done every F.I.T. event to date and each time they improve and get better and harder. this race really took things to a new level with a different course path and some new obstacles. This race is a solid mix of achievable for the first timer to very challenging for even the most seasoned OCR runner. every single time i do a F.I.T. i always ask Robb ” how in the hell can/are you going to top yourself for the next event ” i am both scared and excited to see how Robb answers that question in April. i will have to spend the next 6 months to work on my bicep game to be ready.
Venue – this was the 3 race here and things are well set up and parking is as good as it gets in OCR these days. the festival area is a more low key festival than most races and thats a nice change of pace.
Schwag – LOVE the medal always good bling from this race the tee shirt is nice also.
Obstacles – a nice mix of walls, cargo net and a heck of a rig set up as well as a very evil DESTROYER obstacle.
This was an almost perfect race experience. Parking was 10 dollars and only a short walk to the festival area. Registration was a breeze. There were some vendors around the festival area including wreck bag and some type of protein drink. The team was given a nice area right near the festival area to hang out and set up some tents to relax under. The bathrooms were a bit of a walk from the main area but that is a small price to pay to have flushing toilets at an event. There was only one food option, the salad truck which I have had in the past. The food is good and has healthier options than most events but is very limiting if you don’t know they choices. Communication leading up to the race was very good and included some teasers, the pertinent information needed for race day, and information about extra laps and racelocal. The swag included a great t-shirt, a choice of medals (3 different styles) and for multiple lap runners (3, 4, 5) a wooden trophy varying in style depending on the number of laps run.
The course was amazing. It was tough. My GPS watch clock 3.5 miles with 1200 ft of elevation gain. There was lots of technical trail running and obstacles were well placed within the course. You never ran for long without an obstacle and the hills were brutal. All of the volunteers were great and helpful. There were walls and cargo nets to crawl over, teeter totters, tunnels to crawl through, wreck bags to carry. It was the first appearance of the destroyer and the floating wall. All together, it was a very well put together race and definitely one of my favorite of the 2015 season.
The kids race was great as well. My 5 year old ran it and had a blast. He loves trying to “grown up” obstacles and crushed the course. He loves that we get the same medal. To quote him “That was AWESOME!